saved it is the power of God

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing. -- Zeph3:17

I don't know about your God, but my God is mighty to save. My God can move the mountains. My God moved Heaven and earth because He loved me. My God deserves my praise, my singing. My God carried my cross. My God fought my battle, won my war. My God was here before and will be after. My God walked on water, and my God bade me walk to Him the same. My God is awesome.

Worship Him alone.


in righteousness, mighty to save

Yesterday I mentioned an addition to the list of things I want to do before I die. Here's another one. To experience thousands united in worship? Probably ranks slightly higher than listening to celebrities talk about their shows. In any case, clip below shows Hillsong at their best playing one of their most popular hits. Why haven't we sung this one yet?


and having given thanks

I've decided that on the list of things I want to do before I die is to attend the San Diego Comic-Con. Why? Because I'm a big nerd and geek, that's why. But also because rather than just read about cool new movies coming out, I could hear the announcements in person, and be part of the experience.

I'm not going to link to any video clips (you can search for them by yourselves), but one of the cool things I've seen from the Comic-Con are the TV show and movie panels that happen throughout the week. Stars of the actual shows often attend. But rather than seem disinterested as if they're only there out of contractual obligation to the production companies, what you see in the actors' faces and actions is actual gratitude to the fans. The stars of these shows realize that it is the extreme devotion of these fans that provide them their careers, their livelihoods. So we get actual gratitude on display by these celebrities.

Watched a video clip tonight and reflected on the idea of gratitude. If I knew that my life was due to someone else's devotion, how would I act? I don't think I have to fill in the blanks for you. The connection to Christ is fairly obvious. And if it isn't, you haven't been reading these posts long enough.


a thousand years like one day

My life in black and white.


has enough to complete it

"Run With Perseverance" {Heb12:1}
* Intro
- Origin of marathons: lesson on running w/ endurance
- 1996 Olympics gymnastics: lesson on perseverance
- "God is looking for finishers"
- "Too many have decided the life of faith is too difficult"
* Race marked out for us
- God Himself planned your race
- Your race is unique -- you never have to run someone else's race
- Don't compare self to others; not competing against other believers
- Competing vs Satan, world, own sinful flesh
* Let us run with perseverance
- Hupomone (Grk) = "to remain under"; endure under pressure
* Application
- Proper conditioning: God allows trial to strengthen us {Rom5:3-4, 1Tim4:7b-8}
- Proper diet: Daily Bible reading, Scripture memory, worship, service, etc.
- Training partner
- Play through pain -- God never demands us to finish first; just faithfulness to the finish


animals and crawling creatures of the earth

Follow-up to yesterday's post about prayers for cats, and then animals in general. Decided to do some quick research into whether or not there are animals in Heaven. If you do such a search you will find that not a single serious theology or religion site devotes anything to the subject. The only places you will find articles on the issue are at pet-lover sites. So not really objective sources, no.

After perusing several articles, these beast-friendly believers use the following arguments to state their case:
* That there are no specific verses in the Bible stating emphatically that there are no animals in Heaven. Yes, but there are no verses emphatically stating there is no cable television in Heaven, and I'm certain I won't be watching ESPN in eternity.
* That they can't picture Heaven as a quiet place devoid of the beautiful sounds of nature one would find in a jungle or forest created by God. Yes, but I can't picture Heaven as a place where rubies and diamonds and other precious jewels line the streets paved with gold, and yet that is what Revelations describes. Our imagination has nothing to do with the actuality of Heaven.
* That animals are so important to them that they can't imagine paradise without their loved ones. Guess what, genius. There are plenty of believers with unsaved relatives who they want with them in Heaven, too. Wishing our beloved to be with us doesn't bring them a spot there.
* That heaven is reserved for sinners, and since animals don't sin because they don't have the capability of choosing between right and wrong, they have never sinned; ergo, they go to Heaven. Wrong. The Bible says Creation is broken because of the fall, not just man and woman. Secondly, all that animals do, everything their instinct instructs them to do is to act on self-desire. Their basic operating system is out of selfishness -- just like man. Sinless, they are not. Thirdly, psychotically insane criminals have been proven to have no sense of right and wrong. They in Heaven with your precious Cuddly Wuddly Sammy?
* Finally, Revelations makes mention of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Look, flaming steeds in Heaven! If there are horses, there are other animals, no? No. It doesn't mention that the horses live in Heaven -- just that they appeared. God can make anything appear. It doesn't signify permanent existence.

