the word of Jesus which He spoke

"Can the Bible Be Trusted?"
* Bible is unique
- 66 individual books, over 1500 years, 3 different languages, 40 authors
- One harmonious theme
* Bible is historically reliable
- Missing Hittites or languages? No longer
- Luke in Acts and Luke: myriad countries and cities all accurate
- Jericho fallen walls
- Archaeology helping not hindering
* Bible predicted future
- 2000 prophecies in OT
- 333 about Lord
- Impossible odds to fulfill, but done so
- Zech11:12 to Matt26:14-15; or Ps22:16-18 to Luke23:33-34
* Bible changes lives {Heb4:12}
* Application
- Embrace original
- Thank Lord for preservation of His Word
- Trust in reliability and facts
- Depend on Word to change your life


but also for the interests of others

Feeling that tugging more often these days, that tugging sensation on the heartsleeve. After accepting the call and answering the bid for flight, trusting Him for the wings, it's wonderful to feel those limbs flapping from my back almost unawares.

There is no greater way to love than the lifting up. There is no greater way to know Him better than the lifting up. There is no greater way to feed off the energy of the body either, than to continually lift the flock up to the Lord.

Feeling that tugging more often these days, that tugging sensation on the heartsleeve. Thought at first it was just a means of attracting focused attention. Understand now that it is, in fact, a pulling to the knees.


speaking to one another in psalms

No coincidence, I'm sure, that folks keep recommending I get this at some imminent juncture. As I move toward complete unceasing, and as I persuade others toward the reality of what it is really like, it's probably helpful to read the stuff that's already been done on prayer. Probably true.

Billy goes through them every day. Fine recommendation. And why not? Variety of styles, length, language. More importantly, example of unceasing conversation -- all He wants. Learning that I have much to learn still. Probably true.


were glad and agreed to give him money

This article interested me today. My own history is clear -- faithful is as faithful does, and the Lord rewards the faithful. That is more than a random correlation; it is, in proof, clear fact. I'm certain the article makes no mention of the difference twixt gross and net tithing, nor does it really care. That isn't the point of raising it here either.

As I become more interested in fully defining real faith, it's clear that the answer becomes simpler and simpler. All things relate to one question: Do I believe who He says He is? All sins and all faith steps boil down to that one question.

The thoughts around tithing aren't different. Do I believe He is sufficient for me? If so, give. If not, still give. The fact that the average is 3% and you're at 7% is not a cause for celebration or pride, but shame -- still not 10%. Justify all you want. If you try to answer the yes/no question with an essay, you're only deluding the self. Sufficient, yes or no? Then obey.


the field, which is alive today

Mark11 always catches my eye for its inclusion of a fig tree incident that is more than meets the eye. One would think that the triumphal entry is the marquee lesson, with the righteous anger a second fiddle. But I'm always distracted by the random fig tree lesson that interrupts the two and ends the chapter.

Interesting point is the way Lord treats Creation. As I've stated before, His world is alive and sinful like us who are His creation. And the Mark11 account of the Lord's disappointment with the fig tree for not providing sustenance seems to further this thought. He curses the tree as if it had disobeyed the Lord and decided not to provide Him its fruit. And so He condemns it as though the plant were lukewarm.

People talk about how they can't wait to see other believers in Heaven, including the famous faithful from the OT. I'm wondering if, not only will we see them, but will we see His creation in the form in which He sees it -- alive and well.


they wished to question Him

The Mark10 account of the Zebedee sons deserves some words. 2000 years of hindsight makes their request of the Lord seem ridiculous, but I'm not so sure that's the appropriate reaction. Note that they then knew nothing more about His purpose than any of the others. But what they believed was in line with the rest: that this One was different, was majestic, was someone special, was destined for kingship.

If my good friend ran for president and seemed headed for a victory, you think I wouldn't ask for a staff position? You think I wouldn't ask for a ride on Air Force One? You think this is somehow different than asking the Lord for a nearby seats?

Lord never criticizes the ask. He only tells them what He can give them. Lord never tells you not to seek; in fact, just the opposite. Only liar tells you that your asks won't be answered, can't be answered, or shouldn't be answered. The Zebedee ask may, in fact, be the positive model, not the negative.


so this joy of mine

Read this, and not because it's written by someone I know. Read it because of the importance of the point it raises. Walk of faith is a walk of joy and light and hope. Lord never compares Himself to darkness. Lord never calls Himself pain or sorrow. Lord never calls Himself shadow. In fact, the opposite for all.

