Healing, Salvation, Prayer

"And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord
will raise him up." - James 5:15
Why doesn't this say, "and the Lord will heal him?" I've been dealing
the last three months or so with some pretty annoying health issues.
None of them major by any stretch of the imagination, but all of them
annoying and actually sort of frightening. Scary because I don't know
what they were, so it was hard to know that they weren't major.

But I found when I prayed, that the Lord would lift me up. And when I
pray for healing for a guy I see that isn't quite all there, I seem to
hear salvation first. Can someone believe who does not understand? I
want this guy to know the Lord so very badly, but how can I share with
him if he doesn't understand the words out of my mouth.

Lord you love this man. Help me to pray the prayer of faith, that this
man will be saved. That you will lift him up. Thank you for being more
patient and loving than me. Thank you for loving him as he is. Help me
to do the same.

Redemption of a cockroach

So I'm sitting there and I'm teaching on redemption. I've gotten
through creation, the fall, and now I'm on to redemption.

"God wants to redeem all things on earth," I say, "not just human
souls (even though this is still probably the most important
thing)"...

Just then a little cockroach runs across the floor in the middle of
our little circle. As the teacher, I felt it my work to stand up and
swiftly stomp the little guy out.

"Oh...." says one of the girls, "Thats how we redeem a cockroach.... I
think I understand."

Why am I troubled?

"And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise
in your hearts?" -Luke 24:38

I wish I could compartmentalize. I'm not like other men in this regard
and its a skill I truly desire. For me when something small is wrong,
it ruins everything. I just get downright down. Fearful. Troubled. You
could definitely say that doubts arise in my heart. Tonight before I
go to bed I'm reading Spurgeon's morning and evening... well really
just the evening and this verse is striking me as all to
uncomfortable.

I know I am precious in the Lord's sight. So why do I fear a small
infection will lead to amputation of certain limbs? Why have I so
little faith and so much time to dwell on it? Lord I know you will not
leave me or forsake me. But I forget you're even in the picture. I
know I prayed that I would really learn to trust in you with my health
before I was healed... but now I just want healing! Have mercy on me.
Faithless and without reason. Not just good reason, but absolutely no
reason.

I literally cannot find a day in my life where you have not be
overwhelmingly faithful to me in some way or another... Save me Lord.
Mercy. I need mercy.

Are you troubled?

The law of liberty

"So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty." - James 2:12

There seems to be a whole lot around this verse that must be saying the opposite. Just before this, James tells us that if we transgress just one part of the law, we are guilty of all of it. It is easy for me to clearly say I have not murdered. But I have more than certainly disobeyed my parents. This makes me guilty of putting other gods before the one true God.

Think about the horrible implications of this. Our smallest sin is as bad as any other sin, though we don't really in our hearts believe lying about stealing a cookie from the jar is equivalent to rape. But it is. An more than that, James says it's the same thing. By doing the smallest thing that breaks the law we are guilty of all of it.

Now I understand why we are judged under the law of liberty. Because we are ALL guilty of ALL of the law. Open the Bible to most horrendous sin and you will see what you are guilty of. Then remember how great the blood of Christ. That his fulfillment of the law brought us liberty. We are saved though we are guilty of FAR more than we imagine. And how aweful to think how often we count ourselves sinless.

"But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." - 1:25

Look into the law of liberty, and do not forget what has been done for you. Do not forget to speak, and be a doer who acts. You will be blessed. Praise God for our freedom.

Faith

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." - James 1:2&3

It really is amazing how often our faith is tested. But I guess I shouldn't really be shocked by how much I dislike it. It is miserable. Mostly just because testing of our faith means that we're in a situation where we NEED faith. Granted we -should- have faith in all situations, or be living a life of faith. But the truth is that we often live on our own strength. We genuinely believe we can handle most of it on on own because most of time frankly, we can (or at least we feel that way).

So imagine yourself in a situation where you NEED to have faith. I'm thinking, you wake up and your child is crying and your wife is complaining of a toothache and needs a root canal and NOW, and then getting out of bed you break you foot.

