An Interpreation of Psalms 22:16-21 (Part 3)

The most powerful verses in this Psalm are in this section. 16: [Walk to Golgatha, the crucifixion] Dogs surround accusing me the assembly of the wicked like lions have enclosed me (fastened nails)…

Source: An Interpreation of Psalms 22:16-21 (Part 3)


Psalms 22:12-15 (An interpretation pt 2)

As I have made it more than half way through the Lent season, reading Psalms 22 each day, and studying one verse per day, since it was impressed on me to do so, I am amazed at the detail, accuracy …

Source: Psalms 22:12-15 (An interpretation pt 2)


Psalms 22:12-15 (An interpretation pt 2)

As I have made it more than half way through the Lent season, reading Psalms 22 each day, and studying one verse per day, since it was impressed on me to do so, I am amazed at the detail, accuracy …

Source: Psalms 22:12-15 (An interpretation pt 2)


Psalms 22 – An Interpretation of Christ on the Cross (pt 1)

Before going into the interpretation, I feel it is necessary to describe the reasons for publicizing what I read into Psalms 22.  In my studies, the spirit lead me from the plural for Gods, Elohim,…

Source: Psalms 22 – An Interpretation of Christ on the Cross (pt 1)


Eli, Eli (Eloi, Eloi) אלי אלי

Source: Eli, Eli (Eloi, Eloi) אלי אלי


Eth (אֵת) and the three crosses

Source: Eth (אֵת) and the three crosses

My friend Harry, a true bible scholar, follows the Spirit through the scriptures.

 


For My glory (דוֹבכָּ)

Biblical Word Studies

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:13-14

“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:7

For my glory, another Hebrew word with a numerical value of 78 as found in the above passage in Isaiah. Although this verse is not intended for the birth of Immanuel, the word itself reminds us that everything is for God’s glory. Even being born in darkness and solitary in the shadow of the cross, it was still for His glory.

Shortly after His birth, there was a birth announcement in the grandest of splendor to some shepherds in a field keeping watch over their sheep.

Although I…

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Link to another’s blog

I sometimes re-post the blogs of others when I find myself in agreement, this is one of those times.  A friend of mine shared this with me and now I’ll share it with you.  This is the only post I’ve read by Brant, but I think I just may have to read several more.

Now before you comment read it, read it all, read it looking to understand what he is actually saying not just to pick up ammunition, okay?  

Then after you read it feel free to comment at will.

http://branthansen.com/2015/07/22/does-god-see-me-as-a-heterosexual-and-other-thoughts-on-sexuality/

 

 

 

“”In Heaven, there will be humans, stripped of our fake selves and our false identities… washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
And if this is how God wants to see us, it’s how I want to see us, too.””         — Brant Hansen

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Morning prayer

You are Elohim, the Creator of the heaven and earth, Who was in the beginning. It is You Who made me, and You have crowned me with Your glory and honor. You are the God of might and strength.

You are EL-Shaddi, the God Almighty of Blessings. You are the one Who nourishes me and supplies me. You are all bountiful and all sufficient.

You are Adonai, my Lord and my master. You are Jehovah, the completely self-existing one, always present, revealed In Jesus Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

You are Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider, in You is all I need.

You are El Roi, You see me, You are mindful of me, You know my struggle, You know my trouble, You know circumstances NOTHING of me escapes You and Your concern.

You are Jehovah-Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Armies on You the battle rests on You will I rely.  

You are Jehovah-Rapha, my healer and the one Who makes bitter experiences sweet. You sent Your word and healed me. You forgive all my iniquities, and You healed all my diseases.

You are Jehovah-Nissi, You are my victory, my banner, and my standard. Your banner over me is love. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, You will lift up a standard against him.

You are Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, the Lord my sanctifier. You have set me apart for Yourself.

You are Jehovah-Shalom, You are my peace—-the peace that transcends all understanding, which garrisons and mounts guard over my heart in Christ Jesus.

You are Jehovah-Tisidkenu, my righteousness. Thank You for becoming sin for me that I might become righteousness of god in Christ Jesus.

You are Jehovah-Rohi, You are my Shepherd and I shall not want for any good or beneficial thing.

You are Jehovah-Shammah, my Companion who will never leave or forsake me. You are always there. I take comfort and am encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not be seized with alarm—-I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me.

You are El Olam, The Eternal God, the Everlasting God, the Beginning and the End, when I am weary, I will rest in You.

You are El-Elyon, The Highest God, the highest Sovereign of the Heavens and the Earth, Who is the first cause of all things, the possessor of the heavens and Earth and all that is within them. You are the Everlasting God, The Great God, The Living God, The Merciful God, The Faithful God, And The Mighty God. You are Truth, Justice, Righteousness, and perfection.

Father You have exalted above all else Your Name and Your Word, that Word was made of flesh, dwelt among us and His Name is Jesus!


Perfection

I don’t know, maybe someday I will be perfect, sinless, so completely close to my Savior that all my sin has evaporated … maybe then I will begin to notice the sin in the lives of others.  But right now my sin, the sin I hate, the sin I harbor, the sin I cherish is so deep, so wide and so black I haven’t ability to notice the sin in others, the stench of my sin waters my eyes, blinding them to the sins of others.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to see well enough to help them … maybe …

Until then the best I can do is follow the lead my Jesus, love those who hate me, not me, Him.  While we were still His enemy He came and sacrificed Himself that we might know righteousness we do not deserve.  Until then the best I can do is show others the grace and mercy I’ve been given, show them the patience shown to, and the same forgiveness I need over and over and over every day. 

