riches and pleasures of this life

This story has everything to do with everything around these parts.

Do you think this story is astonishing? Do you wish you could receive a gift this extraordinary, unmerited and incomprehensible? My friend, do I have some good news for you. The good news of God is He died for you, and He offers you salvation out of a love so deep, you can't imagine its depth.

The Bible says if you accept Christ as your Savior, you become an immedient heir to all the riches of Heaven. The Bible says this grand wealth becomes your inheritance. The greatest wealth available to you is becoming a child of the living God. The Bible says you don't deserve a cent of it, and you can't earn a penny of it.

But the Bible says you don't need to do anything because He has done everything.

You don't need to wait for clearance of a credit. You don't need to wonder if this is a joke. You don't need to figure out what you could have done to have merited this great gift. All you need to do is confess your need for God and accept Christ as your Savior. Take His outstretched, nail-pierced hand, my friend, and see where it leads you.


of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire

If you've been reading these things for a while, you know I believe in liar; believe he is real; believe he actively works in this world to undermine the Lord; believe you serve liar if you don't serve the Lord. Which is what makes this post so intriguing. Especially the part that reads:
Do you think that some sort of demonic possession or inspiration helps to explain the inhuman scale of murder and destruction they caused? Do you suspect a demonic hand in other atrocities as well—mass murder in Darfur, for instance?

Or on the other hand, is citing demonic possession just a way of “shifting the blame” away from the all-too-human culprit? Is it just a way to avoid confronting the reality of human sin? You know, the old “the devil made me do it!” line?
The error in logic here is presenting the situation as mutually exclusive, an either-or.

To choose the former ignores the darkness of a heart of sin, the evil inherent and intrinsic to all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. To choose the latter ignores the reality of spiritual battle. Atrocities occur when the darkness of man's heart gets prompted and used by the darkness of liar. It is not either-or; it is this-and-that.


but to remain quiet

Today's NT reading sent me to a concordance looking for word occurrences, specifically the word "quiet". 1Tim2:2 speaks of our leading a "tranquil and quiet life". Concordance shows us only 47 refs to quiet, but only a few apply to what Paul is getting at here. The clear connection to other epistles is 1Thess4:11 and the call to making it our ambition to lead a quiet life.

I speak of noise quite often here. Still a bit noisy even now. Perhaps will one day speak on this issue of noise and peace.

Two other connections that caught my eye in the 47 refs is the obvious Ps23 connection to still waters, and the less obvious but equally striking Zeph3:17 which states that the Lord will be "quiet in His love." Not sure what that means. But imagine if that's simply a reference to the serenity and gentleness that accompanies the grace and the mercy. Even if it's not, for the still loudness right now, it's a soothing image to focus on.


for an image in the form of

I suppose as a follow up to my earlier post, the wondrous one pointed out a more recent happening. I only call it to attention because of the almost even divide twixt Mary sightings and Jesus sightings. I wonder why it is that of all the important Biblical figures, Mary is the one believers spot as often as they see the Lord?

Why not donkey shapes signifying the minor used to bear Him into Jerusalem? Why not Moses shapes, arms raised with a staff? Why not bushes afire or Samaritan women? It seems to me that divine personifications would manifest themselves in numerous forms, and not merely cliche images captured in paintings and candles.

Perhaps they do. Perhaps these manifestations actually do occur, but that the only ones we openly recognize are the ones familiar to us. Be on the lookout for disciple-shaped cereal, friend. Perhaps He is closer to you than you think.


which they are developing today

"How Devoted is God to Biblical Community?" {Heb5:11-6:1, 1Thes3:11-4:3}
* Intro: bag of marbles v bag of grapes -- Lord desires a community whereby individuals are changed after being together
* Magnitude of Biblical community
- "Christians will be strong and the church will flourish only when there is fellowship" -- JI Packer
- Fellowship is a "ministry of caring marked by love . . . partnership . . . exercise of spiritual gifts . . . and sharing of possessions."
* Lord's plan for His community is that we grow
* Christian growth is called sanctification
- Defined as personal holiness, progressive work whereby we become imitators of God
- Your fruits reflect where you are in journey toward Christlikeness
- Growth cannot be accomplished alone
- Spiritual growth chart
* Christian life inescapably corporate
- Every promise & exhortation in NT is corporate
- Ministries of church corporate (preaching, teaching, worship)
* Small groups are the labs of application
- Hear, be convicted, be changed, practice
- Wesley brothers pioneered small groups, serious about accountability
* Lord's plan for His community is that we are cared for
- Must occur in local church
- Must occur in small groups
* Application
- Join the family of God: put your trust in Christ
- Make a commitment to grow


for yourselves and for your children

A moment touched my heart this afternoon. My own father came over to spend just a few minutes bonding with his grandchildren. My father was affectionate, laughing, loving, doting -- all things that were the opposite of how he was to me growing up, or at least how it was perceived by me growing up. No jealousy stirred within me, that's not what I'm bringing up here. Instead it was the lesson crystallized to my mind's ears.

