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.