Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving post but I'm not really here

No, I'm not returning to the blogosphere, this is just a brief stop in for this one occasion.

It is November, a month that is permanently linked (at least here in America, you odd Canadians celebrated a long time ago!) with Thanksgiving Day. It is common, even among those who don't know Christ, to reflect upon our lives during this time. The biggest grouches will inexplicably express gratitude during this time...even if they have not a single good thing to say the rest of the year.

Indeed, most of us have much to be thankful for. Our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs, even the dry (not mine!) turkey that will be on the table in just a few short hours. And it is right that we should be thankful for these things as they are all certainly blessings (yes, even that family member who will complain about the dry turkey), but it occured to me this morning as I was preparing the turkey that it is quite easy to get distracted by these things. In all the hustle and bustle of the season we must deliberately make an effort to lift our eyes heavenward. To be thankful not only for the things on our table, or the laughter that fills our ears, but even more so for the Cross.

To someone who doesn't know the joy of following Christ it may seem strange to rejoice, especially at Thanksgiving, at that broken and beaten Man who hung from a tree. Ah, but to those of us who have had it revealed to us! We are able to see Jesus crying out, "It is finished!" and our spirits can soar! It really was finished that day on Calvary; our enslavement to sin, our separation from God while on earth, the very real reality of an eternity separated from Him...It is finished, beloved! Rejoice!

To be thankful for the earthly things we have is good, and right, we must not overlook these blessings but even more importantly we can (and must) rejoice in the shadow of the Cross. Even those who have recently lost jobs, or homes, or even loved ones can be comforted in knowing that they are held in the Father's hand. He sees all the struggles, He sees the heart ache, and He longs to comfort you but you must turn to Him. If you say you have nothing to be thankful for, that everything is going wrong in your life right now I ask you, do you have Christ? If your answer is yes, then you have it all, my friend. Kneel at the foot of your Savior's cross and be comforted that He has gone before you and is leading you to where He wants you. Yes, even in this uncertain time, even in this grief, He leads. Be comforted in Him.

Be thankful, my friends, and remember the Cross as you gather together to celebrate.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Daily Ends

Today I have had the great displeasure of realizing just how easily it is for me to sin with my writing. Never before have I been able to have such a perspective, and quite honestly it breaks my heart. Perhaps the internet lends itself all to well to isolative hostility, after all I will probably never meet the people that read this blog or the people I interact with on message boards. And now I realize that this can be a very dangerous thing spiritually.

You know those verses that exhort us to be slow to speak and quick to listen? By nature I am exactly the opposite, and this in truth is a great struggle for me. Especially when I have resources at my fingertips that lend so well to my nature.

And while I have been seeing God work wonders in my life, consistency this is where I struggle. Yes, most of the stuff on this blog has been good and uplifting and useful (by God's grace), but some of it has been absolutely wretched as well. And it is those posts that make me realize I still have quite a ways to go with the Lord, but they also help me to realize just how far He has already brought me.

The bad posts, I hope, are few and far between and have been written less and less with time. And this latest trial has shown me that I am progressing (Despite what the enemy would have me believe) simply because it was taken down very quickly (Thanks, in part, to someone who was willing to point out my sin. Truly the verses in James about turning a brother/ sister from sin have been played out today!)

And so what does this all mean? I'm not sure just yet. I know He still has much to work on with me - and in me - and I want to be sure to give Him my attention on certain matters. So, whether this be temporary or not so temporary I've made a decision that I trust will serve all of us. This will be, until I feel the Lord release me, my final post. Lest anyone think I'm simply over reacting concerning my latest folly, I am not. I have been thinking, and praying, about this for some time now. And as much as I love to write and share my thoughts on Scripture, I just can't stand the thought of putting more error out there and dragging the name of my precious Savior though the mud.

It is on this note, a note of repentance and of joy, that I think it is fitting to end this blog. I'm sorry for the error I've put out there and the people I have hurt, but more than that I am deeply sorry because I've done these things first and foremost against God. But in this I must rejoice, and I hope that you will with me as I'm stepping forth trusting that I'm following His leading. I rejoice in knowing He loves me enough to change my heart (and my writing), and that He will continue doing so. It is a great thing to realize that He forgives us when we truly repent, and that He will wash us clean and conform us to the image of His Son a little each day...And all we have to do is be willing.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I've Been Accused of Being Pharisaical

And so I've removed a post from yesterday so that I might have time to reflect upon it a bit more. I may edit and repost it, we'll see.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Remember This On Sunday

And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God. (Nehemiah 9:3, emphasis mine)

The next time you're in Sunday service at your church and it runs five minutes later than normal, just remember this verse ok? Thanks.

To Those Who Cry Foul Regarding The Israel Offensive..

This is the second account (the first being here) I've heard of Israel warning before they attacked. If people don't get out of the way it is their own fault. I don't see anything in the news about the Israelites being warned before having missiles launched into their residential areas.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do Not Sin Because Of Fear

Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. (Nehemiah 6:10-13)

There may be people that will come to you claiming to seek to protect you, people may bring forth an idea that seems good to the fearful heart. They may say to do something...Or even to stop doing what you are so that your life might be preserved (or just less stressful). But these men may not actually speak for the Lord and what they plan that seems good is actually a wicked trap set to cause you to sin. And in that sin they will say to all who will listen, "See? This person doesn't know God, he doesn't serve God, look at this sin in his life!" Or perhaps they might say, "What kind of God does she serve that she goes out in sin like this?"

And so we must be cautious and prayerful, we must be alert as Nehemiah was and be sure not to sin out of fear. After all, who is man that we should fear him?

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rise Up and Defend Your Faith in Prayer

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. (Nehemiah 4:7-8)

Now, this is interesting, here we see the world (who normally can't agree upon anything) joining forces to stop the Jews from following God and serving Him as He has called them to. And like the Jews of old we too face opposition when we set out to rebuild the walls. When we set out to separate ourselves from the world and serve God in the way He has directed us to we will undoubtedly be opposed. The enemy will seek to stop our work by threat, violence, or even with the promise of earthly fame, riches, and pleasure. Did he not do this with Christ Himself? Indeed we see this third tactic used in the book of Matthew.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:8-10)

But no matter what way we are attacked it is important that we continue on in our work, we must be attentive and watch for the attack, we cannot allow ourselves to become comfortable lest we are caught off guard when the attack comes. We must watch day and night as we continue on and it is only though prayer that we will find the strength to continue our work in the midst of the attack (see Nehemiah 4:9). And finally we must stand prepared to defend our faith from the attacks of the enemy, and no doubt we will need the support of those around us who share our faith. We must join together in prayer, and in our labors, to help guard each other from the temptation of laying down and giving up.

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to naught, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. (Nehemiah 4:14-15)

Monday, July 17, 2006

My God is...

My God is a God of wonders, a God of patience and mercy, a God of justice, and a God who is faithful unto His every Word. I rejoice in the One who has called and redeemed me.