Sorry to burst your bubble, animal-lover. I want my Nintendo Wii in eternity with me, but wishing it won't make it so. Fido is left behind with the rest of the useless world.


animals of the earth and the wild

I believe in prayer, I really do. I also believe that God the Father does pay attention to our every need, and that He is detail-oriented, so even the small things matter to Him. And I believe that He wants us to come to Him for everything. Finally, I believe that we not only have the privilege to pray for other people, but that we have an obligation to pray for our brothers and sisters.

That said, a prayer request came over our church's email chain the other day asking for prayer for a cat. That's right, a cat. I can't say I'm proud of this, but I did not lift up that prayer, sorry. I refused to pray for an animal, something I have been given dominion over, something I believe -- no matter how strong the attachment between family member and dirty animal -- is completely disposable. That's right. Rex? Who's like one of your family? Sorry, he's disposable like newspaper to me.

I may answer before the throne for that one. For refusing to pray for a believer's need. My defense will be, there's no animal heaven, so how important could they be?


after these things were finished

Keeping on with signs of a (hopefully) soon-coming Return:
* Really? We still have serious snake-handling churches? The Bible says lots of things reflect a true believer beyond just handling snakes, like serving the poor and following His commands. You have to pick the one that's illegal? That oughta fill the pews.
* Infiltration in the priest ranks in the Roman Catholic Church. I expect more than an excommunication. Turn them over to Satan and pray for the ground to open up like for Korah.
* After Obama, Oprah, and Gates, you might expect I'll keep picking secular folks as the antichrist. Doesn't have to be a politician or entertainer. Sometimes, it's someone in the believer ranks. Maybe someone who can pull people together. Maybe there's a reason he's a bestseller.


a foundation on the rock

Randomly three times this week I've encountered the phrase Soli Deo Gloria -- Latin for "Glory to God Alone". It is perhaps best known for being one of the Five Solas from the Reformation. One of the references was on the info page about Indelible Grace, a group dedicated to modernizing hymns.

Modern hymns and Latin sign-offs. I am absolutely in love with the idea of bringing ancient tradition back into modern faith. When I start seeing the sign of the cross in Evangelical churches, I will know that all is right with the world.


are looking for you

Driving to a prayer meeting this evening, and heard a new song by a group I'd mentioned here previously. The clip below showcases the song "By Your Side" against pretty pictures of nature. The line that stopped my heart when I heard the song goes "Why are you looking for love? Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?" Great question.


will not remain in darkness

Watched a very good movie tonight. The press has heaped on praise, and it seems the audience agrees. Unlike previous installments, the focus of this film is not the superhero, nor the superhero gadgets, nor the ridiculous action sequences. The focus of this movie is on the nature of evil and the ability of good to overcome it.

There's a great line in the movie about the Joker: "Some men aren’t looking for anything logical. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." Toward the end of the movie, the Joker puts choice into the hands of regular, everyday people to prove the point that that vileness is in the heart of everyone, not just maniacs.

Romans1 tells us that there are lusts in every man's heart that -- given the green light from God -- will tend toward impurity. Ledger's dark Joker believes the same thing -- that we are all filled with this seething darkness that only the light of the world can disperse. Go see this movie if you're interested in seeing a mirror held up to those places within you teeming with shadows, with void.


follow him into the house

I can't understand why it took me this long to watch my new favorite TV show. I'd been reading positive reviews for quite some time (even Christian reviews), and the sci-fi focus is obviously right up my alley. But the best part of this show is not its sci-fi aspects, but its personal drama elements, religious discussions, and focus on serious real world issues.

In the episode I watched tonight, there is a discussion on military pecking orders and following the chain of command -- no matter your personal feelings toward the orders given, nor the one giving the orders. It is a reflection on blind obedience. The show makes the point that sometimes you have to break the chain of command in order to right a wrong.

Before you jump to any religious connections about the Lord's desire for our obedience, note that following a perfectly good and just God is a far different situation that following an imperfect human with imperfect senses of love and goodness and right and wrong. Just heading off your faulty conclusions.

