Friday, March 31, 2006

Stand Fast, Hold Tight, & Do Not Fear Your Persecution

"We have clearly seen where persecution is prominent, the church is stronger; and where we have freedom - in the cities and other places - there are fewer Christians, and they are less fervent."
From "Colombia - Reaching Rebels for Christ" on Pg 4 of The Voice of the Martyrs, April 2006

The sad thing is, this seems to be fairly common. Those of us who are blessed with the freedom to worship, how often and how easily do we grow complacent in our faith while our brethren around the world are being put to death for theirs? How many of us have our Bibles on our shelves rather than in our hands? Millions around the world don't have access to the written Word without fear of persecution. In these places it is cherished. Is it so cherished here?

I fear not in many cases. A poll done recently stated there are more "born again" Christians than ever before in America, and yet we see the country's morals declining as more and more people go out to fulfill the lusts of the flesh in a heightened fever. Meanwhile men and women, like Abdur Rahman, face family rejection, job loss, trials, and possible death for their faith. And yet, in many (if not most) of those cases their faith thrives - even when their lives are in danger because they know they have a chance to glorify God and that a great reward is waiting for them in Heaven.

How I long for the faith of men and women like that. How I long to have faith to be able to be bound and taken before the courts and proudly stand in faithful confidence that Christ has gone before me and I have been given the opportunity to witness (unto death if necessary) for Him.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mark 13:13)

Each of us, whether we be in poverty or not; whether we live in France, Illinois, or Colombia - each of us have the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility to feverently seek God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Each of us are given to temptations, Satan will do anything to have us reject Christ or falter in our walk. It is only by God's grace, by a dependence and complete surrender to Christ, that any of us are able to stand and proclaim the Cross in the face of our trials (or even in our day to day mundane lives).

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
(Philippians 1:27-29, emphasis mine)

It Is Beautiful, Go Play.

Yesterday I did some errands early in the morning (around 7) and came home. It was rather cold when I had been out so I had the doors and windows closed because of the kids. Well, I was in for quite the surprise! A friend informed me that it was really very nice out, so we threw shoes on the kids and headed out to the yard for some play time. My word, it was nice. We played for well over an hour before deciding that in celebration of the lovely weather we should get ice cream. Needless to say we went to Coldstone. YUM.

After our ice cream we headed off to the park for more play time, where I discovered my three year old son is quite the ladies man. What a flirt. He kept hugging little girls and talking up a storm with them, but ignored the boys. We came home had dinner, put my daughter to bed and proceeded to go play in the yard some more. I'm glad it is getting nice out, but boy I'm going to be exhausted if we do this every day!

Moral of the story? It is beautiful, go play.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Blogging and Proverbs

Tim, over at Challies DOT com, has an excellent post concerning blogging and what has stood out to him as he studied Proverbs this month. I'd like to share some highlights, though I most definitely suggest you read the entire post:

Know when to walk away.

"If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet (29:9)." There are times when you need to walk away instead of carrying on an argument. Foolish people have no real desire to learn or to be wise. Instead, they only seek opportunities to loudly proclaim the folly. Walk away so you can have peace. It is not worth having to deal with a prescription for high blood pressure based on ongoing arguments with a complete fool.


Be humble.

"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips (27:2)." "One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor (29:23)." Let others praise you. If you never receive praise from anyone, especially from those who are wise, it may be a good time to examine your heart and examine if you are walking in the ways of wisdom. Those who are humble and lowly in spirit will receive honor while the arrogant will be brought low. If you are a blogger, this may mean re-examining the list of endorsements and words of praise you've posted on the main page of your site.


Don't be a troublemaker.

"Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling (26:27)." Those who exist only to bring trouble to others will pay a price. And unfortunately, on the Internet there are many of these people. Don't be one! Seek to edify others and to bring glory to God, whether you publish a blog of your own or whether you prefer to comment on other peoples' sites.

Examine why you write.

"A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike (27:14)." The proverb speaks of a quarrelsome wife, but it could as easily apply to anyone. If you are writing merely to be quarrelsome or because you enjoy an argument, perhaps it is best to find something else to do. There is already enough negativity in the world and on the Internet. If you find yourself continually depressed by what you write, it may be best to find a more uplifting hobby. "Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Just as bad news can push a person down, so joyful words can uplift.

