will sing to your name

In the mood for worship. Check out the following three videos. The first is a David Crowder Band song I'm getting to like. The second is Kutless doing two familiar songs. And the third is a classic performed by David Crowder. Anyone who says young people don't love God haven't been to one of these guys' concerts. They love Jesus; their crowds love Jesus; and both they and their crowds love to sing that love to Jesus. Lesson for every silent, arms-down congregation everywhere.


and falsely say all kinds of evil

Dear Mr. Osteen,

I'd call you "Pastor" but you certainly don't deserve that title. Please listen to the following excerpt from a John Piper sermon. Piper has earned the title of Pastor; in fact, he might be the best pastor in America. He could teach you a thing or two or eight million about why liar rejoices every time you open your blasphemous mouth. You want a better you? How about cutting back on the lies you spew every week.

Oh, and by the way. Christ says that to mislead little ones, it would be better to have a millstone around your neck as you are cast into the depths. Go do the math and see how many hundreds of thousands listen to you each week or read your books. I can't calculate the weight of that millstone. But I will, however, enjoy watching the casting into the depths before that throne.


unless he has captured something

Photography is meant to capture a moment. Presumably, that moment is captured so that you can later recall that moment. Away from the loved ones this week, and it pains me not to be able to see them. So spent some of last night smiling at a folder full of digital pics.

Here's the spiritual jump. Ready for it? When we are away from the Lord, how come we don't spend time recalling moments with God?

People always say "Count your blessings" but I don't know whether they mean that sincerely or not. Because if it is sincere, it's very good advice. Every few days we should be mulling on how great God has been to us. Isn't that what the Psalms are really about for David? Written odes to moments in his life recalling the greatness of God?

For the past few years, have structured my reading schedule to include a Psalm every Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday, allowing me, like David to reflect every few days on who God is and what He has done. It's a wonder believers these days don't craft their own psalms, reminders of those moments in our lives, like photographs, captured for us to recall later.

Wait. Isn't this what this whole thing is about?


you, bring rooted and grounded

The first half of 1Sam23 is a great lesson on doubt. When we think of doubt, we see it as the opposite of faith. We point to Jesus talking to Thomas and think of it as a reprimand against doubt. We see Jesus talking to Peter on the sea and think of it as another example of a Jesus incredulous at the lack of faith of a disciple. And then when we have questions about our faith, we wonder whether we've lost the entirety of what we believe because we have a single question.

When in our understanding of faith did we get to the point where an ounce of doubt outweighed a pound of faith?

In 1Sam23, David asks the Lord whether or not he should attack the Philistines, and the Lord tells him absolutely. But when David's men express some doubt, it causes some doubt in David and so he returns to the Lord and asks Him once again if he should attack the Philistines. God does NOT rebuke David. Instead, the Lord confirms His original command, and reassures David that the Philistines will be delivered into his hand. This is reminiscent of Gideon's multiple mat testing in Judges.

Revisit doubting Thomas. Jesus doesn't yell at Thomas. He doesn't question Thomas' doubt. He merely instructs him that it is so much better to believe without having that belief confirmed. Upon that water, Jesus doesn't cast aside Peter for his doubt. He merely wants to understand why Peter would have doubt when Jesus can do all things, and has shown as much to Peter time and again.

The Lord desires us to have this amazing faith that wavers not. But He certainly doesn't hold it against us when we do wobble. See, liar wants you to think that a single doubt can undermine the entirety of what you hold dear. But 1Sam23 tells us that, no, the Lord doesn't turn Himself off just because we needed some additional confirmation. Like Christ on the water, He is there to hold your hand, to hold you steady, to ask "Are you sure you're okay?" before He lets you go.


did not have too much

Greed is a basic human characteristic; we always want more than what we have. And at a basic level, we can agree that certain desires for more when one already has much is outrageous. The rich man with six cars (all BMWs) who decides to go get that Cadillac because he wanted a different ride for every day of the week, I think we can all agree that he's too greedy. We may quibble over how much is too much, sure, but overall, I think we'd agree that when you have something of tremendous value, asking for more than that is ridiculous.

