and I do pray to you, O LORD" - Psalm 27:8 (NET)
I was reading this verse this morning in the NET. I normally blog on the ESV but the ESV version is substantially different. Anyhow I'm writing a paper on Jesus' prayers in Luke. It's just been interesting doing the reading through Luke and look at all the times Jesus prayed.
He seemed to always be praying. He saw life as something to be spent in constant conversation with God. I wish my heart told me to pray, or rather that when it does (because it probably does) I would hear it and then I would pray.
Lord teach my heart its need to pray. Teach me to hear my heart telling me to be in conversation with you.
For some reason in reading through the gospels for my most recent class I was annoyed by a sermon I heard on this verse years ago. Many of you may have heard the "a needle was a small gate that a camel could get on its knees and barely squeeze through" argument. I actually heard a guy preach this sermon. I was young at the time and I remember thinking the guy was a total maroon[sic].
Anyhow. Verse 26 clearly states Jesus' intention "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
If Jesus is talking about something that can be done it's just really really hard, why does he then go on to say "With man this is impossible?" Simple. Because Jesus is actually talking about a very large animal fitting through a needle used for sewing.
With God this is actually possible.
Cool. While preachers can sometimes be morons (I'm sure I'll make my doozie of mistakes in my time), God can do anything. Among with is that God can use dinkus pastors with their dinkus understandings of the Bible to speak things into our lives that change us. Don't ask me how. It seems impossible to me.
I've always wondered if I would do pot if it was legalized. I think my answer is no. But not that I have any problem with the drug inherently, I more fear being rejected at a job I feel like I'm supposed to take when they ask me what weird drugs I've done.
One of the things this video addresses is whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug to other hard drugs. I kind of think its a ridiculous argument. If anything a kid goes from pot to harder stuff because he's already outside the law and knows drug dealers. If pot was legalized it would be harder to make the jump because it would be from within the law to outside of it.
People don't consider cigarettes or tobacco a gateway drug to marijuana even though its much more similar and that's because one is legal and the other just isn't.
Anyhow, I'm curious of any of you have thoughts on this.
This is a fear that I have. That as soon as I get done with seminary and the other degrees I'm working on I'll suddenly no longer value those who have seen Christ face to face and what they've seen. Not everyone's experience is perfect, or even truth, but that certainly doesn't mean you need a PhD to be able to discern the spirits and the works of our father.
Seems like a lot of the most educated people I know are the most blind. I fear in my education I'll replace truth with knowledge.
If you're educated is this a ridiculous fear?
I've been in full time ministry now for about 5 years. I've been sharing my faith as part of that relatively regularly all along.
But yesterday was the first time I ever felt like I might be gifted as an evangelist.
For some reason it's all of a sudden coming a lot easier to me. I enjoy drawing people out and questioning their worldview. I love pressing people to think through where they find their hope and joy. And I'm always impressed how few non-believers even claim to have hope. They live in fear, depression, or discouragement. Yesterday a lady told me her only hope was that no one had hope - so she wouldn't be alone.
I've always seen myself as the teacher in this verse, but I suppose it was never meant to be that you picked what you figured and ignored the rest. And I suppose the Lord can equip me now to do one and later to do another. Interesting I think.
My Mac dictionary says rejoice means to "feel or show great joy or delight."
I'm remembering about a year and half ago I went to meet some guys for an Octoberfest beer. I've never celebrated Octoberfest and that night didn't turn out to be my first. In fact they had some special on food and beer that was like 40 bucks more than the 5 dollars I hoped to spend. So my friends and I headed to wine bar down the street.
It was quiet and we were the only customers. We ordered a bottle of wine and smoked some cigars and talked about things dudes talk about. At one point one of my older friends (mid 40's maybe) raised his glass of wine and held it up to the light as he swirled it around his glass. He said, "I'm giving glory to God, I'm worshiping by enjoying this part of His creation. Wonderful enjoyment of the Lord's gifts is amazing worship." Then he took a sip.
I remember thinking, "I can worship God while drinking wine?!@!@ My God IS awesome."
