He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14)

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” - Psalm 103:14

I’m on burnout day 12… when I run and run and run - although by run what I really mean is sit in classes and meetings and trainings all day long for 15 days and still have 3 more to go.

The Lord knows I’m not strong enough for this. He knows my frame and knows my limits. Much more than I do. He remembers that I am but dust.

But he gives me strength to make it through every next day.

Lord I pray for grace enough to make it one more day with enough left over to still love my family out of an overflow. For that to happen I need you. I need you. I am but dust.

Idol or firewood? (Isaiah 44:16-17)

“Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, ‘Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!’ And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god!’” - Isaiah 44:16-17

Foolishness comes in many forms. I like the simplicity of this verse and the stinging truth of it. A man builds his god out of wood and bows down to it, then takes what is left of the wood he used and makes himself dinner by burning it.

We probably do similar things all the time with our idols, though they may not be quite as absurdly obvious. But the situation is the same, our idols are worthless. And more than that, laughable.

How can we honestly believe these things will save us? How can possibly believe money, fame, beauty, will make us happy when they’re worthless, powerless?

And then we have a God in heaven not bound by human limitations, who can do anything. Making His creation satisfied is probably amongst the easiest things he has to do.

Just think next time you’re saying, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire,” where is your all powerful God?

reBlog: Quisling President of the World

Reblogged from via: Musings of a Pertinacious Papist

Victor Davis Hanson, “President of the World” (NRO, April 15, 2009):

The globe is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is.

Given Obama’s performance on his recent trip, three developments were quite astounding.

First, despite this fresh climate of atonement, there was a complete absence of a single apology from any other foreign leader — odd for the new shared spirit of multi-polarity and reciprocity.

First, despite this fresh climate of atonement, there was a complete absence of a single apology from any other foreign leader — odd for the new shared spirit of multi-polarity and reciprocity.

Not a word came from Britain about colonialism. Nothing from Germany on the Holocaust, or its trade with Iran. Not a peep from France about Algeria or Vietnam.

Turkey was mum on the Armenian killings and its own tough anti-Kurdish policies. Russia said nothing about the 30 million murdered by Stalin — or its present assassinations abroad, much less its leveling of Grozny or its destruction of Afghanistan. Nothing came from China about the 70 million who perished under Mao or its present role in subsidizing North Korean nukes — or its violation of global copyright laws. We won’t hear anything in the “New Asian Hemisphere” about Muslim Uighurs or Tibet.

Second, there was no other example of “He did it!” about supposedly inept predecessors. Mr. Medvedev said nothing about Putin’s brutish rule. Sarkozy and Merkel did not trash the shady Chirac or Gazprom’s bought lobbyist Schroeder, and their role in harming the Atlantic alliance. Gordon Brown was quiet about Tony Blair and Iraq. China did not mention a reset button. The new Berlusconi did not trash the old Berlusconi.

Third, we saw no concrete evidence of any help — or hope and change — from any foreign leader. Zilch. There were expectations of American concessions, but nothing new or helpful from anyone else.

Instead I think a number of astute foreign leaders — rivals, enemies, and friends alike — have already drawn the following conclusions….

In summary:

1. An Obama visit: A vast entourage will descend on your capital in campaign mode.
2. “I’m sorry”: Obama will apologize for almost anything one can imagine.
3. “You’re Right!” Differences that your country has with the United States will be resolved in your favor.
4. “Them”: Then comes the “separation.” Obama makes it clear to any host or foreign leader that both he and his vision of America are strangely exempt from America’s past, from Bush, and from our innately arrogant nature.
5. What’s Next? [The world] has already concluded that Obama is nourished by applause and will work to maintain it … because he realizes that [it] is essential to his perpetual candidacy … Meanwhile, the contours of the new world order are clear. Iraq’s democrats are snubbed; Iran’s cutthroats are courted. A Saudi royal receives a bow; the British queen … receives unplayable DVDs…. Iran is adding to its centrifuges. North Korea will ready ever-more missiles…. Israel gets a Charles Freeman nomination; Gaza a billion U.S. dollars in aid.

“… For 40 years we have had well-meaning moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism taught in our schools, and we are now learning that all that was not just therapy, but has insidiously become our national gospel…. [emphasis added]

“President Obama will get his much-needed praise and adulation abroad, and Americans will finally be somewhat admired for a while. And thereafter, there will be real hell to pay — either abject U.S. appeasement as the world heats up, or some sort of frantic eleventh-hour hyper-response to restore stability and lost deterrence.

