May 31, 2009

A Sane God

Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will you hold back?...Jesus Christ demands the same unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him that the natural man exhibits...By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 30 Devotional

That God may ask us to do something we think makes little or no sense is not a thought we seem to dwell on much. But it is not outside the realm of possibility for no other reason than God's ways are not our ways. We are quick to come before the throne with our requests and desires that fit quite nicely into our worldview. But what if we were asked to do something we thought lacked common sense? Or worse yet, something others thought lacked common sense?

Is your faith strong enough to know that God is not crazy?

May 30, 2009

How and What Are You Asking?

Our Lord does not mean that our lives will be free from external difficulties and uncertainties, but that just as He knew the Father’s heart and mind, we too can be lifted by Him into heavenly places through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so that He can reveal the teachings of God to us...Just as Jesus stood unblemished and pure in the presence of His Father, we too by the mighty power and effectiveness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be lifted into that relationship...Once in that wonderful position, having been placed there by Jesus Christ, we can pray to God in Jesus’ name—in His nature.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 29 Devotional

Jesus did not promise everything in our desire, He promised us everything in His name. If you feel that God is not listening, is it because you are not asking in His name?

The Lord wants us to have as He has, be in a relationship with Him that models the relationship within the Trinity. If you are not asking in the nature that Jesus prayed to His Father, do not be surprised at the answer you get. For that answer will be no. It doesn;t please God toi have to say no to us; the glory we give Him comes from our obedience, of our being in His name.

May 29, 2009

Our Own Worst Enemy

That we are, in our unbelief. The foothold we allow the enemy when we doubt our Lord in the least. A brief excerpt from yesterday's The Daily Spurgeon highlights this:

"Faith is the Christian’s strength; he who doubts not staggers not. Unbelief is the source of our chief weakness. As soon as we begin to distrust our feet begin to slide."

Here Spurgeon is talking of the attack of Satan on Jesus, but it has such implications for us. If the enemy chose to attack our Lord first by trying to get Him to doubt His relationship with the Father, why would we expect differently? It didn't work with Jesus but often does with us because of the doubt and guilt our sin brings into our minds.

Doubt, I see the need to fight it off each and every day. Doubt, because I know in my heart I am not worthy of the Father's love, our Lord's sacrifice. Doubt, because it seems unbeleivable at times what He was willing to do, how He was willing to live, and die, for me, for us.

To give Him glory by erasing the doubt about His love for me is the goal I need to strive for. Doubt, which makes me my own worst enemy needs to be overcome each day.

But oh, that I have His love and help to see me through each and every battle.

May 28, 2009

My True Home

Last night my wife and I went to the Yankees-Rangers game here in Texas and caught up with some friends we have not seen in a while. (Yankees won 9-2, but that is not really all that important to this post. OK, I am glad they won but we need to move on). Although I have been in Texas for six years and have been to see the Yanks almost every year, it is still strange to see them play ball in person in a visitors uniform. (Was even stranger still to see the Mets a few years ago in a visitors uniform as I grew up with the Mets in Queens in the 60's and 70's). The only other time I witnessed this phenomenon was when the played each other in the World Series or the old Mayor's Trophy games.

But the DFW area is my home now, and to see the teams of my youth playing as visitors, well, I will never get entirely used to it.

Which made me think, home is some respects is a state of mind as much as geographic location. I am home here in Texas because my mind has accepted it as home. Yet the permanence of my earthly home is shown to be temporary when something like as simple as a ballclub that used to be the home club comes to my city and now plays as a visitor.

Which leads me to affirm where my permanence, where my true security is. Only in my Lord Jesus Christ. And I will only truly be home when He takes me back to Him, for then it will never change ever again and I will never be shaken in that firm acceptance in my mind.

May 27, 2009

Rising To The Occasion

Just about done reading The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking read. One point in the chapter on kindness and goodness stood out more than the rest for me, centering on this passage in Scripture:
8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB)

We are created to do good, wired for it, and we should seek to do it for the glory of God. But the interesting point is that we are to walk in them, giving the sense of them becoming part of our everyday life, not some special thing we rise to the occasion of doing.

