began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice

This article has many different arguments. You know where I come out on this. Maybe you don't, site rookie. I come out on the side that the Lord doesn't judge actions in and of themselves, but rather through intention. Your intention is to worship and praise? Don't think He cares whether or not you use voice or kazoo then. Slippery slope toward Willow Creek, intent to serve with no mention of the Lord? Possibly.

Here's the thing. Liar uses this issue to divide the body in the same way he uses issues of politics to divide the brethren. Which is why the first article is heartening. You think drums are the problem when in reality, liar is. Fighting that fight rather than fighting the good fight is all wrong. Save the vehemence and the self-righteousness for when you take down the lions. Until then, shut up and praise.


and they asked Him to help

Can't get this chorus out of my mind, another Mullins original. The verses are largely non-applicable as they describe specific historical events. But the chorus rings true even two millenia later:
My Deliverer is coming; my Deliverer is standing by.
My Deliverer is coming; my Deliverer is standing by.

He will never break His promise. He has written it upon the sky.

My Deliverer is coming; my Deliverer is standing by.
My Deliverer is coming; my Deliverer is standing by.
The idea of the Lord standing in readiness, waiting for trial, looking for danger is a powerful one. Easy to speak only of the deliverance carried out on Calvary's Hill. Often harder to credit modern deliverance to the Almighty. But our God is not a one-trick Savior. Our God is not an absentee Shepherd. This chorus should become a permanently-engraved mantra in the hearts of all believers. Trials now? Yes. But He is coming. Deliverance is at hand. Salvation awaits those who place their trust in His Glory.


if you wish to be complete

Listened to a song I hadn't heard in a while. Doesn't break the heart any less than when I'd first posted on its meaning. Listening to it this a.m. and another sermon topic came to mind: accepting Christ in all His totality.

Quite easy to separate Christ into little pieces, each one more easily accepted. You can focus on just His friendship and ignore His righteousness. You can focus on His compassion and ignore His judgment on sin. You can focus on His suffering and ignore His love.

God the Father loved Him not just for His baby manger preciousness, but also for His temptation-turning in the wilderness. Father loved Him not just for His childhood innocence, but also for His march up Golgotha. Father loved Him for the manger, and Father loved Him for the cross. And you cannot claim to love Him without loving Him in all His wholeness.


clothed with power from on high

Mentioned it earlier how difficult the approach leading up to Sunday has been. Week of nights of less than 40 winks not surprising. Going back to discussion of will from yesterday, liar doesn't see its importance. Thinks that breaking down the body the most effective tactic. Certainly some truth in that. But being borne on wings from above requires no strength; being sustained with rest from above requires no winks; being borne by light from above requires no uplifting. His message coming literally hell or high water, and liar can push all the buttons he wants. My Spirit not my Spirit to shatter.


you want to do the desires of your father

Ps51 is preached on often, whenever repentance is the theme. Rightly so, this is perhaps the best prayer for the penitent ever written. When usually preached upon, the focus is usually on the state of the heart that moves one closer to knees, closer to submission. Don't know if I've heard one that focuses on the ask by David:

* Washing and whitening, obvious
* Created, clean heart and steadfast spirit, also obvious
* Restored joy of salvation (needs more emphasis)
* Check out rest of v12 -- a sustained willing spirit

This matter of will is no small business. Will is what leads you to follow. Will is what leads you to persevere. Will is what leads you to overcome. Faithfulness not possible without a willing spirit. Walk of faith is defined by how willing you are to walk that path without looking away. Sustenance of that will? All important.


so they were seeking to

"Vision Sunday 2006"
* Vision is "hope w/ a blueprint"; a "dare to dream big dreams"
* Review your vision
* To become fully devoted followers of Christ (Great Commandment & Commission)
- Magnify: first priority is worship
- Membership: belong to His family {1Pet1:3}
- Maturity: conformed to image of Christ
- Ministry: shaped to serve {Eph2:10}
- Missions: His witness to world
* Recognize opportunity {1Cor16:9}
- Opened doors for effective work
* Rekindle flame for service of Lord {2Tim1:6}


how does he now see

They say that you never appreciate your senses until you lose one. In previous ponderings, I've always thought taste to be the easiest to lose, with sight being the hardest. Still feel that way, especially about sight. Appropos to today's thoughts, having vision all the time causes the first separation from vision to be fairly disorienting. The lesson on losing vision in one area might be a refocus on vision in other areas. Or it is an even greater lesson: that the need for it is less obvious when another is leading you to your intended direction. Except for seeing the sights, that vision thing means simply clinging to the sleeve-tugging without hesitation.