Disappointment, Grief, Struggles, & God's Will

I was at GirlTalk (yes, AGAIN!) this morning and Janelle was discussing grief - specifically pertaining to the loss of a relationship, though the quotes she shares from a book she read during a trying time in her life certainly go well beyond the scope of marriage. I'm attaching a quote she posted from Is God Really in Control? (previously entitled Trusting God) by Jerry Bridges.

"God in His infinite wisdom knows exactly what adversity we need to grow more and more into the likeness of His Son. He not only knows what we need but when we need it and how best to bring it to pass in our lives. He is the perfect teacher or coach. His discipline is always exactly suited for our needs. He never over trains us by allowing too much adversity in our lives.” Page 122

I'm sharing this because I found it to be quite encouraging. We each have our struggles, and sometimes it is easy to lose sight of God's Hand in adversity. But it is always there guiding us through, if only we'll grab hold of it. When we come to Him, we find rest. When we accept and submit to His will, even when we don't understand it, we find peace.

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wacky Wednesday: A Blonde Takes a Loan

I love it, here is a joke featured on GirlTalk last Friday. Enjoy!

A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked on the street in front of the bank, she has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.

The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there. Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely,but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multi-millionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The blonde replies....."Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?"

Finally, a smart blonde joke.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Does Suffering and Death Equal Separation From Christ?

Just a few more thoughts to follow up my last post.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Romans 8:35-37

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (Luke 21:16, emphasis mine)

We shall be betrayed, Christ warned us Himself of this fact. Some of us may suffer unto death. We don't know which of us will be put to death, but the fact remains that if you are truly seeking God you will be a reproach to the world and they will hate you for it. But rejoice! The Lord comes. He is in control, and while we may not know which of us shall have to suffer death for His name we can take comfort in the fact that He does know! In the midst of our trials He is there with us! He shall never leave, nor forsake you...Even in your death.

Suffering For His Name's Sake

I've been discussing Abdur Rahman, the Christian from Afghanistan who has been making international news, on Frenzyboard. The discussion began with people being horrified at the situation, moved on to discussing Christianity and Islam, and then a general rejoicing at the announcement of his release. Then a comment was made about how the mobs will kill him (this is after all a strong possibility) if he doesn't seek asylum in another country.

Don't you guys think he's in God's hands, and that God has not forgotten him, inside our outside the courthouse and inside our outside society?

That is true, but it doesn't mean he won't be killed. If God wants him home, it will play out that way. And if God doesn't allow it, it won't happen. Just because someone meets their death doesn't mean God has taken His hand off the situation. If Christ can be killed for our sins, if countless saints throughout the past 2000 years can be killed for their faith, what makes us think that God isn't with them that suffer today?

What makes us think any of us can escape God's plan for our lives? It reminds me of that kiddie song..."He´s got the whole world in His hands," if that is true, if we really believe that, why do we act as if death is out of His control? If God didn't spare His Son, why should we be spared? We're called to follow Christ, even unto death.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. (Phillipians 1:20-30, emphasis mine)

Paul says that Christ will be glorified in our lives, and even in our deaths, so long as we be faithful to Him. "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake," I realize suffering isn't the most enjoyable thing that can happen to a person. But as Christ suffered for us, we are to follow Him. Christ Himself said that the world would hate those who follow Him, that His followers would be delivered up to counsels and synagogues by our own families (Matthew 10:21), so is it any wonder these things are true? And does it mean God has abandoned us? Hardly. Even in our suffering, even in our deaths, we are given the opportunity to bring glory and honor to our Father. And we must remember:

For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23, emphasis mine)

To be called home, to die, if one follows Christ, is to be with Christ. Heaven or Earth? The world or Christ? Choices, choices, choices...To be with Christ is far better.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Convert Released

CNN reports that the case against Abdur Rahman has been dropped. Read about it here. Praise God.

Want To Take A Walk With Me?

I decided to spend this lovely day in my favorite park. I loaded up my pocket NT, two cameras, and headed out for a nice morning of hiking. It was wonderful, though it was a little too cool for just a hoodie.

What you can't see for the following photo is that I'm straddling a log about 20 feet up the side of a nice slope. Boy it would have hurt if the tree didn't hold.

A self portrait, aren't I creative?

This photo doesn't do it justice, I cannot tell you how beautiful this park is. Truly, God is a powerful God and an artist.

