all these things, pondering them

Approaching, quickly approaching the year of this. On days, it's a stretch to complete thoughts too incomplete, too swift to record. On others, it's a need to vent, a need to praise, a need to finalize. Unsure of where this continues. There was the thought a while back about switching it to sermons for the week, but that seems too large a commitment to uphold. There is the thought of varying some more, including more of the arts or some such expression.

We'll take it as it was when this began: willingness to explore His mind and my mind, and how they connect in whatever ways they do.


already laid at the root

What's wrong with these people? I mean, these are artists I respect -- well some of them (not looking at you, Jeremy). Let me get this straight: music inspired by the book? That book is based on the Book, which should be the only source of your inspiration. Why be two degress removed when you can be at the faucet drinking?


not as the world gives

When a man earns your respect, you take the opportunity to admit your error and stress your admiration and respect. So, Mr. Warren, I am taking you off the cynic's list and into the remarkable. Don't get me wrong. You and I still have some disagreements. But when you go from life to community to purpose-driven nation -- hot diggity if that isn't a vision that would make Him proud to the point of tears.

Now that's a bride you could be proud of.


who has this hope fixed

Trying something different, practice making perfect and all. Especially if you think it's one of your gifts. But more importantly because it's your calling.

Start here. Go ahead. I'll wait.

There are no administrative errors in real life, friend. There is no correction after the fact, no changed minds every four years regardless of the prevailing winds of thought. That scorecard check at the throne will be thumbs up or down based on your sin, and that's not one you will win without help. That help is from the abundant love of God above, a love willing to lay its life down for you.

No mulligan, friend. Accept the free gift of love.


where then is that sense

Topic for later, perhaps for the young beloveds -- occurred to me on the drive home that His love is senseless. Or rather nonsensical. The life of faith is one where the heart is filled with such nonsense love.

Examples: Jacob and his mom. Joseph and Mary. Jesus and you.

Characteristics: Extreme devotion. Extreme actions based on that devotion. Devotion in the face of reasons not to be devoted.

This might not be headed anywhere. Your definition might be that defines all love. And maybe you're right.


even He who comes

"Setting the Table for a God Visit" {Exod19}
* Remember His faithfulness {Lam3:23}
* Celebrate future
- His treasured possession (trash/ring story)
- His kingdom of priests
- Priests have direct access
- Priests represent Him to people
- Priests are dedicated to serving Him
* Commit with the Community
* Prepare self spiritually
- Set aside time
- Take spiritual inventory/reality check
- Pray diligently
* Get ready for a God visit

Note: Why use Exod19 instead of obvious imagery of readyman?


serve me while I eat and drink

Yes, I know there are reasons for it. Just unsure what it accomplishes. Test of faith? Test of devotion? Test of sacrifice? I mean, there are other ways such tests are accomplished.

The end result is usually concentration on everything but God. On the pangs. On the pains. On the cravings. Test of focus, maybe? If it's a prayer thing, this only adds a layer of distraction. Wouldn't you rather be sated and focused on prayer than famished and distracted in prayer?

Powerful weapon, I'll take your word on it. But if impossible to use, hard to be well-prepared.


with power from on high

So that's your answer, liarson? That He is not powerful enough to stop a hurricane? He can create the universe with a word, but not powerful enough to stop His creation? Perhaps we should start listening to rabbis who claim a less than omnipotent God?

Maybe your god isn't omnipotent. In fact, we know he isn't, the liar. But my God is a great God. At the throne, you can challenge Him to a feat of strength, Campolo. See how far He can toss you into the lake.


of them and boil in them

of all of them the seething has to be the root of all of them you can make the argument that it is present in all of them it lurks even when positive so hard to focus when the only focus is on red


get up and pray

Straight up, there are few ideas as wonderful, as beautiful, as pleasing to God as this.

It's sad that there are no equivalents for adults at their workplaces to display their faith and to lift up their coworkers. I don't think it's because there are no possibilities.

Pole = Watercooler?
Pole = Copier?
Pole = Reserved parking?
I think it's because men lack spiritual leadership. I think it's because adults fear their peer pressure is somehow more significant than that of their teens.

I think it's because liar has convinced you there is no need. But there is a need. A huge need.

See you at the cross.


were all struck with astonishment

If you read the Word, there are a lot of things you will find that will utterly shock you, jaw dropped, tracks stopped. I submit to you perhaps one of the biggest of the sentence shockers: Ps137:9.

"How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock."

I literally am not sure where to go from there. The contrast between blessing and grotesque violence. The brutality against little ones. The placement of this in psalms that are generally lifted toward the Lord. I am not going to rationalize and explain why this is in there, or its purpose for edification. I won't question His inspiration of it.