::end of post, resume your daily activities::

Nehemiah Was A Man Of Prayer

At fellowship this weekend we reflected upon the first chapter of Nehemiah, this of course sparked my interest as I had never read Nehemiah before, and I dug into the first few chapters this morning during my quiet time. What struck me as interesting, was simply how much Nehemiah relied upon God.

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been formerly sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, (Nehemiah 2:1-2, emphasis mine)

He's afraid, the king has noticed how sad Nehemiah is (from hearing about the sorry state of Jerusalem). That's probably not a good idea. I would imagine kings don't like it when their servants walk around depressed, if the king was in a bad mood that day it could have created life threatening problems for Nehemiah, perhaps this is why he was afraid?

What does Nehemiah do in response to the king noticing his mood? He stops and prays.

Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 2:4)

Now, some people get it in their heads that praying always involves getting on your knees somewhere quiet but this isn't always the case. If I only prayed when I was alone in a quiet place I very well might never pray. Instead I frequently seek God in the midst of my activities, especially in the midst of my trials, I've found it is the only way for me to get through certain things. Surely he did not leave the court, go to his house, lock the door, pray, and then come back to talk to the king. That hardly seems reasonable or even possible. I'm pretty sure the king would not have appreciated having the guy that brings him his wine run out for the day. Really the only solution to calming Nehemiah's fears was a brief, silent prayer to God. And it is this type of prayer we see Nehemiah lift up to God before answering the king.

This man, from the very beginning of the book is depicted as a man of prayer. It is his fervent reliance upon God that gives him the strength to proceed and build up the walls of Jerusalem. It is his prayer life that sustains him in the midst of his trials.

At the end of verse eight Nehemiah says, "And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me." Nehemiah had served this man (most likely) every day for quite some time, he may have developed some sort of working relationship with the king (after all the king noticed he was sad, he noticed the change in Nehemiah's demeanor), he easily could have imagined that the king granted his request because he had served so well, but that is not what we see. We see that Nehemiah realizes that in the king answering his request it has nothing to do with who he is, and everything to do with the fact that God's hand was on him. It is easy for us to think that when things go well it is because of something we have done, or because of who we are, it is easy to become prideful when we are blessed, but we must continue to strive for humility before the Lord. We must realize that we are blessed, not because of anything we have done but because of God's power and mercy and provision. We do not see pride in Nehemiah, instead we see a humble heart wanting nothing more than to see God glorified. And so should we be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rome vs Scripture

Well, I was actually planning on doing something similar, but maybe now I won't. Click here to see a side by side comparison of some Catholic teachings and Scripture.

Warren Wants Us to Change the World

I want this blog to get you thinking – and praying – for the coming spiritual reformation in the world, a reformation not of how we believe but a reformation of what we, as the Church, do.
- Rick Warren

You know, I think Bono and Rick could be best friends. ::sigh:: Look, I'm all for helping people, for feeding people, for finding cures for disease, but you know what I'm all about more than that? The truth. Darn that pesky word, TRUTH. God's truth. You know that book, probably a black one stuck in the corner of a dusty shelf that says something about Holy on the front? That's God's word. That is where we, first and foremost, will find our guidance and rulers to line up to. The problem is the fact that is dusty, many people just don't know His Word anymore and because of that they do what is right in their own eyes.

I'd much rather see people reform what they think and believe. Why? Because when you really let God's Spirit open your eyes to His Word, your actions will change. Why do we walk around focusing so much on the outside and ignore the inside? Rick, I'm sure you'll continue right on down this path trying to get people to "do" more, but I think a better start really would be at what we believe, since a large population of the "church" has no idea and have no reason to change because of that painful ignorance.

He Calls Us To Come Into His Presence

So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. (Zechariah 1:14-17)

The God we serve is a jealous God, He wants us to serve Him and Him alone. And He has every right to expect us to do so since He has blessed us with the great honor of being created by Him. He is our Creator.

He chose the Hebrews to be His, He chose Jerusalem to be the place where they would worship Him. And as the sight of worship it must be dedicated to Him, it should be exactly as He has desired; clean from immorality and false idols, the unbeliever should be uncomfortable being in the place God has chosen to call His own unless they get right before His eyes. Yet this isn't what was found in Jerusalem. There was no wall, no separation. The cultures had mixed and the Hebrews allowed there to be compromise in their walk. They had made things comfortable for the outside world to come in. God's holy land and His chosen people had become polluted. And so the Lord tells Zechariah He will build a wall.

You see, the Lord wants us to be separate. He always has. He called the Hebrews to walk a different life, to follow a different path, to walk the only path to Him. This path eventually led the way to Jesus (and at this point there were those who refused to continue on the path) and after His death and resurrection the doors were opened to the Gentile. Now we can step onto that path and follow. But, and here is the key, the path Christ has laid out does not lead into the world, but away from it. Christ's death did not open the doors so that the Jews might go out (though some did and still do), but so that the Gentile might come in. He calls us to join together with our brethren and head to Jerusalem, to head to His presence. And He calls us to be separate. When we come to Christ He calls us to step inside the protective walls of the city - of His presence.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:4-6)

Notice that phrase, "come to Christ." Have you ever wondered why it is we say that? It is one of those things that I just picked up being around other Christians, I never really stopped to think about what that meant for quite some time. I believe this phrase is used, because it shows the action that must be taken. He calls us to Him. He may meet us where we are, but He calls us to follow Him in righteousness, He calls us to deny ourselves and follow (Matthew 16:24). Follow where? To the Father, of course.

Stay At Home Mothering is Over!

Or so Uma Thurman would have you think.

"For most of the world, it's really a necessity. The stay-at-home mom is over not just because of women's liberation but because of men's liberation from wanting to be the breadwinners."

(HT: David)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rick Warren Hopes for 3rd Revival Movement in Korea

Link.

Return To Jerusalem

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:5, emphasis mine)

King Cyrus is sending those who would go back to Jerusalem to build God's temple up and worship Him. He's sending them home from their captivity in Babylon, but not everyone will return. They are free, and yet many refuse to return to the land God has promised them, they would rather stay in the bondage, the sin. They would rather live in the world, as the world lives than live as the separate and holy nation God would have them be.

And so it is with the church. There are those who have had some measure of understanding, who claim to follow Christ and yet they refuse to die to their flesh. They have refused to answer that call that beckons them to leave the world and enter a walk to the Kingdom. But in the midst of this rejection God has quickened some and they have responded. These are the people that will return to Jerusalem, the place God has called them to be. These are the people that will return to Him in their hearts, minds, and souls. These are the remnant. These are those who have been so touched by God that they are willing to walk away from their familiar surroundings, even from their family and friends if it comes to it, all to serve God in spirit and truth.