And that's it folks, I spent two hours in the park and was blown away by God's hand. Amazing, simply amazing.

He Wants Our Hearts

Christ is to be cherished, not just chosen.
- John Piper, When I Don't Desire God, pg 19.

These words leapt off the page at me last night while I was at Barnes and Noble. It is something I've been thinking about a lot the past year or so.

I "chose"/ "accepted" Christ when I was 16 years old. But then eventually the new-ness wore off and real life settled in. I considered myself a Christian, but I had no idea what that really meant. I attended church every Sunday, went to youth group, and even joined the Christian club at my high school.

But does that make one a Christian? I found it easy to call myself one and yet I really didn't love my Savior. It was like, "Jesus, thanks for dying and all. That was really swell of you, and I appreciate it." I look back on that time and see I didn't love Him, not the way I could have been loving Him, and it breaks my heart. After high school things only got worse. That Christian club? Turns out that was the only real contact I had with Christians who were desperately in love with their Savior.

The youth group had been a joke, it was like walking down the hallway of a public high school. Boys and girls "hooking up," making plans for the weekend, swearing up a storm, ect. And it seemed like nobody, including myself, was really seeking God. We'd show up Sunday morning for church, and Tuesday evening for youth group, and that was the walk for many of us. So, the youth group had gotten dropped by time I'd turned 17. It was too much like high school, and I knew that it shouldn't be. But still my heart remained cold to Christ. Sundays were my favorite days because church was on Sundays, but by time Tuesday morning rolled around the longing I'd felt on Sunday was gone.

Then almost five years later, my world got turned upside down. And in that, I found out how awful my heart really was, how closed off I really was, and how Christ longed to release me from my bondage. And He has! Oh, the work He has done. Who would have guessed? Surely, not I! I'm beginning to understand that it isn't enough to "choose" Christ; He bore my sin that day on Calvary. It was I who put Him up there. It was I who should have been up there to receive my payment. Yet, He did it for me. And now? Now my heart breaks thinking about that. And I'm glad.

I have my complacent days; where the agony He bore on the cross escapes me, where I say "Thank You, Jesus, but I just want to do my own thing today," but I know He is calling me to the Father. Even on those days, I know I'm wrong and want to be in love with Him, but my heart has been hardened a bit and there is only One who can chip it away. With time He does, and I'm finding myself being molded more. And that's a beautiful thing.

Have you heard that cheesy phrase, Pastors seem to love using it from the pulpit, "You know how much God loves you? He loves you this much," as they spread out their arms to signify Christ's sacrifice. And it's true. But He loves us so much more than that! He loves us so much that saving us from our sin isn't enough.

He loves us so much He wants us to be as like Him as possible. He wants more than our actions, He wants our hearts! He wants more for me than to not swear, don't get drunk, don't, don't, don't. He wants me to want these things. He wants me, indeed He calls me, to want to be holy as my Father in heaven is holy. He wants me to want change, and He will not force it if my heart isn't in it. He said those who love Him will follow His commandments. He wants us to love Him, to desire Him, to seek Him, to follow Him! God Himself has called us to adore Him. Truly it is an honor, and an amazing duty to do so. And that, beloved, is only part of the call on every one of His follower's lives.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Afghan Officials Meet to Discuss Christian converted Fate

The controversy grows concerning the trial of Abdur Rahman, and still I have a question I just can't seem to shake. He converted 15 years ago (praise God!), so why is he just being arrested and brought to trial? I have a funny feeling someone just decided they were mad at him and this was the easiest/ most extreme way of getting at him. Otherwise, why so long?

Make Your Fridge Glow

This looks like fun! I won't be trying it, but boy it's neat.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Uh Oh!

What happens when you have my mother building, painting, and rearranging furniture while the kids are running around? You get chaos. My son walked in the the kitchen on the way to the bathroom and stopped in awe.

"Uh oh!"

"Yea, William, Grammy is making a mess."

"Grammy mess."

He goes potty and comes back out.

"Uh oh!"

He is amazed at the mess but is enjoying the opportunity to "help" Grammy. He hands her 20 nails when she asks for one. It's very cute, but not productive at all.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My Heart's Cry: Change Me, O God!

I spent the vast majority of my quiet time this morning in Psalm 119, and singing How Great Thou Art (which by the way is probably one of my favorite songs at this point).

