but if rightly, why

Halloween gives churches philosophical fits. Halloween is one of the days where the "world" hits the church square in its face. And how the church responds says a lot about the discomfort churches have about pressing the message about being different for God. This Beliefnet piece mentions a few of the ways churches can respond.

* Those which make a church-version of Halloween complete with the gore hug the world and don't let go. These churches are likely the ones that distort the truth and accept relativity. These aren't churches but glorified social clubs.

* Those that take the reverse tack and rail against Halloween as the devil's day and forbid costumes and trick-or-treaters and even handing out candy at the door shove the world aside self-righteously and look to the skies. These churches are likely the ones that preach against contemporary Christian music. These churches shun the Lord's humanity and compassion for His judgment.

* Those that hold harvest carnivals -- basically a sanitized euphemism for Halloween -- will walk the line between the above two polar extremes. Some will go all out with costumes and candy and head toward the huggers. Others will try to tone down the satanic and move toward the judgment.

Codified religion that doesn't seek His will or seek to have purposes behind their actions don't make sense to me. Lord is black-and-white about many things, yes. But even in those instances, Lord wants us to seek His will and seek His Spirit rather than give in to obligatory action one way or the other. Lord isn't about law; Lord is about learning to walk.


for you weigh men

"Jury Duty (Is it Okay to Judge?)" {Matt7:1-12}
* Intro: Matt7:1 one of most quoted, but also one of most misused & misunderstood
* What mean to "judge"?
- Judge in court: not prohibited
- Discern or distinguish: commanded to do so
- Condemn/have critical spirit {Luke6:37}: bingo
- "Forgiven person is one who will be a forgiving person."
* What Lord is not condemning
- Judging doctrine {Acts17:11}
- Judging teachers {Matt7:15-16}
- Judging sinful behavior {1Cor5:1-3}
* Caution: judge not motives -- only Lord can see heart of sinner
* How to avoid being judgmental
- Evaluate own standards: concern or condemnation? Limited knowledge limits judgment
- Evaluate own life {Gal6:1}
- Peanuts comic (knack for finding fault, overlooking own)
- "We can't fix anyone; only Lord Jesus can fix someone."
- Tearjerker story (Teddy & dead mom & teacher)
* Be discerning
- Prov 9:8: Judging others not effective use of time
* How to discern
- Need divine assistance
- God willing & desirous to give good things to askers
- Legalism is pharisees' line of thought
* Golden rule
- No self-righteousness & exclusion
- Realize own sin & treat others w/ love
- Love & sin recognition better than judgment


since you are seeking for proof

Prepping for a study of Heb11 beginning tomorrow. Always wonderful to have my eyes opened as I am prepping to open the eyes of others. In this first discussion, looking at Abel & Enoch as the first of the exemplars of faith. Not going to comment on those two; just a quick thought on the Biblical definition made famous in Heb11:1.

I never fully understood the connection made by author of Heb in v1. Faith is not driven by evidence (or conviction). Faith is the evidence. And the extent of this statement is that faith is the undergirding of all other actions. All other actions are driven by faith in Lord. Just as faith in the existence of a city like London would lead you to buy tickets and book a hotel without question, faith in existence of Christ leads you to a particular set of actions.

Faith is no mere on/off switch. Christian faith is more than just the answer to the question "Have you asked Jesus into your heart?" Faith is the walking on the water, the rising from the tomb, the breakfast on the beach. All of them evidence of this Creator who longs for your hand, your cast-off wrappings, your time upon the shore.


of the house and family

Usually, my references to pop culture are part of long-winded ranting and raving on the decay of our culture and their antagonism toward God. Today's mention is not a rant because it is relevant only in its having spurred the thoughts.

Saw a movie on the flight home. Am not recommending this for general viewing as apparently, the non-plane version includes a lot of questionable content. What is not questionable is that the movie attempts to reinforce the point that career over family is never a good choice. There is a powerful scene or two that makes the point very clear.