The more I think about eternal life as we approach Good Friday in just under four weeks, the more I am disgusted with the worship of Easter by evangelicals. I think we undervalue the price of having our slates wiped clean. I think we don't see the tremendous value of being square with God. I don't think we get what a treasure we have in simply knowing that every bad thing we've ever done, every ounce of unholiness in us has been taken care of.

No, we still want that mansion in the sky. We still want those streets paved with gold. We still want that eternity in Heaven. We still want those ten thousand years with no less days. And admittedly, if you were to covet anything, you should covet eternal life since there is nothing else worth desiring. But when you already have that debt paid, to think that somehow not enough? How is that not the height of avarice?


because of the works themselves

"Ready for Good Deeds" {Titus3:1-7}
* 2 worlds -- must pay attention to both
- present here & now (city of man)
- invisible & eternal (city of God)
* Matt5:14-16: shine as lights via good deeds
* Remember to shine as lights (v1-2)
* Attitudes & actions toward governing authorities (v1)
- Be subject and obedient (same as be subject, clarifying)
- Except when law contradicts God's law (Acts4-5)
- Be ready for every good deed {Titus1:16, 2:7, 2:14, 3:1, 3:8, 3:14}
- "Lives lived for Christ foundational to evangelism"
* Attitudes & actions towards all non-Christians (v2)
- To slander no one
- To be peaceable {Rom12:18} and considerate (gentle, patient)
- To show true humility to all men
- "Those who are saved by grace need to look after those who still live in darkness"
* Reason for this lifestyle (v3-7)
* Our unsaved condition in past (v3)
- We were foolish, disobedient, deceived, & enslaved by sin
- We lived in malice, envy, & in hatred (hating others & being hated)
* God's work in our lives in present (v4-7)
- God saved us by His grace {Eph2:9-10}
- Salvation not by our righteous deeds (v5a)
- Washing of regeneration = sanctification {Eph5:26}
* Application
- "Must earn right to be heard before preaching the Gospel"
- Encourage one another to good deeds
- It takes authenticity & integrity to win a hearing
- Impossible to convince anyone of a truth you're not living


and I have found no fault

I made some mention of baptism before dinner this evening, and the wondrous one and I began some conversation about mode of that washing. She then pondered, "Why do we [believers] argue about such silly things?" Great question.

Don't confuse "silly things" with such important concepts as ability to lose one's salvation, or whether homosexuality is okay with God, or whether the mother of God is divine, or whether women can kill babies and call it choice. Those arguments are critical for all sorts of reasons. I'm talking about whether dancing should be outlawed, whether "wine" in John 2 means "grape juice", and whether how wet you get constitutes the proper ritual.

I think these silly arguments exist because faith is so important. People are perfectionists for different reasons. That first date? Want to make a good impression. That job interview? Want to impress that future employer. The dog show? Want that blue ribbon. That new recipe? Want it to taste just like grandma's dessert. We argue about these things with our brethren because faith is so important, and we do want to get it just right.

Oh, and about that answer? Really doesn't matter. Just get wet.


can I not follow you right now

One of the sweet things turned five this week, and around this age, my belief is that faith can start to be taken seriously, and concepts like Communion can be explained to children in preparation for their first taste of that Grand Meal. The wondrous one wasn't sure if the sweet thing was ready. "Has he even accepted the Lord yet?" was her query. My counter was that there were plenty of clear signs of fruit and the work of the Spirit in his life, and that there is no sinner's prayer in the Word.

Modern evangelicals see the start of faith as an on/off switch -- that there must exist some clear and definite moment of asking. One doesn't just stumble into faith; it must be a conscious choice. I'm not so sure I agree with this reasoning.