sets out to meet another king

Another Mullins reflection. Won't be running out of these any time in the near future. This particular one makes me recall a scene in a room with a radio after having listened to a speech on unbelief and the need for belief not to interfere with things far more solid. First instance of persecution? Not really. More overdrama than anything, but remember listening to these words and thinking that comfort was as close as what these lyrics were indicating.

The relevant ones:
And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees
Surrender in real life doesn't come unless a war is present. And that war -- even that imagined war -- isn't pretty or easy or negotiable. Desperation makes men turn toward the only way out of the impossible.


when the water is stirred up

Wading through change right now. Like wading through water, ripples and currents signify some movement, some struggle. Easy, so easy to be carried, to float. Wondering what the call is in cases where currents seem to eddy more than lead. I guess that faith is as much about waiting as walking forward. Patience, faithful patience says that forcing direction isn't as important as the right direction. Faith can be about waiting for the change to pass before changing, too. Lord not changing, after all. He is the one constant, the one constant.


signifying by what kind of

Gal6:17 has a term I'd never seen before: the brand-marks of Jesus. This idea of a marking symbolizing your faith makes for a great sermon, I think. There's the point that the brand-marks aren't literal; Lord calls us in John13 to love one another, by that mark others would know we were His disciples. Point one says that the identifier Lord is looking for is love.

Point two can be the allusion to the Lord's own markings. Passion shows us all too clearly what the marks of Jesus are. Lord calls His believers in the SotM and in other places to bear our own cross. Those marks of suffering are to be shared by all. Point two says that the identifier Lord is looking for is perseverance under trial.

Point three can be the cleansing flow before the throne. Lord Almighty will look at you, look at your sin and see not darkness, but crimson-coated light. The mark of the blood of the Lamb says you are His, sealed for eternity. Point three says that the identifier Lord is looking for is His claimed blood.

Branding hurts; I've seen it done to creatures who scream in almost-human pitches. This one requires only submission, which hurts, I know. But the display of that mark is far better than the corporate logos you're paying dollars for, I tell you what. These marks are your ticket to eternity.


shines in the darkness

Beautiful piece on faith. This is what this is all about, isn't it? Looking for pure faith? And the sentiment of this article isn't sports, but faith. World is filled every day with poor witnesses. MSM obviously searches for it. But every now and then the faith is so overwhelming, that not even MSM can miss it, crush it, hide it. Lord tells us not to be bushel-dimmed lights. He means that so that when the occasion arises, no matter the bias or agenda, no shadow strong enough to cover.


waiting for the moving of

Still believe Waiting is my favorite Mullins song, perhaps favorite song period. Loved coming back to it this afternoon. Especially this portion:

So I stand on the promise, 'cause I know that the promise is sure
That it comes from beyond us and tells us again
That there's a whole 'nother world
Well, the one I'm in keeps spinning 'round
But I want to stay right here 'cause I found You

And I can't walk away
Though the truth is that it can be so hard to wait
When a million voices whisper, and they tell me I should leave
Into the shadows that the moon casts
On these alleys and these streets
But I know that chasing shadows won't get me anywhere
'Cause I've been there

So I'm waiting for You Jesus
'Cause I know that those who wait
They will mount with wings like eagles
They will run and not grow faint
They will walk and not grow weary
Their strength will be renewed
Coming from You

It's like he heard the same whispers I hear, calling for you to come to the shadows. And the waiting is hard, making the shadow whispers that much more appealing. Faith builds on its own history. Faith looks back over its shoulder and sees the trend, knows those whispers and those shadows end in emptiness. Faith says waiting, waiting forever if needed, is never a solo activity. Faith says waiting, waiting is easier when fed with strength from light. Can't walk away. Can't.