“Just watch.”

[Hat tip to J.M.]

How Susan Boyle won over the world » BBC NEWS | Entertainment

How Susan Boyle won over the world » BBC NEWS | Entertainment


We first saw Susan Boyle flatten the judges of “Britain’s Got Talent” last week (bringing my wife to tears). I have not smiled so widely in ages as when I saw the judges and the audience gaping in awe of this 47-year-old woman singing. The judges’ reactions and statements were very honest and very humble, and has helped turn this situation into something very good. 

This piece at the BBC brings up some important issues, but not the one in my mind. Susan Boyle is a wonderful illustration (or, better, a parable) of the way God works in this world. It is better known as the “theology of the cross” and comes to us mainly from Martin Luther. 

The BBC article reveals the truth of Luther’s assessment of natural humanity: “‘I’m sorry because we did not give you anything like the respect we should have done when you first came out. We thought you were going to be a bit of a joke act, to be honest with you.’…A star has been born. Whether she will she leave a dent on our prejudices about age and appearance remains to be seen.”

Of course they thought she was a hapless joke, of course they had a prejudice against her appearance: they are all theologians of glory. Ms Boyle gives us a grand demonstration of 1 Cor. 1:18–31 and the fact that God was most gloriously revealed when that almighty divine being was hidden in sinful flesh, spit upon and mocked, hanging on a tree to die. I hope all of us who were amazed by the beauty coming from that person from Scotland will begin to deeply question the way we look at everything in this age. 

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:27-29)

» I’d just like to a add a big Yup. Indeed.

Freedom (Galatians 5:13a)

“For you were called to freedom, brothers.” - Galatians 5:13a

I know some folks who are trying to reach Muslims by becoming like them in almost every way. They’re argument is that through this method they can create a Christianity attractive to a Muslim and they’ll be more likely to convert because it’s less threatening.

Since I heard about this (and it’s much more complicated than this) I’ve been thinking about it off and on. There seems a lot of advantages to this approach and I definitely see how they’ve arrived at seeing this the way to go. The issue I have is freedom. Muslims are not free.

They live by 5 pillars or rules they must follow if they’re to be a ‘good’ Muslim. Now don’t get me wrong. Many - perhaps even most Christians aren’t free. But they’re at least supposed to be. We cannot sanctify ourselves. We cannot sanctify ourselves. There is absolutely now ay that we could possibly sanctify ourselves. We can do nothing to make ourselves worthy of the Kingdom.

It is only by Christ’s blood that we live. And because of this we are called to freedom. Not slavery. Not legalism. Not rules.

We are called to freedom brothers! When will we start living like it?

Anyhow my thought is, our freedom should be THE reason Muslims want to be Christians. They shouldn’t desire our religion because we fast the same way, or dress the same way, or pray with the same frequency. They should desire our God because our God gives freedom.

If we would live like we were free people would have a lot less of a problem with Christianity. Instead we live as slaves to rules.

Be free. For crying out loud Lord make us free. We are called to be free.

Thoughts on the Holy Spirit's words and authority (John 16:2)

“When ​the Spirit of truth comes, ​he will ​guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but ​whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” - John 16:2

I’m just thinking about the authority of the Holy Spirit. One of these trinity things I don’t get I suppose… Interesting to think about how the Holy Spirit speaks not on his own authority but on the authority of Christ, which are both just two of the three parts of the Godhead.

I’m also thinking about how Jesus speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. And how I should be more in tuned to listening.

Lord speak to us. Speak to us through your Holy Spirit. Through your word. Through your people. And help us to hear, knowing it comes from you.

Remember how you're a completely new person? (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

The group I help to lead discussed this idea last night. When we believed in the Lord our lives completely changed. Every aspect of our lives and that’s because the Lord came to dwell within us.

No longer do we live for ourselves. We live for the Lord. He does not need us to accomplish his purposes but he chooses to use us nonetheless.

No longer do we live for the things of this world. The Kingdom of God is within us and we are a part of it. Our citizenship changes from citizens of this world to citizens of the Kingdom of God. A place here in part but not in full.

So instead we set our eyes on the things above. The things eternal. Loving or God first and foremost. Loving those around us. Trying to live like Christ.

Now that we know our creator we can finally know how He created us to live. And in that we can find contentment, meaning, love, joy and peace.

If you are in Christ the old has passed away. Behold the new has come. Do you live this way? Do you feel this way?

He is risen! (1 Corinthians 15:20-22) - Happy Easter!

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.For as by a man came death, ​by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” - 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

This is no little thing. Conquering death.