My belief is that the reason so many take this position is because it provides them a future out should a person's life go a different direction. I can imagine someone passing away and his mother saying, "I know XXX spent the past few years troubled and running away from life, but I'm so glad that when he was six I was able to lead him through the sinner's prayer, so I know he's with Jesus right now."

Faith has always been to me a journey. And young ones can start that journey because their parents prodded them down that route, pointing toward that Savior walking in the distance and telling their little ones to keep following. That journey can begin without that young one stating to himself, "You know I really want to be going on this trip." They might find themselves on that journey for many years before realizing what a grand adventure it is, and where it's leading is where they want to be. And that walk of faith didn't begin at that moment of realization; their walking had been for some time.



would i ever have to defend
for the sake of love you became
finished is it
finished it is
and done before the morning arisen

i wanted once to fly
my own heart,
left there alone as it felt

i look for that release from pain
i am i look up to claim
work done once
work once done
and before that disappearing light begun

i think it a last resort, that last
then times
i see you clambering up that tree
at all cost for me
and i see
that those that long to fly can be
can cling to you,
and arms spread wide like wings
be free


and he who loves son

"A wise son makes his father glad." {Prov10:1}


I will correct you properly

I didn't mention what the name of the ER episode was from whence came yesterday's clip, but the episode title was fittingly "Atonement". Been thinking a lot about that word, actually. On Saturday, my mother visited an acquaintance she hadn't seen in over a decade. Leading up to the visit, there seemed to be a lot of urgency in her to visit this person, despite her not being more than a simple acquaintance. The wondrous one accompanied my mother on this visit and told me about some of the first words out of my mother's mouth.

Turns out that a dozen years earlier, they had gotten together for a visit, and then this acquaintance invited my parents to another get-together to meet some friends. My father wrote down the address and placed it into his shirt pocket -- which became a mangled, unintelligible mess after it was put through the wash. My parents ended up not going to this get-together.

Flash back forward. My mother's first words to this person was an apology for missing this get-together from beyond a decade earlier. Considering I am very much my mother in temperament and guilt-ridden OCD genes, I don't have to imagine long that some monstrous level of guilt had been inside her for lo these many years. No wonder the urgency to get this meeting over as quickly as possible (this lady turned 90 this year, so extra urgency).

It's very human -- we all have situations of remorse and guilt and regret that we carry with us. Many of us go to great lengths to rectify these situations. Heck, it's step #8 for AA. Even a popular show operates on this premise. So why would anyone think that they wouldn't need atonement on a spiritual level? You might be settling these debts on earth, but why can't you see that need beyond these physical constraints? There are eternal issues that don't get dealt with no matter how many sorrys you end up uttering. All this to remind you, you need a Savior.


the truth, it is to your advantage

EO posted the clip below this morning, and it's astonishing. That it appeared on mainstream TV on a somehow still popular show makes it near miraculous. It takes about 0:25 before God is mentioned, and then it builds to some great statements by the 1:35 mark about weak Christianity, then it moves to a great line at the 1:55 mark: "I want a real chaplain, one who believes in a real God and a real hell." The rest of it is angry goodness.

I stopped watching ER ages ago, so can't say what happens the rest of this episode. Perhaps they whitewash religion later on. But at least for one moment, they perfectly depict the despair of a soul headed for eternal separation, and one who knows it, and one who demands actual truth rather than the spirituality preached by such snake-oil salesmen like Osteen. Watch the clip and ask yourself if your church is preaching definitive answers or feel-good pulp. And if the answer is the latter, ask yourself why you submit to weekly sessions of lies approved by the devil himself.