Just as an example.
And we are supposed to count it joy? Not the pain of the foot break obviously, but the need to depend on the Lord. If we do depend on the Lord it produces steadfastness (or the ability to not be shaken). This is good. This is REALLY REALLY good. It even goes on to say "And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." - v4.

I long to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Imagine just how nice it would be to obtain this without the broken foot, agony-filled wife, and crying child. Now, learn to have faith in situations where it doesn't -seem- like you NEED it.

Lord give me faith, test that faith, but have patience with my weakness. My frailty and fear.

winning

I won my first game today of Xiang Qi (or chinese chess). It about my
20th game in three or four weeks and the very first one I have won. I
find joy in winning.

It's truly an amazing game, chess.
I sit down and before I've made even a single move, I fear. I feel
locked up. "There is no way I'm going to mobilize my pieces better
than my opponent," I think. But it is a beautiful game of taking it
one move at a time.

Really the trick is to look just enough moves ahead that you don't do
anything stupid, and then once and while something really uniquely
good will present itself and if you jump on it.... eventually you'll
get enough of those to win.

I know... ridiculous, I have a whole impenetrable philosophy on how
to win at a game I've only won once.

I hope I don't find too deep of a parallel with life from this
situation.

White roses

And hand grenades
They say we threw them both at the teachers funeral
Sad i say.
Who throws grenades at a funeral?

My biggest fear
Tea allergy?
Or lack of faith in He who has provided
How can look on Him
Who is
Perfect

And yet
Fear?

And why dont fear height or depth
Or even death.
But health?

Grenades for me please

Big, black, and cheap

We went to go buy a used bicycle. I was given rather vague directions
that the place to buy was on such and such a side of such and such a
bridge. We took a taxi and when we got there it was not at all obvious
that this was the right place. No one was standing around holding a
bike and looking all interested in selling. So I asked the driver.
"You used to be able to buy a bike here, but I don't think so anymore," he said.
This wasn't all that encouraging because we had traveled some way just
to get there. As soon as we stepped from the cab we were immediately
overwhelmed by people pressing in and yelling "Bike for sale... bike
for sale!"

I guess was the right place, so we just followed the first guy. Weaved
back and forth through a fish market, into one home and then around an
old outhouse to another hole in the wall where we slipped through a
four foot door into a one room home. A single light bulb hanging from
the ceiling, a bed, a desk and about 10 very stolen bikes. The door
was closed and locked behind us and the business began. The problem
was the lack of older bicycles. Every one of these were just too new,
too likely to be stolen again and brought back to be re-re-sold for
the same price.

The owner assured us there were no other bikes for sale in the whole
market even though there were literally thirty other people out there
ready to give their lives to get us to look at their available bikes.
But after refusing his prices too many times he walked us out of this
small room. Closed the door and locked it. Stepped across a small pool
of sewage and opened another small sketchy room filled with even more
bikes.

Sketchy.
But fun.

In the end, my current beauty was purchased. Tall and black and older
than I. But beautiful as the day is long and she rides like new.
Well... Almost.

How do you teach the Old?

I've been told if your children's curriculum says the moral of the
David and Goliath story is that little people can be used by God too,
then you should throw out your books and look into new curriculum.

But why?

I'm reading a book right now which promises to make enough sense out
of the Old Testament to be able to understand just how it should be
taught. It doesn't seem full of the practical application that the New
Testament does seemingly merely because of its nature being much more
historical and also containing the wisdom and lament literature.

Anyhow. I'll keep you posted on what I learn. I guess the point is
that we have to remember the Old Testament through the light of the
New Testament. Everything that happened in the old seems to at some
level point to the new.... we'll see.

18 cups of tea

I have a problem. I'm horribly addicted to tea. All kinds of tea. I drink tieguanyin (a type of oolong), puer (hs an earthy wood taste), kouding (my current favorite - bitter as can be), and often the plain local flavor of huamaofeng (a green tea with flowers added).

I also suffer from mild chronic gastritis (I think thats what the doctor called it). Which basically just means that whenever I eat something which actually tastes good I get all dizzy, light headed, and gassy. Apparently gastritis is inflamed by excessive caffeine.