Maybe someday I’ll be in a position to judge, but today isn’t that day, today I weep for my sin and praise Him for His grace and mercy.

Matthew 5:40-42 (NKJV)*1
40If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Matthew 6:12
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
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*1   “Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


LOST, LANDMARKS & FINDING THE WAY HOME

BK's Blog

Wow! It has been a long time since I’ve written anything here. I do have a couple of friends who periodically prod me to write something. I have had this thought in my head for a few weeks now, so for the two or three of you who actually read this, here it is.

lostHave you ever been lost? No, I’m not using “preacher speak” to talk about a spiritual condition. (Not yet anyhow). I’m talking about really being lost. Not sure where you were or how to get out of there. I can remember one time as a kid when I got lost.

I was about 8 or 9 years old. My family had just moved to Hawaii. My dad was being stationed at Hickam A.F.B. in Honolulu. We had recently arrived and had not yet moved into the housing on the base so we were in an apartment…

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Sunday

“The measure of a Sunday morning service is not how you feel about it Sunday afternoon, but what you DO about It on Monday.”  —TOK


Occupation

“We are not fighting FOR victory, we are fighting FROM victory”
— Pete Briscoe

Think about that for just a minute … notice the RADICAL difference??

We are NOT an invading force seeking to defeat a powerful enemy.  The enemy is already defeated, he is already lost, what remains are a few isolated pockets of resistance designed to impede the actions of the occupying force of the victorious King.  We are that occupying force ….

We are not here to win a battle, the battle is already won … so is the war.  We are here to set captives free, set at liberty the oppressed, heal the broken-hearted, preach the Gospel to the poor.   We’re not here to destroy and enemy, he is already destroyed.  We are here to set free those he has captured, imprisoned, damaged and stripped of life.  We are here to show His love to those confused, misguided and blinded by that defeated enemy.

The lost are not the enemy.  I’ll say that again; the lost are NOT the enemy, they are the captives who need to be set free, they are the oppressed who need to be set at liberty, they are the broken-hearted, the damaged that need healing.

Maybe, just maybe, we should stop treating them like the enemy … they are, after all, why He came, why He suffered the shame of the cross.  They ARE who we WERE.   Instead of demanding they follow a law we have failed, and continue to fail, to follow, maybe we should introduce them to the author of that law (and everything else).  Instead of demanding they ACT like they are something else, maybe we should act like who we should be, maybe we should act like Jesus did when He came upon the lost … came upon me. Maybe we should weep for the lost like we should weep over our OWN sin. Maybe we should just fall on our knees and pray for them with all our heart, that He would give sight to the blind and they might see, that HE would give hearing to the deaf that they might hear and turn, that the dead in Christ be raised to new life … in Him.

I dunno, maybe, just maybe, when they ask us to bake them a cake, we should bake them two.

 

So now what?? 

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Luke 4:17-19 (NKJV)*1
17And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Matthew 5:40-42 (NKJV)*1
40If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

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*1   “Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”   ― Charles H. Spurgeon


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Ashes

Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent, 46 days before Easter….

When I was a kid (and Catholic) Ash Wednesday was a pain, forced by rote to engage in a ritual with little explanation, no understanding and even less care. For me it only meant I would deprive myself of something I wanted, something I desired for 6 days every week. The idea that missing a Hershey bar or two during the week might lead to prayer was lost on a twelve year old kid who had less understanding of prayer than he did of Lent.

Fast forward half a century (HALF A CENTURY????? — yes, half a century. My, how time flies while you’re making other plans)

… anyway …

I’m no longer Catholic, (then again I’m no longer Baptist either), while my understanding of prayer has gotten only a little better, now my understanding of the ‘spiritual discipline’ of Lent has blossomed. That very subtle and mostly benign depravation is a frequent reminder to turn my thoughts from the triviality of my desire to the ‘person’ of my desire; from me to Him; to seek Him, to praise Him, to thank Him, to worship Him, every day all day all the time.

Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent, for Catholics it marks the first day of a time of fasting and prayer for 40 days (skipping the Sabbath) that ends with Easter. We non-Catholic followers of Jesus, the Son of God who paid our sin debt in our place, might do well to borrow this discipline. Setting aside some little thing of our indulgence for a time in order to focus on prayer, in order to grow closer to Him, in order to the path of His leading just might result in being closer to Him, following Him where he leads, in being s Christian instead of a Catholic or Baptist or self-righteous …

… just a thought

““Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!””


Grief

The last couple of posts have been a little eccentric, so let’s try to get it back on familiar footing shall we?

 

A friend recently said something along the lines of; “Your ability to love is related to your ability to hurt.”  Another paraphrased that to; “Your capacity for hurt is equal to your capacity for love.  While those thoughts are close I believe they miss the mark a bit. 

Try this; “Your depth of grief is directly related to your depth of love.” … read that again, “Your depth of grief is directly related to your depth of love.”