has filled your heart

"What Can I Do? Preparing Your Child -- from Relationships to Marriage"
* Covey's 2nd habit of HEP: "Begin w/ end in mind"
- All worth it: mistakes, effort, time
- "No way to be perfect parent; million ways to be good one"
* Give it your best shot
* The Beginning
- Most important lesson you will ever teach your child in area of relationships & marriage is the one you live before them w/ own spouse
- Even in troubled marriages, God still sovereign; truth will win it
- No need to hide shortcomings -- kids already know; be open about mistakes and struggles
* Foundation#1: Guard your heart {Prov4:23}
* Foundation#2: Do not awaken love before due season {SongSol2:7, 3:5, 8:4}
* Four pillars of relationship training: exclusivity, physical, emotional (expression of affection), light
* Exclusivity
- Should? Yes, designed by God for monogamy (A&E)
- When? TBD w/ spouse
- Goal not just virginity -- much more at stake; being whole & healthy more than just sexuality
- Not about rules/terms -- character/heart issues
- "Don't confuse average w/ normal"
* Physical
- Red ferrari story
- We are built for open road; no natural stopping point
* Expression of affection
- Phys strugg diff for boys than girls; emotional strugg similar area for girls
- Protect girls' ears; teach boys emotion not weapon to be wielded
* Live in Light
- Enemy loves dark
- Things grow in power in dark
- Encourage open discussion of feelings
- "We love you & we're going to get through this"
* Applications
- Never too early/late to start
- Sit down w/ spouse & plan
- Set up family meeting(s)
- Have dates w/ children
- Keep eye on ball


to obedience of faith

Had coffee with a brother yesterday am and he spoke of "balance" -- how it was difficult to have any while juggling marriage, family, career, and ministry; that changes needed to happen since he didn't feel like he could do any one of these things well as is. Been mulling that over as I consider my own (lack of?) balance.

I actually think he has it wrong. By definition, balance is where all things are stabilized, and not where one thing is done well. Doing one thing really well will affect the others; it's a zero-sum game. Want to make partner? Going to have spend that time at the office, hurting marriage and family and ministry. Want to play the martyr and fill your passion by giving your all to ministry all the time? Can't see how that does well by the marriage and family. Want to focus on just that household of yours? Going to have to say good-bye to late-night meetings with the boss, and it might mean you scale back on the ministry stuff.

Lord doesn't want you to get that blue ribbon in any one category. He doesn't expect you to have that strength, that time, that ability. He wants you to be obedient, and at different times, sacrifice the other things for the sake of the one He shows you as priority for that time period, before He switches things up again. Trying to do all things well? How about try to do the one thing well: follow.


he who ignores reproof

The video below never got any press on ESPN, or ESPN2 or Sports Illustrated. I don't recall any media stories about Tyree's faith after his amazing catch. This GetReligion article contains a quote from an SI writer who admits that once he hears anything about faith from an athlete, he ignores it. MSM only covers religious angles when the story is negative. But when a miraculous catch happens and it's attributed to God? Silence.

There won't be silence on JDay, I'll tell you that. There'll be lots of noise from you all, lots of it.


that you may have strength to

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of David & Goliath. Not just because it's a memorable fight (which appeals to the testosterone in me). Not just because of the rousing speech given in 1Sam17:45-47 (which appeals to the action movie fan in me). And not just because it stars David (which appeals to the imperfect Christian in me). But because it showcases the strength of God amidst our smallness.

Note that David takes five stones to fight Goliath instead of one. Did he think he'd miss? Did he think it would take more than one stone to down someone as large as Goliath? Did he for an instant think he'd have to win this on his own, that God wasn't really with him?

Whether or not some form of doubt crept into his mind, the Lord still delivered him. And that's the kind of God we have. No question that you will fall short, that you will doubt, that you will be small when the situation calls for bigness. But also no question that God is big enough to deliver you despite all these things. Those stones measure your level of faith and trust, and no matter the amount you carry to make you feel safe, that's a big God over there, and after delivering you, He'll remind you that you really needed only carry the one.


picking out the places

I don't watch hockey. But even if I did, I can barely watch what happened the other night when a player's skate almost severed the carotid of a teammate. That was similar to an incident almost nineteen years earlier.