Not sure where I was going with this, except to say, watch this show.


could learn the song except the one

One of my favorite hymns (if not my outright favorite) is "And Can It Be". I don't know that there's a hymn with a better set of lyrics, I really don't. If you want to listen to a cool version of the hymn, click on THIS LINK and listen to song #2. The video clip below is some band covering that new melody, although the words aren't as audible as in the first link. The old folks would have a conniption if we were ever brave enough to sing the new version some Sunday morning. Sometimes you gotta risk that. The AARP might mind, but I'm pretty certain the Lord won't.


and sat down on the judgment seat

Since LeHaye and Jenkins have probably patented the End Times, I'm surprised I haven't been issued a restraining order yet. Maybe they're too busy counting their money made off of complete and utter speculation. Anyway, on to this week's signs of the end of days:
* Irony of ironies: the Hellboy movies actually deepened someone's faith.
* During the home run derby, ESPN analyst Rick Reilly said that it was a lousy night to be an atheist referring to Josh Hamilton's turnaround this season, which he attributes to his new-found faith. Actually, Rick, a lousy night to be an atheist won't come until before the Great White Throne.
* Finally, this week's candidate for antichrist can be found HERE. Oh, in case you're wondering why I haven't linked to Osteen yet, it's because I assume you already realize he's the grand head of them all.


is missing, then your life

Sometimes I imagine my heart is full of holes from which leak streams of sorrow from some neverending fount. Other times I imagine this fortified city surrounded by some high wall, and yet a fog has overcome what was once thought impenetrable and gripped that city in a dense cloud of hurt. I need to remind myself that hearts are incomplete, that hole Christ-shaped and waiting. That even strong cities erode over time, and only the eternal one never breaks, never breaks.


of his son's game

If you combine Newsboys with legos, you have automatically captured my attention. And when you add a spiritual battle theme to it? This is so much like my dreams, it's scary.


you not even read what

Despite it being in Oprah's book Club, I urge everyone to read Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It is, flat out, one of the best books I've read in a few years. You can check out my full review if you find yourself so inclined. I started the book and had to put it down as I imagined my fella and me as protagonists. It wrecked me. The book discusses what a father would do for his son, and the desperate straits one might be driven to out of love.

The allusion to the finished work of the cross is pretty clear. You want to see desperate love, you want to see the extent to which a loving Father might go to save His children, friend, look no farther than those intersecting sticks. They tell you all you need to know.


song of songs, which is

Video below is of Jeremy Camp doing a cover of (what I thought was) By the Tree's "Beautiful One" (skip to the 2:00 mark to actually get past the intros). A quick google search finds that the song is from Camp's album released in 2004. How's that possible? The song was released by By the Tree in 2004 as well. Another google search tells me the author is actually some guy named Tim Hughes -- but he released the song in 2004 also!

I call a moratorium on Christian artists doing covers of already popular songs that have been released in the last five years. This is getting out of hand. If you run out of ideas, go cover a hymn. Except you, Amy Grant. You just go away.


so many signs before them

I told you this could become a weekly thing. More signs of the end-times:
* An online shop for polygamist wear. Because nothing says stylish like Amish-looking clothing made public via a cult raid. They should have a promotion: "Thou shouldst check out our Waco line if thy wants to go old-school."
* Reality D-list celebrities using the Christian music genre to sate their compulsive publicity hunger. Did your "crazy connection to God" also tell you to flaunt your sexuality on MTV? Might wanna check to whom that crazy connection is wired.
* Maybe it's not Obama who is the antichrist. Apparently it's someone else.


places seeking rest, and

In your life here on earth, you have the option to waffle about retirement decisions. But friend, a day is coming when your physical life here will end, and when it does, there is no turning back. No amount of "itch" to live again can overturn any decision. There will be no one to text or call or speak to privately about potential returns. And when that end comes, it will not be your choice, announced grandly before a captive audience.

But like in retirement where fishing and golf and other visions of physical leisure beckon, there is a paradise that awaits you. That paradise is eternity with God, an endless number of years to enjoy the pleasure of His company. There is a decision you can make about your end that does matter. And that decision rests completely on whether or not you choose to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.