Culture tells you that the choice should be easy; family should win every time. In reality, outside those cliches, it isn't easy. Those choices are not mutually exclusive, but overlapping. Sometimes the choice for family means choosing career. Fatherhood and husbandhood (I'm coining this word, I know) are all about sacrifice. And often, sacrificing self for the sake of provision is a necessary sacrifice. Now, working 120 hr weeks to get that senior attached to your VP on top of a six-figure income is not what I am talking about here. There's really no excuse for that, in my opinion. But bring this down to a man working two jobs to provide for a family of six, and that family over career question not so easy, is it?

Never boil down complexities such as the entirety of what a man would do for his family into cliche suggestions. Rarely does life neatly wrap itself up in dream sequences over 120 minutes.


and they will level you to

Lots of consecutive posts about what I'm getting from the Word. Either a good sign of a return, or not focusing on the external, or not being creative. Not like I care actually. In any case, John 16:12. That's what I came here to talk about. In John16:12 Lord says, "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."

I'm reminded of Nicholson's famous truth uttering. There is this idea that you can only take so much of a concept (truth, Spirit, et al). I teach against the idea of a Spirit tap, and in this particular instance, the analogy is even more inappropriate.

The idea that you cannot bear the Lord's uttering is not due to some topped off container completely brimming with Spirit. That is exactly what is NOT happening here. It is rather like the martial arts belt system where each color has prior color prerequisites. Certain spiritually mature truths (and perhaps powers) do not lend themselves to infants; Pauline letters acknowledge as much. Walk of faith can be seen as perpetual training toward better belts and accompanying truths and Spirit.


did not answer her a word

Mentioned two days ago that the Lord makes many definitive statements. Jesus does not reside in grey areas, which is why the question of who He is is the singular defining question that all must answer, either now or before the throne. In John15:23, Lord makes another definitive statement.

"He who hates Me, hates My Father also."

There is no lack of clarity in this statement. One either accepts the Lord or not. But not accepting the Lord means not accepting the Father. Many who state a general belief in the Almighty will take issue with this statement. But taking an issue with the statement is, in and of itself, an answer to the question. It doesn't matter whether or not you accept the question as legitimate.

The reason for the directness is clear. He doesn't want any lawyers before the throne trying to argue over the definition of the word "is". Lord looks you square in the eyes and asks you the simple question. And answering the question with a debate fares no better than a "no".


close attention to yourself

I'll ignore the ridiculousness of the use of the Lord's name in merchandise in this famous saying. I've covered that enough before. Those T-shirts capture the Prot focus on the Lord being your friend, an intimate connection that may or may not be too intimate with a being that can breathe the world into existence.

John15:15 is a striking v, however. I pored over John15, and the next morning friendly lyrics filled my waking thoughts, as if a reminder that He wants that level of intimacy. He is offering that level of intimacy. I don't think He means for you to disrespect Him with your overly friendly terms of endearment. Then again, His heart breaks for me in ways I cannot understand, and that love might very well be accompanied by an intimate arm across my shoulders.


a sincere heart in full assurance

It's like I don't remember this exists, I'm sure is the prevailing thought. Simply not the case. Sometimes that ten minutes to craft out a post really doesn't exist or exists against the choice of another activity deemed of more importance. Sometimes all that exists is the three-second scrawl of a thought or theme.

Today I look at a scrawl that reads "no leave orph v18". If it weren't for the steel-trap I call a mind, I wouldn't remember that John14:18 struck me as something worth examining.

