are the living beings that I saw by

You're telling me that you've seen, really seen 1Cor6:3 before? If you had, you'd be as astonished as I am. Paul casually throws it out in his little discourse on judging others, but matter-of-factly states it as if it were extremely common knowledge that we'll be judging angels. How does this v not get more attention? And what does it mean?

Why or how could we judge angels? Which angels? The ones who've been taking care of each of us all this time? The ones battling howlers for us? And what are we judging them on, the shininess of their wings? Their actions on earth on our behalf? And how variable are their actions and characteristics that we could possibly judge between them, though we know liar himself was once one of these? And what happens to those we judge and deem to be less than shining perfection? Do they really lose their wings?

How are you not as fascinated by this as I am?


sends forth His word and melts them

The world and its workings can be summarized by the last section of Acts19. You, world, are a lot of Demetriuses. Your prosperity depends on maintaining your businesses as they were prior to the turning. The prosperity is key here. You want to know why the media attempts to dilute the faith? There is no controversy in peace and controversy sells. You know why evolution is vociferously defended? University posts across the country with budgets to protect. You know why Hollywood criticizes believers? Because their desire for sin is their reason for being.

In all of these cases, remember. Those silver trinkets that you call your reasons for being? Silver melts before the flames, people. Will melt before the flames.


and the power of darkness are yours

Mel Gibson could make a heckuva scary flick on Acts19:11-20. And the scarier thought is that this is not an outlandish vision of a demented soul, but rather a portrait of the truth. What is striking about the event is the magic at work here. Take me to task as you will, Prots, on my use of the word "magic". I use the term to describe all supernatural powers, light or dark. The condemnation to me is not on all powers, just the dark.

In any case, back to the striking. It is striking that both sides have use to what is available. And it is striking that unless you know what the heck you are doing, best to stay completely away. The howlers will overrun you if you are fooling in warfare you have no business fooling in.


to be gratefully shared in

"A Song for Thanksgiving: Psalm 100 -- A Call to Radical Gratitude"
* Ps93-100 Enthronement psalms
* Psalmist wants exuberant worship, worship at full throttle
* "Noisy sheep" - Church in MI cited for exceeding local decibel limits, for ex
* Problem of inhibition. Can do it for sporting events but not for Lord? (Sound familiar, self?)
* Not just noise, but joyful noise
* Problem of self-centered focus. Attend service to receive rather than to give
* Gratitude based on six knowledges:
- Who is God, that the LORD is
- Where we come from
- How privileged is the relationship
- How good He is to us -- How good He is
- How much He loves us
- How faithful He will ever be
* Focus of all six knowledges is not us, but Him
* In John10, Jesus fulfills the OT shepherd call


is turned over within me

In 1964, a brash Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston in a match whose result even he admitted surprised him. He was so delighted at the outcome that he bounded about afterwards declaring "I shook up the world!"

Separate boast and taunt from clear reality, and note the remark of the Jews in Thessalonica. They disrupt Paul's teachings and bumrush a believer's house to bully men who they refer to as "these men who have upset the world". This would be the same as if it were not a bounding Ali but a wounded Liston declaring his taunt.

It is disconcerting, then, that what once was a world-upsetting vision and faith has now become so mainstream as to be tailoring the world-upsetting message to not upset anything, but rather to assimilate. This is the devil's argument against the Willow Creekers of the world. Tactics where the faith becomes like the world upsets nothing except perhaps the Lord.


and scorn your name

Gal6:7 is a clear warning for all, believers and the uns alike. On the sheep hand, for all who think that their secret sins are expunged somehow by their accepted grace, do not be deceived. The mocking you do is in front of His face, waving that get out of hell free card. Your consequence will be doled out, you shall see.

On the goat hand, for all who think their open hostility to the faith is somehow expunged by their belief that the faith is not real, do not be deceived. The mocking you do is in front of his face, with your hatred not below the surface at all. Directions for the lake come with that package you receive at the throne.

An interesting thought that whenever we go against Him, it is mockery and not just simply disobedience. The message here is that taking Him for granted or going against Him implies He is not real, or He cannot respond -- mistaking His silence for nonexistence or impotence. Rather it is extreme patience knowing His time is soon forthcoming.


which is mixed in full

This has been getting some press, but I'm going to knock it from a different angle. See, the believer in me says that the parents of those boycotting are doing the right thing -- taking a stand against the godless corporations who feel that businesses have an obligation to take social positions.