Joyless believers confuse me. Not the ones troubled by howlers and shadows. Those have had their smiles ripped from them by liar and by trial. Speaking only of those not wrestling with darkness. Those joyless ones confuse me. Either the light is not getting through to them, or they're not fully grasping the fullness of the riches of their inheritance. Either way, they don't help the cause.

Over 200 references to joy in Word. Can't even flip through psalms without tripping over joy. And a reason for that. If we're not smiling after all we've gotten, brother, have we got real problems.


where the beast and the false prophet are also

"What Can History Really Teach Us?"
* Intro: Davinci Code is reflection of culture that hates Christianity
* Why this series?
- Claims of Brown, liar's child
- Influence of book/movie
- Opportunity before us
- Allegations made against Christianity
* Some claims:
- Magdalene wife of Lord, and mother of His child
- Church suppresses truth
- Jesus not God (upgraded later)
- Bible not to be trusted
* Some answers:
- Of course disciples knew Him to be God {Matt16:13-16}
- Jesus claimed to be God {John10:24,30-33}
- NT writers knew Him to be God {Col2:9}
* Application:
- Don't attack book/movie -- counterproductive to moving conversation toward truth
- Pick up McDowell's truth-seeker on Code
- Join/lead discussion
- Seek God & truth
- Receive Him today


they saw he was a beautiful child

Excerpts from tomorrow's thing:

God’s definition of beauty is not what this world’s definition of beauty is. It is completely different. People Magazine every year publishes an issue showing the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. I guarantee you, I guarantee you that if God put out an issue of the 50 Most Beautiful People, He would have a completely different set of 50. Because this world looks at physical beauty; God does not.

Do you know how many old people make the People’s list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world? I don’t think any. When you’re eighty or ninety and wrinkly, whether you were a former Beauty Pageant winner or not, you’re old and wrinkly. Beauty fades – at least the beauty by this world’s definition. The Bible says in Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting". One of the great problems with the world’s definition of beauty is that it eventually goes away. Beautiful people by the world’s standards, will grow old; beautiful cars will rust; beautiful flowers will die.

But the great thing about God’s definition of beauty is that it doesn’t change. God’s definition of beauty is obedience, it’s faithfulness. And you can be obedient and faithful whether you are young or old, rich or poor, short or tall, good-looking or plain. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:3-4, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight". Every one of you has in you the beauty of faith.


the things which I have seen

The NT is filled with examples of the Lord Jesus bringing light to the blind. But the encounter in Mark8:22-26 is perhaps the most interesting of all these encounters for the specific details unique to the encounter. Right off the bat, you get the detail of the Lord leading him away from the village, bringing intimacy to a situation that others may have felt hadn't required it. But as in all of His healings, faith is important to the act, and perhaps He knew the blind man wouldn't have had the requisite faith in the presence of others.

This faith question is made all the more clear when we read the rest of the story. Lord spits as He has done on previous occasions, and lays on the hands, and something remarkable occurs. The blind man is not completely healed yet. Is this an example of a wound worse than other blind people's wounds? Can't be. In John 9, Lord gives sight to a man who had never seen before.

The only explanation was that either the man's faith was at fault, or that the Lord was testing Him in some way (or both). Perhaps this man was a skeptic all along. Perhaps he had tried other healers to no avail. Perhaps he expected Jesus to be just like the others. But the man lets himself hold out hope. And when the people look like trees, instead of running away in a huff, instead of blaming Jesus for His inability to heal, instead of not believing, he stays there, and the Lord lays hands again, and the man as it says in v25 looks intently for the first time and realizes he can see realizes he has been healed realizes that this man that Jesus is the one -- sight for sore eyes indeed.


it is hopeless no

You're going to read this and wonder where I'm headed with it. That makes two of us. But that's what makes opportunities to change the conversation to Jesus so interesting. They can (and should) come out of nowhere.

You might not even be a Knicks fan or a basketball fan or a sports fan. But what is happening in this situation might be happening with you. This Knicks situation with Thomas and Brown is hopeless. You can sense the dysfunction. You can sense the desperation. You can sense the frustration, the utter lack of the ability to change the circumstances to something better.

Can you sense that in your own life?

The article says "Thomas made a number of moves before and during this season, and almost none of them worked". None of them worked. Not a single one of their efforts was able to save them.

Can you sense that futility in your own life?

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. The Bible says that a man's efforts to save himself are futile. Apart from Him you can do nothing.

