will bring about justice for them quickly

Politicians want to separate state and religion not on grounds of principle but on personal power. Man naturally wants to sin, wants to create laws that allow for sin. To keep religion from politics is liar's way of controlling all things. Which is why what Scalia said is so important -- important enough for believers to take a stand. My morals and those of my community should NOT be decided upon by robed figures with no knowledge of the Lord. Their right and wrong is from liar. To give in to their line of reasoning is to give in to the howlers. The eternal questions won't be decided upon before a court, but before a throne.


exhibited as an example

Since there's no sin in Heaven, no one is being prideful, but I can imagine it's mighty tempting if you're one of the saints of the faith. In Ezek14, the Lord Himself mentions three by name: Noah, Daniel, & Job. He uses them as an extreme example of righteous men, that even if they -- the best of the best is the implication -- were in Jerusalem, it would still be destroyed.

For all eternity, they are recorded as His choice models of faith done right. No grinning pridefully in Heaven, sure, but man, that's gotta be something.


but if rightly, why

I knew that eventually someone would write something like this to link things to the Lord. And one aspect of the article is right -- that because people need to process things and to make things fit into their boxed perspectives, rationalizing God's role comes into play.

One, as I've written before, you don't need to make excuses for Him -- as He pleases. Secondly, the article presents the choice as one or the other -- either He's punishing us, or the earth is punishing us. But why not both? Why isn't it God letting the earth have its sinful way? Again, as I've written before, maybe creation's disobeying.

Your mind is like a hurricane-ravaged city -- cluttered, destroyed, ruined. You simply can't understand.


your own soul -- to the end

"Dealing with Disappointment" {2Tim4:9-22}
* Intro
* "All that matters is that you finish, and finish well."
* Paul's disappointment & loneliness
- Request for companionship
- Desertion of Demas
- Denial of companionship
- Desire for personal comforts
* Paul's warning about opposition
- Damage done by Alexander
- Warning to Tim
* Paul's strength in the Lord
* Paul's concern for friends


useless; there is none

Ezek3:6-7 can be taken as a hard lesson. He'll be asked to do insane things later, sure, but v6 has him simply speaking to a rebellious house -- only v7 tells him upfront that they will not listen.

In today's age, taking on tasks which seem impossible is usually deemed ignorant. And most would refrain from starting from probable cause. If they knew with certainty the task was fruitless? You can only imagine.

Ezek doesn't do that, and it is a lesson in obedience for all. He doesn't need the ends to justify his means. He just needs to know what the Lord's will is, and that is enough to justify the starting. Paul speaks of the finish line, and in that race analogy, understand that you can't see the tape from the getgo. Just get and go, and trust the line will come when it comes.


my lifetime as nothing in your sight

Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You

Take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing,I have nothing without you

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing without You

Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my might
With all the strength that I can find

Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing, I am nothing without You

Every now and then you need to be reminded of John15:5 -- and by every now and then, I mean more than just the Sunday run-up. And it is not simply the motto of a soul lacking self-esteem, but rather the honest cry of a soul not duped by liar's reality. It is the world that tells you that you are worth something by yourself in a desperate attempt to imply that you need no Shepherd. But what you don't understand is that liar undervalues you, and you fall for it.

You can be the liar's everything, or the Lord's nothing. The liar's everything is worth empty words. The Lord's nothing was worth dying for. Posted by Picasa


in you; great is my

It's interesting how perceptions can change given a year and the moving of the Spirit. Last year at this time, enjoying Jer much more than Isa. This year, the reverse. You also forget the pleasant surprises, which brings me to today. We come to Lam, and ch 1-2 read like Elizabeth Wurtzel. But then you get to ch 3 and you remember something:

The book of Lamentations is an analogy of the believer's life.

Your existence prior to your meeting Him is hopeless, even if you do not realize it. It is the Lord in His justice and holiness exalting your enemies' might; it is a distant comforter, a yoked soul; it is you delivered into the hands of those against whom you cannot stand. You read ch 1-2 and get all this and feel your bound soul.