I think it is easier for us to do good in the mission field as opposed to the marketplace, on a battlefield instead of our backyard. Maybe it is pride, we rise to the occasion when we sense the heat of a spotlight on us, no matter how dim. We can go and model Christ on a mission trip or in a ministry, but let's face it, others know what we are doing and why. Can we model Him as easily when we go to buy a quart of milk or grab a bite at a local restaurant when we are just ourselves in our everyday existence? I am not sure I warm up to the good works of Jesus as easily when the warmth of the spotlight is not heating me up. Seems to me a bit of a pride issue that I have like a lot of others.

Rising to the occasion of doing good, in walking in good works create din Christ Jesus should be like rising from bed in the morning. You do it as part of your everyday life.

You should do it with about as much ceremony as getting out of bed. Maybe it is not always the praise inducing, ceremonial occurrence, but you get it down each and every day.

May 26, 2009

Good or Great

The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 25 Devotional

I have seen this concept in many business books, but it is interesting to see in a devotional such as this. Good is the enemy of great, because good is acceptable but may not be the best we can do, the best we have to offer. Good is usually good enough to get by, but getting by is not way we should be about it when we are talking our faith. Great is what we should strive for.

We know we will fall short of God's standards. He is holy and just, we are not. He is without sin, we are not. He is divine, we are His created beings; made in His image but not of His essence. And so we fall short, but He loves us anyway.

If you ask someone whether they think they are going to heaven, you will often hear something along the lines of "Yes, I am a good person". And they either believe (or desperately want to believe) that. No one says "Yes, I am a great person". But they will read that business book, that self help journal and nod their heads when it says things like you need to be great, that good isn't good enough.

"Yes, I am a good person."

"But good isn't good enough to satisfy the standards of a perfect God."


Personally, this "good" person is glad he has placed faith and trust in; that he serves a great God.

May 25, 2009

The Last Holdout

I was checking my Google Analytics recently. I do not check all that often, but I do look on occasion. I realized that there is a hold out to reading my blog (OK, there are billions of holdouts, but I am talking one specific measure here). There has been a reader from every state in the US.

Except one.

North Dakota.

I have nothing against the state other than no one who lives there has read my blog. I mean, I have watched the movie Fargo several times, it is one of my favorites. Yah. I haven't visited the state, but have it on a list of things to do in my life.

If you are from North Dakota and are reading this, well, you solved my problem. If you aren't, thanks for stopping by! If you know someone who lives in North Dakota, can you tell them about my blog?

I would love to see the state colored in on the map on the Google report. It is the little things in life that bring a smile to the face.

May 24, 2009

Before Time

Before time I was. No, I am not claiming to be divine; I was before time because God made it so:

16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:16 (NASB)

Before He created time, God ordained the days of my life. Not just me alone, He did this for all of us. Psalm 139 is a wonderful Psalm when think of the preciousness, the sanctity of life. If God would ordain each and every life to the fullness of the days we are to live on this earth even before He created time, how can we not treat it with the utmost value, respect and love?

Some may say that since the fullness of days is ordained, there is nothing we can do to change things, but I find that a fatalistic and somewhat arrogant stance. Who are we to know what the fullness of days is? Are we not to live each day as it is our last, for only God knows which one truly is our last?

It is not for us to end life, that is for God to ordain. It is not for us to determine life, God took the time to do that before He created time. It is for us to live it to His glory each day to the fullest of our ability, and let the fullness of our lives be in His hands.

May 23, 2009

Accomplish or Achieve

I woke up in the middle of the night and two words popped into my head, accomplish and achieve. That was it before I feel back to sleep, but I remembered them in the morning. I looked up both and got pretty similar results, pretty much the same definition. So I looked in a NASB concordance and saw both words appear in the NASB, not all that frequently, but they appear, accomplish more than achieve. Both they both appear in two books, Job and James. Ah, here was something to look at, how the same author used it differently:

21"His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; Or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it.
Job 14:21
6"If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against Him? And if your transgressions are many, what do you do to Him?
Job 35:6
20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
James 1:20
16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:16

Not sure there was anything here as I looked at it, but I noticed something, and maybe it is only me. Achieve seems to be a word used with winning, with reward, with recognition. Accomplish seems to be used with getting something completed, ending a task.