They say the greatest grief is the passing of a spouse; loved deeply the loss is deeply grieved.  The loss of a child is greater.  I remember my grandmother at the funeral of my uncle, her youngest son, she held my elbow and with her beautiful grey eyes filled with tears overflowing said; “We are not made to bury our children.”  Loved deeply, his passing was deeply grieved.  

Conversely, the aunt of an acquaintance passed away recently, and while I could understand his grief, I had none.  I didn’t even know the woman’s name, my depth of grief was minuscule, little love meant little grief.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  — John 1:1-3 (NKJV)1

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. — John 3:16-17 (NKJV)1

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  — John 1:29 (NKJV)1

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:11 (NKJV)1

Jesus, the Word, the Creator Word, made flesh, so loved us that He CHOSE to put aside the adoration of all heaven, He CHOSE to put aside His rightful place on the throne of His creation, He CHOSE to empty Himself and pull on the frail stinking skin of a man, He CHOSE the lash, He CHOSE the nails, He CHOSE the cross, He CHOSE the cup filled to overflowing with my sin.  He did so because he would rather die than be separated from us, and He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  His depth of love is matched by His depth of grief for the lost, the far away, the hopeless, the unlovable …

“Christian”   …   “Christ-like”   …   “Follower” …

He is grieved for the lost   …   am I? 

Is my heart broken for those running flat out to destruction?  Am I saddened at all by one lost to eternity?  My depth of grief is directly related to my depth of love.  In order to grieve for them like Him I must love them like He loved them, sacrifice for them as He did … not judge them, avoid them, ridicule them, complain about their imposition into ‘my’ rights … but just love them … like He does.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. –2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! –1John 3:1 (NKJV)1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! –1John 3:1 (NIV)
2

 

 

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”  ― Charles H. Spurgeon

 


1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
2 “Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What next?

The last post (Dichotomy) was the easy part, here’s where it gets REALLY difficult … for me anyway.

Evolution and creation are out beyond arm’s length, creation was 6,000 or 7,000 years ago and I have a hard time remembering last Tuesday.  So let’s replace that bit of controversy with something closer to home.

 … say … gay marriage …

Still here??

Ok …

… what do we do with that … what do I do with that?

Prior to being saved, I was lost, it was dark I did the things lost people do, I muddled around in the utter darkness of my soul laying sin upon sin upon layers of sin.  It’s what I did, it’s what lost people do.  I am NEVER surprised at what lost people do, no matter how dark or depraved, they are lost.  (I AM frequently surprised at what people who claim they are saved do, but that is fodder for another post).

I praise Him every day that I was not required to clean up my act BEFORE He drew me into a relationship with Him, I was not required to cease from my sin, the sin I cherished, PRIOR to being ‘acceptable to Him.  While I was yet a sinner, while I was at enmity with Him, while I stood neck deep in the mire of MY sin hurling curses at the Creator God, HE chose to draw me unto Himself, to ascribe to me sonship flowing from His OWN Son, to make me a joint-heir with Jesus to His very throne.  … while I was STILL committing my sin, reveling in it, soaking in it, steeping in my sin, HE chose to love me.

He drew me, still in sin, while the blood of my sin was still sticky on my hands, between my fingers.  He did not ask me to wash the sin from my soul before He drew me.  He did not ask me to eliminate the darkness from my heart before He drew me.  He did not ask me to cleanse my desire for sin from my mind before He drew me.  He did not ask me to change my life before He drew me.   He did that, all that, AFTER He drew me.

You see it is only AFTER His washing can my soul be clean, it is only AFTER His Light shines in my heart will the darkness flee, it is only AFTER His mind dwells in my mind can He begin to eliminate my desire for sin, it is only AFTER He is in control of my life can it ever be changed from what it was before He drew me to something acceptable to ANYONE.   PRIOR to that I was incapable, powerless, helpless to alter ANYTHING.  I was lost, dead in my sin, He made me alive IN HIM, He raised me up. I was separated, a stranger to Him in my sin, but He has made me a fellow citizen with the saints, a member of HIS own household, IN HIM.   Apart from Him I can do nothing, I am nothing, it is only IN HIM I live and move and have my being.

So …

… what of others??

… the lost among us, apart from us, apart from Him, the ‘least of these’ … what of them??

Must they ACT clean BEFORE His cleansing?  Must they ACT saved before we come alongside them and offer our feeble testimony?

… or …

Do we love them as we love ourselves, even when I was lost I wanted all the good things for myself, I wanted for myself, prosperity, blessing, hope, now I should want the same for others, loving my neighbor as myself.  I should want for the lost all the good things that come from being an heir with Christ, I should want for the lost His prosperity, His blessing and His hope … just as He desired the same for me … even while they are yet sinners … right??? I am to love them (my neighbors) as I love myself, wanting for them all the good things I want for myself … right???

… right??

… or …

… we can buy a chicken sandwich and a ball of yarn and pretend we’ve done something for His kingdom …

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Romans 5:8

Ephesians 2:1-9

Acts 17:26-28

Matthew 22:36-40


Just a quick note

A friend, a brother in Christ, recently commented that I haven’t been writing much lately.  Well, to be honest, I haven’t felt like writing.  I’ve been in a rather odd place for some time and I see no real end to it anytime soon.  But that’s okay I guess, wouldn’t matter much if it wasn’t, would it?  Life is not about waiting for sunshine, it’s about learning to dance in the rain … or the drizzle … or the fog.