I struggle sometimes with seeking, relying upon, and following what God has told me. It seems the flesh is a little more difficult to overcome than I had hoped. But God is gracious, and patient, and is moving in me. I'm sure these struggles are things that many, if not most, Christians struggle with but sometimes I feel as if I'm the only one.

It just kills me when I know I'm off track, I can feel the difference in my spirit and see the difference in my actions and speech. I imagine it is probably apparent to others as well. And that just drives me crazy. But still my pride gets in the way and at times it takes a couple days for me to get to the point where I can't stand the distance between my Father and I, that I'm willing and able to fall upon my face and cry out to Him for His forgiveness. And thankfully He has always been there, waiting for me to stop running.

And so I was thinking about these things this past week or so, and He has been gratiously and tenderly dealing with my heart on somethings. What's the point? What does this all have to do with the Psalms? Well, it seems that is where I'm finding things that greatly express the desires of my heart, so I thought I'd share them with you.

I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. (Psalm 119:101)

Oh how I long for this to be true! By God's grace one day...

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)

Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.(Psalm 119:143)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


GirlTalk shares a short devotional concerning unbelief written by Mark Muller.

Wacky Wednesday: What Do You Get When You Take Teen Cosmo & Paste It In With The Bible?

From the sounds of it, you get this.

Which Jesus

Carla over at Reflections of the Times has an interesting post entitled, Which Jesus? Take a look.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

When Good Just Isn't Good Enough

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11, emphasis mine)

When I came across this verse it struck me as one of those verses that would be easy for people to twist, just as people commonly misinterpret Psalm 37:4 (emphasis mine, well actually I've heard plenty of Christians emphasize it this way, so I guess the emphasis really isn't mine, but you know what I mean), which reads:

Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

But if we look - really look - God doesn't just blindly give out whatever we want. Even if it appears to be "good," because every "good" thing may not be good for us.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:6, emphasis mine)

The fruit of the tree looked good, it was food, and it would make one wise. So, why wasn't it good for her? I mean for all intents and purposes this was a good thing, so why did God forbid them from eating of this tree? Because it wasn't good for them, even if it appeared good to them.

Let's look at Ruth, she didn't go back to her father's house after her husband died. Rather she followed Naomi and trusted the Lord to provide. It seemed good to Naomi for Ruth to turn as Oprah had, but it wasn't where the Lord wanted her. It may have been good, but it wasn't best. And so Ruth committed herself to following Naomi and walking His way for her life even when it didn't make sense to anyone else.

And this is why we must commit our "way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:5) God's ways may not seem logical to the world - they may not be fun to our flesh - but truly His way is the only way that will bring us to the greatness He desires for us. Despite my flesh, despite my pride, I know His way is the only way to life eternal. And so daily I find it is necessary for me to set my heart and thoughts upon Him, because ultimately I want what is best, not good.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Breast Asymmetry May Increase Cancer Risk in Women

Here is an interesting article concerning breast cancer.

They examined the breast X-rays, or mammograms, of 252 women who developed the disease and 252 who did not. They found that the women who suffered cancer had less-symmetrical breasts than those who were disease-free.

Honda = Awesome

This is by far the coolest ad I have ever seen.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Best Ice Cream...EVER.

Today I took the kids out for a day of shopping and eating with a friend of mine. Once we finished getting jeans for my son we headed to Denny's and had lunch. Worst waiter ever, good burger. At any rate they certainly weren't going to get our business for dessert so my friend suggested we go to Cold Stone Creamery. I'd never been there. She pointed out what she was getting, told me I could get a sample of any of the ice cream and if I didn't want one of the combinations they had I could make my own from an assortment of ice cream and about 20 different kinds of candy. Needless to say my sweet tooth took over. William had plain chocolate and I got Chocolate Devotion. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate chips, and brownie. It was a chocolate over load. I was in heaven (hmm if heaven is half as good as that ice cream I'm going to be so happy.) Best ice cream I've had. Go get some.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Bloggers Creed

I found a link at Challies to a post on JollyBlogger's site. That post had the following quote. Yes.

I am the sort of man who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress by writing. - Augustine, Epistle 143.2-3

We Become What We Worship?

I got an email newsletter this morning from InFuze Magazine. It came complete with an article about sex (which I haven't read yet) and a column from the Editor concerning the topic of worship.

"Worship" is one of those super-Christian-y words that only the "religious" tend to think about. I heard an interesting thought about worship as a concept this week that I want to share with you, regardless of where you stand on religious matters.