Now again I don't want to argue for alcohol uncontrolled. But the Lord did give us wine. Heck He gave a whole wedding party some amazing wine (I'd love to know what that tasted like). And if we're responsible He takes joy in our rejoicing in his creation. How do you rejoice in the Lord? Do you rejoice in the Lord?
I think this is a relatively familiar verse for most of us. Some friends get together to bring their paralyzed friend to go see this guy they hear can heal people. It seems like a good idea - especially to us because we know how it ends.
But when they arrive they see there is a huge crowd and they aren't going to be able to get their friend up to the feet of Jesus. If Jesus doesn't ever see him he wont be able to heal him. So these guys don't just give up and go home, instead they buckle down and climb the roof, they cut a hole in the roof and let their friend down on a mat and sure enough Jesus heals him.
I was thinking about this zeal in reference to a friend of mine who are sick. One has some kind of muscle disease where she is having a harder and harder time walking or controlling her body at all. She walks around our neighborhood shaking. One time I approached her and told her I was a believer in an all powerful God and I wanted her permission to pray to ask that God for healing. She then told me she was a Christian and would be blessed by that.
So I prayed for her that day and I wrote down her name so I could be regularly praying for her. I did for weeks and I still do. But after a few weeks I started to get frustrated with the Lord in my prayers. Why isn't he healing her? And I realized how I've been praying. Sort of standing outside the crowd unwilling to push through to see Jesus. If I really wanted her to get healed I'd push through the crowd, I'd cut a hole in the roof and press hard for the Lord to heal.
I read this verse and was encouraged that if I really love these people and want to see them healed I cant mess around. I need to love them in prayer like these friends did in real life.
Lord I'll cut a hole in the roof and set my friend before you if you'll heal them.
I just wish God's will in healing was so obvious. Just because it's my will to see them healed doesn't mean it's the Lord. Something I think I'm learning to understand, but still not sure I like.
You end up with a pretty fascinating read.
Concerning wealth, we know that coins are just metal and notes are just paper and credit cards are just plastic – and that God is the creator of all of these. We know that “the unseen hand of the market” is not a real deity: For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Jesus Christ; through whom are all things, and through whom we exist.
It's worth reading the full post.
Whose precious blood has ransomed me
mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
and hung Him on that judgment tree"
I was playing this song this morning as part of my quiet time (not altogether so quiet I guess when a guitar is involved). I played through it probably 5 or 6 times and then came back to this first verse to finish. I was moved the last time playing through and really pondering the truth of this gospel.
We should glory in our Redeemer because it is only by his blood that we have hope of being ransomed. We do not deserve another to die in our place to cover our sins. We do not deserve anything but death ourselves. We worry, we fear, we sin, we covet, we worship idols, we fail and we fail and we fail. But our Lord poured out His precious blood to ransom us.
Ours was the sin that drove the bitter nails through His hands and feet, that kept Him hung on the cross, that caused agony on agony. That cut off His breath and killed Him. That sin was ours! But by that sacrifice He crushed the power of sin and death.
"I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death
my only Savior before the holy Judge
the Lamb Who is my Righteousness"
I'm glad to be reminded of the wonderful truth of the gospel. I wish I remembered how awesome this is more often.
Okay I just got done reading this and laughing because this seems like Biblical evidence to drink cold rather than warm water. I live in a place where everyone drinks warm water (no matter how warm it is outside) and thinks it's downright bad for you to drink cold water. So HA!
But that aside. I'm thinking about giving. A friend of mine (we'll call him Steve) has a wonderful story of trying to give to a friend of his. Steve is an American guy who has lived here a few years longer than me. A while back a Christian friend of his had his bike stolen and it was his sole means of transportation - and expensive to replace.
Steve had another friend who had recently left the country and left behind his brand new beautiful and expensive bike. Steve decided he wanted to give this bike to his friend because he had no need for it. Unfortunately in this culture it's just downright bad form to give an expensive gift to someone who could not afford to pay you back. They would feel obliged to pay you back and then always feel at your mercy.