It's odd that believers today quibble over the Lord's words as if He wasn't clear on a topic. You go through John and you can see all of the definitive statements He made; they were never maybe statements. And in v18, He makes two tender promises: not only that He would never leave or forsake us, but also that He will come again.

v18 seems to me one of the many singular v's in the Word that boils down what faith is. Faith in this v is a belief that God is always with us, and that God is returning. All between and around that is a complication of the truth. Lord promises companionship in ways other companions can only overpromise. This waterwalking can be made all the easier when we remember His promise to be before you, reaching out to you, hands extended, walking toward you, hands extended.


waiting anxiously for the mercy

"First Things First" {Matt6:25-34}
* Intro: Worry affects all, threatens all.
* Context: In those days, many literally lived day-by-day. Daily worry a very clear reality
* Don't worry about essentials (v25-32)
- Lord feeds birds, and we are more valuable
- Worry doesn't lengthen your life (won't change the situation)
- Lord clothes flowers, and you last longer
- Lord knows your needs -- why think He would ignore them then?
- Worry indicates we have forgotten He who has promised to care for us
- "Worry intrudes on God's compassionate reality to provide for us."
- Worry indicates we trust our provision over Lord's
* Make God's kingdom your priority (v33)
- "seek ye first": pursue, focus on
* Don't worry about your future (v34)
- Live by faith
- Analogy: driving in fog and outrunning headlights
- Phil4:6-7


to all, taking up the shield

A brother and sister are under attack right now. Their biggest strength (family) is the focal point of liar's claws. It is no coincidence that the attacks come as both are seeking to further the Lord's reach in their lives and in the lives of those close to them. Prayed for them this morning and tried to encourage him afterwards.

"You guys know the devil only attacks those being used by God, right?" I asked.

"We know," he replied. "We just didn't think it would come so fast."

Clear warning for all believers. All know the attack is coming. Few prepare for it. Few know how quickly liar will respond to kill the movement of the Spirit among His people.

It reminds of a scene in a recent movie where someone senses a disturbance immediately as events unfold. If you don't think liar knows right away when your Spirit increases, you are underestimating the power of darkness. Reminder that before you take that step of faith, pray not just for the faith for that first step, but also for protection on every step thereafter.


because your faith is greatly enlarged

Society's celebrity obsession extends even unto churches. Warren, Osteen, Jakes -- the list is long of churches and movements and beliefs represented by individuals rather than by flocks. The success of those churches, however, aren't what we may think them to be. They are not successes because of who represents the flock.

Congregations don't multiply in size via the force of a pastor's personality, charisma, or book-writing skills. In many cases, these personalities have been selected after a church has reached a particular size. What seems as a pastoral effect in those cases where a leader enters a church and the flock grows is merely coincidence.

Churches are not top-down organizations. A person's force of will cannot drive growth in a church the same way it does in a Fortune 500 company. Only the movement at the grass-roots -- the Spirit working simultaneously in individual hearts, the Spirit using individuals powerfully -- can grow a church from zero to several thousand in a few years; can cause a revival in a local community. Churches should think about that when they implement programs designed to grow a flock. They'd be better served focusing on the Spirit of God.


me without a cause

Still thinking about the thoughts that led to yesterday's post. Sent off a note today about a particular issue common to many churches and church leaders: being ministry-focused rather than people-focused. You must know right off the bat that this issue doesn't come from a bad heart. Intent and passion might be residing in those recesses, I don't doubt that at all. I'm sure it comes from a desire to model the love of Christ, which He wants you to model actively. Action in ministry is in and of itself not the issue.

The issue comes when you think having ministries is enough. The issue comes when your focus becomes having many active ministries. The issue comes when you no longer see the ones for whom these ministries only touch the surface. The issue comes when those you serve become consumers of some service, a blur beyond recognition.

Lord calls us to serve the needy, love the widow, minister to the sick. But He doesn't ask us to do it out of obligation, but rather out of love. He calls for our service to come via a changed heart. Without that change, the action is completely useless to the Lord. That service is meant to serve you as well.


and leads them out

Spoke up a few days ago and discussed the need for heart change. Spoke to a brother and discussed Josh7 and the sin of Achan. For those who don't want to spend the time recalling the story, Achan hid some loot from the rest of the tribe, but could not hide it from the Lord. The result of the hidden sin was the defeat of Israel in battle. The sin and sinner were rooted out. Israel atoned for its sin by stoning Achan and his family.