"Whatever it is we worship, we imitate. Whatever we imitate, we become."

So here's my question: what are you worshiping? Is it someone worthy? Or something fleeting?

That's one question you better make sure you have a good answer to.

We become what we imitate, we imitate what we worship. Sounds good on the surface. If you worship money, you'll be greedy. If you idolize sex odds are you'll develop an addiction in some form to it. What about God?

If I worship God I'll imitate Him. In fact it is my sincere hope that I will be conformed to the image of Christ, that as time goes on you'll see less of me and more of Him. But I know I'm going to continue to fall short every day of my life. But can I really become what I imitate? Can I really become Christ? If I could wouldn't that make the cross ineffectual? By God's grace I am growing in Him and being molded, but will I one day become Christ? Can a piece of clay be molded and then get up and become the one who molded it?

Obviously I long to be less like myself and more like Christ, but I will never presume to say I will become Christ. I will never become who I worship, because who I worship is God and there is no god beside Him.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wacky Wednesday: Conversations With God - The Movie

As if CWG wasn't crazy enough, now there is a movie being made.

Wacky Wednesday: Eat An Animal For PETA Day

Huh? Does this mean I have to dedicate the turkey sandwich I was going to eat for lunch in honor of this insane day? PETA is crazy, and sometimes the people that rally against it entertain me as well.

For So It Seemed Good In Thy Sight

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:25-26)

I have spent a couple days mulling this verse over in my mind. Probably most clearly He was speaking about the fact that these uneducated poor people understood what faith was rather than the religious leaders of the time who walked around imposing themselves upon everyone. The Son of God was right there in front of their eyes but they couldn't see it. Yet a woman by a well, who wasn't even a Jew, understood exactly who Christ was and rejoiced in Him (John 4).

Paul wrote that the Cross is foolishness to the Gentiles and a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Corinthians 1:23). That says something. What the world would consider wisdom, what the world would deem important or logical is not necessarily how God works. He uses the lowly to humble the proud. To give these truths to the "wise" would have just put them on another ego trip.

Look at what they'd been doing with the truth God had given them for the hundreds and thousands of years before Christ (the money changers in the temple for example). But to give something so precious to the lowly, to give something so rich to the poor? Truly they rejoice in Him. Quite often it is the people that don't have much that give liberally (The poor woman with the two coins), and appreciate things that we often would overlook. How often have we washed our hands with our soap without realizing how blessed we are to have clean running water and soap to do that? It's so uncommon in other parts of the world, yet it is one of those things we often ignore. It's the people that are so deeply lost that really hunger and grab hold of the truth. Which plays well into what He said about not giving pearls to the swines (Matthew 7:6). And of course we must remember what He said in Matthew 9:9-12 (emphasis mine):

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

The choice of David probably seemed strange to people back then. A short young shepherd to fight big ol' Goliath (1 Samuel 17)? He probably seemed a little out of place, yet that is who God used. And even after David became king it must have been quite a change from the tall, strong Saul they had for king. And despite what the world might expect the leader of a nation to look and act like we see that David is still highly regarded. And it has very little to do with him, but what God did through him. It is when David leaned on his own understanding (like numbering Israel) and sought his own desires (Bathsheba), when he wasn't first and foremost seeking God that we see the biggest mistakes happen. But when he was on track with God? It was as if he was 10 times more wise and 100 times more strong than he actually was. And I think that's key, God used a small boy to inspire the hearts of the men around him.

Christ's entire life is like this. From birth to death his life was meant to be humbling. Born in a manger, a poor family, entering Jerusalem on a donkey, washing the disciples' feet, and the patient endurance of the most humiliating death of the time. Nothing about this man was what the Jews had imagined their King to be and do. No wonder He was a stumbling block! From the beginning Israel was meant to be different, yet they sought to be like the world. They had prophets giving them the very Word of God, yet they desired to be like everyone else. They wanted a king like all the other nations. They wanted the Savior to come dressed in royal robes, but instead He came wrapped in swaddling cloth.

Even the choice of the disciples wasn't probably what people expected. Fishermen and tax collectors? That's an odd choice for the future leaders of the church - at least from the world's perspective. He could have chosen anyone, but He called who He would for His glory.

Truly His ways are not our ways.