SO, I am throwing out “Dichotomy”, a simple foray into the abyss, maybe it will prime the pump so to speak.

 

https://thinkingoutkeyboard.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/416/

 


Dichotomy

For those who know me, consider this yet another diversion into the ether, for those who don’t, consider this merely a view from a different perspective, one with which you might agree or disagree.  These are merely my thoughts, nothing more, wandering through the tunnels of grey matter that may be better left unexplored.

 

Let’s see, where to begin … In the past several months I have found myself in discussions for which I have been on the wrong side from both sides (again, those who know me they are aware that such is NOT unusual.)  It was in one such discussion that a Christian acquaintance of mine actually questioned my salvation.  He quickly apologized and attempted to withdraw the statement, but I assured him that he was not the first who had done so, he wasn’t even the first one in this discussion who had done so, and all was well.

Here is the discussion in a nut shell; “evolutionism v creationism” my answer; “it matters not at all” and I am a heretic from both camps … perfect.

I am fairly well versed in the true science of evolution, I am well aware of the four major constructs and several of the minor constructs of the theory.  I am aware of its place in biology and medical sciences, but I am also keenly aware of what the science ACTUALLY claims and what the ‘evolution religionists’ promote it claims. I am aware of the genetic similarities and differences between various species, and I’m aware of the genetic markers that link certain species to a genetic tree and the convergence of that tree to a singular origin.   I find the topic quite interesting (but then I AM a heretic, right?).

I am also aware of the story in Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth, at a word; at a word, He spoke into being the universe; at a word, He hung the stars in the sky and called EACH one by name; at a word, He separated the light from the dark; at a word, He called forth the land and the sea and separated them; at a word, He called forth every plant and every animal after its kind to populate the earth; at a word, at HIS Word.  By His hand He formed the dust into the shape of a man and from His own Spirit, by His breath He breathed life into that dust and brought forth man, by His hand, by the will of God … and I believe in my bones that it is the truth (and the evolutionists label me anti-science heretic).

 

I find the dichotomy fascinating.

 

But here is where I fell afoul of my friend, my brother in Christ, I said it doesn’t matter … at all. He was exasperated, was not Genesis the ‘TRUTH’, yes, it was.  Was not ALL scripture God breathed, yes, it was.  Was not all scripture useful for … yes it was.  The how in the world could I say it didn’t matter???  It is the TRUTH and the TRUTH matters!  “Are you sure you are saved!?!?”

???ummm…. Yes I’m sure … right now …. (don’t ask me at 3:00 a, in the dark of night (both real and spiritual) when my battle is pitched, the answer may be different … or it may not … or …).

 

Here is precisely why it doesn’t matter, at least it doesn’t matter to me.

No one will go to hell because of their beliefs about evolution or creation and no one will go to heaven based on those beliefs.

There will be no check-off list at the Throne of Judgment about evolution (or a great many other things we Christians think are important). The only plea accepted there is, “by the blood of Jesus, I am saved”.  If thoughts/confusion/beliefs/speculation over evolution do not matter to the salvation of one’s soul then they do not matter AT ALL.

But more than that, if MY position on the issue PREVENTS one from reaching out to the Most High, if that position prevents him from responding when the Father draws him, then my exposition of my position is detrimental, it is a stumbling block to the ‘least of these’, it is SIN.   Yes it is truth, but if it is not beneficial, I can keep that truth to myself and probably SHOULD.

 

Answering His call is not about knowing and espousing ALL truth, it is about knowing HIM …

… it is NOT about knowing WHAT the truth is …

… it is knowing about WHO the truth is.

 


technology

He was leaning back in his chair, back against the wall, two legs floating in air, his eyes riveted on the tiny bit of technology held in both hands as his thumbs blurred over the tiny virtual keys.  Attempting to divide his attention between our conversation, and the earth-shattering content of the tiny screen, his sentences were broken into three word chunks;

“You don’t under … stand, I want … to, but I …”

That’ll take forever, never mind.

Our topic, a frequent one for discussion around church and a few of the more esoteric groups that allow me to hang about, was prayer, more specifically, “praying without ceasing”.  It’s a point I struggle with as well, but as he spoke something crept into my mind (crept into the crypt?), I looked around the room full of 20-somethings and 30-somethings (and a 50-something or two) and each one of us had a similar bit of technology held in a death grip by one or both hands.  Some thumbing away vigorously, while to others it appeared more like Linus’ blanket than anything of real use, but we each had one all the same.

I don’t know why that struck me, but it did, and looking down at mine, the first thing I saw was CONTACTS shining brightly from the row of icons.  Thumbing it opened a list scrolled by, dozens and dozens of names, some I know as well as anyone could, others were a brief connection no longer maintained, others were business contacts from, others were one time contractors for my home, each one representing a family, spouses, children, parents, each one a subject for prayer … I mean if I know them well enough to place their name and phone number on a list, do I not know them well enough to pray for them?