You might call this excessive punishment. What did the family have to do with the sin? Obviously, you can't hide the amount of loot that Achan had taken without the entire family also knowing of the sin and abetting him with their silence. At the same time, I'll proffer an additional reason: because leaders of tribes lead with their whole families and not themselves.

Churches these days survive and function on the energy and spirit of a committed 10%. That 10% often spreads across the branches of several families. It is rare that a single member of a family participates completely without the whole serving together. That is the Biblical ideal: families that model the familial aspects of the Trinity and our role as children of the Father. It highlights all the more the importance of the shepherding father. The poor shepherd can not only adversely affect a tribe/congregation, but also the consequences for said infraction will also be paid family-wide.

This didn't head where I was expecting it to head. Expected to discuss the sins of leaders affecting a flock. Turned out to be geared toward fathers and families. I'll take that as divine lesson and discuss leadership failings another time. My guess is that topic will, unfortunately, not go away.


in the center of the court

This is an example of why I dislike sites like Beliefnet. They think they do a service to faith and religion by bringing up the discussion of faith in areas where faith is generally not seen. But to use small examples of faith to hock a television show is ridiculous.

Faith sites should be hyping series where faith is the central theme. The Ten Commandments remake. Easter specials, even those produced with a bias. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Even a Mel Gibson interview. There, discussions of faith are the central component.

Shows like Friday Night Lights where they tangentially mention faith only serves to marginalize faith even more. The faith is the backdrop and character story, not the wholly important issue. Isn't that the whole problem with society's treatment of religion? That God is an afterthought to be fitted into our lives where we have room? Shouldn't faith sites be refraining from contributing to the trivialization of faith?


relief for your breakdown

Thinking lately of the brokenness of people, and the use the Lord has for them. Many have pointed out the fact that the Lord only uses broken people, because His power is evident through their brokenness. And yet churches today seek only those without clear faults, don't they?

John9:34 has an interesting v. Pharisees criticize the reasoning and logic of a man born blind made well. Their reasoning and logic is that sinners can't possibly teach anything, can they?

Churches see reformed sinners as good testimonies of the saving power. They see them as good role models of what not to do. They'll listen to their histories as cautionary tales. But why not see them as something more than lessons not to be repeated? Why not see them as the broken through which His power is revealed? We look for the perfect resumes and the model homes. Why not seek out the broken, knowing His power will be made perfect in their weakness?


gifts to your children, how

"What Kids Need from Caring Adults pt3"
* Affection
- "Encouragement is the words, affection is the action"
- Barcelona Olympics story
* Responsibility
- Biblical mandate to instill responsibility in young ones
- Will protect them from apathy
- Will protect them from blame mentality
- Will protect them from victim mentality
* Fun
- Prov17:22
- Lighten up and schedule fun
* Peaceful home
- Their sanctuary and refuge
- A place where they can be imperfect and thus grow into perfection
* Application
- Starts w/ peace in own hearts via relationship with Lord {Col1:20, Rom12:10}
- Be biggest advocate for own children


who also follow in the steps of the faith

From tomorrow's musings on faithwalks:

"Psalm 128:1 says, 'How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways.'"

"The world is busy distracting you with its drama, and God wants you to remember that you can come to Him with your problems and He will take you to a grassy meadow, and He will take you to that quiet river, and He will protect you from all that drama. And He will do all that if you focus on God. Your life, your walk with God is meant to be one of peace."

"Sometimes you will be gripped by utter terror in trusting God on where He is leading you. But God says I am here for you and my hand is here for you and will you walk to me, will you walk to me? Your life, your walk with God is meant to be one of trust."