Then the turning comes and you get Lam3:22-23. In the midst of the darkness, you get a 180; instead of the constant howling, you get a great-hymn-of-faith resonance within you that speaks to the saving power of Christ. This pleasant surprise from the reader's standpoint can be strikingly more clear to you from the eternal standpoint if you make the turning yourself. Today.


what you worship in ignorance

Dear Father of Lies,

It's been a great few years. With the evolution fight making people dismiss their minds, the cult news making people dilute their faith, the culture war making people ridicule their practices, and the political battles making people oppose their power, I didn't think I needed to do much more. But now that I've crossed the bounds between condemning international practices to outright inciting murder, the few remaining people neutral on them might be swayed. You were so right, as always, that the battle for their heart is entwined in the battle for the rest of them.

Tomorrow I might call for Christians to bomb the UN. That might actually get religion banned completely from all things.

Love always,



on behalf of the world

I'm not one to kick people when they're down. Actually, I probably am. But I reserve the public kicking for those that drive me insane with rage. I can't imagine why it didn't work out.

Wait, I can.

Maybe the expensive Vera Wang dress. Maybe the fancy reception with expensive broaches decorating a velvet cake. Maybe the expensive 1920's ring with the platinum and the silver. Or maybe it's the fact that the groom had to put out a strange statement expressing his beliefs as if there were some doubt.

You want to mirror the world? You want to fit in? You want to be like them? Well, this'll seal the deal, then, won't it?


were loosening the ropes

In Sunday's post there is the mention of the loosing, a breaking free of the bonds of earth. It reminds you of the line from one of the finest speeches ever made by man.

That's not the important idea. The important idea is the implication Paul makes about our life here on earth -- they are bound, not free. There's the obvious bound by sin connection. Or even bound by worldly cares. I'll make a bigger leap: your soul literally bound by ropes you cannot see, knots tied by liar. Ever wonder why when attacked you feel weighty? Liar's twine. Entry into Heaven is a loosing of these bonds, of liar's reach over your soul.

Probably more to explore here in terms of imagery, but hard to focus with these things clinging....


will pierce even your own soul

So 0-fer yesterday. Consider today's doubleheader as the raindate.

Imagery used in today's sermon of the rewardcrown placed atop your (un)deserving head before the throne by nail-pierced hands. And the question that arose was whether or not those hands will be whole/hole for eternity.

On the one, you have the notion of a renewing above. Your being will be entire in ways you never were before. Wounds shall be closed that, like me, you tend to carry for longer than need be. All that hurt shall be healed forever. Those blessed scars and the savingholes -- all gone.

On the other, you have the notion of glory incarnate. He, in every form, glory. And there was no greater glory won than through those savingholes. Your belief is that all that is bad will not exist above, and that is true. But those savingholes -- nothing bad about them. Only glory, a beauty no less teary than His eyes of love.

at the final period of

"Famous Last Words" {2Tim4:6-8}
* Present: Paul ready (v6)
- Context: Last letter written by Paul, in prison
- Drink offering: From Numb, 1 of 3 to God. Paul viewed his imminent death as final sacrifice, act of worship
- Time (kiros): period of time; departure: a loosing, a breaking of bonds
* Past: Paul faithful (v7)
- Fight: THE fight -- life as spiritual battle twixt G&E {Eph 6:12}
- Race: Focused on goal, prize in sight {1Cor9:24-27}. Finish what you start {Heb12:1-3}
- Kept faith: Defended gospel; protected His message & ministry; valued His word (lipreader)
* Future: Paul rewarded (v8)
- Whole letter geared toward v8.


Him was a large

Well, Mr. Bell, I'll be keeping an eye on you. You might be with me, because the idea of a "Big Jesus" is what I'm all about. This whole thing is about exploring what it really means, what real faith is. On the other hand, you might turn out to be another saddlebacked-Jabez-up-an-Osteen-creek, letting fame and populism drive your dogma from truth to fiction.

For now, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, and hope that it's truth that's driving you from 0 to 10,000.


in the prophets, and they shall all

Question: would you truly want to be a prophet or not?

Position 1: Absolutely not. Because God speaks vocally only to a chosen few, only a chosen few truly, absolutely know His will to a degree that disobedience is not an option. You would truly need to devote your life to proclaiming His message to the exclusion of all other things. You would appear absolutely insane to the entire world, and face tremendous guaranteed suffering to defend the truth.

Position 2: Absolutely. Because God speaks vocally only to a chosen few, imagine how special that makes you? Imagine having complete certainty in knowing what His will is, and not having to second-guess yourself. Imagine being able to devote your life to proclaiming His message, despite the thoughts of the outside world, knowing your reward rests in the thereafter. Imagine facing suffering knowing it is not all in vain.