And at the time they leave it may not make much sense, especially to those who stay, but they faithfully step out and say, "Yes, Lord." They hear Him calling and respond as Samuel did, "Speak, for thy servant heareth." (1 Samuel 3:10) They have heard the call on their lives and like Ruth are willing to leave everything behind all to call the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob their own (see Ruth 1:16-18). Again, even Abraham was called out, and he responded in faith. We must, if we are going to bare the name of Christ, be willing to return to Jerusalem, to return and enter into the very presence of the Lord.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37-38)

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (Philippians 3:7)

Cookbook Forthcoming

I cook, I like to cook, I like to be organized about my cookbooks. And so I'm combining all the recipes I use on a regular basis into one huge PDF file and will eventually have it available to download. This may take a few weeks because I want to make sure I put everything I can possible think of into it. So yes, be on the look out. Soon you'll be cooking like Kristina, who cooks like the foodnetwork.

**edit**

Link to cooking blog

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I'm a sucker for a good song, this is currently my favorite. So, in my quest for decent versions of this hymn I've heard well over 20 versions. Here is one interesting arrangement, I like it. If you know of any free (and legal) versions of this song let me know.

Continue As You Were Called

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:17-20)

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (2 Timothy 3:14)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Recipe Review: Moroccan Chicken

Yum. I think I added too much lemon juice, but that's alright because I didn't actually measure anything. It was great. Quick, easy, yummy. It doesn't get better than that.

Joyful Patience Through Him

Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (Colossians 1:11)

Paul's desire for the Colossians is that they might continue to grow in fruitfulness of the Spirit of God. Here his prayer is that they might be strengthened in patience, and not only patience but a joyful patience. A patience that rejoices in the time they have, a patience that sings praise to the Father in the midst of their troubles, joyfully bearing Christ's name even unto death, for death is nothing to fear when you abide in His name. After all, do we not "have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (vs 14)?

Indeed we do, and so we can rejoice. We can rejoice as we patiently await His return, we can rejoice even if we are brought to our earthly death, because in all we have born His name and been given the great honor of suffering for Him.

Admittedly, this is something I struggle with, I tend to be quick to speak, quick to anger, and slow to hear. But I know that is not God's will for me, and I trust that as I seek Him He will continue to transform my heart. Because of the cross we now have access to a strength that goes beyond our human abilities, we can be patient when the world would not, we can endure when others would fall back, we have hope when the world has none, and we can be joyful when everyone else is weeping...All because we have God working through us.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Boy Survives 11 Story Fall

The doctor says he can't attribute the boy's survival to anything but good luck, but I can. Praise God this child's life was spared, it is my hope that he understand it is God's hand that kept him alive.

A Balance of Love and Knowledge, of Faith and Works.

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thin heart:(Proverbs 3:3)

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; (Philippians 1:9)

Here, once again, we see a balance. We see love coupled with judgment, with knowledge. To lean strongly on one is likely to lead you to ignore the other. We must balance ourselves. To defer to love too much can lead to a tolerance of sin, but to go to knowledge and judgment without love can turn into legalism very quickly. And God doesn't just want our actions, He doesn't just want our works, rather He wants our hearts.

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

Christ Himself spoke these words during His earthly ministry in response to the Pharisees's legalism. This of course is not to say that we ignore the actions and doctrine, because to do so will bring us back into a problem of tolerance and complacency of sin. We must be balanced, and by God's grace we will learn to be...If we will let Him show us the sin that is buried within our own hearts.

We see this very balance within the book of James. We are saved by grace through faith. I don't believe you can even attempt to claim being a Christian and deny this very fact. But James says that our faith must produce a change within our hearts which will then produce a change in our approach to the world. If there has been no change in our hearts, if our faith cannot produce any kind of fruit what good is it?

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)


And so we see a balance, yet again. We are saved by grace through faith, but that faith is of little use if it does not produce a change in the life of the person.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

There Is No Need To Fear The Unknown

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. (Psalms 139:11-12)

Our human eyes struggle and falter in the darkness, in nearly ever culture the dark has been equated with the unknown and with death. When we don't understand something it is as if we were blind to it, Scripture indeed is like this. It is only when God opens our eyes that we are able to gain understanding that leads to repentance and servant hood in Christ.

But this is not the case with our dear Father. There is nothing hidden from Him. He sees all, and not even the darkest darkness can hide a single thing from His sight. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing His infinite wisdom cannot comprehend. And so I rejoice. I may not know, understand, or see all but I serve the God who does. What have I to fear of the unknown when my Father, my strength, my guide, my shield, and my Lord has already seen and made a way through to the end for me?

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Patiently Endure Until The End

But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:18-19)

Christ warns us that we will betrayed by family and friends, that some of us will even die for bearing His name (vs 16-17), but gives us a promise that should we meet death here we have life eternal waiting for us that will not pass. We may be put to death for Him, but that will not keep us from our prize. And so we have this faithful promise and are commanded to possess our souls in patience. In our afflictions we must patiently endure and remain fixed on Christ. As we await His return we must not allow our souls to become troubled or filled with doubt.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8)

God hears us when we call, and He will answer, but we must faithfully be patient, trusting that His response will come in time for His glory to be displayed.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:3-8)

Paul is writing to the Romans who are enduring persecution and instructs them to be joyful in their tribulation. Because it is in this they will learn to patiently endure, their character (a godly character) will be developed and their hearts molded and conformed to the image of God. Knowing that this molding is taking place gives us reason to be filled with great joy. We were created in God's image and as such we are - by God's grace - to mirror His nature. As He is patient with us, so we ought to be with others. Even in the midst of unjust persecution. Christ modeled this so very well for us as He endured the cross.

And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:32-34)

If that isn't patience, if that isn't what we are to be conformed to, I don't know what is. He was being put to death in one of the most humiliating ways man could imagine and still He is consumed with concern for the very people putting Him to death. He doesn't fight, He doesn't try to escape, rather He heads to that cross with every intention of being nailed to it. He came and bore our shame so that we could have the opportunity to turn to the Father. He had a path before Him that He knew He had to walk, and He did it.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet, a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:36-39)

We must endure, the Bible makes that abundantly clear. We must wait for His return (or our departure, which ever comes first) with a patient endurance. We are surrounded by people who are watching us, watching the way we conduct ourselves, some even watch just so they might pounce upon us as we stumble. But in all of this we must continue on, we must not give up our pursuit of His holiness in our lives. We must not turn back to our old ways.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)

Sometimes it is difficult to keep on, there are so many temptations in this world, so many distractions, but we must. If we truly long for His glory to be displayed in our lives we have no choice but to press forward. We must go on, we must faithful walk the path that God has given us to walk. And in those times of tribulation, in those times of frustration we can take comfort in knowing this world is not our home and there is a treasure waiting for us in heaven.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Grace and Truth. Longsuffering and Doctrine.