… oh my, if I prayed (really prayed) for each person on this simple list, why, it would take me all day …

… ummm …


Hallelujah

Hallelujah; Hallel – lu – jah
Hallel —  To praise, boast, be boastful; to shine God’s favor; to act out as a fool; to act madly, act like a madman
Jah — Yahweh; Jehovah; God Almighty

Hallelujah:  To shine out with all the exuberance of a madman in praising Jehovah God, to be foolishly extravagant in boasting of God Almighty.

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For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)*1

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; – 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)*1

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*1   “Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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but as for me

            Yes, I’ve been avoiding this post for quite some time.  I didn’t know where to start, where to finish or how the two connected.  I had hoped if I waited long enough it would just go away.  It didn’t.  Before reading any further I need to offer my *weasel words*; you know the disclaimers that attempt to dodge the responsibility for content.  What follows is just from my rather myopic viewpoint based wholly on my woefully inadequate knowledge and understanding of scripture, read it as the narrative of a blind guide.   I reserve the right to be completely wrong and pray frequently that I am. 

Take nothing from this post save a call to ponder the mind of God, the depth of His unending mercy and the breadth of His unfailing grace.

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            I am completely UNsurprised by the actions of the lost, they are lost, it’s what they do.  I still remember (and shudder) groping in the dark for something that might calm the storm in my soul,  clinging to whatever was found in the blackness, finding it more than empty, and groping on more frantically.  I still remember (and tremble) seeking diligently the bottom, some footing, only to find none there and then gain speed.  I still remember (and shiver) trying all things, everything, hoping to fill the emptiness nothing could fill, to slack the thirst none could quench.  I still remember the fear. I still remember being lost.  Sometimes, most times, I wish I didn’t.  I believe it is something He desires for me to remember, to remind me, to soften my heart for those so bound to chains they cannot see.  He came to save the lost, I was lost when He chose to pay my penalty for my sin, I was His enemy hurling curses at His face when He chose to love me, to reach down into the pit in which I wallowed, to dip me out, wash me in His blood and set my feet on His solid rock.   Knowing how He chose to love me, how then should I treat the lost?

            I am, however, frequently surprised at the actions of the “so called” saved … that would be me, mostly.  I am surprised when I treat one sin differently from another when ALL sin drove the nails into innocent hands.  I am really surprised when I treat one sinner differently from another when all were forgiven by the blood let from those nails.  I am surprised when I condemn the sin of a lost child and yet excuse the sin of a “brother” in Christ.  I am surprised when I wield a certain passage of scripture as a dagger to wound the hearts of those He loved to death and yet ignore the rest of scripture as I find it uncomfortable. Then I am surprised when the lost hang the placard “Hypocrite” about my neck.  Surely they don’t understand … or maybe they do.  Does anyone else see the irony of a 300lb. “Christian” calling a homosexual an abomination?  He came to save the lost … ALL of them (John 3:14-17).

            As a Christian, should I not be more concerned with where the lost will spend eternity than where or how they are living now?  Should I not be more concerned over their eternal life than I am this temporal and temporary life?  Should I not as a Christian do all I can to introduce them to the healing power of His Holy Spirit and then let that Spirit convict them of the sin in their lives, like I ought to be convicted of the sin in mine (John 16:7-11)? Does not the “least of these” include the lost?

            Maybe, before we, as Christians, attempt to define what is and is not marriage in the lost world, maybe we should discover what it is or should be in the Christian church.
 
Genesis 2:24
Deuteronomy 22:28-29
Malachi 2:16
Mark 10:7-12
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Eph 5:22-28
 
            Maybe, once we’ve figured out how we should act towards our own marriage, then we maybe should determine how we should act towards one another. 

            We already know how to act towards the lost; we should love them exactly as He loved us, without condition, completely, sacrificially.

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Okay, now what?  What’s the bottom line for me?

            What others do with or about marriage in no way harms my marriage.  My marriage is harmed when I fail to love my wife as Christ loved the church; when I fail to treat her as He commands; when I act like the sphincter we all know I am.  Only I can harm my marriage, regardless of how she acts, I am commanded to love her as Christ loved the church, unconditionally, whether or not she loves me or likes me or not or even tolerates me or not.

            I can’t speak for you, but as for me, if my position on gay marriage causes one person to reconsider accepting His free gift, I have not acted in love.  If my words about gay marriage cause another to stumble, I have not acted in love.  If what I think about gay marriage causes someone to question the grace of God, I have sinned.  I cannot allow my feelings, words or deeds to even delay the coming to Christ of even one of His beloved.  It is not up to me to enforce His law, He has commanded only that I teach them all He has commanded; to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love others as myself … and that for my benefit alone.

just me

 


Wrapped up

I purposefully avoided an Easter blog; I covered my thoughts at Christmas and have little to add;

1.) https://thinkingoutkeyboard.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-press/

2.) https://thinkingoutkeyboard.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/lifted-2/

3.) https://thinkingoutkeyboard.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/forsaken-4/

4.) https://thinkingoutkeyboard.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/finished/

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Today though I want to pick up a thought offered by my friend Keith (http://keithroyal.wordpress.com/) during his sermon yesterday (oh yeah, he’s also my Pastor)

John 11; Lazarus has died, has been laid in his tomb and a stone covered the entrance. Jesus has spoken with Lazarus’ sisters, assured Martha that He IS the resurrection and the life, and now He stands at the tomb, prays and calls to Lazarus,

“Lazarus, come forth!”