Today at church our speaker pointed out that every other religion is a guy who came and was wise and told us how to life. Then he died and people thereafter tried to do what he told us. But Christianity is different. Our God came, and lived, and his death was the reason he came. Then he rose again and is alive today.

This is no little thing. Conquering death.

He is risen!

(via chvnx) Welp. I guess that was that. And then there was what happened after…

(via chvnx)

Welp. I guess that was that. And then there was what happened after…

Sin's solution -> keeping eyes on Jesus. Keeping eyes on Jesus solution? (Colossians 2:23)

“These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in ​promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” - Colossians 2:23

I wont use this as fodder for my “everyone needs one or two good vices” argument. Although I’d like to. Rather what I’d like to argue is that mere legalism - “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (vs. 21) - is no solution to sin.

Think about those people who win so many outward battles but lose the battle in their minds. This has always been a struggle for me, in all areas but lately more than anything with anger. I imagine running my electric bike into the cars that drive stupid (see the subtle objectifying of the people?). Then I imagine attaching large spikes on my bike AND THEN running into the cars so as to do more damage. Because I’m a moron. Simply not running into the cars does not make me want to teach them a lesson any less.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek ​the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. ​Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (3:1-2). Ah… here it is so clearly stated. Set your eyes on Jesus.

Now I feel like I’ve found the secret to not sinning - keeping your eyes on Christ. I’ve mentioned this before several times. And when I succeed at keeping the Lord the most important thing in my life I see this freedom from sin.

So now my question is, how do we keep on our eyes, minds, hearts, on the things that are above? Anyone have a solution?

Mormons and angels (Colossians 2:18)

“Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind.” - Colossians 2:18 (NET)

I read this, and like the first the chapter of Galatians I just wonder what the stink the Mormons do with this.

Nothing compares to Christ. Nothing (Philippians 3:8)

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of ​the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I ​have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” - Philippians 3:8

Today I had a fantastic lunch with one of my friends. We ate this dish called literally a big pan of chicken. It just chopped chicken pieces (the whole chicken, beak, feet etc…), potato, green and red pepper, and noodles piled on this metal pan and smothered in a spicy red sauce. It is fan-freaking-tastic.

But that’s not the point. This friend of mine has been walking with the Lord for a long time and has always been a great encouragement to me. Today when I asked him how I could be praying for him his response was just to walk closer with the Lord. Sort of a Sunday-school-ish answer but still, it’s simple in its necessity.

Then he quoted this verse to me. He said, “I know that nothing compares to Christ. Nothing. And I want to believe it, live it, and really know it. I want to know Christ better.”

Again simple, but true.

So often I’m concerned with doing this better, or that better, or whatever. But am I just seeking Christ?

All to often the answer is no. But He really is better than everything else, and therefore quite worth it.

On interpreting tongues - e.g. your own

I just read an interesting post at Peter’s blog Gentle Wisdom where he’s talking about the interpretation of tongues. If you want to know more read his post. But the thing that got me thinking was this:

“Nevertheless 1 Corinthians 14:13 seems to suggest that one should pray for understanding of one’s own tongue, without restricting this to public meetings.”

Something I’ve never thought of before. People have asked me if I know what I’m praying for when I pray in tongues. I can only say that I thought I had an idea on a few occasions. But the thought of knowing what the Lord would be praying through me is fascinating. It would be like being able to see what the Lord has a heart for in prayer.

I’m gonna begin to ask for this I think. If you speak in tongues are able to interpret what you’re praying?

It’s funny when you’re so numb to an idea you no longer know why its funny.

It’s funny when you’re so numb to an idea you no longer know why its funny.

my first experience on Omegle - amused

Stranger: frodo?

You: almost

Stranger: billbo?

You: but no hair on the toes just yet..

You: getting there.

You: and you?

Stranger: gandolf

Stranger: and gimli

Stranger: :)

You: ah... I suppose no place for a missionary in middle earth eh?

Stranger: yup

Stranger: canadian?

Homosexuality - nature or nurture?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine recently on the topic of homosexuality that I’ve been thinking about since and I’m curious for some feedback.

First of all I would like to say that I don’t have a lot of question about it being a sin. That can be addressed elsewhere but I think the Bible is pretty clear on it and I do take the Bible as authoritative. Now that said, I don’t see it inherently as any different from any other sexual sin. For example I relate it to most men’s struggle with pornography. In my opinion both are simply wrong outplays of something the Lord has created to be experienced within the bounds of marriage. The only difference is if a person chooses to live out a homosexual lifestyle it is like a person choosing to indulge in pornography.