The player who suffered the earlier neck-slashing (Clint Malarchuck) describes the nightmares he suffered -- still suffers. "It's something that never leaves you," he states. He says further, "it can end like ... that. When God calls you, you're obliged to go."

The fear of death -- sudden or otherwise -- should stay with us. Our time here is already mapped out, and we do not know that final chapter. Sports accident, terminal disease, freak act of nature, natural causes -- all of these are options in front of us, except we don't get to choose.

That fear should stay with you, but it need not haunt you. Because how you go will still be unknown to you; but where you go afterwards is, in fact, still yours to decide. Only two options are available to you: eternal separation from God better known as Hell, or eternity by His side, Heaven. And really, you aren't choosing between Hell or Heaven, because that's an easy choice. You are choosing whether or not you allow Jesus Christ to take you to your destination.

Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me." If you reject Christ as your Savior, He will take you to that first path without your consent. But if you ask Him into your life, He will hold your hand to the promised land. It's that simple.

Marlarchuk, and now Zelednik almost faced that forked road, but were given a second chance to make that choice of Savior if they hadn't already done so. When will you face that forked road? No one knows, especially you. When will you make that choice of Savior? Hopefully, soon. Hopefully, soon.


foolish and ignorant speculations

What kind of headline is THIS? There are so many problems in this article, I don't know where to begin.
* Churches are mentioned only once throughout the article, and yet they are the headline?
* They talk about the icy conditions and the impaired visibility, and yet the headline is about salvation?
* They insult churches by mentioning the sturgeon fishermen at the end to contrast people willing to brave the elements for what's important to them, implying churches don't find salvation something worth the effort.

I know what's not so cold, MSM. It's a big old lake. You'll be mighty warm there.

would pretend obedience to Him

It's a serious spiritual issue when you make decisions claimed to be based on spiritual principles, but when in reality the underlying reasons are something different. It's certainly an integrity issue. It's certainly an honesty issue. But it's also an obedience issue.

Obedience has nothing to do with what you want. It's easy to find the spiritual principle that might back up your desires. But the Lord doesn't want you living your life on Biblical principles if they defy His will for you. Living an upright life in the place you're not called to be, that's no better than shacking up before marriage -- either way, it's living in sin, living in disobedience. (maybe slight hyperbole, but not much)

Do me a favor: don't seek signs set up for the answer. Spare me the facade and simply follow your passions. Both paths lead to the same end, except one isn't lined with falsely constructed signposts.


for the worker is worthy

"God's School of Grace" {Titus2:9-15}
* Intro: Sometimes difficult & solitary to live Godly life -- but possible
* Directions for slaves (v9-10)
- Paul didn't actively preach against slavery; focused as always on heart of man no matter the situation
- Slaves = 21st century employees
- Voluntary submission
- Attempt to please bosses
- Do not talk back
- Do not steal (materials, time, ideas, et al)
- Show you can be fully trusted
- Purpose: so that you can adorn the Gospel; "make attractive"
* Reason for behaviors in Titus2
- Grace of God
- Grace = God gives us what we don't deserve, can never earn, and cannot repay
- Not universalism {John1:12; John14:6}
* Curriculum of Grace (v12)
- No to ungodliness
- No to worldly passions
- Live self-controlled
- Live upright/righteously
- Live Godly lives
* Motivation of Grace (v13)
- 1Thes4:13-15
- Blessed hope of His return {1John3}
* Goal of Grace (v14)
- To redeem us from all wickedness
- To purify; zealous for good deeds
* When you truly embrace grace, you don't abuse it


out of death into life

Potentially expanding a thought I had posed almost a year ago. In doing so, I've opened up ongoing conversations about the criticality of Easter. I understand that I risk heresy by challenging the evangelical love of Easter, but I maintain my contention that Easter at best is tied for first, and more likely, it is a very close second. Waiting for the responses to my thought from several. While waiting, defenses have come to mind:

* "It is finished."
* Mercy is needed; grace by definition is not needed but a wondrous extra
* One can happen without the other
* Mission clear: to die, not to rise
* Capital punishment analogy

You want hope? Sure, Easter morn brings it. But that hope is not greater than that love. 1Cor13 clear on that. You want that eternity? Sure, so do I. But that's just being greedy. All I need is that clean slate.


for this reason the world does not know

I've written on several different occasions on the potential long-term consequences for sin. It is difficult to mesh our view of an all-forgiving God with a God that penalizes people with consequences even years after they might have repented. In today's reading of 1Sam15, Saul is actively repenting in v24-25. Sammy rejects his repentance, so Saul repeats his repentance in v30. Doesn't matter. Sammy tells Saul that God has rejected his kingship over Israel. Two repentances and it doesn't matter.

I don't have the solution on how to mesh these two views. Certainly, from an eternal perspective, all sins are forgiven through Christ, so ultimately, no one can argue that God isn't forgiving. And certainly, some long-term consequences for sin make sense to us. An idiot who decides to drive drunk and loses his ability to walk when his car crashes into a pole will certainly not get a lot of sympathy for his idiocy.

I think the issue is that some times we mistakenly think that somehow, we are more forgiving than God. We feel like in the Saul situation, after two repentances, he seems sincere enough, let's go back and bless his kingship. But the Lord sees the heart of a man and knows when these repentances are meaningless. Did you see the small detail in 1Sam15:30? Saul tells Sammy that he wants to worship "the Lord your God". Saul doesn't even make God his own. No wonder the Lord rejects his kingship. A reminder that without the infinite knowledge of God, our capacity to make sense of things is limited and narrow. Consequences -- long-term or otherwise -- proceed from that infinite mind of God.


beforehand marked off for this

My reading today is Ps31, and today being Ash Wednesday, a particular verse stood out: "Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also." {Ps31:9}

The marking of foreheads is one of my favorite Catholic rites that I still practice. Too many churches today (COUGH COUGH Godless health & wealth churches COUGH COUGH) refrain from preaching about sin and repentance. On Ash Wednesday, not only are you focused and reflecting on sin and repentance, but you also mark yourself publicly proclaiming so.

AW also marks the beginning of the Lenten season, and the OPPORTUNITY to sacrifice for 40 days as a sign of commitment to the One who sacrificed Himself for us. Lent is a far better way to show your commitment to Christ than a WWJD bracelet, I'll tell you that.


to you who laugh now

Had a conversation yesterday with a brother on "happiness" and "joy". Certainly a difference between the two. Should Christians always be happy? No. Should Christians always be joyful? I think so. You have a Savior do what He did, and how does that grin ever leave your face? Somewhere in all the happiness and joy, laughter fits in. That was my segue for the two clips below (Tim Hawkins is HYSTERICAL). Not too shabby, I say.


are the pure in heart

The Super Bowl showed that perfection is a difficult thing to maintain. Even when you do things all right, there will come a time when everything goes all wrong. That goes not just for sports, but for everything you do all day long.

Drove my son to preschool this morning and as is our custom, I began talking to him about spiritual things. Last time, we spoke about diligence. This morning we talked about how Christ died for sins not just in the past or present, but for all time even into the distant future.

I followed that moment of perfection by three hours later picking him up from preschool and then, when irritated by his continued whining about his eyes which he said were hurting even though he was staring at me with both of them wide open, I informed him that if he kept up the whining, I'd be forced to take him to the hospital where it was likely they'd remove his eyes and he'd be blind and unable to continue learning to read. Talk about a Giant defeat.