“And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:43-44 (NKJV)*1

Lazarus was resurrected, made alive, brought out of the tomb to new life … yet still wrapped in the clothes of death. These clothes kept him bound, restricted, unable to embrace this new life, unable to be the brother and friend he should, unable to experience the fullness of life that is Jesus the Christ, unable even to please God. Do accomplish any of that he must be loosed from the grave clothes and set free.

We who were once dead in our trespasses have been made alive in Him (Eph 2:1) and yet we remain wrapped in our grave clothes; bound, hindered, ineffectual children of the Most High. We were loosed from these filthy rags, and yet we reach down and wrap them around us anew with every sin commit. We were released from these encumbrances, and yet we reach down and pick them up anew with every sin we cherish. We were set free from these burdens and yet we reach down to enslave ourselves again because we fail to leave alone the sin we love.

We are idiots.

and yet He loves us anyway, knowing how we would act, loved us before the foundation of the world, loves us so much He would rather die than be separated from us, would rather put aside the praise of heaven, the glory of all creation, empty Himself to pull on the frail stinking skin of a man, become sin and die, painfully rather than be separated from one of us.

… and our response is to pull our grave clothes back around our shoulders.

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. Romans 6:16-22 (NKJV)*1

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*1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 


Re-blogged from “Refusing to Tiptoe”; Cristal and her family are God-fearing-seeking people charged with shing a bright light on His presence from a different perspective.

Refusing to Tiptoe

This week, we are preparing our hearts for Easter Sunday using a Holy Week Worship Guide (thank you, Nick).

Caleb and I were together on our Holy Week journey one morning when I read,

Each year, thousands of faithful pilgrims made the trek to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and Jesus and His disciples were among them.

As I began to proceed, Caleb brought our voyage to a halt.  His inquisitive mind craving the truth.

Wouldn’t that have been religious of Jesus?

mapua pebbles by redshoes_nz via flickr

Religious.

We are hearing much about religion these days.

Caleb explains he saw a man wearing a shirt which professed God hates religion but loves relationships.

Then did God hate Jesus celebrating the Passover, mom?

pebbles up close by Ivan Lian via flickr

According to my 1949 Webster’s Dictionary, religion is the service and adoration of God as expressed in forms of worship.

An awareness of conviction of the existence of a Supreme Being,

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Continue reading

What’s In A Name?

This map gives you the percentage of those claiming to be Christians of any faiths in each state. Click on the following and see the different religions by state and elsewhere by holding cursor over a state.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/graphics/pew-religion-08/flash.htm

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sleeping in an oven makes you a biscuit.”

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“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” — Deuteronomy 5:11 (NKJV) *1

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Taking His name … and then refusing His Kingship, refusing His leadership, refusing to follow His direction, refusing to acknowledge His authority, refusing to surrender to His will, refusing to seek Him, His ways and His pleasure, refusing to honor Him, praise Him, worship Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and refusing to love the “least of these” as He does …

… is a vain effort …

How vain could I be, standing in complete disobedience to His command, to point a finger at the actions of another …?  Only the sinless have the authority to cast stones.

Once safely rescued from the stormy sea, firmly placed on solid ground, how should I act toward those still swallowed by the waves, lost in the storm, without hope?  Knowing the depth of my depravity, the stench of my own sin and yet witness to, partaker of the height of His unending grace, the width of His unfailing mercy, the fullness of His forgiveness how should I act toward those trapped in the very same pit of despair I once loved? 

 

How would the One whose Name I have taken act? 

 

How did He? 

 

How should I?

 

How do I?

 

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Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ — Matthew 25:34-40 (NKJV)*1

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Thought for today:  The Children of Israel, because of their disobedience, were denied access to the promised land for an entire generation (Numbers 14).  The inhabitants of the land, destined for destruction by the hand of God, prospered for that same generation.  What evil prospers today due solely to my disobedience?

*1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 


How many?

                  “Therefore you shall lay up these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.” Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NKJV)*1

 

“… lay up these words of Mine in your heart …”

“… they shall be as frontlets between your eyes … “

“… write them on the doorposts of your house … “

okay …

How many of us have read and forwarded emails expressing concern over, prayer in school, posting of the Ten Commandments in a public building, displaying a Nativity scene in front of a court house?  How many of us have nodded in agreement when some “christian” legal firm has taken a stance against such ”persecution” of the church in America?  How many of us add our “amen’s” to some condemnation of our society’s attack on Christianity in one form or another?  How many?

now …

How many of us have laid up His word in our hearts?  How many have kept them in the forefront of our thoughts every minute as “frontlets” between our eyes?  How many have posted them on the doorposts of our homes?  How many have taught them to our children, speaking His Word constantly as we sit in our homes, when we walk in the way, when we lie down and when we rise up? How many?

How many, in our vanity, take His name but leave His Word unspoken, untaught? How many, in our vanity, take His name and ONLY His name, leaving behind His hands, His feet, His heart; leaving the “least of these”, discarded, unwelcomed, untouched, unloved, forsaken?  How many, in our vanity, claim the name of Christ, but abandon His Person, His Spirit, His Word, His demand on our lives, our hearts, souls, minds and strength? How many?

how many ……….. 

have I … ?