Growing up, my father was burdened with the responsibilities and duties of provision. His thoughts were not on love, but on raising a family. His thoughts were not on the moment at hand, but on the future at stake. His thoughts were not on molding a heart so much as shaping a future. He was occupied with ensuring future happiness by sacrificing present joy.

It is exactly why the Lord tells us in the Gospels not to worry. He instructs us to leave the sparrows and lilies to Him. He asks us to trust Him for all things, for all met needs. Not because He thinks worrying is sinful behavior, but because it distracts us from the enjoyment of a life He died for us to live. He wants fathers to provide via the jobs He has opened, sure. But He thinks the greater priority is to love.

Christian fathers face that struggle every day of their lives. It is a balance hard to achieve. The walk of faith specific to fathers is ensuring that the raising include the love that makes those futures worthwhile. May His wisdom ensure that I find that balance each and every day I am blessed to see my sweet things.


buy the things we have need of

EO posted a link to it, so it'll get enough press from that famous means. But for those who aren't checking EO out on a daily basis, I'll focus some attention on it here, a must-read reflection on one of the fundamental problems with modern Christianity.

I have nothing to add to it, it is so complete. Two millenia ago, we had a community of believers who were crucified upside-down to avoid being put in the same breath as Christ. We had a community willing to die for the gospel of peace. We have come to a community that uses His name in vain on coffee cups and novelty ties. What would Jesus do? Not license His name, methinks.


fall from Heaven like lightning

Not just recent pop culture will grace these pages, no sir. Anything that stirs in my mind thoughts from above. In this case, on the road and caught an old movie. You would think a flick that provides a unique perspective on the presence of angels in our lives would appeal to me. And while I found that very cool -- and I'm avoiding any discussion on their choice of using extras from The Matrix as angels -- I am instead going to take issue with their concept of eternity.

In the corny end scenes after Meg Ryan has bought the farm (yes, very sensitive this morning I am), one of the angels asks the fallen Nicholas Cage whether it was worth it to fall for the experience now cut short. The angel basically asks whether one real moment was worth trading for eternity. Nick answers in the affirmative.

While a nation of chick flick chicks and Harelquin romance readers might have swooned at the dialogue and harkened back to Edward VIII, I cringed at this poor understanding of eternity. As I mentioned yesterday, Lord has placed that longing for eternity on our hearts. Eternity is the goal, it is the end. His will for us involves eternity. And for any movie to depict trading eternity for anything as remotely a square deal is ludicrous. It is a fundamental misunderstanding and misstatement of the worth of all of Heaven.

Our hearts were formed with a hole that can only be filled by infinity. And nothing but Christ can fill that hole; certainly not any moment's enjoyment to be found on these shores, know that.


you will see the glory of God

Ordinarily I wouldn't link to something like this because it belongs on the pages of supermarket checkout stand reading. I can't tell if it's a real post, or something contrived. But I suppose this is no less different than seeing Mary in burned toast or Jesus on the tailgate of a truck. Those are the recent ones. You can apparently find a whole bunch more.

The fascination with seeing religious icons everywhere you look in everyday objects tells us something, I think. It says something about Christianity since you don't hear anyone mention seeing Buddha in the clouds or Mohammed in the dryer sheets. It may merely be some reflection on Christianity's unholy flood of religious pictures.

On the other hand, it also speaks to our innate need to see God. Lord tells us in Ecclesiastes that He has put eternity into our hearts. We have it in us to seek Him seeking us. And perhaps the excitement over all these random images is merely the excitement of finding and being found.


whenever he speaks a lie

Here's the lie. And now here's the truth. See the clear difference?