stand firm and hold to

"Give Me That Mountain" {Josh14:6-15}
* Intro
- Challenge of imparting knowledge to kids
- Caleb one of heroes of faith
- Caleb's characteristics apply not just to fathers but all believers
* Focused pursuit: wholeheartedness (v8,9,14)
- "To follow fully" (hunting term -- survival dependent on full focus)
- 7 times used in OT -- all to Caleb and Josh
- "How can I accomplish God's kingdom goals?"
* Caleb's focus anchored in Word
- v6 (Lord said), v10 (Lord promised, told Moses), v12 (Lord promised, He said)
- No way to fully follow sans knowledge of Word
- Fams need dads to pursue Lord like Caleb
* Undivided heart: conviction
- Conviction: "as it was in my heart"
- Lord sustained Caleb because of his faithfulness
- "One-track heart w/ an eye on the finish line"
- All growth takes place at point of commitment
* Driving intensity: endurance
- Jam1:2-4
- Forget the rocking chair
- "Spiritually exuberant"
* Confidence in Lord: faith
- Resting upon Lord to accomplish impossible
- "Biblical optimist"
- Most important thing to pass on to kids? Love of Lord & heart who continually seeks His will


and I was let down in

Strange to be feeling nerves, more as it approaches. Professional performance anxiety is non-existent, though careers can be made or broken. And yet this? No fear of careers being made or broken, so then what? One might surmise fear of accidental blasphemy, but not the case here, else that might exist in front of a smaller group. One might surmise fear of poor performance in front of family rather than peers. Possible.

In thinking through it, I think it more a case of fear of disappointing the Lord. Given a gift, and asked to use it, and how large the saddened eyes if I fail? In all other cases, no care of opinion or thought, but here? If no care of opinion, then no true belief. Of all the thoughts that count, this one above all.

And liar knows it, too.


woe to the world because

I'm not surprised that Christianity Today would have an article like this. Nor am I surprised that their overall point is that the label and style don't matter. CT is, after all, symptomatic of the larger problem with the faith -- acceptance, tolerance, and an embracing of the larger culture.

I'll save you the wasted time. The last paragraph is enough to tell you where they stand:
But the question persists, because in evangelical circles there's a lot of chatter and concern over whether particular music is "Christian" or "secular." Well—here's a fool's axiom: Both inside the parallel universe of Christian music and in every other universe, the only one who can make music Christian is Christ. No matter what we make of Bazan or Crowder, Rebecca St. James or Michael W. Smith, Mute Math or Newsboys—or, for that matter, U2, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Sufjan Stevens, and a million other acts—when we're talking about music, we'd do well to remember our categories are too simple, too inflexible, and too earthy to contain the truth.
Is that your way of playing both sides, CT? Of condemning some believers while also praising some of the world? Yes, the Lord can use any music to His glory, even the ones not meant to praise Him. Not disagreeing there. But if you think that groups that seek the secular are as noble as those that forsake the world, you are wrong on so many counts, it's not worth discussing.


will not receive many times as much

You don't think prayers work? Then you haven't seen proof of what my prayers (and the prayers of others) have wrought this past month. Take that Brown, Hanks, Satan, et al.

Some figures for you. Opening weekend for Passion? $84 million. Code? $77 million. After 10 days, Passion? $174 million. 10 for Code? $136 million. After 26 days, Passion? $296 million. And Code? $191 million. Almost a hundred million dollar difference after its first month. And this for a multi-year bestseller? Where are all your fans now, liar?

Hollywood won't learn. Maybe they aren't realizing the size of the disparity. That's giving them too much credit. I'm sure they know; my guess is that when all is said and done, they'd rather hate God than make money. That's a powerful sentiment of unbelief. They'll answer before the throne for that.


there your heart will be

Conversed with a brother this morning on the subject of rewards. Alcorn can have his views on crowns and jewels and all other manner of finery apparently awaiting us at the pearly gates. As I've said before, all that's a side bonus to the real treasure of worship before the actual throne. I don't need the mansions; you can have my keys. I'll leave them in the front door for you. That heavenly convertible jaguar? Yours, too.