"Sometimes the walk of faith is up a pebbly slope with a heavy burden across your shoulders. And even being beside God Himself doesn't reduce the heaviness of that burden. In addition to the walk of peace, and the walk of trust, is the walk of trial. God doesn’t promise sunny days all the time. Part of following God involves enduring trial, even when you feel that all you’ve done is stand there like an innocent bystander. God says that where He’s leading you will sometimes be difficult to get through. Even in Psalm 23 it describes the Shepherd leading the sheep 'through the valley of the shadow of death'."

"Something in all these walks is the same: it is not the path that is important, nor is it the effort or the journey. How and where and how quickly we walk – none of that is the central point. What is important about the walk is the One we are following. God promises only our best interests in leading us on our particular trail, on our individual walks of faith. He promises to be there with us on that walk. He promises that His love for you is the reason for all this walking. And He is waiting to take you to a grand destination."


if you forgive the sins of any

It is no small wonder that, not only is this wonderful story about forgiveness not getting the attention it deserves, but also that MSM would find ways to disparage it altogether. Mel spouts his mouth while drunk? Front page news. Pat calling for assassinations? Front page news. Sex scandals and altar boys? Front page news for months.

An act of forgiveness bred out of realization of the forgiveness offered us by the death of the Son of God on Calvary? Let's make sure this gets buried under news of midterm elections. Another clear example that the world is not looking for ways to bring themselves to cross the bridge. They are instead looking for reasons to justify continuing to live the way they want to live in their current meaningless existence.


heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him

Heard said that true prayer involves Lord doing far more talking than you. Listening is such an important asset in everyday matters, and why would you think that not true in your relationship to God? Plugged in on the flight home listening to the melodies and tunes that draw me near the throne, and there is an indescribable joy soothing the recesses of my heart, and that, my friend, is prayer. Lord doesn't ask you to always think and form points and outline your thoughts. Often, He asks you simply to allow yourself to be soothed, to follow His leading you to still waters.

Your time with Him needn't be in a special corner with your notebook and pen and highlighted Word and prayer list. It can be any place that allows you to hear that calling, that tugging, that voice that says, "That green pasture over there? Feel that cool breeze? Because you and I have a few minutes scheduled to wander through its soothing."


you know nothing at all

Clarity isn't always what you think it is. It isn't always knowing the right answer. Often, clarity is merely knowing that how you approached answering the question was clearly done to His liking. Clarity can still be present in choices that seem uncertain.

If you see four branching roads and ask for clarity and discernment, and all you get is the removal of a branch, that doesn't meen clarity isn't in knowing which branch needed to be lopped; clarity doesn't have to be the arrow sign down one lane. Clarity at that time might simply be the clear-headed awareness that you needn't take that first step down any lane just yet.


and has given all things

My father turns seventy today, one of the factor's contributing to yesterday's thoughts. A few weeks back, I spoke on the topic of men and shepherding. I posited that men needed to do more for their family than provide and win bread; that, in fact, merely providing without shepherding is failure. Thinking about that today and I think differently.

If all you can do is give your all, if all you can do is sacrifice -- your aspirations, your visions, your own self -- for your loved ones, how can anyone ask for more? Lord only asks for you to give your all for the sake of others, it is the definition of Christ-like sacrifice. And if you do that, can it still be called failure?

The measure of a man is what he has to show for his sacrifice. And yes, what you want is a family brought closer to God. But if in the end, all you have are lives still worth living, lives enabled to live, I won't be the one disparaging that at all. I could not ask much more of myself.


and it is enough for us

Getz is the one who posits What is the measure of a man?. He answers that question via character traits as that is how he believes the Lord will answer that question. The question is a profound one, and one that reflection upon what one has, what one has accomplished, what one has not accomplished, what one is over the course of a life will cause the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

Word says that eternity is placed on the heart of all men. Don't know whether or not it also states that measuring oneself over a lifetime also resides there as well. But that's as true a statement as any in my mind. As provider, man can only wipe his brow and catch his breath and look back at the fullness of what was and wonder whether it was enough; wonder what he has to show for all the sweating and breath-losing. And apart from a Godly perspective, that will certainly never be enough. And even in a Godly perspective, the temptation to feel it lacking surely stands strong.