So Steve took the bike and rode it outside the city to a big construction site. He picked it up and threw into the dust, rubble, and cement. He picked up rocks and threw them at the bike and purposefully scraped a good portion of the paint off it till the bike looked old as though it was falling apart even though it was new. Then he rode the bike to his friends house and asked him to come out.
Steve said, "Here, I have a friend who just left the country and left this bike behind, it's not a very nice bike, but I thought you could use it since yours was recently stolen."
His friend stood there and stared at the bike and walked around it inspecting it and then finally said, "What happened this bike?! Something terrible must have happened, I have never seen a bike look so bad in my whole life."
Anyhow, he accepted the gift and I'm sure never felt the need to repay Steve. This is that gift of a cold cup of water. I'm sure Steve "will by no means lose his reward" for giving generously even though there were weird cultural things that got in the way.
My prayer is that we know how to give those in need good gifts. Lord open my eyes to know where I can help my friends and those in need.
(p.s. this all of a sudden seems odd in light of my last post, but I assure you it was mere coincidence that this is what I was reading and pondering this morning)
But, if you've always been curious about why I blog anonymously and what I do this post is for you.
This may fail miserably but I saw BibleDude pull off something similar for his kid's diabetes deal, so I thought it worth a try. We're in the process of raising more support for kid number 2 on the way. If you would be interested in finding out who I really am, where I really do ministry, and then sending prayers our way or if you would be interested in giving to us financially (monthly or one time) send me an email at rogermugs at gmail dot com, and I'll get back to you with details.
We send out monthly updates of what's going on, this generally includes pictures as well as all the interesting stories I'd love to share on this blog but anonymity keeps me from doing so. For instance this month's includes a story of a teacher of mine talking about skinning and eating rats as a child.
Keep in mind if you're just interested in praying for us you are also welcome. We need all the prayer we can get in what we do.
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him, O praise Him!"
"Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warm and light,
O praise Him, O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"
- Francis of Assisi, "All Creatures of Our God and King"
This morning I was playing this on my guitar and really enjoying the worship. But it struck me as a little odd asking the sun and the moon to praise God. Asking fire to praise God. At first I couldn't quite pin my finger on what seemed strange about it. Everything should praise God. We know God's creation is praising Him, so why was it weird?
Then it occurred to me. Moon, sun, fire. All of these things have been worshiped themselves in the past and very very wrongfully. Why worship the creation when you could worship the creator? Not everyone understood the creator I suppose.
But how right it then seemed that Francis of Assisi would then turn and write this song. Saying basically, "Look, even those things you worship give their worship to our God and King."
What wonderful worship. I'm going to go back and sing this some more.
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9
A friend of mine cited this to me today. He's from a small minority hear where I live and almost everyone in his people group is polytheistic and worships trees, rocks, mountains, etc... All that to say, he is one of the few believers from the town he grew up in. In fact now he is in full time ministry working with athletes - he's incredibly gifted and by far my favorite person whom we support to be in ministry just because he's so good at what he does.
Anyhow. He cited this to me today in relation to a few things. First of all, in swapping prayer requests I told him life is just going really stinking well for me. I'm doing well, I'm happy, my family is healthy, my wife is doing well 3 months into pregnancy with our second kid, ministry is great, etc... He was excited for me and had similar sentiment.
His one problem though is his burden for his parents - neither of whom know the Lord. He recently found out his mother has gallstones and is unsure what to do about it. It's not one or two big stones but many many small ones. She's in a lot of pain and he was asking for prayer for her. He told me he's praying for her but he feels like the Lord is going to use this in her life. He says one of his good friends also felt like he heard something along these lines from the Lord about his mom. He hopes this means this might lead her to the Lord.
Then he quoted this verse. His bus pulled up right as we were finishing the conversation and he yelled the verse to me as he jumped aboard. But his meaning was clear. We love the Lord, look at how the Lord has blessed us, and how he'll continue to bless us in the future hopefully by leading his mother to Jesus.
He doesn't know for sure that his mom will believe, what he does know is that God has something prepared for those who love Him. And he loves Him.
