the love of God in yourselves

Not the regular, subbed.

"Love is Our Witness" {John13:34-35}
* Context: after LS, pre-Golgotha -- topic important enough to be among last taught
* What is it? {ICor13, of course} Contrast to 2Tim3 and 18 evils
* w/o love, nothing
- Skills? Annoying w/o love
- Brilliant? Empty w/o love
- Servant? Earned nothing w/o love
* How show? Via HS {Acts1:8}
* Vertical love -- gramps on down to infants
* Why show? Phil2:15-16a, and to dispel negative media depictions


was split apart like a scroll

I don't know if I've ever posted about stem cells before, but I will post about something related. I'm most concerned with one quote in the article from the new Judas, Frist:

"It's not just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science,"

As a Christian scientist, you of all people cannot be spreading the dichotomy twixt faith and science. The two can and should work together, and it is the devil's plan to create the division. And even if there were a dichotomy, faith is never a second place to anything. He wants the first fruits -- and that includes in priority lists.


a circle on the face of the deep

M.C. Escher, where are you? Wrap your noodle around this: can it be a coincidence that in the same day I watch something on coincidences that I get an email about coincidences and get to weigh in on the fact that they don't exist? In which case I've answered my own hypothetical.

Semantics is the tool used by the devil to confound those who consider themselves too smart for God -- ironically, their own knowledge inhibits them from knowing the only knowledge that will save them. And use it here if you want to lose sight of the cross by dabbling in meta-arguments about free will and suffering and fate and the like.

The question and answer is not why and how, but who and who. Seek it not from me.


the key of knowledge; you

Been awhile since I suggested sermon topics, but here's one for you based on a single v, 2King19:27:

"'But I know your sitting down,
And your going out and your coming in,
And your raging against Me.'"

Three lines, three parts to this one, related to the omniscience of God.

Pt I: You hear just this line, and you might think it sounds like the Isaiah or Psalm v's about knowing you from the womb, knowing your every hair like a sparrow. I'm stretching it to mean He knows what you're scheming. When sitting quietly and not gabbing with other people, our thoughts run naturally to what we want to do -- short-term, long-term, whatever -- but when we have a moment to ourselves to rest, we naturally scheme. He knows of those self-interested thoughts.

Pt II: He knows your every movement. This is often the carryout of the sittingscheming. No slinking in shadows, in darkness; He sees that skulking. From the v prior, we know He knew you were planning it in the first place.

Pt III: Whether in thought, whether in actual action, or whether as a response to guilt for the actual action, He knows all three when they go against Him and cause Him to turn away His face.

We can focus on the knowing our every need, knowing our every hair if that helps us sleep better at night. But lose sight not of the knowing of the rest of it either.


stayed at the house

You might think I have nothing to say about this, and you'd be wrong. But not doing the easy and opining on the pop culture and religion intersection. You can't see where this is headed.

Here it comes.

This is no different than evangelical beliefs in mansions, exemplified by Randy Alcorn discussing speculations he crafts into truths.

Out of left field.

I will be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about what Heaven will be like. But the truth is, no one else does either. The difference is I'm not going off and making speculations appear to be dogma. Seriously, why on earth would I need a grand mansion in Heaven? The presence of the Lord not enough? What, I need a break at around 8:00 pm to sleep on down-filled comforters the softness of which I can't imagine? Just ludicrous.

You envy the rich here on earth. Leave their mansions here with your envy. I'll take my Heaven filled with the glory of the Almighty and call it enough.


My words, and the words which you hear

This is why we read Isaiah, because despite the imageries we cannot understand, despite the histories we cannot grasp, despite the allusions we cannot get, we come upon Isa40-43, and discover perhaps the most beautiful chapters in all the Word. Song of Solomon is given the reputation that it is a love letter from God to His bride, but that’s a false reputation. I submit to you instead that these Isaiah chapters are in fact the love letter.