The sadness rests in measuring another man; wondering whether or not he is measuring the self in ways you expect he might. And you want to tell him that the scale he is using is all wrong. That the measurement is faulty. And that the final calculation will be far more wonderful than he can perhaps see on his own.


is able to raise up children to

"What Kids Need from Caring Adults pt2"
* Intro: All have messed up. Goal of parenting not to be ideal, but to have ideals.
* Role Models
- #1 influence on kids is parent(s)
- You are always being watched
- Model integrity: Kids know we are not perfect; desire for us to admit as much
- Model growing faith
- Deut6:5-8: Pass on faith in action (hands); pass on knowledge of His ways and words (forehead)
* Encouragement
- "We live in a world where kids are force-fed a diet of discouragement."
- Encourage kids to be Christ-like {Titus2:11-15}
- Important to build them up {Rom14:19, 1Thess5:11}
- Catch your kids doing right
- Praise beyond performance: who they are, not what they have done
- Say it perpetually
* Discipline
- For guidance, not punishment {Heb12}
- Love must accompany discipline
- Be delicate -- spirits more fragile than body
- Be wise
* Strength to accomplish all these things is through Him alone


continued to grow and become strong

The other day marked the passing of the second year of this virtual exploration of the walk of faith, of trying to see the heart of God in all I am and do and become. The first twelve were a surprise; the second twelve were an astonishment. I expect the next twelve to be something of a miracle.

I know I can never predict the ending of the searching. Not just because the end can't be predicted, but because the heart of God never ceases to be something with more layers than we have time for unraveling. The great beauty of knowing God, of knowing Jesus is that He allows us to experience Him and find Him in the same personal and tangible way that we find out who our soulmate is by spending a lifetime by her side.

Jesus called. I called back. At the end of that conversation, He said I'll catch you later...


another steps down before me

An idea for perhaps a larger sermon, another unfinished work, or simply preparation for the day before the young ones: types of faithwalks. Three very different passages came to mind describing the kinds of walks we are called to make when we turn over the heart to Heaven.

First faithwalk comes in the form of Ps23. It is the one envisioned by all who bow the knee. Lord says He will lead you beside the still waters. Lord says He will take you through liar's house without harm. Lord says He will take you to this house where you will dwell in the midst of love and mercy and goodness. This vision, however, sometimes ends in disappointment and shock when the trials come a-calling. But this walk of peace is significant.

Second faithwalk comes in the form of Matt14 and Peter on the waves. It is the one encountered by all who bow the knee. Lord says He will call you and you need to follow. And sometimes you won't know where you are headed. And sometimes you will feel completely unprepared. And sometimes you will be gripped by utter terror in the going. But Lord says I am here for you and my hand is here for you and will you walk to me walk to me walk to me. This walk of trust is significant.

Last faithwalk comes in the form of Luke23 and Simon of Cyrene. It is experienced by all who bow the knee. Lord promises trial and tribulation and undrossing fire to all. And the walk of faith is often up pebbly slopes with a heavy burden across our shoulders. And even being beside the Lord doesn't reduce the burden. And the end of the road of that steep walk is sometimes a horrible place. This walk of pain is significant.

Something in all these walks is the same: it is not the path that is central, nor is it the effort or journey. It is, in fact, the One we are following. He promises only our best interests in leading us on our particular trail. He promises to be there with us on that trail. He promises that His love is the reason for this walking. Something in all these walks, indeed.


He applied clay to

A brother and I discussed an upcoming class on the nature of our shape (according to Saddleback, for what that's worth) and gifts, and the usage of the two in the service of God. I took the possibly contrary position that our shape can be defined by the service, rather than the other way around.

The other way around seems to me as if the Lord ends the molding and allows us to find where we fit. Lord hasn't shaped us; He shapes us. And that one-letter difference reflects a growing faith, a continuous walk. The other tells us the work is all done in us so we may as well get used.