I was talking with a friend who just started reading a new book. I want to say it was by Piper but I cant remember for sure. Apparently the opening of the book is something along the lines of how we can never find satisfaction in what we do. We can find it in seeking God for his attributes, we cannot find it anything we desire except for God Himself.
It's difficult to desire God Himself simply because He gives us so many good things. So we end up desiring His gifts instead of Him.
In a brief look through the NASB this verse (and the equivalent in Luke) seem to be the only places the New Testament talk about satisfaction in a way other than "they ate and were satisfied."
I think it's interesting that satisfaction comes to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. At first I figured this probably meant that we would be satisfied in the sense that we would find righteousness. But that's probably not where it ends. If we find righteousness then we will find satisfaction because we will be right before God. This is what we're called to do and what He has offered.
Now in my search for satisfaction I have looked to fame, internet fame (which I'm still embarrassed about), alcohol, sex, respect among peers and elders, and just about every other human desire you can imagine. So how often do I hunger and thirst for righteousness? Not too often.
Lord I want to seek righteousness. I want to desire YOU and not all these other things that don't satisfy. Lord the only desire I can be sure of that isn't sinful is my desire to desire something not sinful. For that I need you.
This is bad form for someone to switch twice like this. But I decided the problem I had with tumblr was losing my permalinks and therefore a lot of traffic. When people don't find my site through Google they tend to not find my site. That is, I'm not spending much time commenting on other blogs these days so about 95% of my traffic comes from Google. When Google fails because of confusion after a switch... well... my hands were tied.
I really did like tumblr a lot. I also thought if I waited it out Google would link to my old posts on tumblr and traffic would pick back up. But I was wrong. I dunno if I've lost it forever or if it will return in my switch back to blogger but what can you do?
If you're considering starting a new blog. I highly suggest tumblr. But if you're stuck and need your permalinks. Welp. Stick to that. I actually want what I write to minister to people, and it does when people read it. But not so much when they dont.
Anyhow. I'm back on blogger and my tumblr imported posts have abnormal spacing, so they're ugly. But soon they'll be off the front page. So bear with me, and leave me a note if you notice a blaring hole/error in something in this new layout. It's not sexy but it gets the content across and that's whats more important to me these days.
So here's to hoping my undying (okay sort of wavering) confidence in Google soon pays off and Blogger gives me some decent updates. This is starting to feel like XP... wow did I just say that? Blogger you're OLD.
I've been in meetings without internet for some time. Here's some thoughts on Christ teaching with authority (Matt 7:28-29)
I’ve been tweeting a lot more these days than I have been blogging. Mostly out of time issues. Life has been a little nutty as I’ve been in meetings for almost two weeks straight. Including two days of meetings during a three day holiday. I’m not bitter. Nope. Not bitter.
Anyhow. It’s been a slightly richer time for me in the word than it has been in a while. Although that’s really not saying much. The Bible’s been dry as dirt or me up until recently. I’m picking up my guitar a little bit more and worshiping which has been great.
“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” - Matt 7:28-29
So I’ve been killing myself in school. Anyone else doing this? I guess this is what I get for doing two grad schools at the same time alongside a full time job. It takes it out of me. But I am really enjoying getting to contrast the VERY secular school with my seminary classes and seeing both views on Christ and the church.
I’m amused at how both sets of teachers teach with authority. It’s just a half of them don’t believe a word of the Bible or that there is even a God. I do appreciate my seminary teachers who seem to know what they’re talking about and ACT like they know what they’re talking about too. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the scribes to stand and read the word but not interpret. Not teach. Not really preach with authority.
Albeit this is the very thing that makes me fearful of preaching. The better I understand it the more I realize you have authority when you preach. And you’d better stinkin’ know what you’re talking about.
I love that our God stood up and interpreted the scriptures unabashedly. Preached and preached and preached some more as one who had authority. Because He DID have authority. I wish I could just once attend a class taught by an infallible teacher… that would be fascinating I think. I doubt I’d be tempted to play Solitaire or Snood during class if Jesus were talking.
Whew… that’s why I cant tweet everything on my mind…