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” {Isa40:11}

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” {Isa40:31}

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” {Isa41:10}

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” {Isa41:17}

“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee” {Isa42:6}

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, ‘Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.’” {Isa43:1-2}

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” {Isa43:25}

Those that say evil about the Word have not read a single letter, not a one, else they'd grasp that the entirety is an "I love you" bound in ink and paper and glory.
 Posted by Picasa


loved following them; the one

They have their own conference? This is no longer a thing being sponsored by a church -- it's its own business now, with its own website, its own staff, its own conference. They have staffers writing curricula and guides for churches. And like the Jabez debacle, they have purpose-driven niches for everything: smallgroups, youth ministries, even children.

I can't pre-judge them -- well, I could, but I'll refrain. The only thing I'm wondering is whether or not cults can exist at some meta-level. What if movements like these are for churches as cults are for people? The devil can quote Scripture, so it is no small thing to take what was meant for good and twist it for evil.

On one hand, helping pastors lead churches by holding their hand is a good thing. On the other, all that hand-holding should be done by the Lord Almighty and not by Rick Warren.


mixed with their sacrifices

Here's an enigma for you:

1. A, who can't walk, can't stand w/o pain, stands in worship. Because she knows that the greater pain would be in not praising God.

2. J, the Savior of the world, knows of the impending pain, carries the cross. Because He knows that the greater pain would be disobeying God.

3. X, who can walk, can stand, and has no impending pain, worships not, stands not, obeys not. Because he/she knows NOT that there is a greater pain than mere tired legs.

PROBLEM: One of these doesn't belong in His house. Which is it?

who come to you in sheep's clothing

Perfect message at the perfect time. Not the only one who finds the fad-drivens to be evil.

"How to Respond to Counterfeit Christians" {2Tim3:1-9}
* Intro: Bombing of London & Titanic -- warned early, with no response. Need both warner and responder
* Context: Days of spiritual decline in church when Christianity no longer recognizable, Last days refers to season twixt 1st and 2nd coming
* Characteristics of depravity
- Lovers of self, boastful, arrogant, conceited, ungrateful
- Lovers of $
- Abusive, unloving, lacking self-control, unforgiving, brutal, reckless
- Disobedient to parents
- Unholy, not lovers of good, lovers of pleasure
- Slanderers, treacherous
- Summary: Having an external facade of godliness sans power
* Response: Avoid them {1Cor15:33}
* Tactics: infiltration & imitation (Jannes & Jambres in Ex7:10-11)
* Outcome: failure & exposure
* Applications
- Understand church under spiritual attack
- Recognize truth; be doctrinally discerning
- Avoid false Christians


for false Christs and

This is one of the many major reasons why society distrusts and disbelieves -- why create a ridiculous sounding cult like the End Timers or Heaven's Gate when you already have something like the Church of Latter-Day Saints?

Ultimately, it's more disappointing to me than surprising that so many Americans buy into that liar's club. And it's not disappointing that so many lack discernment; I've always suspected that. It's disappointing to be right. It's disappointing that so many seeking truth will find out on JDay they were mislead. It's disappointing that the liar is so good at what he does.


wishes for new

Brilliant article recommended to me this morning by a brother in the faith. Been both laudatory and critical of the Saddlebacks and Willow Creeks of this world. This piece touches on why the critical remarks bear repeating.

The only identity churches need to take root in is the identity of Christ. All others are vapors in the wind. He did not die for a bride that swaps her wedding dress whenever the winds of fashion blow. He died for a bride that understands that only her heart matters, and not the trappings of the world.


when Jesus made the clay

I expect something like this from a Presbyterian or a Methodist, but from a Catholic? Your first problem is that you're comparing beliefs and articles to the catechism and not the sacred word of God. Your second problem is that you attack this from an issue of consistency of thought rather than consistency of faith.

You skip over this point: to relegate a single word or belief to metaphor and your corrupt all others. No Creation in seven days? Then maybe no resurrection after three. You either accept it all, or take the easy path and reject it all. Believing some is not much better than believing none. Either way, you're the liar's pupil.


the false prophet who performed the signs

You want to find everything wrong with American Christianity? Here you go. I don't even know where to begin.