Achieve seems to be used by both authors when dealing with reaching up to the attributes of God, honor and righteousness, with divine activities. Accomplish seems to be used by both authors to describe man dealing with his sin and sinfulness, with human activities. Achieving is reaching up to God's level, and it is God's accomplishment not ours. Accomplishing is moving under our own power to reach and deal with what we can. I can achieve my salvation through the grace of God and the death of Christ only, but I can accomplish sin on my own. I can accomplish much in my life, but I achieve only what God would have me.

"To accomplish is human, to achieve divine" A. Coticchio May 2009

I know I should check out the other uses of these words in other passages of Scripture to see if this thesis holds up. I will not. I like this thought and am stopping here. That two different authors over a thousand years apart nuanced similar meaning words in the same way shows me that God's hand is in Scripture. That is a cool thought to mine out of a couple of words tha popped into my head in the middle of the night.

And that is enough for me today.

May 22, 2009

He Comes First

My post yesterday talked about peace, and coming to peace with God first. After writing that post, I read Oswald Chambers which I have excerpted below. I think I see a pattern here:

When we look at these words of Jesus, we immediately find them to be the most revolutionary that human ears have ever heard. ". . . seek first the kingdom of God . . . ." Even the most spiritually-minded of us argue the exact opposite, saying, "But I must live; I must make a certain amount of money; I must be clothed; I must be fed." The great concern of our lives is not the kingdom of God but how we are going to take care of ourselves to live. Jesus reversed the order by telling us to get the right relationship with God first, maintaining it as the primary concern of our lives, and never to place our concern on taking care of the other things of life.

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 21 Devotional

I have been trying to walk in my faith long enough to realize when the same message comes through different means it is something I should stop, stand still and listen to. Have I been thinking about myself more than I have been thinking about putting God first? I didn't think so, but the message coming through is "Yes, you have."

So now I need to stop, stand still and listen to what it is God is trying to tell me, to get through that thick skull of mine. (I have always felt that if I had become President of the United States, I would wind up on Mt. Rushmore. No extra granite needed, just put my skull up there after I am gone from this world.)

My prayers need to focus less on worry and more on listening for God's voice and God's will. Future plans for school, ministry and life are in His hands, I need to await quietly for Him to open Them and show me what He holds in His palm for my future.

Less anticipation of what I seek, more expectation of what He will provide. Less praying for specific direction (which turns out to be my view of things), more praying for opportunities to discern His will (which forces me to look at things the way He does).

He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
Revelation 3:7b (NASB)

If God wills it, no one can stop it, nor make it happen if He wills it not. Let me put Him first in thought and prayer and the rest will work out. I get the message, I pray for wisdom and strength to carry it out.

May 21, 2009


Continuing in my reading of Jerry Bridges' The Practice of Godliness. Enjoyed the chapter on Peace. Bridges brings up a great point at the beginning of the chapter which I feel drives the whole topic quite nicely. To have true peace you have to start with peace with God. Then you can make peace with yourself and finally with others.

As I thought about it, I realized he has it right. You have to start with God to have true peace, because that is where you want to wind up in the end. With God, but after a journey to reach Him through His Son. Not our usual course of action. We normally start with self and move out from there. This takes an acknowledgment that we are not the cente rof our lives, God is.

The other point Bridges makes is that peace does not mean running away from issues and problems, but facing them squarely and in a Christ-like fashion. If Jesus chose not to face His problems, He never would have been in the garden the night they arrested Him. He would have been like Jonah, running in the opposite direction. But being God, He knew you could not run and faced squarely what He had to face. Running didn't work for Jonah in the end and it will not for us.

7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith
2 Timothy 4:7 (NASB)

Fighting and peace do not seem to go together, but fighting for peace is what seems to be called for. The peace that begins with God. Let me battle my own sinful nature and win through to that peace first, because it is the peace that lasts.