This is a problem for me. Yesterday i spent all morning drinking tea. I had a Pepsi with lunch (which is admittedly unusual for me) and then drank tea by the litre for the whole of the afternoon. Then my face and fingers started to tingle, as well as my belly which is just flat out freaky.

Its harder to trust the Lord in a place with a healthcare system I dont trust. And why? Fear sneaks in really quick when I feel like I'm going to pass out and dont really know why.

I just want tea. Lots and lots of tea. And I dont want to pass out or anything. Sad how much comfort I seek in my health.

Ahhh. Sweet refreshedness

We say we take them but we really leave them behind. And when we do....

There is this sense of great relief. Of having lost a heavy burden. Sadly the feeling doesn't stay for long. We quickly become used to our new comfort and the novelty is quickly lost.

But we'll gain this burden again. And setting it down is certainly essential to our continued well being.

I almost wonder if this daily relief is a reminder. A way for the Lord to tell us just how wonderful it will feel to leave behind all of this filth once and for all.

Tea helps me lay my worldly burden behind.
Really passing from our eartlhly bodies to our eternal state will be like taking some form of a heavenly laxative.

And boy will we feel burden free and fantastic.

Useful

"Men who do their best always do more though they be haunted by the sense of failure. Be good and true; be patient; be undaunted. Leave your usefulness for God to estimate. He will see to it that you do not live in vain." - Morrison's selected sermons.

This a perfect response to the things I've mentioned lately. And pleasantly presented after a long sermon on joyfulness looking at Paul singing in prison. I find myself stopping and talking to a young man who suffered from childhood polio. He's kind and speaks clearly.

Ever morning he pushes himself from his home out to the bus stop. From there the bus driver actually gets off the bus and carries him onto the bus. Often requesting help from someone else nearby.

Completely at the mercy of others, and as far as I know a stranger to God. And yet this guy smiles. Everyday he begs, he smiles. He isn't forceful in the same manner as many of the others, he simply holds out his can. Smiling.

And when I stop and talk, I feel useful. A pleasant break from my nagging conscience telling me to do more. And I hope a little friendship makes a difference.
God don't let us live in vain.

Rehab

Remember how the rain used to fall?
You would limp
You didn't have a knee
And yet you always smiled

Alan would mumble
Something fully unintelligable
About england or his childhood

And we'd turn the corner to the springs
Or the dam, or the mountain
Wherever we were going

The roads were closed because of the
Rain
Seirious rain

But we kept walking.
Life was so simple because
You had chosen victory

And it would take some time
But your needle filled arm
It healed
And you smiled

Skin graft after skin graft and
This one would stick

Even in the rain

It washed everything
And we were clean.

Quality entries, and sandwiches

Alright, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't really submitted
what you might call a "quality" blog entry in some time. Part of this
is due to my own initiative to write at least something everyday. The
other part is due to the fact that I know next to no-one is reading
this blog at this point. My priorities have become centered around
writing. I want to write what I enjoy to write. I want to write things
that are actually interesting and I'm not sure how long I can write
about any one topic and have it remain interesting to the general
public.

Thus.... Henceforth I shall be writing ridiculous versions of actual
stories that have happened to me or of which I have witnessed third
person.

e.g. About 10 minutes ago (now this should be assumed that this may
not be an actual 10 minutes but rather a figurative form of the same
idea - such as a Biblical creation day or something) I devoured (and
by devour I mean cartoon woodchuck style where there are wood shavings
going everywhere) a delicious (and by delicious I mean blackened
mahi-mahi with a side of a strawberry margarita delicious) sub (and by
this I mean sandwich) from a restaurant which is actually titled "The
Mutts Nutts."

Now that was my sort of writing.

And for the record, I do most of my blogging from a PDA, and I have
very little patience for grammar and tend to leave out words. If you
cant appreciate what I write for the beauty of the words and not the
perfection of the grammar then this is probably the wrong blog for you
to be reading. I say that with the utmost certainty that this will
anger at least 50% of my readers, and also the confidence with which
to say, that 50% is probably only 1 of ya'll... so thanks to the rest
of you for sticking around.

Alright.

Emmm... a burp is like second sandwich.