The modern Christian says he wants two, but really means one. One allows disobedience. Perhaps, that's the reason two doesn't exist today -- none could bear the choice.


what is this message

I'm conflicted about Bono. Yes, I'm discussing the U2 frontman. On one hand, he befriends causes and people from a liberal perspective clearly focused on Christ's love to the exclusion of God's righteousness. That is the trouble with all self-professed Christian democrats. On the other hand, he is a hugely popular world figure devoted to compassion, and is therefore a leading promoter of the Christian message. Which is why I find his thoughts on God to be interesting.

The best part of the interview:

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched...
What Bono could have done is what so many Christians in the spotlight do -- dilute his faith. Instead, he presents the gospel. Either Christ is who He says He is, or He's a nutcase. Everyone must make that decision, the decision that leads to life or fire. Not shying away from ridicule is faith.


testify of the wrong

We can discuss this article if you want to rile me up. The whole premise of it being on the Christian section of beliefnet is problem one. The media wants to group Mormons with Christians not because of the Jesus connection, be clear on that. They do it because they want to associate lunacy with religion in hopes of diluting the message of faith.

Mormons are not Christians. Mormons are not saved. Mormons believe in a false God.

The fourth paragraph in the article asks why so many dislike Mormonism. It isn't because of the secrecy or the polygamy -- although both are symptoms of the real reason. It's because people can recognize the work of the liar. This is a cult, no holds barred. We dislike cults, there's your answer.


ready and started on our way up

This is not unexpected. But unless these researchers begin and end with the book of Genesis, they won't find anything about anything.

Here's a veritas for you: don't study your beginning, but rather your end. You'll find it in that body of water yonder, past the throne.


them to the end

"How to Finish Well" {2Tim4:1-5}
* Intro
* Priority: Preach the Word
- Seriousness: Spoken in the presence of Almighty and Son; will answer before throne
- Essence: Preach -- for all followers {Mark16:15}
- Scope: Be ready to correct (show truth), rebuke (condemn non-truth), encourage (move to truth)
* "So easy to justify what I want to do"
* Must be in the Word to accomplish above
* Obstacle: Disregard for truth
- Myth 1: Word not sufficient
- Myth 2: Word not sophisticated
- Myth 3: Word not settled
- Myth 4: Word not sure
* Need: Perseverance
- Be sober (free from distraction)
- Endure (suffer evil)
- Do evangelist's work (even if not gifted)
- Fulfill ministry (saved for a purpose)


is clear, your whole body also is filled with light

Another breathcatching vision while enjoying the voice of those called to lift: this one reminding me of the pleasant struggle. Of course it will be cloudiest when the nearness is nearest. Liar's not giving up without a fight. Within the mist, finding the pleasant may not be the easiest, but step back. That vision is a vision of grandeur and wellpleasingness. Posted by Picasa


then they remembered that these things

I think people write articles like this simply to drive me insane with rage. Before my brain and heart burst with anger, let me comment on two things:

(1) Lutherans currently have joint communion with Presbyterians and are now adding Methodists. Sweet. If they can sign an agreement with New England Episcopalians, the evil trinity can be complete. I imagine once that happens, they'll make communion using whiskey and tobacco and incorporate ritual animal sacrifices, but who knows.

(2) Note to Lutherans and Methodists and others: We already shared in the Holy Communion the minute we became believers. The body and blood of Christ aren't proprietary. It's the same remembrance, same cross, same salvation.

You want to thumb your noses at Catholics, go ahead. Your act hides nothing.


the weak and worthless elemental things

In conversation yesterday -- and in actuality, in conversation with myself since Monday -- the topic of financial modeling in Christianity arose. I don't think I get everything right. In fact, I get most things wrong, I am certain, but on this one point, I'm thinking I'm in the right.

One can make the argument that churches should operate as the world operates since that is how man best understands things -- by relating them to what he is familiar with, by viewing them through his usual worldview. And on the topic of money, especially with churches tight on budgets, why not charge for services? Charge for Bible study booklets; $1 for men's breakfasts; $3 for women's study sitting services?

I'll tell you why: because the bride of Christ wasn't paid for in the same manner. The world's view: personal investment equals value and commitment; services should receive their monetary value. His view: I will pay for it all.