Life doesn't have to be an endless series of disappointing years. It doesn't have to be filled with the frustration and the desperation and the futility. Yes, you, you can't do anything. The thing is, you don't need to. Done for you. Done for you on the Cross of Calvary where the Lord Jesus died for your sins.

That empty tomb on Easter? The dawning of a new day for you. A victory, not a loss. A victory over death for all eternity. You can accept the fate of your local sports team, you have to. But you don't have to accept anything about your life. Take that step of faith right now and change your future. Now.


even if anyone is caught

Before the throne and heard a brother end with:

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." {Jude1:24-25}

(1) I forget that some of the greatest prayers have already been offered up. There are the ones chosen for eternal remembrance in His Word. Need to do a better job of paying attention to the closing. Finishing well, and all that jazz.

(2) Can't believe I hadn't caught that v when penning this. Appropos everything.


He was speaking to us on the road

Yesterday's sermon but posted and counting for today because Easter stands alone, and because I can do that.

"Overcoming Spiritual Avoidance"
* Conflict avoidance common in America: ignore bad kids' behavior, marital problems, health symptoms, et al. Worst problem is Lord avoidance.
* Avoiding Him since very beginning: Gen3:8 (garden hiding)
* Many ways to avoid Him
- Believers walking off the path
- Unbelievers ignoring all mention of Him
* Multiple pathways to knowing Him
* Pathway#1: Nature
- Lord made all around me
- I must be accountable to Him
* Pathway#2: Morality
- Realization that evil exists
- Realization that part of you evil
* Pathway#3: Pain
- All will encounter pain one day
- Why exist? How to bear? Is there more?
* Pathway#4: Mortality
- Death rate is 100%
- Most ignore thought; all will face {Heb9:27}
* Jesus is answer to all pathways
- Lord of all Creation
- Lord overcame evil
- Lord will give you rest
- Lord is life
* All pathways lead to one question: Lord or not?


I AM the resurrection and the life

"He is not here, for He is risen, just as He said." {Matt28:6}

He is risen, indeed.


heart is overturned within me

No coincidence that this morning's psalm has a word the morn after the great day of love, and the eve of the day He saved the world. Ps30:5 says "...weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." The valley-mountain that is the time twixt sorrow and angelic joy encapsulates the whole of the walk of faith -- the balance twixt the hurt of proxy death leading directly to the grateful love of the Father.


gave His only begotten Son

A great hymn about love says
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
And if you could spend the rest of eternity, from this day to evermore, pondering the depth of a love for you that culminated in hands pierced through and through; if you could spend all days in remembrance of the great day of love that ended with a broken body on a hill, you'd still never come to capturing the fullness of that heart for you.

Eternity will not suffice. But that doesn't mean you don't consecrate the one day and let yourself be overcome with the realness of a spotless lamb torn asunder. Today, today He loved us most.

"They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, 'JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.'" {John19:17-19}


He is unique and who can turn Him

Do yourself a big favor and go here and listen to that first single ("Matchless") play. Don't do anything else. Listen and be still. Wonderful chorus speaking of the unique wonderfulness that is the Lord Jesus.

Site doesn't allow you to listen and read at the same time, so the below is excerpted from the same site, in the lyrics section, regarding the inspiration for the song. Not much to say after that. Read and then listen again.
God has no equal. He is unparalleled. In His very name is meaning beyond our understanding and yet even more unfathomable is that He loves us more than we can experience from anybody else. And one day everybody’s going to admit that His name IS, in fact, Matchless.

I grew up in a city just outside of Pittsburgh called Aliquippa and attended Crestmont Alliance Church where my Dad was raised, my parents were married, and I was dedicated as a baby. These last two things were performed by the Reverend C. E. Mock, a man who simply emanated dignity from the way he talked, walked, and spoke. He was a tall guy with a deep voice and purposeful speech. He pastored at Crestmont for 12 years (a pretty long time by today’s standards), and everyone loved him. I remember he seemed to always close his prayers with “In the Matchless name of Jesus, Amen.” Of course, he would pause just before and after the word “matchless”. I never gave much thought to what that word might mean, just like I never cared to think about what in the world “Amen” really meant. It was just something we would say at the end of a prayer. Heck, I was only about 10 years old.