I'm going to leave for now the Satanic health & wealth gospel preached by Osteen. It defies the central tenets of Christianity. When the Savior stated His followers would carry their own crosses, I don't see where you interpret that burden as happy lives of splendor.

I'm going to leave for now the church's slogan of "discover the champion in you". When the Savior stated that apart from Him we can do nothing, I don't see where you interpret inner strength as something possible without God.

I'm going to take to task instead the idea that you can spend $95 million dollars to renovate something into a church and not spend a single dime on a cross. There is no Christianity without the cross. Hear how your own prideful voice resonates within the Compaq Center, Osteen? That's the echo of an empty soul.

and to leave me alone

There is perhaps no harsher a condemnatory sentence in all the Bible than Hos1:9: "...for you are not My people, and I am not your God."

Imagine that statement from the Almighty. Imagine Him having to forsake and leave behind those that He loves. One can read that as part of a litany of disgust at Israel's behavior, and as an angry (and rightfully and righteously angry) God punishing His people. As I've said here before, you don't need to make any excuses for Him.

Not making any excuses. I just read it as I know I would read it given the task of confronting my own beloved ones in disgrace -- in utter, utter sadness.


senses trained to discern

I've decided that wisdom is the ability to discern the voice of God from all others. Solomon asking for wisdom was merely him asking for a clearer connection to the Almighty, one without the noise. As someone who has fought the noise all his life, wisdom seems like such an unreachable goal.

How do you discern the voice of the liar from the voice of yourself, especially when your doubts mirror the liar's doubts? And trying to doublethink makes it even harder, since if you're supposed to go against the liar's voice, is ignoring your doubts actually wisdom?

How do you discern the voice of the One from the voice of yourself, especially when your desires mirror the One's desires? And trying to doublethink makes it even harder, since if you're supposed to ignore your desires, is giving in actually wisdom?


in which was a golden jar

"How to Be Useful to God" {2Tim2:20-26}
* Background
- 2 types of people: useful to God & not
- Noble = Honorable
- Noble = for specific, Godly purpose (communion tray, for ex)
- Ignoble = Dishonorable (trash cans)
* How to be noble
- Prepare self to do good works
- Cleanse self -- it is a choice
* Flee from evil desires (ex: Joseph and Potiphar's wife)
* Pursue righteousness, faith, love
* Have nothing to do with morons (bridge joke, die you infidel)


tolerance and patience, not knowing

This makes perfect sense. Why not squabble amongst ourselves? Why not be poor witnesses to an audience that already mistrusts us? Why not denigrate the name of the Prince of Peace?

Taking a stand for righteousness is one thing. Taking a stand for stupidity is quite another. See you in the kingdom. I'll be one of the many carrying rosaries.

to each one his task

Isaiah is considered one of the great major prophets of the OT. His prophecies and verses are some of the best known in the entire Bible. And no wonder. Here are some choice morsels from today's readings:

Isa11:7: "Also the cow and the bear will graze . . . and the lion will eat straw like the ox."

Or this one:

Isa13:21: "And their houses will be full of owls, Ostriches also will live there"

It gets better:

Isa13:22: "And hyenas will howl in their fortified towers."

To me, Isaiah is the perfect analogy for the Christian. Sometimes, He will ask you to do or say something which others will look upon as complete and utter nonsense. But in context it will make sense. In the bigger picture it will make sense. To God it will make sense. And your obedience is all He wants.

Because what can happen, and will happen, is that sometimes that utter nonsense will make all the sense in the world.

Isa7:14: "Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."


and make straight paths for your feet

Micah6:8 is oft quoted for a reason -- it's the blueprint to a sound relationship with Him. Notice, I did not say it is the blueprint to a happy life, for the walk isn't always on smooth ground. But it is always on solid ground.

The idea of the walking is what interests me. We all throw around the term "walking with God" or spiritual walk, but do we take the time to appreciate the full meaning? It is not merely an analogous walk, but a literal one.