But I'm going to knock it from another, also from the believer in me. Whether or not American Girl dolls support godless causes or not, these things are A HUNDRED DOLLARS a pop. And accessories cost more. You have parents making collections of these thing for kids. You're worried about the message you send kids by buying products from corporations whose views your child isn't aware of in the first place? Maybe your other message is that spending A HUNDRED DOLLARS for a toy is sensible. Maybe your other message is that we didn't tithe faithfully in December because we'd rather spend the money on extravagence than on the house of the Lord.

Maybe your other message is that mommy and daddy have no common sense.


will be made well

Been awhile since I pointed the spotlight on an important minor. But that while is now over. Consider: Acts16:22+

Go on, consider. I'm waiting.

The jailer. I imagine this as a large man in the mound of flesh sense. All his life, given no image other than that of a mound of flesh. And he takes his duties seriously, hoping seriously that emergencies like escaped prisoners fleeing willy nilly never actually become nilly.

Imagine a riotous crowd flooding towards his humble jail. Imagine them knocking knocking KNOCKING. Imagine the sudden onrush as the door succumbs to their madness, and the voices and the loudness and the probable torches and the demanding of safety for the imprisoned.

Imagine after this little episode of terror and sweat that he settles himself down, settles his nerves, settles his eyes into darkness. Before the shaking and the sudden rumblings and the noise and the what's that noise it could only be the doors and the chains and here comes the willy and the nilly and the worst imaginings imagine his worst imaginings coming to bear on the same night as the terror and the sweat and then end of all ends they will come and they will imprison ME and I will be among those I have until now mistreated and I cannot bear the shame of becoming what they always said I was all along this mound of flesh and where's my sword and I can't believe this is happening and then

and then

And then what happens to all who at the end of their lines, at the end of their ropes, at the end with nothing left to cling to see something completely aberrant, completely not what they expected -- that suddeness, that being different, that not of this world.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

You've already answered that, friend. That's what the whole being before your knees in terror and sweat at the end of all ends and looking for the One who makes your worst imaginings to be nothing as you imagined is all about. Being at the end and looking for the only beginning.


but the end does not follow

You could read this and try to guess the stance that I will take. Easy ones include attacks against the legal system and their neverending quest to make sin completely legal everywhere, all the time, in the hopes of following the will of their father the liar and subtly convincing people that legal is the same thing as morally right.

Another easy one would be to attack the media in their ever-constant battle to negatively portray religion, and their attempt to create sympathy with vicitms everywhere, all the time, in the hopes of following the will of their father the liar and subtly convincing people that sympathy is the same thing as the moral high ground.

I will take to task, rather, the Jezebel at the heart of the story. Rather than face up to the fact that her sin led to her consequence, she chose the way of the world to deal with her problems. She chose to defend her sin. She chose to stay in a world whose beliefs she doesn't agree with. Why not go all the way down her chosen path and find where the way of the world takes you?

Perhaps it is because she already knows where that road leads. But trying to escape one road by bringing that road with you towards what you know is right makes little sense. If you don't think there are consequences to your sinful actions, Jez, you should try a little more studying.


it became perfectly calm

I'm thinking of Isa26:3 today, but not any version other than the KJV. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee." In moments of panic and terror and need the staying on the Thee is easy, is in fact, too easy. But the panic and the terror and the need overwhelm the ability for the focus needed to feel to feel that perfect peace. That v is not for those times alone, but for those times of no feeling whatsoever. That lack of feeling, that apathy is easily confused for perfection or peace, but is in fact neither.

When you allow yourself the moment to stay on the Thee, and to feel not a calm before the storm, but like His walking on the raging a calm within the storm, that right there, why would you ever leave that? Because that staying on the Thee is so difficult. It is in fact the whole walk of faith that will take you that lifetime to master.


you would love me

a year later almost to the day and like the last a feeling of such want for the closeness as to feel good pain the knowledge that all I have and all I can do and all I can be is all not of me with the response that all I have and all I can do and all I can be is all not for me
in remembrance of me still being remembered forever remembered remember


the LORD highly exalted

Sometimes when listening and trying to draw closer, I imagine I am the one doing the string-plucking or the keys-pressing. I imagine I am the one in harmony, the one hitting that one just so. It is not an envy object, no, but rather the desire to be the one that makes that pleasing sound to the Lord. What it is is the still wrong notion that He wants that perfection in pitch. Just need to continue to remind that that perfection in heart, that right there is beautiful, is to Him just so.

he answered, but later he changed

Want to venture a discussion with you on Simon. Not the one you may be thinking, the old Peter. Rather, the ancient version of Copperfield. He is the perfect analogy for the believer. Imagine that all he wants in his former life is to be what those around him were calling him: "the Great Power of God." That's what we want, what me and you used to want. To be recognized in our own works and actions as being important to the force behind the universe.