So that said, if a person has homosexual tendencies its the same a person who is interested in pornography. Both (in my opinion) should be seeking sexual wholeness and healing in understanding why they have these desires and where to have the rightly fulfilled.

Okay but that’s not what I want to talk about. Actually I’m interested in the nature vs. nurture argument. I’ve always been a firm nurture believer and a lot of that has to do with a man who works for Focus on the Family who lived a homosexual lifestyle for like 30 years and then was saved out of it. He tells the story of his father calling him a pansy etc… and only finding acceptance from an older male in a sexual relationship with an uncle or a friend or something.

He argued that the scientific work for nature has never been well corroborated and he is a firm believer in it being a nurture thing. So I stood by that argument for a long time, thinking that the Lord never intended anyone to be born with homosexual tendencies.

But that changed in this conversation with my friend who said very simply he believes someone could be born genetically to be homosexual - as a result of the fall. His argument is his daughter who was born without a left hand. He says God never intended for her to be born without a left hand, but as a result of the fall she was born that way. Could it not happen that in the same way as a result of the fall someone could be genetically different in the womb to simply desire the same sex instead of the opposite?

And so that’s had me thinking ever since. I think I’m starting to agree with the argument. I’m not saying it would be any less wrong - just that it could genuinely be a result of the fall and genetically this could be the way their wired.

What do you think?

Idols the root of all evil (1 John 5:21 and Wisdom of Solomon 14:27)

“Little children, ​keep yourselves from idols.” - 1 John 5:21

Yesterday my reading was covering the Apocrypha and I found it pretty fascinating. I’ve only heard of a few of the books of the Apocrypha and the Psqdopigrapha and I know almost nothing about them. Now don’t get me wrong - I am a firm believer in the canon we’ve received and do not consider this books canonical or inspired in whole.

That said, there could be some valuable things in them. By book pointed out that the book Wisdom of Solomon had some verses pointing to idolatry as the root of all sin. Here are the ones it quoted:

“For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and the invention of them the corruption of life.” - Wisdom of Solomon 14:12

“For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.” - Wisdom of Solomon 14:27

I found it interesting being this well and clearly stated just because I so agree with this. Especially the second verse. I feel like in our lives we’re just worshiping wrong things and thats what leads us to sin the first place and then further and further down those paths. Those idols may be money, fame, sex, alcohol, etc… but they’re all things that we worship before the Lord and thereby break the first commandment.

I’ve talked about this before but I have a picture for you - which I wont draw because I cant draw. Imagine us bowing down to an idol called Money, or Sex. And we want to not worship it - we know that the real God is over there somewhere, but we just stand before this idol and keep looking at it and telling ourselves “Don’t worship that, don’t worship that, don’t worship that. Only God satisfies, only God satisfies, only God satisfies.” But we don’t leave the foot of our idol. We just stand there instead of walking away or choosing to turn around and face God.

Fascinating really.

I like these clearly stated verses about the root of sin. The Bible definitely makes it clear but not AS clear in AS straightforward of language.

Interesting stuff.

The Holy of Holies was empty - are you?

“Pompey entered the Holy of Holies and was amazed to find only emptiness.”*

Yesterday I started the reading for my next seminary class which is on the Gospels. It was a pretty interesting beginning just because it already seems like a long time since I’ve read about theology in English, its really nice to understand every single word. So much so that my reading has slowed down substantially because I just enjoy the comprehension…

Anyhow, yesterday I was reading and got to this section. In 63 B.C. Pompey took Jerusalem, and even though people locked themselves in the Temple they didn’t last long. The temple priests apparently went on with what they were doing as though it was just a normal day. But then Pompey comes in, and even has the audacity to walk right into the Holy of Holies - the very place that a priest would be struck dead by God if he didn’t enter according to God’s regulations - and nothing.

Zip, zilch, nada. Fascinating really. Especially when you think about the glory of God coming down from heaven into Solomon’s temple in such an awesome way.

I wonder how many non-believers look at our lives. Look at the lives of Christians, get under our skin to see what’s going on inside of us and find emptiness. If your body is a temple to the Lord and someone gets to know you will they find the Lord under there? Or will they be amazed at the emptiness?

Have you made your body a place for the Lord? You cannot justify yourself, you cannot sanctify yourself, but does the Lord live in you or not? Have you asked yourself? If you’re curious take a look at 1 John (especially around vs. 24).