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*1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”  Deuteronomy 5:11 (NKJV)*1


Jubilee

Okay I know, two posts in two days is pushing it, but the reading plan just sent me through Leviticus 25:8-17.

The year of Jubilee; a Sabbath of Sabbath years; for the children of Israel, every 49 years debts are forgiven; every 49 years slaves are set free; every 49 years land is returned to the rightful owner, every 49 years all things are returned to the way God intended it; every 49 years.

Now we are engaged in a perpetual year of Jubilee; every day our sin debt is forgiven, every day we slaves of sin are set free; every day.

Soon, oh VERY soon, the Creator of all things will return to take possession of what is rightfully His and all things will be as He intends:

                “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

                 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

                 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”


                 “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.  Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:  three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. ”

                 “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.  And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.  Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).  And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.  But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

                “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.  There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
                Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
                “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”  

                “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
                Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.  But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
 
                “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
 
                And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
                For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
                He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
                Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
                The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
                     — Revelation 21:1-7, 10-13, 22-27, 22:1-7, 12-21  (NKJV) *1

AMEN!!!

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*1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


Offering?

Fifteen maybe twenty pounds, ears still pink, clear black eyes shining through pure white fleece not yet long enough to shear, without defect, flawless, without blemish, selected from a group kept separate from the rest of the flock specifically for this special purpose, this tiny lamb is brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting.  There, I lay my hands on the small wooly head imparting my sin to this innocent of God’s creatures, my fault on the faultless.  

I slit its throat. 

The tiny heart sprays its life blood through the opened carotid until there is not enough left to sustain life.  The anointed priest smears some of this blood on the horns of the altar, the rest he pours out at the base where it mingles with the blood of hundreds of other sacrifices; bulls, goats, lambs, doves.  Then i butcher the carcass removing the fat; the fat which covers the entrails, the fat on the kidneys, the loins, the liver and burns it on top of the altar where thousands of such offerings have been burned.  Its smoke rising through the curtains of the temple, now coated with the soot and steeped with the smoke of thousands of sacrifices.  The blood is on my hands, the aroma of burning flesh in my nostrils, the heat of the fire against my face of my sin offering … my offering for my sin.  The sickly sweet smell stays in my nose longer than my hands stay sticky from the blood, the stains on my clothes last much longer; the reality of my offering for my sin lasts for days. 

Leaving the tent of meeting, blood stained, reeking of the smoke of burned animals, it is impossible to leave behind my personal involvement in the offering for my sin.  Personal involvement?  Is this the kind of involvement Paul speaks of when he appeals to me to present my body as a living sacrifice; holy and acceptable to God (Rom 12:1); an intensely personal, extremely intimate, “get it on me”, heart to heart encounter with the Living God? My “reasonable” service of worship.

Tonight, I’m stuck, asking myself when was the last time … hmmph … last time?  When have I EVER left my offering at the altar of my God and walked away feeling truly involved, affected, impacted, changed?

Yet how often to I leave what I call “church”, discussing the finer points of the bible study or sermon and wondering what’s for lunch.  How often am I more concerned about the level of the thermostat than I am about my relationship with the Most High?  How often do I comment on the length or choice of music and remain completely unconcerned about my “reasonable” service?

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB)*2   He allowed Himself to be slaughtered as the sacrifice for my sin. It was His blood, the blood of the perfect lamb poured out on the altar of God.  As High Priest of all creation He presided over this sacrifice. He executed this His perfect sacrifice of His perfect Son by His own hand … for me … for you.  Shouldn’t His personal involvement in my salvation affect me, shouldn’t it impact me, change me?  Shouldn’t that mean SO much more than the building or the pews or the music or ANYTHING else?

I cannot help but think that if I get that right, if I understand that, comprehend that, I won’t even notice a thermostat or what song was sung or even IF one was sung …

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 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11  (NKJV)*1

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (NKJV)*1

 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”  Romans 12:1 (NASB)*2

 

“‘But if he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it, a female without defect.  He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they slay the burnt offering.  The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.  Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.”  — Leviticus 4:32-35 (NASB) *2

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*1 “Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

*2  Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
 Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)

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Yeah, too long, but that’s where I am …

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Shining

Our reading plan had us in Exodus 34 the other day and this passage struck me again as it does every time I run across it

            “Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded. And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him. “

—Exodus 34:29-35*1

Moses is bringing down the “new” tablets of the law and the result of his encounter with the Creator God shines in his face, so much so the people are afraid to go near him at first.  But then he established this pattern;

meet with the Creator God,

carry His Word to the people with his shining face,

veil his face until the next time he met with God.

From this point onward the people never saw his face unveiled unless displaying the reflected glory of the Most High God.

By now you have a clue how my mind works so you’re already guessing the question;

            How often would the people see our faces unveiled if we only unveiled it after spending time with God?

I wonder how often veils need washing …..

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*1 “ALL Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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“Anything is a blessing which makes us pray.” — Charles Spurgeon


Elihu … who?

Confession time; Job is one of the books in the bible that is among my least favorite.  I think that stems from its portrayal of the complete sovereignty of God and my complete unworthiness to even be ….