But along comes the truth, and we recognize that all that we have done to that point are shams, cheap tricks, mere facades of something more real. And we who were amazing others before have become amazed by others after. The real great power given its due.

What follows later in Acts8 can also be interpreted as our walk shortly thereafter. Because the old Simon still has grips on the new Simon -- the new Simon doesn't quite get it all yet, still new. His response to the onceSimon admits that he doesn't know nothing, needs the nowPeter to lead him to the truth of the great power. The walk of faith is having the nowPeter in us completely erase the onceSimon in us.


seemed to them like nonsense

Three words: What. On. Earth. This is how you market the Word? With gloss and sheen? With headlines like "Sexcess"? With fashion tips? You think that the ends justify the means? That you can justify this exploitation of His precious Word by claiming that your goal is to get young men into the reading?

God doesn't want your help. His Spirit will lead men into the Word. God doesn't need your help. He doesn't need a PR firm to do what the moving of His Spirit can do. And God certainly doesn't think that appealing to base interests and using the bait and switch technique is somehow advancing His kingdom.

All wrong, brother. Madison Avenue has blinded you to the truth: that He doesn't need the world's trappings; He is, in fact, the exact opposite.


a stumbling block to me

Tell me again how this makes sense? You'll say to me that preventing sin is the responsibility of those in authority. You'll say that removing temptation is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. I don't disagree with either of your points.

But first, slippery slope there, happy feet. It is not possible for you to remove all hindrances. Give me a stick of wood for a gift, and I could turn it into a weapon to do harm. Give me a doll, and I could use it in sexually inappropriate ways. Sin is in the heart, not in the object. That gift could also be, as it is for me, a means of drawing ever closer to the presence.

Second, the role of those in authority is better served not as gatekeepers, and preventers, but rather teachers of self-control and discipline. Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. Ergo, teaching them the controlled will is the better gift.


found such great faith

This deserves to be not only the lead story on ESPN, but also the lead story on Beliefnet, Christianity Today, and in a perfect world, CNN. It is the story of obedience, not charity, though, as this story makes it out to be. It is the story of love, since obedience is love. But the obedience here is not from son to father (although that is partly it); it is rather the story of obedience to God.

Michael Redd honors his mother and father, a commandment. He keeps his promise and does not bear false witness, a commandment. He tithes faithfully, a command if not a commandment. He keeps Bibles in his cars, and if he does indeed read them regularly, he is obedient to keeping His word at the center of his thoughts. This story is not a simple love story, but rather a grand faith story. And one in a perfect world is lifted up for all to see.


I have been speaking figuratively

I'm the one turning regular stories into salvation messages. So not calling up kettle here, but this blog tying popular culture to Christianity might take the cake, as far as cake-taking goes. Can't read all the cake-taking, so just focus on the one below:

'Lost': The Island Giveth, the Island Taketh Away
Posted by Sherry Huang
Nov. 11, 2005 | 1:35 p.m.

Death claimed Shannon Rutherford this week on "Lost," the second death of this series (after her stepbrother Boone) but the first of this season. While the last episode (before a bunch of recent repeats) left off with a feeling of hope, this episode left off with a feeling of futility and hopelessness. After seeing strange visions of Walt, Shannon spends the episode begging for someone to believe in her, not just in her story but in her deeper potential of transforming into someone new.

Struggling with self-esteem and abandonment issues, Shannon says, in a pivotal scene: "Everyone thinks I'm worthless." Once she reveals this, she is free for the first time in her life—her words and her old self washed away by the rain pouring down on her, a metaphor for immersion baptism, as the sins of her Jezebel-tinged past (namely, her incestuous one-night stand with Boone and her years of keeping house with older men in order to swindle money from her stepmother) are washed away.

Yet, instead of a burst of light breaking through the rain to fully complete the transformation from old to new, Shannon is promptly killed, just as she releases her yoke onto the shoulders of her savior, Sayid, who declares his undying love. Although the rain seems to wash away Shannon’s sins, it does not fully cleanse her because her repentance is incomplete; she does not fully express regret about her past sins or seek hope in the island, which should be her true savior.

Even though Sayid seems to be her savior, he is really a false savior; instead, she transfers her hope and desperate codependency from one idol (Boone) onto another (Sayid). Because Shannon’s repentance is not entirely true, instead of being saved, she is punished, and it is Ana-Lucia who literally casts the (accidental) first stone—a bullet. As Shannon dies in Sayid’s arms, the horror of the island’s judgment reverberates: "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23a, NIV ).