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:26)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Lord's Supper

Excellent post by Doug from CoffeeSwirls.

Psalm 32 & GirlTalk

I found this post at GirlTalk this morning and thought I'd share a bit of it with you.

“Are you consistently keeping your soul happy in God?” It was an unexpected question. If Mark, our pastor and small group leader had asked, “Are you consistently practicing the spiritual disciplines?” I would have given a simple “yes.” But this question required a more thoughtful response. Do I emerge from my quiet time happy?


Now I come out of my quiet time happier than when I went in! I’m still the greatest sinner I know, but I am a sinner clothed in the righteousness of Christ. And that truth, as it sinks in, permeates my soul with joy.

So how about you, is your soul happy? Is it spin around, laugh out loud, grin ‘till it hurts, happy in God? If not, then come with me to the cross. And gaze awhile.

I recently read Psalm 32, and upon seeing the above post I was reminded of it, so I thought I'd share that as well.

Psalm 32
1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.

4For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

9Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

10Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

11Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

With promises like that I find it truly difficult to stay gloomy. The cross is the source of my joy, and when I go to it, when I remember the sacrifice Christ paid for me (to pay for my sins) I find it difficult to not "shout for joy." If I'm truly looking to the cross that is. Sometimes I have my little pity parties, and then my heart is weighed down in sadness, anger, and sin - but if I'm truly going to the cross? Well, then it's time to dance! If I'm truly seeking Him and abiding in Him?

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11, emphasis mine)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Greetings & Monday Plans

I hope this Sunday found each of you well, if not in body then at least in soul, as you spent the day focusing upon the Lord (though I do hope each of us spent more than just today thinking about, and spending time with, Him). I will be taking tomorrow off, possibly Tuesday as well depending on how things go. I've got some things that have been in the works for nearly a year that should be wrapping up tomorrow, Lord willing. It's been quite a ride, stressful much of the time, frightening some of the time, and yet I've seen the Lord move more than ever before. It has been a year of liberation, and I praise God for it.

From John Piper's "I Will Go to God, My Exceeding Joy"

First, I have not felt forsaken by God. I have not doubted his control or his wisdom or his goodness in any of this. Getting cancer is a gift to me from his all-wise, all-ruling, all-loving hand. That peace of soul is not owing to my nature but to God’s grace. Thank you for praying.

Second, Noël and I are deeply one in this embrace of God’s sovereign wisdom and goodness. Few things mean more to me than to be able to take my wife’s hand and bow together and say, as one, “Father, we accept this from your hand, and we submit to your sovereign will, and we trust you. Have your way with us—only, let Christ be magnified.” To be able to say that, with your wife at your side feeling and saying Amen, is one of the great peaks in the mountain range of marriage joy.

Third, I have experienced no pain. Discomfort? Soreness? Yes. But nothing that I would put in the category of pain. God has handled me with soft gloves.

Fourth, the doctor sat down with me on Wednesday and laid out the pathology report. It confirmed the presence of cancer in the removed prostate, but also confirmed that it had not penetrated the capsule, as far as they could see, and there was no evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes. Then he said that 94% of the men with these scores and this surgery are cancer-free in ten years. For this I give thanks, and quietly and happily confess to God, “Whether I will be in the 94% or the 6% is entirely in your hands.” And there I rest. Not in the odds.

And, of course, the list could go on.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Attack Of The Killer Puppy!

He's killed the stuffed duck, who shall fall victim to his wrath next? Tune in next time to find out!

Test Puppies

I don't like puppies, generally. Did you know that? I really don't. I just don't have the patience to get a puppy unless someone I love wants one. I like old dogs, I like mellow dogs.

I have a test puppy. My mom wants a puppy, I don't. William LOVES puppies like any boy would. William's other grandma had 9 puppies to give away. We're trying one out because I can't see paying money for a dog if we can get one for free and she says she'll take him back if I hate him. So, I'd like to introduce you to Puppy. I refuse to name him until I know it's going to work out. He's TINY and quite cute, but he's still a puppy.

Salvation Is Not Ours To Work Out

I've been thinking a lot about the Cross, salvation, and the patient endurance that one finds in God when we draw near to Him who calls us. I've been thinking about the people of the Old Testament and how they confidently had faith that their Savior would come. And now He has come.