Anyway, Job has always been a book that was scanned as quickly as possible as it came up in my daily reading plan; something to get past quickly, like broccoli without cheese.  This time however it was a little different.  Oh I’m still uncomfortable with the glaring light of its vision of a completely worthy God and my abject uselessness, but my reading of Job was more studious this time.  I’ve always known about his three friends*1; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, their charge against Job, and their chastisement by God because they “you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”*2

But this is the first time I really noticed the speech of Elihu (Job 32-37). Elihu was apparently a youth, a young man who, up to that point, had kept quiet in the presence of age and its supposed wisdom.*3 Finally his anger forced him to speak.*4 He was angry with Job because Job was attempting to maintain his righteousness, but there are none righteous, no not one, and all have fallen short of the glory of God. Gee that sounds familiar.  He was angry with Job’s friends because they were unable to give a decent answer to Job’s complaint; for all their “wisdom” they could not see the glory of the Most High God obliterated any possible complaint.  He is compelled to speak, by their eventual silence, and to find relief from the spirit in him.*5 He spoke of the graciousness of God and His attempts to instruct, direct, enlighten and discipline the errant heart of men.*6 He proclaimed God’s justice*7, His goodness *8 and His majesty.*9  His speech seemed to grow in power,  fervor as he described to power of the Creator God, His majesty, His worthiness. The more I read from him the more I found myself “Amen-ing” in my head, agreeing with him and his view of Job, his friends and most especially his view of God.
I didn’t want to do that.  In my head I had always lumped him together with Job’s other friends and their eventual judgment by God, but I was having a hard time finding a problem with Elihu.
It bothered me …
I don’t like to be bothered …
so I did the unimaginable …
I read AHEAD of my scheduled reading plan.  (Oh the horror!!)

Then came chapter 42, verses 7 & 8; God speaks to Eliphaz;

“My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”

“your TWO friends”???

So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job.

Where was Elihu?? He had no part in the “folly”??  Maybe his speech was correct?? Maybe he spoke of God what is right??  Maybe it’s okay if I find myself agreeing with him. Alright!! (a little head nod and a small fist pump) cool!

Then I noticed something big, Chapter 42 verse 10;

“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

The Lord did not restore Job’s losses until he prayed for his friends … not when he prayed for himself, but for his friends …

… amen?

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“Anything is a blessing which makes us pray.” — Charles Spurgeon

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*1 Job 2:11
*2 Job 42:7
*3 Job 32:6-9
*4 Job 32:2-5
*5 Job 32:15-22
*6 Job 33:8-33
*7 Job 34:1-37
*8 Job 36:1-23
*9 Job 36:24-37:24

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“ALL Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


Peachy – er

Last time, I wrote, “My faith is marked by my reliance on and trust in Him without regard to circumstance or outcome. … That faith, the one I think pleases God, walks with Him in the midst of the fiery furnace, praises His salvation in starvation, sings hymns to the Most High God while chained in the bottom of a prison … drinks the cup empty that will not pass otherwise … without regard to circumstance or outcome.  That faith remains fully trusting of, fully loyal to, fully assured in, and fully reliant on the Most High God, no matter what might come, has come or remains here yet.”

 

Ok … but that’s the EASY part…

say what?

When you’re drowning, grabbing the lifeline is easy.

Remaining “fully trusting of, fully loyal to, fully assured in, and fully reliant on the Most High God” is a little more challenging when things are level; nothing on fire, not in jail, things are normal.  When things are normal (whatever “normal” is in our lives) we’re easily distracted, our minds wander and as our thoughts go so goes our reliance.   When things are normal we don’t seem to “need” Him, do we?  But when the bottom falls out we desperately seek to restore the bond.   As my sister Cristal said in a comment on the previous post;

“I think “faith” is both scenarios – praising Him in sunshine and in thunderstorms. It just doesn’t move. I believe real faith doesn’t roller coaster with the ups and downs of life. It’s a steady trek through life with an eye on the Prize.”

That is the “fidelity” part of a faith that pleases Him; relying on Him in plenty just as we rely on Him in need.  Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians 4:11-12

            “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”  (Philippians 4:11-12) *1

He had learned to rely on God, not only in need but also in abundance.  It was not something that came to him naturally; it was something he had to learn.  I can’t speak for others, but for me learning requires practice … lots and lots of practice.  When things are “normal”, I must practice relying on Him.  As I go about my day doing those things I do every day, I must practice trusting him.  Even in the drudgery of just going through the motions, I must practice my loyalty to Him.  That means understanding that He is not only the God of my salvation, but He is also the God of my next breath; not only did he command all creation to exist by His Word, but He commands my next heartbeat; not only does He desire for me to be where He is in His coming Kingdom but He has taken up residence within me here and now.  His Holy Spirit lives in me, in the middle of my drudgery, in the middle of my “normal”.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) *1

By the power of His strength I can learn to rely on Him, to need Him even in my normal.  I can learn to praise Him in sunshine and in storm by His strength.  By His strength I can steadily trek through life with my eyes on His prize … on Him.

till next time…

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*1 “ALL Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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“Anything is a blessing which makes us pray.” — Charles Spurgeon

 


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