The whole waterwalking is about taking the step first regardless of the shape and gifts. You trust in taking that step that the leading is towards those areas where we fit. And if we don't fit, perhaps He'll do the molding necessary to have us fit, or at the very least, lead us somewhere else. But assuming the shape will do the leading rather than the Shaper doing the leading seems to me completely out of order.


foolish men and slow of heart

Where Harvard goes, there goes the world. As Harvard has listened more and more to liar and gone from pastors' college to representative of all things secular and evil, the world has followed. Now a bastion of humanism and secularism, it will lead the shadows before the throne of God one day before their trek to the shores of the lake.

You might think this means I am delighted by the recent turn of events. No, my friend, that is simply a mask for more delightful evil ahead. The recommendation will simply mean more will be introduced to a greater variety of untruths. It will mean more will be given liars' lenses from which to view the truth. It will mean more discussion of tolerance and relativity, rather than a saving knowledge of the Son of God.

Harvard stands as the ultimate symbol for the world turning its back on God. It will end its days having the roles reversed on that great day.


into the fire and they are burned

Try to ignore MSM as much as possible. Know that the news will never report the Lord or His believers in a positive light. Usually their evil ways are accomplished via slanted headlines, liberal asides, or a biased perspective. Rarely do they out and out lie. Or perhaps not so rarely. But when they do so and attempt to slander one of His beloved ones? The whole article engendering the rage today can be read here.

The crux of the piece lies in Newsweek's reporter trying to lead readers to believe that Billy has softened and changed his viewpoint on the singular nature of salvation in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone. The biased character portrait from Newsweek places some doubt into Billy's words. It takes Billy having to write in to the editors to remind readers that only Christ can save.

Here's some info for you, media. Lord says that it would be better for you to tie a millstone around your wretched neck and cast yourself into the water than to lead one of His little ones astray. And trying to use one of His saints in the leading astray? That's just asking for a larger millstone. And the water on that grand day when you receive your just rewards? That water there be fire, yo. Fire fire fire.


seeking rest, and not finding any

Two days later and still thinking about a counter-intuitive v. Check out Ps77, specifically v3: "When I remember God, then I am disturbed."

The psalm starts off as your typical psalm crying out to God. But usually when you get to the remembering God part, you move to praise and strength and rescue. But this one moves to a disturbance.

In context, this all makes sense of course. The psalmist is speaking about sleeping, and so the disturbance isn't some moral disturbance or worry, but actual awakening from sleep. That's confirmed a v later when it says in v4 that He "held my eyelids open." The psalm then goes on to remember all the great things the Lord has done for the psalmist, proof that He has not abandoned Asaph, that Asaph can return to peaceful rest.

As one who struggles with consistent and restful sleep, this v troubles me. Always assumed, and knew, really, that liar and the shadows have been the ones responsible for rest deprivation. Perhaps some of those have instead been from the light. Perhaps in all my wanderings to find rest, I needn't run away from darkness, but rather flee towards the light.


though they bring up their children

"What Kids Need from Caring Adults"
* Intro: Culture negatively influences raising of children in this world -- how to go against that influence
* Begin w/ end in mind; define "good kid"
- Confidence: they "know who they are because they know whose they are"
- Character: have integrity and moral compass
- Conviction: beliefs rooted in Christ
- Compassion: heart for others; mercy
- Competence: know own gifts/skills; see selves as difference-makers
* Belief in value of being parent {Ps127:3,5a}
- Children are gifts
* Presence (time)
- Not quantity over quality but vv
- Guilt deserved if putting own priorities over those of little ones
- Personal sacrifice
- Career sacrifice
- Ditch cellphones when w/ kids
- Focus, face them, & give feedback
* Memories
- Create traditions -- "add to flavor of memories"
- Capture memories
- Prioritize vacations
- Create adventures (i.e. missions trip as family)