It is quite common these days to hear people say that God is doing a new thing, or that our old way of doing things is, in fact, not what God had intended at all. People often scoff at tradition, insisting that their interpretation of Scripture is correct. Some of these people even insist that one doesn't even need Scripture anymore, that it is not necessary to line up our experiences and ideas with Scripture and should we dare to compare what they are doing with the Word and point out where it contradicts the Bible they simply insist that God is doing a new thing and that their revelation is correct.

Discussing these matters can be quite frustrating, I know this from first hand experience. It is easy to point fingers and show (even correctly) where they have strayed. But, and I think this is key, we must be sure that our rebukes are done in a spirit of meekness. Often times it is easy to become prideful, more often than not we probably don't even intend for it to happen. But it does happen. The Bible is clear, as we admonish those around us to turn to the true Gospel, to the true God, we must not allow our pride to become puffed up. Christ was not prideful or arrogant as He brought the truth, rather He coupled truth with grace in His message.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, emphasis mine)

Likewise we are called to bring the truth, but to bring it in a way that serves. Sometimes people do need a swift kick in the pants, other times a gentler way may be necessary, in all situations we are to serve in a way that glorifies God. Repeatedly we are called to check our own hearts, to be sure we are serving consistently in a humble way, and then if the lost reject what we say it will not be because we put a bad witness out there.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19, emphasis mine)

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26, emphasis mine)

In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.(Titus 2:7-8)


God is not doing a new thing, but continuing an old work unto completion. By His Word we are instructed to rebuke false teaching and exhort our brethren to continue on in the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we must do so in a way that shows God's heart.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2, emphasis mine)

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)


After all, He doesn't wish that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance through Christ's saving sacrifice on that cross. Right? So, we must be sure to couple the truth with grace, He will lead and show the best way to approach the sin of false teachings. Lest you think I'm saying be overly soft and ignore the dangers of false teachings, let me remind you Christ Himself cut loose on people, but He did so only when necessary. It's all about grace and truth, people. To ignore one to favor the other is to do the beauty of the Gospel a great injustice.

Man Shoots Kids, Turns Gun on Himself & Leaves Wife Unharmed

I just don't understand these things.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

North Korea Is Just Begging For A Beating...

US officials said the North Korean military first fired two Scud-type short-range missiles that landed in the Sea of Japan and later the Taepodong 2 that 'failed early in flight.' Two more launches were detected later.

The launches came as millions of Americans celebrated Independence Day and minutes after the US space shuttle Discovery roared into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Source

That's so very clever. On the fourth of July, wow.

Lil' Kim Reads Rick Warren

PDL has apparently turned another person's life around. Rapper Lil' Kim has spent roughly 2/3 of a year behind bars, and while serving her time she has "gotten spiritual." No mention of Jesus, but apparently she's turned her life around by reading the PDL and The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra. Interesting.

State Rules On HIV Infection transmission

SAN FRANCISCO -- One sexual partner may be able to sue another for passing on the AIDS virus if the infected partner "had reason to know" that he or she was carrying the disease, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

State laws already make it a crime to transmit the disease knowingly.

The court's 4-3 decision means some people who do so without knowing they're infected may now be held liable for monetary damages.

And, despite California laws protecting the privacy of people infected with HIV, they may be forced to reveal extensive medical data and information about their sexual histories, though not the identities of other sexual partners.

Writing for the court's majority, Justice Marvin Baxter cited society's "overriding policy of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases."

The ruling came in the case of a married couple and might not apply to a suit based on a casual sexual encounter.

Judges have traditionally tried to balance privacy and the need to compensate injured individuals, said Lawrence C. Levine, who teaches civil liability law at McGeorge Pacific School of Law in Sacramento.

Monday's decision, he said, marks "a reluctant though unmistakable step toward increased judicial intervention in private sexual conduct."

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation declined to comment until its lawyers reviewed the opinion from legal and public health points of view.

The impact is unlikely to be clear for many years. The court said each case must be evaluated considering factors such as the relationship between the partners and whether one lied to convince the other to have unprotected sex.

In Monday's case the justices ruled largely in favor of Bridget B., who is suing her husband, John B. Each acknowledges being HIV-positive but contends the other brought AIDS into their brief marriage.

Both spouses tested positive in October 2000, two years after they met and just three months after they married.
Source

Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

Since the garden man has shown an envious spirit; refusing to be content with God's endless blessings we lusted after the one thing we couldn't have. And it continues to this day. How often, especially in a culture like America's, do we compare ourselves to another? Businesses are built upon the discontentment of the consumer. Oh, but you aren't discontent? Well, that salesman will do his very best to change that before you leave! After all, his contentment rests on being the best and beating out his fellow coworkers, so the worse you feel the better he does.

Our society thrives on lust it seems. A lust for money, for clothes, for faster cars, better paying jobs, bigger homes...prettier wives. And without God one easily becomes consumed with this envious spirit.

Oh, the freedom that is found in Christ though! He says there is another way, a better way, and leads us down that path if we will simply follow. We don't have to be driven by our flesh's ever changing desires, we don't need to follow the latest trends, and finally we don't have to be discontent anymore! That salesman can talk to us all he wants, our contentment is no long found in owning the newest things, but rests solely upon our dear Savior's outstretched arms. Our contentment, beloved, is found at Calvary. It was purchased on that Cross. Now, we have God and that is more than enough. He gives us the food and clothes that we need for that day in order to do His Will, and that is enough. Seek His Will while you consider the lilies my dear friends.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:28-34, emphasis mine)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Man speaks as brain 'rewires itself' after 20 years

A MAN who was barely conscious for nearly 20 years regained speech and movement because his brain spontaneously rewired itself, growing tiny new nerve connections to replace the ones sheared apart in a car crash, doctors say they now can prove.

The man, Terry Wallis, 42, from Arkansas, is thought to be the only person in the United States to recover so dramatically so long after a severe brain injury.

Although his progress is exciting and inspiring, doctors said the same cannot be hoped for people in a persistent vegetative state. Nor do they know how to make others with less serious damage recover, as Mr Wallis did.

The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Mr Wallis was 19 when an accident gave him a brain injury that left him briefly in a coma and then in a minimally conscious state, in which he was awake but uncommunicative other than occasional nods and grunts, for more than 19 years.

"The nerve fibres from the cells were severed, but the cells themselves remained intact," said Dr James Bernat, a neurologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre.

Nerve cells that have not died can form new connections; for example, nerves in the arms and legs can grow about an inch a month after they are severed or damaged. However, this happens far less often in the brain.

The research suggests that instead of the sudden recovery Mr Wallis seemed to make when he began speaking and moving three years ago, he actually may have been slowly recovering all along, as nerves in his brain formed new connections at a glacial pace until enough were present to make a network.
Source

Ask Ninja: Ninja Excuses

Ninja's always have to have some great excuses in their hip pocket. Yea. Funny enough these excuses remind me of something you'd hear out of some modern preachers.

To Judge Or Not To Judge?