It is getting completely ridiculous what the media is doing to religion these days. The only religions getting any breaks in the media are Judaism and Islam, and my guess is simply because of fear of offense. It is so much easier to mock Christianity and others. Heck, at this point, it's a sport for them. And in thinking about it further, I don't know if it's because MSM simply disagrees with Christianity, or whether they really hate God, or whether it's because they can get away with it. So either it's arrogance, hatred, or sloth. My guess? Some clear combination of the three, a reverse Trinity. Perhaps the antiChrist is not a person but a thing.


the good news about the kingdom

Wonderful to see people more comfortable speaking up about their faith. World has shamed us, guilted us, belittled us into silence these past few years. The Bride need not ever fear the world's reaction. Our silence indicates their victory. Lord wants those not named luke to be prepared and be bold. Lord isn't meant only for Sunday mornings. Light doesn't turn on just on weekends. If all our occupations were as open and colorful as the Sunday morning strip, imagine liar's choked reaction and rage?


the people who were with Him

"Are you devoted to Biblical community?"
* Intro: Even in crowds, can still feel alone. Lord made us w/ hearts that desire company/community. Not just physical, but spiritual.
* Importance of Biblical community
- Personal: Created for His family {1Pet2:17b}
- Lord wants folks known for love, not doctrine
- Kingdom: Greatest witness to world {John13:35}
* What is Biblical community? {Acts2:41-47}
- Forsake folly of individualism {Rom12:5}
- Embrace commitment to community (Biblical teaching, authentic fellowship, Christ-centered worship, corporate prayer)
* Lord transforms lives as His Word brought to others {Eph 4:11-16}
- His plan is to change lives
- Our primary tool is His Word, small groups
- Body only grows when each part does its job {Eph4:16}
- Examine the oneanothers (love, encourage, confess, et al)


our hearts burning within us

A month ago threw out some brief thoughts on the next message before the flock. Wasn't going to flesh it out completely, but things change in a few weeks. Want to make sure I don't forget the thoughts flowing through me.

Intro: Size of Hallmark company in millions (billions?) of dollars. Research annual amount spent by Americans on VDay. Research percentage who believe in true love, soulmates.

Point one: not shallow. Anecdote of war soldier corresponding with woman and meeting plans and old woman and beautiful woman across street. Lord loved Samaritans, lepers, disabled, others thought to be too low to love.

Point two: not temporal. Always & forever most cliched and untrue statement twixt those in love. Explain then divorce rate among Americans -- and among Christians which mirrors that of society, I'd guess. Lord goes to prepare an eternal home for you with Father.

Point three: not fairy tale, not world's idea. Charles and Di wedding held as ultimate fairy tale. Research numbers watched that. Fairy tale industry and chick flicks. Lord holds a different standard. Elder qualities. Head of house qualities.

Grand point still remains. Love is what Rom5:8 still makes clear.


does not know its value, nor is it found

Been skimming through a book by an insightful brother. He speaks of the walk and calls it a "journey toward a virtuous life." Virtues he comments upon drip with wisdom from above. Time alone this morning, and one on humility struck me with F5 force, especially one that hit the heart of topics discussed in these annals recently.

Thomas quotes theologian Peter Kreeft: "Humility is thinking less about yourself, not thinking less of yourself."

All these beliefs in my who completely wrong. Trying to escape the pride I know lurks in my heart waiting to pounce, and rather than finding its cure in humility, I was instead trapped by lies of esteem and worth. Eat my own cooking is what I need to do. Weptover and worth it. Believe it.


where there is no whisperer

listening to the voices recently listening to them discuss my status listening to them tell me who I am trying to break through it all to and leave it at the listening stopping before the door to belief but that door opened so long ago they need not say a word to me been saying this been saying who I am for longer than they have the roots of it all where do they come from? from me from others from somewhere farther than myself search for peace must ultimately begin at the source


they became even more quiet

Paul the Least speaks of a kind that surpasses comprehension. Tykes' song speaks of it flowing like the Nile. Ranks third in the listing of fruits in Gal6. My concordance gives me some 353 refs of it in the Word. Been walking for over a decade now, and I wonder whether or not I've ever known it fully.

When walking with Him, when one-on-one, nothing else matters, nothing else comes to thought. So there with Him, there it is. But true peace can't be limited to just before the throne, can it? It must exist outside the realm of Heaven, resting in those recesses of heart and mind where the emptiness used to be.

Wonderful to have experienced it even briefly, this cessation of noise, this quiet, this emptiness different from the one that pains, but an emptiness that takes your head to the quiet waters, to stillness.


that even the world itself would not contain

This is part one of a must-read series on worldliness. Part two can be found here. And when Part three gets posted, I'll be sure to mention that around these parts as well. Author of this piece is a BJU grad, so you know chances are he knows what the truth is.