As I pointed out, if you're serving for the rewards, you're wrong. Not sinful, but wrong. I don't care what v you bring up about rewards and the nobleness of gathering said treasure. If your motivation is rewards, you are wrong. Doesn't want obedience for crowns. He wants obedience for obedience's sake. He wants obedience for love's sake. All other sakes are wrong. End of discussion.


at the table with them

An excerpt from yesterday's Table musings:

"At the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus presented a new perspective on the millennia-old tradition of a seder. Our Lord took the main elements of the Passover meal and invested it with a direct call to remembrance of Himself. My brothers and sisters, come up this evening and reflect upon the intimacy we have with God and with each other in Christ, the broken Messiah, the spotless Lamb who brought us salvation through sacrifice, and the promise of redemption, of a new relationship with God forged on blood-stained wood strong enough to bear the weight of the world."


denied its power; avoid such

"A Heart Affair" {Matt5:27-30}
* Intro:
- Some topics hard to relate to; lust applicable to all
- This culture especially
* Why give up so much for so little?
- Don't know full cost
- Sex powerful
- Sex deceptive
- Starts small & harmless & innocent
* Unrestrained desire is sin (v27-28)
- 7th commandment
- Women as well as men
- Wrong to consummate, but also wrong to want to consummate -- cultivating temptation is sin
- Desire not wrong -- why marriage exists
* Purity is important
- Not just in action but thought
- "Cutting off" analogy not punishment but prevention
- Do whatever necessary to prevent sin
* Practical advice
- Desire an alarm (avert disaster)
- Watch your input (do not linger)
- Dress modestly {IThess4:3-8}
- Work overtime on marriage (prevent desire by meeting each other's needs)
- Run from temptation (i.e. Joe & Potiphar)
- Accept His forgiveness


by force to make

Discuss amongst yourselves: forced prayers

Tried to get the little one to focus and bend the knee. Finally made him do it via threat. From standpoint one, important to enforce the practice. Important when you don't want to -- even more important when you don't want to -- to do it. Like forcing a smile to change a mood, bending the knee has some spiritual effect. Might not want to read the Word either, but do it, and the Spirit acts on the step of faith.

From standpoint two, it was wasted time before the throne. He never asks for obedience by the letter but rather obedience by the heart. Wants you to want to. And if you don't, patience isn't always from the devil, but from waiting upon the Lord. Psalms are full of the waiting upon the Lord. What's the lesson here? A harsh God demands prostration?

Chicken egg chicken. Or egg.


that he had been blind

lateness in all these is much due to time occupiers but probably even more to do with the fogginess this fogginess causing the weeks of little rest and too much noise feeling that in the nondesire to bow the knee and the lack of seeing hearing anything from all of these forced chapters trying to break out of it snap out of it I imagine this has much to do with the messages and the progress toward the message but who really knows not me especially in all this fogginess


and the house was filled

Had a discussion about the subject raised in this article with a brother a few months ago. Don't know where I stand on the issue of house churches. Actually, I do. I think they're ridiculous.

Historically, if you want to point to the early church, remember that in that context, that was how they started and grew -- households believing and getting baptized. Nowhere does it say in the NT that that is how those churches stayed. At least I don't recall any. Why else is Paul writing letters to whole churches and not small homes? My assumption is because once they reached a certain size, they became the large edifices we are familiar with today.

Modern movement toward the smaller is rooted in dissatisfaction with big churches, and my guess is that those root dissatisfactions are more sin on the part of the believer than the church. All part of the larger sin of people trying to fashion religion into an image they want rather than the image the Lord wants.

Religion isn't a car that you can customize with whatever options make you smile. Churches aren't there to meet your selfish needs. Churches are there to worship, and provide you a place to serve, brother. You have it all backward.


will He find faith on the earth

Now that I've got them loaded onto the iPod, going back and listening to his songs again. Been awhile. Going to be commenting on a batch of them in the near future, so look out for that. For today, the song "Calling Out Your Name" has been running through the mindwaves.