We sing of Enoch in the garden, for instance. Don't we believe that to be the case for him? Then why not also with us? We read of the footprints and the one set. Why not also with us? When we claim that He is always watching over us, why assume from on high and not from right over your left shoulder? Posted by Picasa


make His face shine upon you

Micah3:4 presents an interesting concept about the face of God. The contrast in this verse makes it seem that hiding His face and not answering prayer related, leading me to believe the contrast is also true -- something in answers to prayer being indicative of The Face faced forward.

A quick con shows 387 references of the word "face" in the Word -- interestingly, with only 46 references in the NT. Perhaps because in the NT, the people actually looked upon the physical face of God?

Anither shelved topic about the face: Moses' shining one, face of the earth literally (?), Transfiguration.


for everyone who kills you to think

You have this view. Then you have this one. Or you can see from this summary that just about every major religion in the world, at least those that cover 95% of the known world, actively preach against infanticide.

When every major religion preaches the immorality of the action, is it any wonder that man's natural reaction is to go against that? How is that courts have any legal obligation to rule on a morality issue? How is that more people are not outraged by this?

One is outraged by this, and all of you will find out on JDay how outraged He is.


speak truth, why do you not believe

I feel like a successful Diogenes. Finally, an honest scientist. Scientists are caught up in the matrix of their own doings, and refuse, absolutely refuse to admit that they don't know what's going on (threatens their livelihoods), that they don't know what's going on (threatens their independence and control), that they don't know what's going on (threatens their personal God status), or that they don't know what's going on (threatens their bonds to their master Satan). On JDay, you will find the answers to all your questions. And they won't be to your liking.


openly to the world

I'm going to plug this even if I'm conflicted about it. In general, I think I support it since I understand the Willow Creek effect -- hit the world in whatever method and manner will bring them to salvation. But as I've posted on many occasions, using the world to save the world leaves me tied in ethical knots. But on some level, I can't tell if I'm against it only because the end result is something that feels cheesy and contrived, not real.

In any case, check out "The Blender". What on earth?!


to treat the false prophets in the same way

Great. So this is a whole thing that everyone else is doing, too? I'll try to ignore that fact for the next six weeks.

"Don't Get Sidetracked" {2Tim2:14-19}
* Problem of false teaching
- Solemnly charged -- commissioned by God
- No weaseling away by ignorance -- warning to inform
- Ex of false teaching topics today: (non)deity of Christ, salvation other than by faith alone, (non)inerrancy of Scripture, Biblical teaching on homosexuality, health/wealth gospels
* Solution? Steps that follow:
* Avoid quarreling about words
- Lucado ship piece
- Leads to catastrophe
* Devote yourself to being approved -- will answer on JDay about your handling of Word
* Avoid Godless chatter -- or will infect to death
* Remember His firm foundation (Numb16)


than a thousand outside

Though I hate every minute of running, it often brings the breath of God into my thoughts. Probably has to do with the spiritlistening. This morning, hearing FFH sing through Ps84, it occurred to me that the test of faith over your lifetime is this psalm. The question being asked to all believers is whether or not you really believe that one day in His house is better than all other things.

Reading through Sundays, staying in 2Tim, the racing analogy makes sense. The finish line is the actual day in the house. The perseverance is about maintaining focus on that one day.

One day. Do you believe it? Posted by Picasa


of the creation which God created

I discussed this once before, but it came up again today in Ps114. You have the looking sea, turning Jordan, and skipping mountains. In Luke19 you have the stones potentially crying out.

It is much, much easier to read them as metaphors and figures of speech. It is a step of faith to take Him at His word and understand that objects, things can be anthropomorphic and do things like make sound. That's proven at the molecular level where they vibrate and move. They are alive at some level we do not understand. So when He says the stones would cry out, He literally means it.

It makes absolute sense from the theological level. At the fall, it was not just man who fell, but all of creation. The NT speaks of a fallen creation. In Rom8, Paul discusses creation breaking itself free from slavery along with all of mankind. I've read it stated that a possible explanation of natural disasters is that creation is fallen -- in which case it can sin like man and disobey.