It is the simple reason that the standards of Heaven are impossible to meet, and that there is no one good enough to be there on their own merit. Our short-term memories think of all those moments of perfection when we do the right thing, and even tons of these do not get past those moments, those singular moments when you are human. Seriously, go through even one day recording all you thought and said and did, and then after analysis don't realize that, yes, I do need a Savior.


the goal of our instruction is

"How to Live Out Your Faith" {Titus2:1-8}
* All are watched: by kids, by coworkers, by unbelieving world -- lifestyle biggest testimony of Christ in us
* The command {Titus2:1}
- "But you" directed to all believers (prob in Crete of false teachers)
- "Sound" doctrine = wholesome, healthy
* Directions to older men {Titus2:2}
- Older not always wiser or more mature
- Ps92:12-15
- Directed to those 50+
- Temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, soundness
* Directions to older women {Titus2:3-4a}
- Directed to those 60+
- "Likewise" -- same as directions to older men
- Reverence, careful in speech (sometimes easier to be pure than confidential), temperate, mentoring/encouraging
* Directions to young women {Titus2:4b-5}
- Directed to women w/ families
- Love husband, love children, self-controlled, pure, diligent, hospitable, Eph5
- Point? To honor God ("They are watching your marriage.")
* Directions to young men {Titus2:6-8}
- Self-controlled, doing good deeds, doctrinally sound, careful in speech
* Applications
- Learning sound doctrine doesn't automatically result in living a Christian lifestyle
- Understand the importance of doing good deeds


and see and ask for the

Lately, I've been praying for a lot of causes that seem hopeless (perhaps that's part of the problem -- lack of faith on my part because I see no hope?). Speaking to the wondrous one about one such cause and I mentioned that we should be open to the possibility that the Lord had no plans to redeem this situation -- not because He couldn't redeem it since He can redeem anything (perfect example: me), but because He had no intention of doing so for reasons too great for me to comprehend.

"Where's the hope or grace in that?" she posed.

Whenever we don't understand a situation because of the tragedy or sorrow involved, the presence of grace and hope and redemption is always a question. That young person dying of a disease? That soldier killed in war? That marriage broken up? That immoral law passed? That job lost? That child giving birth to a child? All real situations where plenty of prayers leading up to those events seem not to have budged the Lord from His plan.

Been asking the Lord lately in prayer not always for a particular solution (read: my solution) to be achieved, but rather for discernment of His will in the situation to temper my prayers. Rather than "Lord, please heal X", a "Lord, is your will for this illness to stay? Then, Lord please administer comfort to Y, and acceptance to X". One might see this as somehow making excuses for God and jumping to the worst-case scenarios because I lack faith in His power to save. Possibly. I see this as a maturation in prayer -- that asking for what I want to happen seems somehow less faithful than seeking to know His mind.


direct your hearts into the love of God

Take a look at the video below. I think it's amazing: the timing; the visuals; the coordination. It's set to one of my favorite songs of the past five years, a reminder that, me? Nothing. What I've done? Doesn't matter. You? Almighty God who loves you. What You've done? Everything for you.

the untaught and unstable distort

A lot has been written about the convergence of politics and religion. Huckabee's victory in Iowa can attest to the power of religious politics. Others warn that the mixing of these things is inherently bad, and will end in the diluting of both politics and worse, religion. The fact that a majority of Catholics have traditionally voted Democratic despite the DNC being anti-life and pro-sodomy is a perfect example.

In 1Sam13, Saul displeases the Lord by offering up a burnt offering rather than waiting for Sammy to come and do it. Then in 1Sam14, Saul orders the Ark of the Covenant to a battlefield despite the Lord already working through Jonathan and his armor-bearer to scatter the enemy.

The problem isn't that politics and religion shouldn't mix. Our legal system has hijacked morality (see: Roe v Wade) and placed moral decisions into the hands of those without the authority to make those decisions. So as believers with an obligation to protect righteousness, we have no choice but to elect and influence officials that can control this decision-making process with policies that reflect God's teachings. The problem is that once you mix the two, you open up the opportunity for people with bad judgment (see: Saul) to misuse religion for the sake of personal will rather than God's will.

I don't know the solution. Wait, I do. A theocracy run by Evangelicals. I can head that, if you wish.