Buddha once said, "Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others." I cannot tell you how it broke my heart to read those words recently. I praise God my salvation has never been mine to "work out," that I can depend on Someone to save me, that my salvation was worked out before time began. What a bleak existence - working out one's own salvation. What a hopeless, fruitless, and foolish existence. To think we are capable of saving ourselves? To think we, a sinful, violent, and rebellious brand, could do anything to earn our salvation. We cannot do the smallest things without assistance, we cannot even change the color of our hair without some outside aid. How then are we supposed to accomplish something so huge as our salvation on our own? It is nothing but foolishness to think we can do that! Yet it seems that this idea of salvation being by God's grace is something our flesh kicks at and without God's intervention one would never accept such a thing.

Canon 9. If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone...let him be anathema.

Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins...or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.


How does a drowning man save himself when there is nothing in himself to draw upon to pull himself out of the sea? All he can do is hope that someone will come along in time to save him before his death. And that's where Christ comes in. He sees us struggling to keep our heads above water, He sees that despite our best attempts to save ourselves we are still drowning, and He walks out to us on the water. He reaches out as we fearfully cry "Lord, save me!" He pulls us from our sin that has enveloped us. Praise God that we are not left to work it out, that it has been worked out by Christ for us, because if it had been left up to us nobody would be saved.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Left Behind The Video Game

I've been hearing rumors of a video game based upon the Left Behind series, so I did a quick search on Google. Apparently, according to a few sites, the player spends their time traveling the streets of NY training converts to do the will of God which may include killing people who refuse to convert. Can you imagine? Anyway, if you want the truth I was a bit surprised since I don't recall the series encouraging killing people. (Well, maybe the AntiChrist, but does he count?) So, I then went on to read an interview with one of the people that helped put together the game. Basically, this is being tagged a Christian video game because it's attached to Left Behind, but the focus and development is not one that models after Christian ideals. They've taken a name that's big among evangelical Christians and tagged it onto another "bang bang shoot 'em up" video game.

They're not creating a game for Christians, they're creating a game for parents with guilty consciences to give to their unruly unrepentant children and feel better about themselves. "Well, little Johnny likes playing games and at least this has the name of the Lord in it." The Matrix has the name of the Lord in it more than any other movie I've ever seen, but can you really call that a Christian movie? Look at the context people. Look at Scripture.

Did Jesus kill the Pharasees for rejecting Him? No. Granted sometimes when I read about them I'd like to smack them upside the head and say, "Wake up! It's the Son of God! Salvation is here!" But really. No killing. But this? Just because the name Jesus is attached to it somehow doesn't make this Christian. Truly it is a shame. I don't like Left Behind, but this is just above and beyond anything I've imagined would come out.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rushing Into The Darkness & Out of His Will

It's funny the things we allow ourselves to get caught up in sometimes. When things seem dark it is easy to rush out and act in our own strength. I have, and still do, struggle with this a lot. This sin we puff up and call self reliance, when all it really is is pride. How often have I rushed out in a panic and gotten involved in things, or done things, that I later had to leave and repent of? Too often to count.

I was reading the book of Matthew today and as I approached the end of it I noticed that there is a common theme during Christ's trial and crucifixion that stuck out especially for me today. As Judas betrays Him Christ remains confidant. When the disciple cuts the ear off of the high priest's servant He rebukes him saying, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53) As Christ stands accused He remains silent. And even from the cross as He is mocked He says nothing to His accusers.

The thing that stuck out to me today is truly how foolish this must have looked to the Pharasees.

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. (Matthew 27:41-43)

I am reminded of the Psalms. Countless times the writer spoke of being mocked, his accusers and persecutors saying the very same thing. He, like Christ, was mocked for waiting on God's timing. God will deliver in His timing for His glory, yet somehow this fact slips away from me.

How often have I read in the Psalms things like "My soul waiteth upon the Lord," or that He will lead, He will guide. He will provide for me. How often have I let the words of Psalm 23 just go over my head without it taking root in my heart?

Trust in Him and have rest for the soul. To do anything less than trust is sin. Yet even in my sin, even in my distrust those countless times God still called to me. "Wait, beloved. Trust Me, little one." And until I acknowledged my sin and repented of it, how often was His hand "heavy upon me" (Psalm 32:4)?