From a BJU alum, this piece stands out even more. Would be quite easy for those sorts to be dogmatic about issues of association with the things of this world simply as a matter of course. But to question that automation and point out the error of their thinking? Brave stance, and a noble one.

I've argued before that issues like the evils of gambling or whether or not Jesus drank wine v grape juice were projections of our own creation versus actual Biblical accounting. Might as well throw in baptists' distaste for the hustle and the twist. Knee-jerk reactions to things we dislike shouldn't be placed upon the Savior for no reason. Look forward to where this series leads. Sure there's plenty of room for me to disagree, should it come to that.


after singing a hymn, they went out

This has long been one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite (you always have this or this vying for that title). But their new rendition makes the argument fairly moot with the addition of a beautiful new verse:

I was lost in utter darkness till you came and rescued me.
I was bound in all my sin when your love came and set me free.
Now my soul can sing a new song; now my heart has found a home;
Now your grace is always with me, and I'll never be alone.

All the arguments in the world about the implicit evil bound in contemporary beats and instruments fail before chords that can pluck a heart and remind it that the center of all things, the center of all praise is the Lord Almighty. Something that brings Him into sharper focus, that something can only come from above.


You have given Me, I have given to

"Giving with God's Approval" {Matt6:1-4}
* Intro: Dog funeral/giving joke
* SotM instruction manual for Christians
- Kingdom character {Matt5:1-12}
- Kingdom conduct {Matt5:13-48}
- Kingdom worship {Matt6:1-18}
* General principle on giving
- True righteousness involves proper motives
- Not a contradiction to 5:16; motives the diff
* Giving applauded by men
- Not if you give alms, but when
- Reward: pay someone in full w/ receipt
- Desire for human merit earns only that -- worthless to God
* Giving approved by God
- Always in secret
- Not about confidentiality as much as protection of motives from temptation
- Reward: payment of debt {Prov19:17, 2Cor9:6,11}
* Application
- Give to needy
- Check your motives


up on the mountain, and there He sat

These guys know how to express their love for the Savior in beautiful ways. Been listening to their latest hit "Mountain of God" lately, and there's a line in there that is appropos everything:

That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

Valleys have been crushing me lately, but past it, I can look down from that mountain these guys speak of and nod my head in agreement.

That mountain of His is its own sermon, I can see it. Been clear from the very beginning. Noah and his craft rested upon one. Lord gifts the world with the Ten from one. Lord transfigures on another. SotM occurs on one. Lord escapes to one to mourn. Lord stokes a campfire on yet another. And upon a little one, Lord braves wrath to save the world. Some near 500 mounts later, Lord shows John the New Jerusalem from the slopes of another.

And to reach all of these, there is some valley whose jaws cannot crush you beyond what He tells you you can bear with His carrying you. Valleys nigh unbearable, not understating that. But the restoration I spoke of comes atop that mountain of His, and my goodness, what a view.


room for them in the inn

I can't even begin to guess what this movie will rake in this holiday season. Cynic in me sees the dollar signs in the eyes of executives and marketing suits and cringes. Believer in me can't wait to partake of the unfolding of the wondrous tale on the big screen.

Lord can take even evil and make it into something good. In fact, that is the story of faith. Me into eternity is clear proof of that. It will be November before MSM begins its flurry to discredit the season and the meaning (see Gibson, Mel). But Lord is only thinking of those souls who will endure the unfolding before them, feel that tugging in their heart, and become found. And when that happens, all the dollar signs and suits in the world will not be able to taint the eternal glory.


a witness, to testify about the light

One of the Lord's beloved is getting a lot of coverage. Read the piece upon which all these commentaries are coming here. I could comment on Billy's whole life, the millions whose John Hancocks fill the pages of the Book of Life because of him. I could comment on MSM's slanted words designed not to illuminate the man, but to dilute the faith. I shall do neither.

I'll instead comment on the vacuum this leaves the world when he goes to see his Father. Some other nobody will need to rise, whose heart is for the lost. Some other nobody will need to rise, whose career and talent and energy will be used for His glory. Some other nobody will need to rise, whose only thought will be salvation, salvation, salvation.