It wasn’t until I noticed my current pastor, Randy Pope, saying the same thing every once in a while to close a prayer that I thought, “hmmm….matchless…Match-less…has no match …unequalled…unmatched…unrivaled…that’s a pretty bold adjective!” So with that in reference to His name, I set out on a search for all the names of Jesus to put to song. I need to be reminded what His names are and what He does. And instead of just telling myself, I might as well keep that line of communication open with the “Famous One” with a matchless name Who is the subject of this song.

Rev C. E. Mock has since met the Matchless Jesus face-to-face and has already begun to “sing before his throne forevermore”. He lived a great life but, man, I’m sure there is no comparison to the life he is living now. Unequalled. Unrivaled. Matchless.


covered up that will not be

Read this interesting post about the more than famous United Flight 93. Makes a great point about the MSM's soon-to-be role in covering up the truth. For a conspiracy-minded people, Americans are quite oblivious to the insidious workings of the media. As the article notes, this will be quite clear when the movie is released.

I actually think the article makes far more of the issue in the movie than can be helped. One, it is a two-hour flick. Dialogue is always of secondary importance to action (unless you're George Lucas or a Wachowski). Two, and even more telling, MSM has done such a wonderful job of portraying the scene from the beginning as one separated from faith that telling the truth now would be quite jarring to most. That's the biggest problem right there. We've already let MSM win.


became even more quiet

Romans is one of the greatest of Paul's epistles. Sad, then, that nothing has caught my eye since Rom1. Reflective of the weirdness of this year's season for me. Almost so focused on the great day of love, that I can barely see past anything else for it. Good and bad in that the great day of love should be the central focus of the season, but what have you lost by missing out in His present love borne by obedience?

In any case, will bookend it, I suppose. Rom16:20 did do some catching this morn. It says "And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet."

Questions: Does that mean He will do all the crushing and place the defeated liar in a space beneath even our sinfulness? Does it mean that He will use our feet in the crushing of liar? What is our participation in the crushing? God of peace and feet -- some reference to Eph6 and the feet shod with the Gospel?

Don't know where I'm going with any of this. Just pondering.


this world is foolishness before God

Probably sick of the constant linking to ridiculous acts by MSM. But it's important for all to realize how insidious their acts actually are. Twice a year (birth and resurrection), MSM seeks to "enlighten" the world with the "truth" of different aspects of Christianity. It is, in fact, nothing more than a flood of lies designed to drive the questioners away from pews. It is not coincidence that the flood of views are meant to discredit His glory.

Not any different now than after His death. Check out Matt28:11-15. Chief priests then as now crafted lies meant to drown out the truth. Hold on, faithful. All illuminated before the throne. On JDay, no barrage of press releases will cover the truth of the Almighty.


whatever You ask of God

"The Problem of Unanswered Prayer" (cont'd)
* Not enough faith
- Matt21:21-22 (moving mts)
- Matt17:19-20 (exorcism failure)
- Jam1:6-7 (wind-tossed faith)
- How improve faith? Word {Rom10:17} and obedience {Jam2:22}
* In love w/ world, stingy
- You believe $ = security.
- Prayer not for just you, but others
- "I never apologize for asking you to give" -- what Lord wants {Isa58:7-10}
- Result of giving is increased prayer power
* Don't want what you're asking for enough
- Comfort major weakness for believers
- Jam5:16 (earnest prayer)
- Jon3:8 (urgent prayer)
- Jer29:12-13 (seek w/ all heart)
* Not enough emphasis on corporate prayer
- Lord wants interdependency among brethren
- Acts1:14
- Acts2:1,42
- Acts12:5
* Will/glory of God not your motive
- John14:13-14
- Object of all prayer should be His glory
- Jam4:2 (motives important)


and reach here your hand

Let us not speak of prior feelings based on issues you wouldn't understand. In any case, not admitting restoration in thought or feeling, nor even admitting any grand desire to keep this rolling about in thought. But one of those lines struck me all the same.

Would you take the nails from his hands?

Would you? Would you as a Roman, the one who nailed them into his palms as you as I did, would you remove them after realizing your error? Could your guilty conscience bear that ordeal? Would you, would you as His disciple remove His broken body, pull them from His hands and hold Him, wondering if there were more that could have been done by your cock-crowed self?