That is the question. You often hear it, I think aside from John 3:16 it is probably the most commonly quoted verse.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

But did Jesus really mean not to judge anyone, ever? The way it is thrown around you would think so, wouldn't you? But somehow I get the feeling this isn't quite what He meant. If it was, why would He say 15 verses later to beware of people and the teachings they bring?

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

If He didn't want us to judge anyone, ever, why would He say we can know a tree by it's fruit? In order to discern between good and bad fruit one must make a distinction, a judgment between the two. So, obviously Jesus didn't mean for us to ignore each other's sin entirely. If that is what He meant then we have a serious problem on our hands because in many places through out the rest of the New Testament He would then be contradicted by the New Testament writers.

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)


If we are not supposed to judge, how then are we to put the wicked away from our midst? If we are not supposed to judge, how then are we supposed to turn our brethren from their error? Clearly the Bible teaches there is some measure of judgement that is supposed to be taking place, and in fact I believe Christ clarifies the issue quite well for us.

If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:23-24)

He instructs us to judge righteously; the religious leaders want to kill Him because He keeps breaking the Sabbath, but He points out that the priests break the Sabbath whenever they circumcise a baby on the Sabbath. The priests are breaking on commandment in order to fulfill another. Perhaps this is why Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 at another point?

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

After all, God is after our hearts. We can follow the letter of the law, but if our hearts are not in it for God what good is it? And so we must look to the heart. We are called to judge not only others, but ourselves as well. God's word is a mirror and we must come before it and allow Him to show us where we don't line up, and when teacher comes we must be sure to look at what they're saying. It is our responsibility to ourselves, and to others, to examine the lives of professing believers.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

My Ideal Bible

I may have mentioned this before, but ESV has released a new Bible with 2 inch lined margins for taking notes. Now, I don't have much experience with ESV simply because I love my KJV, but man! So, this is my ideal bible:

KJV (yes I prefer it)
Words of Christ in red
Center column reference
Maps
Dictionary
Concordance
Topical index
2 inch margin for notes
Maybe some blank pages in back for extra notes?

And to finish it off I'd like a pen and highlighter attached.

If I could find a Bible like that I'd be able to carry a few less things, which would make me extremely happy, and if the pen was attached there would be no way I couldn't take notes. I'm a note taker, so I'm constantly walking around with a pen, a highlighter, and a spiral notebook in hand. Oh well, I'll just have to carry my things, that's good enough for me. But you can bet that if a Bible like that gets released and I get wind of it I'll be going shopping.

Friday, June 30, 2006

I Know This Is Late, But...

I was just clicking around and came across an interview Brian McLaren gave. I can't seem to locate a date, but I'm guessing it's pretty old. Even still I'd like to poke around, you'll just have to forgive my tardiness.

You were involved in controversy when the Kentucky Baptist Convention rescinded your invitation to speak because of a controversial paragraph in your book 'A Generous Orthodoxy.' You said, in part, that making disciples doesn't necessarily "equal making adherents to the Christian religion." Did you think the dis-invitation was justified?

When I go to speak somewhere, I'm a guest so I'm not offended if someone would invite me and then decide they would rather not have me. And [the Kentucky Baptist Convention] were very kind and polite in the way they did it.

When you wrote that paragraph, did you feel it would make waves or did it seem natural to write?

I knew it would be seen as controversial to some people. If they had asked me for further explanation, I would have told them that this is an especially important issue for Americans to think about right now. Since the invasion of Iraq, there are millions of Christians around the world who now are in danger. If they associate with a Christian religion, that makes them seem to be associated with the United States for a whole number of reasons. It becomes dangerous and impossible for people who want to follow Jesus in their lives to identify as Christians. Very often if youÂ’re in a Muslim country, and you identify as a Christian, youÂ’re set up for exclusion and bad treatment. In some cases, worse.
Source, underlined emphasis mine.

I'm going to put it quite simply and keep this short. Christianity does not equal the right to an easy life. If the apostles and countless others had been unwilling to die for the name of Christ, where would the church be today? Christ Himself told us that we very well might lose our families, possibly even our very lives for following Him. So, where do we come up with the excuse that it is ok to live and expect it not to be any more true for us. Jesus told the man on the shore to follow Him and let the dead bury their own. He's calling us to forsake what we once had if it keeps us from following Him! Why do we think this means our lives are going to be easy?

Yes, people die for the name of Christ. But you know what, He's worth it...isn't He? Yes, I'm speaking from a position where my life isn't in danger for Christ, but does that make what I'm saying any less true? Christ calls us to be separate from the world, from our old lives. And that means you must be willing to be associated as a follower of Chist. Yes, there are people who do many things which mar the title Christian, but does that give us license to abandon the path He has laid out? If anything it should make us passionate to reclaim the title, to show that those people don'necessarily represent all Christians, and in fact may not even truly represent Christ Himself.

Has Noah's Ark Been Found?

ABC is featuring a story which seems to indicate that this is a possibility. Part of me would love for it to be the actual ark, but part of me sort of hopes that the ark remains evasive.

"There's this idea, if we can prove that the ark existed then we can prove that the story existed, and more importantly, we can prove that God existed," said Bruce Feiler, author of "Where God Was Born."


And this is exactly my point. Why do we need to prove that God existed? Are the skeptics going to be convinced? Hardly. Why is it not enough to simply have faith that what the Bible says is true? Yes, it would be neat, but no our focus simply should not - must not be to prove anything. God has proven Himself, and all will see and have to admit that He is Lord. Proving He exists does nothing if the Holy Spirit has not quickened someone to believe. As for the believers, if we must see tangible evidence, can it really be called faith?

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Joyfully Walking in the Light

A friend of mine recently asked me for a few verses that deal with the hope we, as Christians, have in a world of darkness and a time of darkness. I smiled and gave her three verses that fill me with an endless hope. Sometimes it is easy to look around at the world and see everything that is going on and get discouraged, even in Christ this happens. Unlike the world we have a promise of everlasting life, of an abundant life (though this doesn't necessarily mean what it seems to), and a future awaiting us in which we will joyfully worship the Lord for eternity.

And so, having now this promise we must press onward joyfully doing His Will. When we came to Him, when we accepted His sacrifice for our salvation we received not only a promise of heaven, not only have we been brought into a family,not only have our sins been washed clean - our wrong doings are no longer counted against us - but we also have the distinct honor and privilege of doing His Work that He has set before us. We have the honor of being able to display (in part) the greatness of His Son's glory by laying down our old lives and following Him. What a joyful work He has given us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). How joyful is that work, especially when we understand that He has gone before us, and as long as we walk the path He has laid before us we will not walk in darkness, we will not be alone, and our victory was purchased at Calvary so we have nothing left to fear.


The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Psalm 40

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.
Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
(Psalms 40:1-17)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Can I Be A Girl For A Minute?

Ok, thanks. At the Target website you can customize your own jeans! I'm so excited.