But I won't defend the position that this tastes like honey.

so that he may not drag

Have tried it both ways (straight through and chronological), and in both ways, that summer stretch of Isa, Jer, Ezek, and the minors is killer. Either it's the stretch of the tough comprehension, or it's simply the wearing down of the spirit, I can't tell. But it isn't a healthy balance when you simply can't wait to get to the end of the obligation. It's the opposite of David's comparison to honey, that's for sure. Yes, other methods seem randomly thrown together (Ps, OT, NT, for ex), but something's got to be done to balance the start and finish to ensure the middle isn't a waste of a spiritual summer.


for what purpose He had said

Have discussed it several times (here and here for example), so I'm sure there is a reason for the figures. Discussed here and here, so I'm sure there is a reason for their inclusion. But really, I need to know in Ezra2 the number of camels and donkeys?

But this is the broad analogy of the Word to unbelievers or of the Word to nonwalking believers: there is a greater reason, but you cannot grasp one whit of it. But that doesn't detract from the reason; just from you.


was now breaking

Images are meant to be broken, and I suppose it is quite similar to the breaking of sacred totems and other idols, minus the adoration and the evil. But the shattering is what I am talking about. It makes it very clear that even where you think you might not have preconceived notions, they're conceived. And it does make you mistrust other related images about the (now shattered) object. That unease is mistrust, methinks.

Do we do that with God? Should we do that with God?

Don't know. Not sure where this was headed.


in the night visions

Reading through Daniel is sometimes a shock experiment. Because the book is so well-known for the vegetable-eating, and the fire-dancing, and the lion-taming, and the wall-reading, that by the time you get to ch7, you forget how it ends. But excerpts from ch7 beyond could be mistaken for Rev or Ezek or Jer. You forget about the vision of the throne and the endtimes descriptions and the years between A and B.

But isn't that like us when thinking about all lives of faith? Boil them down into snappy good stories, and forget about the more tedious parts that are every bit the key aspects of faith? Your life to God isn't just the handful of times you acted in obedience and were rewarded. Your life is all of the others as well.


to have been a real

Daniel in the Den gets lots of press amongst our circles, and well it should. It contains everything you'd want in a good story: action, a duped king, evil minions, a test of faith, a miracle, a happy ending. My fear is that because it's in the OT, and because it's got all the hallmarks of a good story, and because it's so often told to youngsters early on like a fable, that it remains nothing more than a story.

It is a remarkable demonstration of the saving power of God in dramatic fashion. Would he shut a lion's mouth in this age? That's the thing, because you don't believe it. But it happens to missionaries all the time, this saving. And maybe that's what this faith needs.

Better PR.


stop weeping for me

it doesn't have to end with smiles it can end with tears the difference being these tears consist of liquid smiles that pierce sometimes the end comes in light and fire but sometimes in whispering warmth one is no better than the other really so long as it is the end


one at the head

I've written before about concerns around speculations of the thereafter and the uselessness of such exercises. I haven't linked that quite to the subject of crowns explicitly, but in general, I find them no different than grand houses.

But how does this mesh with the notion of literalness? If mountains can jump, if He can send arrows, why not actual crowns?

No reason why not. My concern is no reason why. Punt.


firm root; they believe

"Hope in the Midst of Storms of Life"
* Lam and Ps107 begin in distress
* Both end in thankfulness.
* In midst of storms, He is there
* Isa61:1-3: Planting of the Lord for display of wonder

That turnaround -- sound familiar?


you will see the glory of God

Ezek43 makes it very clear that I've been right in my suspicion: the glory of the Lord is not some immobile bright shining light as pictured by most, but rather the actual presence of Jesus. The glory is described in v2 and v4 as moving and acting. The glory is not an it but a He. The term seems to imply the separation and distinction inherent in the trinity. We think of glory as radiance -- and so does God Almighty. And His radiance is His Son incarnate. Posted by Picasa


always in my presence

I've always considered my walk with Jesus to be a literal walk -- as in, since I know the fight with the shadows and howlers is a literal, physical fight, the walk should also be real. But a theological question arose over dinner regarding any appearance on earth after the ascension. The promise to return is only for the last saving. So no cameos till then?

You still have the Spirit -- which raises the question why not the same love for Him as for Him. If the one cradling your soul is not the one you imagine it to be, but still really the same but not -- I don't know. Does something change?

It feels like it.


has laid a foundation

Been looking for this since I heard about it Tues night. Finally updated transcipt on CNN, but the whole isn't of worth. Here's the portion you need to read. In a discussion about Katrina, an opening for Rick Warren:

KING: Rick Warren, what would you add?