The natural order of miracles, the manipulation of the physical world is not simply a changing of the natural order. The natural order of all things, man and earth included: He commands, and they obey.


will see the salvation of God

Here's where righteousness and evangelism clash. On one side, you have the GOP in the right regarding all social stances. On the other side, you have Billy and his message of salvation. But this is not the struggle that this editorialist is trying to paint. Man can be right in one instance and quite wrong in another.

I won't slander the name of one of God's beloved messengers; not going there. Will he answer before the throne because of his votes for a party that supports sodomy and infanticide? Yes. But he'll also receive the crowns for the millions brought to His feet.

I'm answering for plenty, and I'm not getting nearly the jewelry, so Graham: 1, me: 0.


to such an extent that

Best thing about an ordered read is the context of contrast you see. Case in point: 2King14 and 2Chron25. In both, the description of Amaziah revolves around the extent to which he served Him. In 2King, it has him doing right in the sight "yet not like David" only "to all that Joash his father had done". 2Chron has it described more succinctly as "yet not with a whole heart".

Both paint a clear picture of the OT version of the lukewarm. There's something here about levels of devotion which I won't touch today, but alluding to yesterday, Amaziah (and us) are no better approaching Him with one eye closed.


even now I know that

I don't even know where to begin to take you to task on this. Is it the false humility you're showing? Is it the arrogance to think that you only don't know these 125 things? Is it the underlying arrogance that suggests you will eventually answer these things? Is it the contrived way you make these issues science issues and not issues of faith?

You'll answer for all of these questions and more on JDay. And the only question that matters is who your Savior is -- and not knowing that has more consequences than public admittance of ignorance has.

and had received sight, until

Not saying anything about yesterday's missing -- sometimes it's overwhelming, and while you know He's there, you don't have the time to focus on what He's saying. Which is the ultimate problem of the Christian life, really.

Didn't think there'd be a connection to thoughts today, but well done.

Elisha does something amazing in 2Kings6 -- he reveals the true nature of all things to his servant. Eph6 touches on a similar deal, that in existence right now all around are things you cannot, you cannot see. But they are there. And what all need to do is pray for open eyes.

Never mused on the phrase until the Elisha episode, but it's a new perspective on spiritual blindness. There are different levels here. You have the dull end, the hardened heart. But then you have the regular end, which is Christians today not understanding, or too busy to see the greater forces of the air around all things.

The nature of spiritual maturity, then, is simply the process by which you see more of the world He'd really have you see.


for discipline that you endure

"How to Persevere" {2Tim2:1-13}
* Olympic story: ". . . came not to start the race, but to finish"
* Be strong in the grace
- Passive verb: go to the source of str
* Disciple the faithful
- Relay race analogy
* Suffer hardship/endure pain
- Soldier: Focus on mission
- Athlete: Play by rules
- Farmer: Feed self first (in seeking God)
* Remember risen Savior
- Ideal of suffering
- Str in Him strong enough to rise
* Remember power of Word
- His Word not chained
- Most common inscription in catacombs
- Bunyan preaching to wall
* Remember purpose of serving -- your situation may not change
* Remember eternal consequences


the truth, which I heard from God

There's a lot to discuss in this article. You have the Jews criticizing all Messianic Jews. You have the issue of the NT disregarding the OT covenant (in Jews' eyes). You have the hysterical comments about Windows XP and the NT.

But I'm only going to focus on one issue. I've always found Jews for Jesus to be fascinating. It's clear to me that Judaism is far more a culture than a religion to many folks. It's also clear that Jews don't see the Judaism inherent in fundamentalist Christianity. Even more amazing is that although evangelicals are by far the largest supporters of Israel because of their belief in the chosen race of God, that respect is not mutual.

The tension here isn't between two religions, however; all religions suffer from a rejection of the truth. The tension here is between man and God, bound in the stubbornness of historical rebellion.


will prepare himself for battle

So here comes the fight. With a Rehnquist retirement looming as well, and two seats potentially open, here it comes. Every year there are events that seem to hasten the demise of society, or events that seem critical to the nation's future proximity to heaven. Can His bride win the fight as they did in November? More importantly, does it really matter?

The prayer shield starts now.