He is patient with me, surely I can be patient in Him. After all, He is God. He is perfect. He is fully dependable. When He says something you can be sure it will happen just as He said. So, if He says wait, why do we then distrust His Word? This is foolishness and all I can hope for is that He will "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wacky Wednesday: Bible Bars

I couldn't very well neglect Wacky Wednesday even though I'm feeling gross, so here for your tasting pleasure is Bible Bars! I can't wait to see these being sold next to the Kellogg cereal bars. ;)

Monday, March 06, 2006

I Am Taking a Few Days Off

I'm sick, I can't concentrate well enough to post anything of value on here so until I don't feel like I'm going to pass out I won't be posting.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Album Review: The Shortest Distance Between Two Points

I wrote the entire review and somehow managed to delete the entire thing, so here we go again.

This is the third release from Conrad. The Shortest Distance Between Two Points is a return to his guitar rock roots, with a bit of a country twang tossed in for good measure which is evidenced by the inclusion of some slide guitar on various tracks and even a cover of Johnny Cash's I Still Miss Someone. The Shortest Distance... showcases the artist's grown talent as a musician, a producer, and a person. The lyrics, true to his style, are deeply personal.

The entire album is extremely well done, but some stand out songs include (but are most certainly not limited to):

Bad Dreams
This song is interesting, largely because the lyrics contrast the hopeful and bouncy style of the music so much. And it works, the contrast really does work. The break down makes the song I think.

A sad love song. Concerned that the love shared will change in the absence of each other, hopeful for a return to that love. Beautiful.

Tender, acoustic, beautiful. As far as I know this was the first song he finished for the album, and was the first song I'd heard. I wasn't sure he would be able to top it, or even create anything as beautiful, but somehow he managed.

My favorite part of the song:
And I gave you patience; you gave me a bruise.
And I gave you my love. So now whose is whose?
You said you don’t need me. I know that’s untrue,
Just like my life never ended for you.

A Red Raindrop
Melancholyly, slow, beautiful. This song made me actually get up and come sit closer to the speaker when it came on, there's just something about it. I think it's got to do with the inclusion of the violin again. I'm a sucker for a pretty violin line.

You Know Where I'll Be
I heard a rough for this song after I heard the finished version of Vision, and I was blown away. The finished product is even better. Nice slide guitar solo.

Even lightening finds its way to the ground
Find your way to me
Even fire knows that it too can drown
Drown yourself in me

Don't let anybody tell you what you need
I know that you need me
(emphasis mine)

I often think about things like this, that I just want to be so completely submerged in Christ, that all I need is Him and how I long to be with Him. Perhaps this is one of the reasons this song stuck out to me so much. It reminds me of how the Father is reaching out to each of us, how He longs for us to be with Him, if only we'd turn to Him. And so the only way to do that was to send His Son to pay the price for our sin and provide a way for us to be able to return to Him.

I want to let my angels rejoice
If you'd only speak to me
You know that I have no other choice
If I want you to be free

Overall The Shortest Distance is very well done, well produced, well played, well written. If you're looking for a guitar rock/ pop album, this would be worth your time to investigate further. As I told him, I give this album three thumbs up. My two and the thumb that isn't stuck in my daughter's mouth. Visit Conrad's website for a complete track listing, lyrics, song samples, news, and photos.

Abortion Gone Wrong

I found this linked to on a blog that was linked by GirlTalk (Did you get that?). A woman got pregnant with twins, went for an abortion, and one of the babies survived.

The abortion was carried out at Perth Royal Infirmary in January 2001 and Miss Dow was told that no live material was visible in her uterus.

She was then given a contraceptive injection and advised that it could induce side effects of weight gain and an erratic menstrual cycle.

Miss Dow claims she thought the injection was to blame for her subsequent increase in weight and the cessation of her periods.

But she returned to her doctor and was advised that one of the foetuses had survived and was seven weeks from full term.

So let me get this straight, she's trying to say she never once felt the baby move? I don't know about you but my babies were flipping around like they were on a trampoline well before I got to that point. She didn't notice the baby moving? Not once? I find it highly unlikely. It's not like she didn't know she was having twins as is evidenced by the following quote, so why not follow up with the doctors sooner than that?

She added: "The hospital knew it was twins when I went for the termination so they should have checked even more carefully before sending me home."

The entire situation is insane and saddens me greatly. Praise God the child survived, and I pray the Lord's hand would continue to rest upon and protect this child as she grows up.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wacky Wednesday: Not Wacky, Cute

Just read this, I thought the last part of it was adorable.