WARREN: Well, you know, I would agree with what Phil has said. The people that have bothered me the most -- I've been most worried about were the children because they're certainly going to be traumatized much easier. The adults are going to get through this and as a parent, I would tell the parents in this area, where I am now and the other areas of the Gulf states, you must reassure your children. We're here. God's here. You're here. And we're going to make it together.

I would not focus on what's lost, but focus on what's left. Not what's lost, but what's left. And if you're going to help people get over their insecurity, then you must teach them, whether children or adults, that they have to put their confidence, their trust into something that can never be taken from them.

Now, if you put your trust in your career, it can be taken from you. If you put your trust in material possessions, they can be taken from you. If you put your trust in your husband or your wife or even your children, they can be taken from you as we have seen this week.

The only thing that cannot be taken from you is a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ, as I know Him. He gives me strength and you know, America could be taken over by a foreign country, we could be put in concentration camps and they could strip us naked and take away everything, including my wedding ring, but they cannot rob me of my personal faith in God.

And so, I would teach my children that ultimately they have to put their trust in something that cannot be taken away from them.

An opportunity not wasted. The media are again covering all the wrong things. Want to focus on FEMA and Red Cross? Go ahead. The Lord will be focusing on the ones making the greater difference -- His bride doing everything not being shown in the papers. Keep your blinders on, media. Maybe you won't see that lake to your right. Although, I have a big feeling you won't be able to avoid seeing it in the end.


is now nearly over

you can never quite tell when these things wear off you can find yourself in the eye of a howling storm and figure the worst is past except that eye is the middle then other times when you see no end no eye the finishing appears in a pleasant surprise which you delay for days bracing for the return but then other times you know just know that the deepness of the shadows isn't there not all darkness and then you hope just hope that is no illusion


and I heard a loud

want more than anything to close them but even closed they're seeing seeing more than usual though considering it all not more than usual at all just the same opened they're probably seeing less though considering it all just the same


that you might be saved

"How to Be Right with God" {Rom3:21-25}
* Jury analogy -- verdict in air
- God will be the Judge -- how to not be found guilty?
* God reveals plan (v21)
- Law does not coerce behavior
- Law is a mirror -- displays the soil; not the cleansing
* God identifies plan (v22)
- Faith in Christ alone
* We need the plan (v23)
- Emphasis on God first, then man's need
- "Babies are sinful behaviors waiting to be developed"
* God implements plan (v24-25)

Clear enough, no?


comes in his own name

An excerpt from tomorrow's thing:

. . . keep a record of every time you did something or thought something or said something that you know is something the old you wouldn’t have done, or thought, or said. It will be a record of change. . . . the question directs your thoughts to ensuring that what you do is what He’d do, since your actions will reflect on His name. And if His name is every bit as important as His word says it is, that’s a heavy burden to think about.

We are told not to judge the world, but the world will most certainly judge you. When the world sees a Christian sin, they don’t condemn the Christian, no, they condemn Christianity. When our reputation doesn’t fit our name, God’s reputation is affected. . . . None of these names matter. The only one that has eternal consequences is the name “child of God.”

What will your name, your identity be to the world? What will your name, your reputation be to the world. Because when all is said and done the one name that He would love to give you is “good and faithful servant.”

Who will you be?


and selfish ambition exist

Wait a second. You mean their lives of leisure were affected by the hurricane, too? Oh the tragedy! I mean, prior to knowing that celebrity lives' were affected, I thought the Katrina devastation was small potatoes. But to hear that they, too, were affected? This now becomes a national tragedy.

If you feel that your voice is so important that it adds any layer of pain to an already grave situation, you're farther gone than you can imagine. Attach a "self-" to that importance, and you'll be on target.

the things we have need of

I was remiss yesterday in failing to make mention of Ezek18:4. This v encapsulates your need for salvation. The first half of that v reflects His love of all. He is more than simply laying claim before the howlers; He is stating the simple universal fact that all belong to Him.

The second half of that v explains why He doesn't get them all -- because a soul will die from sin. That's the setup for the prayer for deliverance, the setup for Rom3:23. Struggling through Jer and Ezek, but it's the struggle that uncovers the truths that hide therein.


would be born blind

This article is trying to paint light where there is none; trying to portray hope where there is little. If there is any center of all ill, it is in that league. If it produces the leaders of the world, it is bound to this world more tightly than can be seen by eyes unaccustomed to spotting shadows. That remnant that exists? Daniel in the furnace. Protected, yes. But reversing all ill? Unlikely without complete revival.