I am not pondering myself as a replacement. I am sounding the alarm that liar sees the decline of someone once labelled "America's Pastor" and is licking his lips for the coming battle. And someone needs to hear that alarm and respond.


will pierce even your own soul

One of the sweet things, the cub, posed a question for the ages. "Does Jesus still have His horns?" Taken aback, I questioned his line of thought. Lord doesn't have horns, I responded. "Yes, He does," he responded. "The ones in His hands. The sharp pointy things." Mouth of babes, wisdom of angels.

Great anecdote for something before the flock. It goes to the heart of all questions: is Lord who He says He is? Is He still dead? Is He still upon that stained cross? Is He risen? Is He greater than death? Is He truly the Messiah? Does He still have those horns in His hands?

The answer is a very clear no. Still pierced, no doubt. But no longer there, poised in pain above a hill. Instead, risen, alive, greater than the ruler of this world. What you believe about His hands, what you believe about what may or may not still be in them, what you believe about who He is -- in those questions lie eternity.


His own sheep by name and leads them

Sometimes almost worth the dryness and the noise to get to that place where the Lord responds as the Good Shepherd that He is and restores. Perhaps the greatest of the psalms (23) states that no less. After the lying down and the stillness, it is your joy He restores. Dryness and noise take that away from you; struggle masks it; valleys pull you so far away. And yet when He restores, there is no greater feeling than that onrush, that flood of living water that tells you that no dryness exists that will parch you beyond His coolness, no noise exists louder than that ocean breaking. And surely goodness, mercy follow, His house forever and ever.


and I do nothing on my own

In depths, in lions' pit, wondered aloud why. Wondered aloud why all the noise and all the noise and all the noise. Wondered aloud why me to be surrounded by all the noise. Wondered aloud why noise would follow a nobody would surround a nobody would envelop a nobody would hurt a nobody. No righteous humbleness; simply a mere statement of fact.

In depths, in lions' pit, came the response. Confirmation of the status. But that status not something less than nothing. Came the response, Lord only uses nobodies. Somebodies accomplish some things and no matter the declaration, some small part attributed to that somebody to those qualities that make that somebody a somebody. But nobodies, the Biblical nobodies accomplish some things and it is clear that nobody did that some thing. Can only be Lord.

All the noise for a nobody, liar hoping that nobody doesn't become a somebody for Him.


none of your opponents will be

"How to Love Your Enemies" {Matt5:43-48}
* Intro
- Revenge familiar to all
- Desire for justice -- and desire to mete out that justice -- inherent
- SotM gives diff paradigm, seemingly imposs paradigm
* Teaching of OT
- His standard always been loving others and loving enemies {Lev19:18}
- Rabbinic tradition distorted OT view on enemies
* Perversion of Rabbinic tradition
- Perversion by omission (ignored "as yourself")
- Perversion by addition (added "hate your enemies")
* Perspective of Jesus
- Love enemies and pray for them
- Regardless of internal feeling, obedience to Him requires choice of action
- Why? To be His children; to reflect what He does and who He is
- Perfect impossible? No, perfect = mature, complete
- You cannot do this sans Him
* Application
- Bless them {Luke6:28}: RELee, "asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me"
- Do good to them: Chinese farmer irrigation anecdote
- Pray for them: Prayer changes us. Healing not dependent on our forgiveness and goodness and love but on His.


passing through dry land

no surprise that around these times always harder than usual or maybe this is usual this time something more than a pit of sorrow something more than empty aches and loudness but a joyless dryness that parches parches at a depth hard to escape right now looking for that which slakes hoping to find it around a closer corner than a tomorrow that doesn't come


are free to roam

where you are is some moving target Lord follows the moving and the wandering after the moment of truth the movement supposed to be directed toward the follower now Leader and yet that kinetic self never quite changes completely and there you have that target again no longer there but if He did it once do not think He will not do it again Leader back to following back to looking for you where you are


were just now seeking to

Luke24 and the walk with the Lord and the Emmaus pair, what an interesting scene. Great sermon in here, I can sense it, although the outline escapes me at the moment. v16 raises the issue of prevented sight. Spiritual blindness a terrible condition. What to make of the disease when given to you? Now, v16 doesn't state what is doing the preventing: sin, ignorance, some other something from the self.

What I find wonderful is the care by which He explains Himself to the duo, and the afternoon and the dinner it takes to see through the darkness of closed eyes. Lord does that now, and it takes far more than the better part of the day to pierce through those coverings. It often takes a lifetime. Faith comes to a heart willing to listen to the explanation and make the connection between the burning heart and the reasoning of the mind.


to visions and revelations of the Lord

Kayak ride as model of household faith. Believe it. Terrifying to float knowing at any moment all could be lost. At any moment your strength and skill of little value or effect. At any moment helpless. Losing self one thing; having the little sweet things' very lives depend on these same items worthless at any moment an entirely new level of terror. Clear reminder of the very truth of it all. Terror should be the core response. Lives truly at stake. Cannot do this alone. Believe it.