Despite having finally found self-worth, the island ultimately judges her life worthless—and beyond redemption.
I don't know how to respond, really. The rain as baptism. The Jezebel reference. The death as judgment. The island as judge, apparently. All too much, a bit forced. But that's what good evangelism is -- forcing the issue of salvation into all contexts in order to illuminate the need for God no matter the discussion. That pop culture or otherwise, all conversation leads or should lead to the cross.


said nothing in secret

"Compasses that Point to Mankind"
* Introductions are important. Most important one made throughout history.
* JtheB uses "Lamb of God"
- Animal sacrifices assert need for atonement
- Foreshadows slaughter of true lamb
* Moses lifting up serpent in wilderness
* Moses, manna, and the true Bread of Life
* Ancient Chinese message
- Robert Morrison and discovery of Chinese language foreshadowing
- Righteous means "lamb over me"
- Ship not ship w/o 8 people (Ark)
- Covet = woman and two trees
* Indian Vedas
- Spotless lamb slain for mankind
- Upside-down tree (rooted in Heaven) with gash in side to heal
* Sawi Peace Child
* Eternity in the heart


will take vengeance, vengeance

Oh, Pat. You have it all wrong. Perhaps He will destroy the town for its unfaith. Perhaps He would have rewarded their righteousness had they gone the other way. But vindictiveness in response to sin is pre-grace. We, in fact, can and should keep turning to Him regardless of the number of eyepokings we deliver. It is an empty faith where God tallies a sincount with a limit, over which His back is turned. That's no Savior-on-the-cross that I know.


are then found to be false

Unlike Mel, Anne, and the Baldwin, you are not what you claim to be. You cannot in one mouth say you are a believer going back to your Baptist roots, and state that you wish your child learns "about Jesus and Jesus' life, why Jesus came here, why he was on earth. He came here and died for our sins. He came here to teach us how to live." And then in your other mouth say "At the bottom, there's really not that much difference between Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists."

Which part of a loving God dying for you do you not understand? Which part of grace-won salvation do you not understand? Which part of John14:6 do you not understand? One of the four -- the one you claim to cling to -- has a cross of life. None of the other three do. The other three are roads to the lake. If you do not see the difference between them, good luck getting your son to understand. For both your sakes, I'll pray you actually one day become what you claim to be.


turned back and no longer followed

Luke22:32 reminded me of an earlier musing on turns. But back up a bit to v31. It expresses first that just like in Job, liar had to ask, beg for permission to do even the littlest thing. Secondly, he was permitted to do so. Thirdly, that the Lord prayed for strength for Cephas.

But fourthly, the encouragement that he would lead again once he turned from his turning. That the return would be a turn of triumph. That the return isn't a physics concept of returning the energy and velocity from the release, but rather a strengthening upon the carom. A great reminder for all that the turning from the fall need not always be done in shame.

as I have loved you, so

John13:1 doesn't get anywhere near the press it deserves, but it is one of the single most beautiful verses in all the world. It is written with this melancholy of passing, a knowingness that change was coming, had come. There is an expression of love that Jesus loved those He loved in the world so much, leaving for Heaven was almost done out of sorrow. There is an expression of love that knowing the grief and separation He was to endure, leaving for Heaven was almost done with some trepidation. But the singlest expression of love comes at the end, the statement of loving them loving us loving me to the end. To the end. Leaving for Heaven was done with complete and utter adoration for all the earth, singleminded in His love to the cross. There simply is no more beautiful expression of love in all the Word.


anyone who has faith in me

Been pondering the theological belief of Jesus being fully man and fully God at the same time. Impossible to ascertain the truth obviously. But about to enter the realm of potential blasphemy (or strictly ignorance, more gently). But what if the miracles performed by Jesus were not acts of God in the sense that Jesus was using power no one else had; what if instead His acts were, in fact, acts of man -- but of one with perfect faith?

Jesus Himself expressed dismay and frustration that the disciples would come to Him unable to cast out the toughest demons. He tells them that even an ounce of faith would move mountains. If that were true, wouldn't perfect faith be able to walk on water, turn water into wine, and resurrect the dead?

Not denying His full divinity. But the truth is that the story is even better when told that a fully divine Christ never once used powers beyond man during His life; that He in fact faced all human trials with the same human endurance and same human faith -- except all done to perfection? Isn't that the story? That were I fulfilling my potential, I'd have the Himalayas right where I'd want them?


will be loved by My Father

Switching from this to this. Might have made the switch sooner if I actually payed attention to the lyrics beyond a passing listening. The lyrics make me recall an earlier post where I assert that you that me that we know absolutely squat about love.