::end girliness::

A Mother's Faith in Action

Wow.

Warren to North Korea

And then, he told the crowd, "I've received another invitation." Warren said North Korea would allow him to preach in a stadium seating 15,000, but that he could preach in a larger venue if he could fill the seats.

...

Alan Bennett, a self-employed worshipper from Orange County, said he was "shocked" to hear the news, but said it was "awesome. ... I was really taken aback that they would allow a Christian speaker, let alone an evangelist," to preach.

Since 2001, the State Department has designated North Korea a "country of particular concern" for religious freedom violations. Religious freedom essentially does not exist in the highly centralized state, where Kim Jong Il reigns as Supreme Being.

The communist regime prohibits citizens from belonging to unauthorized religious groups. And its authorized groups are largely propaganda, organized for the benefit of foreigners, according to a 2005 U.S. State Department report on International Religious Freedom.

Believers who proselytize or have ties to evangelical groups in China are arrested, tortured or executed, the report said....
Source (emphasis mine)

Does this strike anyone else as odd? They're inviting a well known Christian leader to come speak? He goes on to admit that the government might be using him to draw out Christians, but that he will "use them," as well. But why? Why would the North Korean government take such a step just to draw people out. The persecuted church remains strong, surely bringing in a well known leader and then arresting, and possibly slaughtering, believers that come to see him is not the best way to go about getting them. One it is going to make them look awful in the media's eyes (and rightfully so), but even more than that the persecution hasn't worked. The church remains even now, so I don't imagine they think this could be an effective way to stomp out Christianity. Though you never know, they just might think that. But Christ's message has been chased down since He walked the earth. People have been beaten and killed for His message, and yet it remains to this day. Persecution will not bring an end to true Christianity, it never has and never will.

Want my theory? The North Korean government views Kim Jong Il as Supreme Being, right? Why invite someone who might draw people away from that? Why bring competition upon yourself? Perhaps he understands that Warren's version of Christianity is of little threat, that the gospel he brings lacks the true power of the Cross, perhaps this is why Warren is so welcomed? Eh, maybe, maybe not. Just a thought.

Homosexual Club Flags Removed From School

A pro-family group is hailing the removal of a "homosexual pride" flag from the wall of a Michigan high school.

For almost two years, conservatives have been protesting the presence of a rainbow flag displayed by the Diversity Club at Howell High School. Students even formed a Traditional Values Club in response to the school's allowance of homosexual activism on campus. Last Thursday (June 22) officials at the school took down the rainbow flag, the Christian flag displayed by the Traditional Values Club, and those of all other campus clubs.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, says public outcry forced school officials to reverse what he describes as "one of the most outrageous examples of political correctness ever seen in Michigan."

"This rainbow flag, which is [a] universally recognized [gay pride symbol] ... had been flying at Howell High since the day after the 2004 election, specifically to protest voter approval of a marriage protection amendment to our state constitution," Glenn explains. "And when parents and students protested to the school board, the school board reacted by having a formal flag dedication ceremony for the so-called 'gay pride' flag."
Source

In Christ We Have A New Beginning

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:8-10, emphasis mine)

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul spends quite a bit of time discussing the importance of the resurrection as there are some who are teaching there is no resurrection. Paul casts down this idea by saying if there is no resurrection then we have had faith in Christ in vain. If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not resurrected and his (and our) faith is all for naught and we are all still in our sin. He goes on to reiterate that Christ is resurrected, that He showed Himself to Cephas, the disciples, to James, to over five hundred others, and finally to Paul who was then called Saul. Paul tells the readers that he isn't worthy to be an apostle as he persecuted the church, yet Christ still called him to be one and by the grace of God he labors abundantly.

Sometimes we cat glimpses of ourselves and we realize that we are not worthy to be called after His name. But praise God it is not by our worthiness that we are called, but by Christ's! Previous failures mean nothing when we come to Christ, because now we have a strength and a guide that is outside of ourselves, truly it is not us doing the work anymore but Him through us. The past has no bearing on the future when we are in Christ. Like Paul we find a new beginning, as dark and sinful as our past was, Christ can lift us up to do great things, and all me must do is trust and obey.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

176 Year Old Tortoise Dies

Sad.

My Son Likes to Shop at Hobby Lobby

It is a little odd.

I had to go buy a new zipper today and ended up buying the kids sidewalk chalk, paints, and two adorable wooden crosses that can hang on the wall to paint (William picked out a Noah's ark one for him and one with flowers for his sissy). He actually picked out around $70 worth of stuff, but I put my foot down after $8. He's a silly kid.

What the heck is wrong with high schools?

Really, what the heck.

(AgapePress) - A Christian attorney says a Colorado high school was wrong to withhold a valedictorian's diploma because her commencement speech encouraged people to learn about Jesus Christ.

Erica Corder, an 18-year-old graduating senior at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, used her commencement speech to speak about the death and resurrection of Christ and to urge listeners to learn more about his sacrifice. After the valedictory address, however, school officials told Corder she would not receive her diploma until she wrote an e-mail to the school community's students and parents, apologizing for her comments.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Florida-based Liberty Counsel, believes the school acted inappropriately. "Frankly, schools have no right to withhold a diploma," he argues. "That diploma is earned. It's just like if you already worked at your job, and you get paid after the fact; what you do on vacation or off work does not have any bearing on whether you're going to get paid."

Corder's case has a number of "very disturbing components," Staver says, "because after she gave her speech, she was threatened that her diploma would be withheld unless she wrote an e-mail apologizing to the seniors in her class." But Corder had already "earned" her diploma, he insists, and as the valedictorian, "she was entitled to the diploma, and the school should not have forced her to give this apologizing e-mail."

The pro-family attorney feels this has been one of the most egregious incidences of abuse of power by school officials at graduation that he has ever encountered. Until this situation in Colorado, he notes, "I've never seen a case where a diploma is withheld because someone gave a religious message. I believe that was obviously illegal to do that."

In fact, Staver believes it was unconstitutional for the school to censor the Christian valedictorian's message. The Liberty Counsel spokesman has sent a letter to school district officials on Corder's behalf, informing them that, under the Constitution of the United States, she has the right to share her faith. He says even though Corder agreed to write parents and fellow graduates an apology letter, a lawsuit against the school is still warranted.
Source

Chargest Against Youth Pastor Dropped

A youth pastor in California was arrested for evangelizing at a local mall. The mall security "arrested" him and he was booked with battery trespassing. All for talking to people about Jesus. Amazing. The charges were later dropped. Story here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Warren's Mission Is To Evangelize, But Not Create Converts?

I'm so confused.

The other secret to his success is his passion for God and Jesus. Warren managed to speak for the entire evening without once mentioning Jesus — a testament to his savvy message-tailoring. But make no mistake, the driving purpose of an evangelical church is to evangelize, and it is Warren’s devotion to spreading the words of the Christian Bible that drive his ministry.