Discovering flavor almost as if for the first time. You have kayak as faith, why not dessert? You might have tasted a half dozen brands of ice cream before, but when you taste the one tasted this week, you will understand the difference between good and something at another level.

Discovering good, the notion of something at a higher level than what you were previously aware, is the heart of faith. It is realizing the depth of what you don't know. It is realizing there is a good that exists that puts others to shame. Wonderful this week to realize how commonplace faith can be, but when it is found, how extraordinary it really is.

always told that self is second to others that outward looking is far closer to the One than inward if true is outward concern over growth and walk superior to concern for own walk noticing care for others exceeding care for own will He look upon a dwindling walk sacrificed for others as something other than dwindled steps wants both wants both to continue treading toward finer waters

Theme of flight punctuating the clouds and sand and light and water. You have the cloud-kissers dancing and twirling and painting imaginary scenes. You have the reminder of more solid kissers and dancers and twirlers and painters wrapped in the uniforms of history. You have these common faiths reflecting Him in dairy and hollow plastic and invisible transmissions. You don't need seminary to see the connection twixt light and heaven and sky. Even children aware that something special can be spotted if one only make the choice to look up.

Always wonderful returning home. Always wonderful returning. Always wonderful. Always.


shall we picture the kingdom of God

Days away with the beloved ones, and hard to summarize the thoughts of God woven through a timefabric beyond normalcy. Like helicopter leaves, you lunge and grab them as they come and hope they remain in serviceable pieces for a return flight.

sand hits water as far as forgiven sin and water hits light just as far the simple gospel message displayed among shells and bleached wood and dried weed even more able to visually see the hand of God stacking rocks in ordered lines like life in waves of stones

On the night before the wondrous one became mine forever, a portent loomed before my eyes in the shape of a deer on a lawn. Probably trying to speak to me, but I wasn't listening. Returned to the site of a wonderful experience from ten years past, and perhaps using food items as portents is equally ridiculous. But going out on a limb to try nonetheless.

A decade later, and much has changed. What once was favorite no longer was. Ridiculous to expect no change over a decade. And yet most walks of faith have that expectation, don’t they? Settle into their lukewarm ditchwalks. Don’t view the negative change in side meals as a portent of negatives to come; view it merely as change, a reminder that expecting status quo is far more distasteful.

High-speed internet access is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Phone service? Less important. Cable TV? Less important. Dessert, even? Less important. Being surrounded by surf instead of surfing put me into visible withdrawal. Didn’t realize how integral it had become to my life until it was missing. And then a profound loss was felt.

Replace high-speed internet access with whatever necessity makes the analogy relatable to you. Go on. I’ll wait. Now that you’ve chosen your line-filler, here’s my point: the loss of a close walk with the Lord doesn’t always bring about that same profound hole, does it? The devil finds ways to occupy your attention so you don’t notice the loss, and how sad that we let him win in doing so. There are times when you are that close, and His removal hits you square in the jaw, no doubt. But usually, it’s His return that emphasizes the profound loss after the fact. The initial withdrawal is too subtle, too gradual.

We should be conditioning ourselves to look carefully for little holes, look carefully for stray meanderings along the walk of faith. We should be conditioning ourselves to feel that profound loss at the slightest pinprick. The height of maturity has that sense of seeking right at its core.

Re-introduced to an artist I hadn’t heard from in awhile. Only need to listen for a few moments before you realize that is probably a good thing. The music of David Wilcox crafts melancholy to a degree that makes my heart hurt. He knows how to touch that empty space inside you that the world tries to fill. Salvation is the recognition that that hole can only be filled by Christ. A wonder, though, how even filled by Him, the Wilcox chords still manage to remind you of that time before the filling when all hurt, all hurt.

Following up a musical recollection with another. Introduced to the newest track from an artist ranking up there with Mullins and Tomlin in the ability to pen the very voice of Heaven. My favorite part goes:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back, I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Tune offered to me on the first day, and on every subsequent day. A week later, I understand why I needed it so. Reminder of His watch over you, His powerful hands capable of shielding you in the cleft no matter the battle.