This is the God that we claim is all powerful, awe-inspiring, worthy to be praised, and able to save. But when people come to meet him, they look close because they’re curious if such a God does exist, what do they find?

Just a thought.

*Backgrounds of Early Christianity by Everett Ferguson, third edition (page 412).

My flesh is fascinating - Some thoughts on sin, temptation, desire, fame etc...

I just went for a run. One of the things I love about running is the absolute absurdity my mind goes through while I run and how well I’m able to focus in on it.

Today I began to dwell (as is often the case) on how great of a runner I am (I’m not a great runner) and on how famous of a writer I’ll be (I’ll likely not be a famous writer). And then it occurred to me and I asked the Lord, “Why do these things seem so desirable to me? What is it about fame that I desire so much?” And as I thought this it led me to,

“Lord I really find satisfaction in you, so why I don’t I desire this real satisfaction in the same way I desire fame, sex, money, etc…?”

Then it occurred to me that I am very satisfied in my marriage. I love my wife more than anything ever and I’m exceedingly attracted to her. Yet while this is the case I am still occasionally tempted by the idea of a woman outside of marriage. Now why is that? Why do I experience what I could consider the fullness of a promise from the Lord in marriage and still desire the broken, sinful, fallen, things of this world?

I guess it’s the flesh. We’re told again and again that we’ll struggle with our flesh, I’m just fascinated by my struggle with it. It’s fascinating to me that I know the Lord’s plan is the only thing that brings satisfaction. I can find that satisfaction - and actually BE SATISFIED (I know that’s redundant but I’m trying to say it clearly), and yet still sometimes desire something that will ruin this satisfaction forever. My flesh is fascinating!

Something I discussed a while back is how sin seams to rear it’s head in new and interesting ways every time you begin to get past an old sin. It’s like the devil brings up gambling and then when you finally begin to conquer that he brings in sex, and then when you’re getting an edge on that in comes alcohol and so on… the problem is that you never fully conquer these old things, so you just build up a repertoire of old sins you “almost” have gotten over…

It’s got me thinking about how it seems like it would be nice to just stop at a comfortable one like alcohol. Just sort of never really get the hang of it. I don’t mean to turn to alcoholism (in fact I’m not condoning what I’m talking about here at all… just processing it) but dabble with alcohol. Alcohol seems a lot more pleasant sin than adultery doesn’t it?

But the problem is we’re unable to dabble with sin. We have to fight or lose the battle. Ah… again… My flesh is fascinating! And in all the wrong ways.

The secret to contentment, how much money is enough (Philippians 4:12)

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and ​hunger, abundance and need.” - Philippians 4:12

We had some visitors from the states a couple of days ago who got together with us and had dinner. We brought along several of the people who are involved in our ministry to talk with them about their lives as Christians and how it affects their work etc…

One of our local friends asked several questions and then said, “I’m a business man and I am all the time making more and more an more money. However, the more money I make the more I want - how do I find satisfaction in what I have? When will I have enough? How do I fight the temptation of always wanting more?”

This is a great question just because so many of us deal with it. Okay, well not so much me, I’m dirt poor (by American standards) and will likely be for some time unless I somehow change careers in a hurry, which isn’t looking likely.

I remember a few years ago (and I may have mentioned this in a previous post) I was attending a mens group and we were talking about how we were doing and money etc… Finally one guy in the group said that he was attending night classes to get his MBA and that he hoped he could make more money. We asked him if he thought he could ever have enough money and his answer was, “I have a number in my head, if I could just make twice what I make now then it would be enough.” He lived in a very wealthy area and made over $100,000/year already. I was fascinated. And so was everyone in my group.

So flash forward to this week and my friend asking this question. I was pleased with our American friends’ response. Two guys both shared about how they sought money for years and it took them almost 30 years of work to realize it was never going to make them happy. They were honest that while they had this head knowledge it was still difficult for them to apply it our lives. And one guy offered some advice on how to go about it.

It might be different for everyone. For me I find it easiest to take satisfaction in what I have by taking pride in the simplicity, or age of my things. My first car was older than I was - and so I took good care of it and enjoyed that I didn’t drive a mercedes but still got to school every day. My first PDA was given to me for free because it was about 4 years old (stone age for a PDA) at the time. I used that thing till it died and someone else offered me an even newer - old one.

This sorts of things work for me, taking pride in the old. Focusing on my gifts of family instead of my material possessions. More than anything giving thanks continually, and giving generously. The more I give the better grasp I feel I have on my money making me content.

But what about you? What do you think Paul discovered to be the secret of being content?