Good for him and his flock — and not so bad for us either. His teachings apply to 95 percent of all people, regardless of religious belief. As he put it to a group of rabbis at a conference last year — using a metaphor that might be described as a Paulian slip: “Eat the fish and throw away the bones.”

Warren told Wolfson his interest is in helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews. He said there are more than enough Christian souls to deal with for starters.
Source, emphasis mine

So, he loves Jesus enough to not talk about Him, and is so concerned with spreading the Gospel and seeing all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that he isn't concerned with converting Jews? Yea...ok.

Why is it that so many people act as if Jesus is a dirty word? The Jews surely wouldn't have died if Jesus was mentioned in their presence, and perhaps there may have even been some in the crowd that NEEDED and were ready to hear about Jesus. Warren let the opportunity slip right by. I can see not beating these people over the heads with the New Testament, but seriously, avoiding Jesus all together can't be the best solution either.

I realize that putting Jesus out there isn't always the most...comfortable thing, often the mere mention of Christ ruling your life will bring odd glances from the unbeliever, perhaps even a few rolled eyes. But you know what? He is worth it! He's worth being ostrisized for! Now, I'll be the first to admit I sometimes let Jesus take the back seat, but is it right? Hardly, and little by little I'm learning not to do it. If Jesus is powerful enough to save my soul, shouldn't I therefore be compelled to share Him with those around me? If I don't take the oppertunity to share Christ, who will? I can't bet that anyone else will, and I really don't want to stand before my Lord one day and have to say, "Yea, I never told my neighbor about You...and he died."

Don't Waste Your Life Looking At The Sky

Or a website of the sky. I love it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Battle Is Not Ours

Tell me why, I don't understand.
Tell me why, or show me your hand.
Tell me why because I can't see my way through ~
What now...should I...do ~

(music plays )

(drums play)

The battle is not ours
We look to God above~
For he will guide us safely through
and guard us with his love

I will not be afraid
I will not run and hide~
For there is noting I can't face
when God is at my side
No, there is nothing I can't face
when God is at my side

The battle is not ours
We look to God above
For he will guide us safely through
and guard us with his love ~

- Veggie Tales

The Thankfulness Song

I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!

For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
Thats an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!

- Veggie Tales

Tale of a Lost (Stolen) Cell Phone

The beginning of this month a girl found a misplaced cell phone and decided to keep it instead of answering the text messages to the phone offering a reward for its return. BIG mistake. Guys, if you find something, try to find the owner lest you end up like this girl (warning: mild swearing). Almost a month later, countless emails, and many an update via the website the girl was arrested and the cell phone is being returned to the rightful owner. New York Times even has an article.

High School Shuts the Mic Off Because of Jesus

A constitutional attorney is denouncing a Las Vegas school district for pulling the plug on a Christian student's commencement speech because it referred to her faith in Jesus Christ. At a recent graduation ceremony, Clark County School District (CCSD) officials cut the microphone on Foothill High School valedictorian Brittany McComb after she began reading a speech that contained Bible verses and references to God.

The district officials claim McComb's speech amounted to religious proselytizing and could have been perceived as school-sponsored, thus making it a violation of the so-called separation of church and state. But Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Florida-based pro-family legal organization Liberty Counsel, says the high school valedictorian has every right to take the school district to court over the incident.
...
In vetting McComb's speech, school officials stripped it of biblical references and approved an edited version, cutting six mentions of God or Christ and omitting two biblical references. At the graduation exercises, however, the teen commencement speaker felt compelled to deviate from the edited version. "God's the biggest part of my life," she says. "Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my Lord and Savior."

For the Foothill High School graduate, it all boiled down to her faith and her fundamental First Amendment right to free speech. For those reasons , she asserts, she chose in this instance to rebel against authority for the first time in her life. And, according to an Associated Press report, a sympathetic crowd of nearly 400 graduates and their families booed angrily at the school officials for several minutes after they cut McComb's microphone.
Source

How Great Thou Art

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
...

The Instrumentals

Ok, confession. I was a band geek/ nerd. I think aside from the library I spent more time in the band room than doing anything else. And I loved it. The school I graduated from had a long standing tradition of excellence in the music department, and I'm proud to say that I helped to contribute a small part to that. Being in band I was exposed to countless songs, some of which I hated, and some of which brought tears to my eyes performing them. And so here are just a few that I've performed as well as just some other songs that I love.

Mayflower Overture by Ron Nelson
Prelude and Fugue
Sursum Corda composed by Edward Elgar
Fantasia in G by Timothy Mahr
Traumerei by Robert Schumann
Moonlight Sonata Movement 2 by Beethoven
Thy Word by Michael W. Smith
Sonata Number 3 by Rachmanioff
Fantasi Impromptu C#m by Chopin
Nocturne, E flat major, op. 9 by Chopin
Gymnopedie no 1 by Erik Satie
Gnossienne no 1 by Erik Satie

I could go on, but honestly we'd be here all day concerning this single post.

Love Song For A Savior

Jars of Clay was the first band I heard after I accepted Christ, this song was one of the first songs I'd heard, thus the band and the song became one of my favorites. And while I don't listen to them (or anything) much anymore this song remains one of my favorites.

in open fields of wild flowers
she breathes the air and flies away
she thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language
someday she'll understand the meaning of it all
he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close a heartbeat or a song on her lips
someday she'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call her and she will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

sitting silent wearing sunday best
the sermon echoes through the walls
a great salvation through it calls to the people
who stare into nowhere, and can't feel the chains on their souls

he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close a heartbeat or a song on our lips
someday we'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call us and we will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and we'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

it seems too easy to call you "Savior"
not close enough to call you "God"
so as i sit and think of words i can mention
to show my devotion

i want to fall in love with you

This Day

It’s six a.m
I’m so tired
The alarm sounds
And the new day begins
Before I go
And disturb this peaceful moment
I look to you

Chorus:
I want to say a prayer
Before my feet can hit the ground
Lord I give this day to you

I’m amazed how you forgive me
Yesterday seems so far behind
It’s a brand new day
And every day’s a new beginning
I look to you

Chorus

Breathe in
Breathe out
Breathe in
And watch the day begin
I wanna watch the day begin

Repeat chorus

- Audio Adrenaline

I know it's not the most profound song, but still it touches me.

Song Lyrics Day

Today I thought it would be fun to post lyrics to various songs that I like. Yea, it's a lame idea, but it is entertaining me so deal with it. Besides all these songs have, at one point or another, meant a lot to me and have reminded me of the Lord. Sadly, there are some songs that I can't post lyrics to because they are instrumental, so they'll get their own post listing them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Go to the Gates and Declare His Message

Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.
Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
Then spoke the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. (Jeremiah 26:8-9, 11)


Jeremiah is sent by God to stand in the gates of the temple and speak out against the evil the Israelites are committing, judgment is coming unless they repent. In response to the message he brings the priests and prophets seek to kill him. They've spent their time telling people things will be fine, that the nation is prospering, that they are truly serving God though they surely are aware of the fact that they haven't been. Their pride and sinful desires keep them from falling to the floor in repentance and look to remove the reproach (Jeremiah) from their midst.