One of these receives worldly acceptance and recognition. One of these results in commendations before the throne. Your choice, bride.


also gather together into one

Growing up infatuated with the Dark Knight allowed me to savor all the more the metaphor that sprung up tonight: a batsignal relationship with God. Commissioner Gordon in seeking Bruce's assistance projected a lone beacon skyward to attract his attention. Inevitably, it triggered a response.

That is the same way most view their walk with God -- this personal one-on-one call and response. Only, God doesn't see it that way. He is not at your beck and call.

The other problem with that relationship is that it presumes that the one-on-one is the correct lens. In fact, His bride is referred to as a whole and not a singular. You are not His bride. We are.

If this relationship is true in the least, He is the Commissioner. And that signal is no lone beacon meant for one. Will you respond? Posted by Picasa


in the center of the court

This is interesting and speaks to themes covered here before concerning politics and religion. What's of most interest -- or rather of most disgust is in the middle of the second page of this article, and that's the proud way the author proclaims her middleness.

As someone who has been in both left coasts and who longs for the day that CO Springs is the norm, I understand the love for one's home and the pull it can have over you. But to let it make you proud of middleness? Sorry, don't get that.

Be clear, luke. God doesn't think that grays are the way to go. He is the white, and the liar is the black. Mixing your whites with your blacks doesn't get you where you think it gets you. Other way, middler. It gets you from holy to darkness.


which endures to eternal

Getting tired of this? Me, too. The series, not the whole shebang.

"Encouragement to Persevere" {2Tim3:10-17}
* Persevere because Paul did
* Context: Contrast to Jannes & Jambres, you are different & know
* To be used by God:
- doctrine (know it)
- conduct (live it)
- purpose (see it)
- patience (bear it)
- faith (believe it)
- agape (love it)
- endurance (last it)
- persecution (suffer it)
* Lystra et al? Acts13-14
* Need examples & mentors -- we have written Word
* Will suffer -- everyone will
* Word? Trustworthy, inspired, profitable


will you raise it up

Late. Whatever. In case you forgot, for me.

Discussion from Fri morning about Moses and the arm incident. Related to things I've been mulling over. In case you forgot this, too, Ex 17. Amalekites charging and Israel strategizing. The tides of battle turned whenever Moses lifted his arms. Heard preached about effort related to God's victory. Heard preached about prayer being synonymous to the raised arms.

What of Aaron and Hur, the arm-raisers? What of them? Support for the greater vision of Moses. Something as stupid and trivial-sounding as armlifting. Where am I going with this? Regardless of the stupid act or stupid idea or heck, even stupid person, the need to support the leader to achieve God's victory is evident.

Are you ready to lift?


but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands

They say that having children changes you, but they don't tell you in what ways. Because it's in all ways. But in one fundamental way, you should be forewarned: and that is that in discovering love in ways you did not know existed, you will discover aches in ways you did not think were possible.

When they become themselves, become themselves like finding familiar shadows in the sun, all you can do is watch and watch and the distance stretches in timedaggers that sharpen with each increased step, but masked with joy of living.

But take those steps out of the garden in peace knowing that there is no other way, that the greatest of happinesses could not occur without aches, zerosum aches. Posted by Picasa


to suffer these things

the hardest is never the aching nor the reminders of the achings to come the hardest is knowing that it's an opening for an aching of a different kind being strong here isn't just being strong for the others around that lean but being strong in the fight against the air in either case He's trying He's trying to help you but the reaching is desperately harder when the aiming is blinded by tears Posted by Picasa


out of the lion's mouth

This is good to know. The Prot in you might recoil at the mentions of rosaries and saints and forced prayers, but the believer in you needs to look beyond and see the idea of a Savior in darkness caressing your sunken shoulders.


with power from on high

Check out the second half of Isa66:2 for another sermon topic:

"But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."

I'm especially interested in the second half of that second half, the trembles. I've spoken of the trembles before, but this kind's different.

The first half of this second half will probably get more notice, seeing as how it resembles Ps51:17. But the second of the second is more interesting. He's looking not just for contrition and humbleness, but one who trembles. Now, the salvation doesn't require the trembles, not what I'm saying. Saying what pleases Him is all three.

Take the trembling for whatever you wish it to mean: trembles from fear (Ps111:10}, trembles from closeness, trembles from expectation and joy. Take the word to mean His word, or simply His leading. But something needs to shake, and it better be your heart.