The world's notions of romantic love dooms mankind to think of His love in very human conceptions. Those who've never known the world's notions of love may never have an inkling of how much better His love is than what the eye can lust for. But never having known love, they might miss the first stirrings. Those that have known the world's notions compare the physicality of world love with the mental and spiritual aspects of real love and choose immediacy.

All of them, all of them so mistaken. They sell themselves short. The world's notions are hypothetical impossibilities. His love was real to depths greater than we will ever see. What the answer to the call really is, is the admission that you know that there is a greater definition of love out there that you want to experience; that you cannot define love without a blood-stained cross.


who walks in his integrity

Struck me, perhaps in preparation for another sharing in the spring, so note the date. He says in Luke that "he who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much." Your initial thought might be that He means that the littlest sins and details are every bit on the same level as the bigger ones. Another thought might be that there is a character trait by which the righteous bear integrity in both the small and the large.

What if I were to pose the idea that without showing success in the little faith tests, He doesn't give you the strength to pass the big ones?

Context for the sharing: the workplace.
- Paid for 40 hrs/week -- do you leave ten mins early on Fri?
- Given two 10 min breaks -- do you stretch that to fifteen each?
- Email -- do you also make that for personal use?
- Vacation and personal days -- do you make them interchangeable?

Not speaking because of perfection in the little things, Heavens no. Repeat the motto: not for you.


will exalt and magnify

Catching up after a busy weekend...

"How to Tell God You Love Him" {Matt23:37-38}
* Expressing love to God is worship
* By singing to Him {Ps95:1, Rev5:11-13}
* By talking to Him (Ps116:1-2} -- PRAYER
* By listening to Him {Matt14:23} -- PRAYER
* By publicly identifying with Him {Matt10:32}
- First way via baptism
- Second way via communion
* By being committed to Him {Rom12:1}
- Membership
- Maturity
- Ministry
- Mission
- Magnification
* By giving to Him {2Cor8:7-8}


the former troubles are forgotten

You might be overseas in the midst of this. Or you might be home reading the coverage. In either case, the thought in your head might be that the chaos and fury currently raging through the Paris suburbs is quite newsworthy.

Not as much as the chaos of your soul, friend.

That fire, that anger, that widespread destruction? All of it in your future, should you not be able to avoid that lake of fire and beyond. The AP reports that "the current unrest is unusual in terms of its duration and the way it has spread." Do you feel that unrest in your heart? That longsuffering unrest, the way it curls its icy grip throughout your being? Shall stay that way for all eternity without the Lord.

That raging in France? Likely to end after a few more days of government intervention as the proponents of anger wear out. That raging in your soul? Not likely to end without the intervention of the Lord God Almighty. You have a decision to make. The end result is far more newsworthy to all the angels in Heaven than any international unrest to CNN, friend.

Stop the violence. Now.


following him and entered

I never noticed the phrasing of John12:19 before, but it's interesting. "Look, the world has gone after Him." The Pharisees may have hyperbolized a large crowd, but it's still the biggest understatement of history. I wonder if men in the midst of history ever wonder about those turning points they find themselves in. Did MLK know that he was on the verge of a revolution? Did Copernicus and Galileo?

Imagine having the world go after you.

You can picture those that actively resist the tide as curmudgeons, but it's sad really. You cannot fight against the grain of time. Unbelief is ultimately pitiful.


for he is a liar and

You want to talk about fairness of reporting? You want to talk about an unbiased media only seeking truth? You want to talk about objective truth without predetermined slant? Then explain this.

The main headline is a declaration of the finding of the first light. The smallprint goes to the professor who expresses doubt? You spend the first 60% discussing the exciting results before finally mentioning the cautions that surround the guesswork. The last sentence is a throwaway line about an adjustment that cuts a prior guess by half. That doesn't get more press?

You want the beginning? Go see Gen1:1. You want complete falsehood? Go search your one-sided lies masquerading as truth.


this precious value, then

Listened to a song today that I hadn't heard in awhile. The song in question speaks of His ability to look beyond the mess and find the art that He crafted with His loving hands. Even at your lowest, you will not lose that shine, that which makes you beautiful to Him. He can reach that far down and clean off that muck and pull out that gold. Even at my highest, I know that I am not that lustrous, and it is all He can do to still reach down and clear off that muck and show me that that gold so close beneath that surface, still has so far to go. And that He, that His hand, is still offered to all.