Jeremiah in a step of great faith further pushes, exhorting them to repent but also making it clear that his conscience is clear, he has faithfully spoken the Word the Lord has given him:

Then spoke Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.
But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.
(Jeremiah 26:12-15)


Sadly we see this mirrored even today in our churches. Many of them have gone off to please men and in doing so have built up idols in the Lord's temple (their hearts), and though they may still claim to love God above all and desire to serve Him, quite often this is just not the case.

And so we're sent to our brethren, our loving Father has given us a Word for His lost children (even those who refuse to believe they are lost) and like Jeremiah we're called to stand at the gates and call out to them. We're sent to call the world...and the church...to repentance before it is too late for them to repent.

More than likely they will refuse to hear, they may seek to silence the message by calling the messenger a liar, or by sending us away and removing us from their congregations, and eventually seek to kill us. Indeed we see this happening already around the world, but eventually this refusal to repent and accept the truth will lead to blood shed in every country.

But even when it comes to that we're called to stand, as Jeremiah did, and exhort our lost brothers and sisters to turn back to the true God, to the true Gospel. We must have faith that God's will shall be done, and if they kill us for the message we bring so be it. They'll be unable to stand before God and say they weren't aware of their sin for they will have killed to hide it. But you can't hide anything from God, and eventually He will bring judgment upon those who refuse to repent. Despite the possible risk of loss for us we must remain faithful to the Word He has given us lest we should stand before Him knowing we haven't warned the people of coming destruction.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Last Year: Father Arrested. This Year: Son Jumped

Last year a Massachusetts father was arrested for refusing to leave his son in a kindergarten class without the assurance that he'd be able to opt his child out of any pro-homosexual curriculum. This year the son has been beaten up at school, officials believe it may be in response to the parents filing a lawsuit against the school.

The young son of a Massachusetts pro-family activist was physically assaulted by fellow elementary school students on the two-year anniversary of same-sex "marriage" in the state.

On May 17, first-grader Jacob Parker was beaten up by a group of eight to ten kids on the playground at Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington. Just weeks before the assault, his father and mother had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school.

Last year, David Parker was arrested and jailed for refusing to leave the school until officials agreed to grant him the right to opt his son out of classroom discussions on homosexuality. The Massachusetts father believes the assault was incited by parents who are upset with his opposition to homosexuality.

...

The pro-family advocate suspects the physical attack on his son may have occurred because parents and school officials are angry over his stand for traditional marriage in Massachusetts and have allowed these feelings to influence kids who attend Estabrook Elementary. Also, he notes, back issues of the "biased" Lexington Minuteman newspaper were placed on a table in the school library for children to read the local coverage of the lawsuit.

What do you call cheese that isn't yours??

Well?






NACHO (you know, Not yo' cheese) CHEESE!!!

hahaha I love my friend Shelly. She's such a goof! I hope you laughed because I sure did. In fact, I'm still laughing.

A Word From Jeremiah

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1-4)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hey! Let's Ignore the Bible!

"The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today," she said.
Source

Interesting. We shouldn't follow what the Bible says. Good to know.
::goes out and performs a human sacrifice while wearing nothing but her underwear::

Come on, people. The Bible says we should dress modestly, is that one of those things we should ignore? How about human sacrifice? Perhaps we should start cooking our toddlers up. The Bible says quite clearly that homosexuality is sin, to bust out the KJV, "an abomination" in the eyes of God. So, why is it some people feel it is alright to dismiss this out of hand? Just because they don't like to hear it? People don't like hearing they are sinners and that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but they should still hear that right? Right. So, why on earth would you choose to dismiss something that Scripture is just as specific about?

Psalm 63

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

In God I Have Put My Trust

To the chief Musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.
Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.
Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living. (Psalm 56)

Let Them Return Unto Thee

I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. (Jeremiah 15:17, emphasis mine)

Jeremiah doesn't join together with those who mock God and His righteousness. He sits separated from those who may pay lip service but do not worship in their heart and spirit. He sees God's hand in his separation, he is frustrated - disgusted even - by the sin of those around him. God has caused him to be incapable of being complacent about sin. He cares, and he cares deeply. He understands that these people who were called by God, who claim to serve Him, are marring the Lord's name. Their behavior, their attitudes dishonor the name of the One who has called them. Surely the pagans that surround them must look at these people and say, "Look at them. They claim to serve the God of gods, yet they do not seem to be any different than us. If their God is greater, why do they do things that our unlawful people would do?"

Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. (Jeremiah 15:19, emphasis mine)

God calls us to maintain our separation from the world, do not return to it, do not return to our previous lives but to remain steadfast in our following Him. Our differences shall be a light to the world, should not the unbeliever be able to see we are different? We're called to be holy as our Father is holy (Leviticus 11:44, Matthew 5:48), and to let our light shine before all men so that they might glorify the God that works through us (Matthew 5:16). And on top of that we have a duty to each other, to our brethren in Christ to point out their sin (I'm not saying beat them in the head with their Bibles, but sin must be addressed). We cannot turn a blind eye to something that can send our brothers and sisters tumbling down the road to destruction and in the process mar their witness for Christ and lead others into temptation as well (1 Corinthians 5).

Hundreds of years before it was written Jeremiah's pleas to the Israelites to turn back from their wickedness seems to foreshadow James:

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jeremiah On The Word of The Lord

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them;" (Jeremiah 15:16) to eat is to be sustained, to be nurished by what you're eating. Jeremiah is saying here that in the midst of his persecution, in the midst of his hardship, in the midst of what must have seemed like a spiritual wilderness he found God's Word and was nurished by it.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

He continues, "and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." Here we see Jeremiah rejoicing because he knows the Word. It is in the Word of God that we find God's love, patience, righteousness, and glory displayed (at least until the return of Christ!) most clearly. He knows the Word and because of that knowledge he rejoices. He's being persecuted, people hate him because he is a reproach to their sinful lives and still he finds joy! It is in knowing and embracing the Word of the Lord that we can rejoice when those around us who do not know the Lord would be weeping and crying out about their misfortune.

We rejoice in knowing that we are "called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." Ignorance of God's Word often leads to doubt, sadness, and hopelessness. But as we learn and grow in the Lord, when we come to understand this God who knew us before we were born, this God who guides and protects us, this same God who created the heavens is calling us to Him we can rejoice and experience a deep setting joy and peace that is not dependant upon our current situations. It is in knowing God as revealed through His Word that we find this joy. And I rejoice in the fact that He cares so much for us that He has chosen to give us His Word as a constant reminder of His ever loving presence in the lives of those who serve Him.