The great day of love soon approaching. And a question well worth pondering as your prepare your heart for that great love.


on his royal apparel

Thinking of majesty today. A week before the great day of love and thinking of majesty. Be in the same room as majesty, and your stomach finds new lower layers of pitting. Automatic. Happens with those of importance, you think it doesn't happen before kings? Ground not low enough to place self before majesty, and so then what do you do on sidewalks of gold? Heart hurts in gratefulness, and the jewelry doesn't come off fast enough. Liable that very first moment to lose it all, and what then for eternity? Even related to the majestic, I can't believe the glory wears off. Still there glancing after fallen shinery, still thinking of majesty.


and be on your guard

Perhaps ridiculous this revisionism, but meant for capturing thoughts as they occur; small print that the posting thereof may not be anywhere near the actual occurence. But as of the day, pondering this, the embracing of those that hate you for the purpose of witnessing.

Call it the Willow Creek Way, perhaps: inviting the world, embracing the world in attempts to turn evil around for good. Lord uses liar's mechanisms for salvation all the time. The whole crucifixion is liar's way of killing Savior, not knowing the killing was his very doom. Check out the irony behind Esther, for another. Great faith, I suppose, in believing you have what it takes to take on liar and the world and twist them toward the light. Great faith, or ignorance -- ignorance of the fact that liar and the world often set that trap themselves, a slippery slope of embracing becoming complete envelopment. Watch those steps, brother. Watch them very carefully.


the whole world, and loses

You're probably already hearing all about it in the news. McCain's courting believers. MSM will obviously try to tear him down. Will play out in ultimately disappointing ways methinks. Not for McCain, but for the bride.

Religion and politics mixed a long time ago. Don't get me wrong. Ecstatic that the bride helped in 2004. But they were choosing a fellow walker. McCain is no walker in the way W is. Choosing McCain to gain the House proves only that you seek victory rather than righteousness. That's nothing to be proud about, looking to win the world. Not yours to win, brother. Looking for the wrong world.


changers and overturned

Thing is, I shouldn't even have to point out things like this. You should be bookmarking EO as the brilliant voice of a follower. But if surfing isn't your bag of tea, or in my case, bag of Frappacino, check out that other link. No, the first one.

Love the five-legged dog analogy. Promise to steal that one in the service of some other message in the near future. Perhaps the next one.

Links are distracting me. Trying to make this point: the idea that one can redefine words is the purview of liar. That's what a lie is, isn't it? Redefining truth as something else? It defines infanticide as choice; it defines homosexual sin as love; it defines truth as relativism. Marriage is only the least of the lies. Still thinking of Eph6, so throwing out the warning here, too. Biggest lie of them all is that liar doesn't exist. That these redefinitions come from you. No. No, they don't.


sight, and began following

Spoken before about growing the feet to fit the shoes of a shepherd. Didn't even know the difference, really, twixt shepherd and a wielder of a sheepstick. But again, answer the call, and the wings appear.

The wonder is still that with all my flailing with the sheepstick, that anyone would think the flailing something of attraction. The thing to remember is that if called to fit the shoes, there's also concurrent calls to walk in the same treads. Not your sheepstick being followed; yours is simply a twig in the sightline of the one true staff.


will ask the Father and He will give

"The Problem of Unanswered Prayer" (cont'd)
* Not in the Word enough
- John8: abide
- John15:7: Me and My Words
- Prov28:9: prayer an abomination if away from Word
- Zech7:13: if they no listen, Lord no listen
- Price tag for powerful prayer
* Not a good husband {IPet3:7}
* Not enough prayer
- Volume matters
- Luke18:1-7: persistent widow
- Not imp enough to ask; not imp to answer
* Not grateful
- Col4:2: attitude of thanks
- Phil4:6: supplication w/ thanks


and her child was caught up to God

Check out Ps118:13:

"You pushed me violently so that I was falling, But the LORD helped me."

I like this imagery of the Lord catching us as we fall. Of our own missteps -- or liar's violent shoving -- causing us to stumble, with the Lord there to help. The allusions are there in the Word. In the Gospels, Jesus talks about severing hand or foot if they cause us to stumble. He tells us it's better to be drowned than to trip one of His little ones. Paul discusses in James the idea of sin and the law and stumbling. That we fall is clear.

But think of the catching allusions as well. Jesus walks along the shores and finds James and John and informs them that their new livelihood will be to catch men. This is what the Lord does; He catches people. Jesus calls Peter across the sea -- the whole faithsteps scene -- and Peter sinks and stumbles, and the Lord reaches out to grasp him. It says the Lord "took hold" of him. Held him and did not let go. Perhaps the clearest fellow reference is Ps37:23-24:

"The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand."

He is the One who catches you. He is the One who helps you. He is the One who takes hold of you. He is the One who holds your hand. He is the One. Catch me now, I'm falling. He will if you let Him.