Lyrics I want to focus on go:

I can feel the earth tremble
Beneath the rumbling of the buffalo hooves
And the fury in the pheasant's wings
And there's fury in a pheasant's wings
It tells me the Lord is in His temple
And there is still a faith that can make the mountains move
And a love that can make the heavens ring
And I've seen love make heaven ring

And I know this thirst will not last long
That it will soon drown in the song not sung in vain
I feel thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And with the prairies I am calling out Your name

Always wrestling with the issue of faith. It is what this is all about after all. You should never choose a religion unless you believe in it completely. Completely. I mean believe the wall is not there so walk straight ahead believe it completely. I believe there is a faith that can make mountains move. And there is certainly faith that can make the heavens sing. No praise is sung in vain. He calls you to do and you do and you don’t look left or right or after looking for the after no you look ahead straight ahead at the wall not there and He calls you to do and you do. That faith makes heaven ring.


I have made Your name known to them

Excellent discussion that every believer should take to heart. I feel like I've discussed the topic before, but no particular comes to mind. It raises two points where we do wrong.

We do wrong when we forget the many-sided nature of the Lord. No doubt that He is your friend. He says so in His word. But if you see that aspect of His character to the exclusion of all else that He is, you do wrong. He breathed the universe into existence, and you think of Him only as the one you play tag with?

We do wrong when we analogize Him to pop culture, or pop culture to Him. Can you find God in all things? Surely. But don't think you aren't breaking commandments when your every allusion to Him resembles an Entertainment Weekly issue. Seeker or no seeker, I don't care. Keep your tongue from evil.


but afterward he regretted it and went

What a great phrase Paul coins in 2Cor7:11 -- Godly sorrow. The phrase and theme lend themselves to an easy sermon. 2Cor7 spells it out pretty clearly: sorrow that leads to repentance, which leads to salvation; it's having a heart that breaks for the things that break the heart of God. So a sermon on this phrase can easily be confined to just this chapter.

Extensions abound. Why not pull in the Lord weeping for Jerusalem. There's a Godly sorrow there over those that aren't leaning towards salvation. Why not pull in Ps51, the atoner's lament. There's the perfect dialogue of a broken heart over sin. Why not pull in even Judas's sorrow -- a sorrow not leading to repentance.

This thing's writing itself. Completion for another day. Patent pending.


they themselves were filled with rage

"Jesus On Anger" {Matt5:21-26}
* "Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is perhaps the most fun."
* All deal w/ anger (in thought, word, & deed)
* In SotM, anger is first of six topics after Lord makes key point:
- All about heart; about spirit of law rather than letter
* Unresolved anger is sin (v21-22)
- All anger not sin (i.e. righteous)
- Murder not equal to anger
- Anger is temptation to sin -- unresolved, festering anger is escalation
- "Kept the rule, but overlooked the intention."
- {2Cor12:20, Eph4:26-27, Jam1:19-20}
* Reconciliation more important than worship! (v23-24)
* Reconciliation a matter of urgency (v25-26)
- So that our relationship w/ Lord can be made right ASAP
- To avoid Lord's corrective actions
* Practical Advice
- Anger an alarm
- Don't let anger escalate; self-control a Spirit fruit
- Put it away; automatic forgiveness for some issues
- If still bothering, seek reconciliation
- Take initiative; not about winning, but loving
* Forgiveness is for you


they send forth their little ones like

This story reflects the disconnect between the practical and the theoretical in very clear terms. People may be surprised, but I am certainly not, that little ones are slaughtered for the most ridiculous of reasons. When you trivialize life as a mere choice, what did you expect? When you create the loophole that life is worth nothing a good reason can't overcome, why would you be offended that a minor deformity is a good reason for some?

You gleefully turned your back on the Lord at the top of this slippery slope, and how dare you think that your unexpected sliding is surprising. You can't stand on any moral high ground after giving it up for death.


all the day long I have stretched out

Probably not coincidental that this week, searching for a v for the upcoming, found v5 and v 11 from Ps30: “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning . . . You have turned for me my mourning into dancing.”

The heart is always in flux, in a continual expand and contract tug-of-war. That Seussian reference of three sizes is not far from the truth. Lord is kneading that stone and making it into something far more capable of containing the light of love.

The key to fighting shadows is not letting them contract that softer stone of yours. And even when they do crush it into something less than recognizable, it is letting Him work the miracle of stone-to-flesh, and letting Him expand it out by filling it with pure, unsullied light.


but God who causes the growth

"Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." {Prov31:29}