The Bible says that Jesus is the way, is the truth, is the life. And the Bible says if you believe in your heart and confess with your lips that He is Lord that you will be saved. And the Bible says that for those who are saved, He is preparing a place for them, and that he will return to take you to that prepared place, abiding with Him and the Father, forever.

No need to wait to any preset age like 55 1/2. That decision, and that end, and that end after the end, all of it can be yours today. Will you make that choice?


vanity and a severe affliction

Check out the video below:

I actually don't believe in a separation between church and state -- I wholeheartedly support a theocracy -- and yet I still find this SC idea moronic. And not moronic from the state legislature's side (seriously? you really thought that would get past lawsuits?); moronic from the consumer side. What Christian would spend money on a religious license plate? They're called vanity plates for a reason. Hello? Vanity is still a sin, people.

Want to get recognized for your faith, brother? Go feed the poor and bring good news to a third world country. Leave the Lexus out of this.


you may remember that I told you

A speaker from Wordsower International spoke from the pulpit this morning. Actually, more like recited from the pulpit. And actually, more like recited in front of the pulpit. Love the mental imagery of believers striding across the holy land breathing Scripture into the air. Some videos of our speaker doing this can be found HERE. Three interesting clips can be found below:


on ahead of them

Thinking about Hagar and Ishmael. Ishmael wasn't born in the best of circumstances, and because of that, an angel of the Lord in Gen16 declares that he will grow up to be a "wild donkey of a man" and that "everyone's hand will be against him". Now, the angel on two occasions states that Ishmael will have many descendants and that his lineage will begin a new nation, but it's clear that his future was directly impacted by the decisions of his parents to sin.

There are ways you can debate Deut5:9 or Ex20:5, or Ex34:7, but one reading of it makes clear that children's fates are somehow intertwined with those of their parents. How else do you explain the death of David's child by Bathsheba?

See, we don't want to think that some children are born in sinful circumstances, and that because of that, their futures will be murkier than the futures of those born in ideal circumstances. Those children are not mistakes in the sense that everything that happens is part of the Lord's plan. But that doesn't mean they have futures that are ideal (compare Ishmael to Isaac). And that doesn't mean that children born in bad circumstances can't rise above their heritage; it just means they have a harder road to take.

Parents of children born out of wedlock; parents of children born through adultery; parents of children born out of decisions made to try to keep together broken marriages -- all of these need to take heed. The Lord loves little children, sure. But He loves adults as well, and love doesn't mean smooth sailing all the days of our lives.


entrust the true riches to

Some friends of mine decided to change their lives by committing themselves to not letting themselves be ruled by money, but rather by themselves ruling over money and the result speaks for itself. Make no mistake: they have cut their debt in half not because they are fantastic, amazing people (although they are that), but because they have been faithful to a fantastic, amazing God. We always have this choice to follow the world and obey the flesh, or be set apart and obey the Spirit. And Lord knows, that choice is never easy.

The clip below shows America's best pastor discussing money extemporaneously during a Q&A session. His spontaneous remarks are better than most pastors' planned remarks.


an accounting for it in the day of

Signs that the end of days is near:
* The chimpocalypse is upon us. I'm sure Moe was smart enough to begin looking for signs of human weakness by watching CNN. It's only a matter of time until the Great Monkey Uprising ushers in the Tribulation.
* Obama is the antichrist. Or maybe he's not. Whatever. He supports infanticide, so that's enough.
* Science will destroy us all. Or just make physicists wet themselves with made up imaginary science. Enjoy tenure. Warning: it doesn't last as long as eternity in the lake.

This could be a weekly column, there are so many signs...


choose life in order that

CNN wants to convince the nation that it's okay for believers to vote for Obama. It wants to tell us that today's believers aren't automatic Republican votes because Jesus wasn't partisan. They want to tell us that abortion and gay marriage are things of the past and that modern believers want social justice and peace and environmentalism.

Let's be clear: today's believers don't know anything about anything.

Only one kind of democrat should be elected, and that's one who values life, end of story. Believers who place any other issue above the protection of life have it all wrong. They are placing their own agenda over the single most important moral issue of our time. Evangelical Outpost has it right -- that voters should be single issue candidates if the issue is a fundamental one. And infanticide is definitely important enough. The video below says all you need to know about this election.