May 20, 2009

Laziness Is Hard Work

I am on a break from school, and just hanging out for the summer, helping out in the various ministries I support in a small, part time sort of way, but mainly, I am just hanging around the house.

I am finding laziness a little exhausting, trying to come up with things not to do.

It is hard work when you have a conscience. Quite exhausting at times.

If I put as much effort into dong something as I am doing into doing nothing, a lot more would get done than is getting done now.

But I am accomplishing a lot of nothing, so I have that working for me this week. I will have a string of luncheon meetings the rest of the week. In my laziness, I seem to have been able to couple several meetings with meals so i get two things done in one time frame.

Some call that efficient. I choose to call it laziness because it is hard work to do something and nothing at the same time.

The upshot is that after a summer of this, I will probably be ready to do some real work, like school again. That will be a good thing.

If I am not too tired that is.

May 19, 2009

Self Control

I continue my read of The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges. I am enjoying it and would recommend it as an easy, but thoughtful read. The chapter on self control was interesting to say the least. I will not do it justice by summarizing, but a key take away is that self control is essentially sound judgment (the ability to discern the right decision or action) and inner strength (the ability to carry it out). Self control comes from a lack of self indulgence.

The beauty of Bridges' book is that it is soundly grounded in Scripture, making it a profitable read for self examination and development.

16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB)

Self control is required in both body (think of gluttony or laziness) and mind (think of pride and lust). Bridges quotes passages of Scripture, I like these two as good summaries of what to do to develop self control:

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
11But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
1 Timothy 6:11 (NASB)

While I usually use the NASB, I like the NIV action verb for the Proverbs passage more, guard. We are to guard against sin, to guard our hearts. When necessary we are to flee the sin (and this is something none us want to admit a need to do, even less actually do it).

What did I learn from this chapter? Self control requires judgment, strength, diligence. Self control requires the wisdom of when to stand and fight, when to run in flight, from sin.

Above all else, while the control required is self control, we cannot achieve it alone. We need turn to Scripture for wisdom and guidance, we need turn to the Lord for strength and conviction.

May 18, 2009

Be Not An Example To Others

There is another kind of "fear and trembling" [Phil. 2:12], one that, so far from diminishing the assurance of faith, the more firmly establishes it. This happens when believers, considering that the examples of divine wrath executed upon the ungodly as warnings to them, take special care not to provoke God's wrath against them by the same offenses; or, when inwardly contemplating their own misery, learn to depend wholly upon the Lord, without whom they see themselves more unstable and fleeting than any wind.
John Calvin - The Institutes of The Christian Religion 3.2.22

This is one example you do not want to be. And it is the easiest for any of us to be. Not the good, the bad and the ugly. The before picture. The sinner. The proud and self sufficient. If God chose any of us to be an example of divine wrath, would we have a shred of a basis to complain?


Because we are all that He calls us in that circumstance. That there are not more examples of divine wrath and less of divine mercy is only due to one thing.

Divine grace.

We could, I could, easily be this example. Oh, that a merciful Lord and Savior does not require that, but takes it on Himself.

There are many examples to be in life, let's all try harder not to be this one.

May 17, 2009

True Humility

We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, "Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle." And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives...Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 16 Devotional

True humility comes form accepting God's will without complaint, without making statements of how hard life is. God knows how hard things are for us. Going forth and doing His will, quietly and without complaint is true humility, not telling everyone you are struggling but getting through by the grace of God. That sunds like seeking approval, favor or accolades from others:

1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 6:1 (NASB)

I am not saying that is what we do when we talk about our struggles, but can you see the possibility? And I think we can all easily fall into this trap, myself included (You can probably move me to the front of the line, and if I am not around, save me a place).

Be humble before the Lord, putting Him first, surely and quietly. Proclaim His good news, not the struggle you face in proclaiming it.

That will make Him smile in love. That is what He will bless. That is true humility.

May 16, 2009

Rise To The Occasion

Direct the total energy of your powers so that you may achieve everything your election as a child of God provides; rise every time to whatever occasion may come your way...You did not do anything to achieve your salvation, but you must do something to exhibit it...Are your speech, your thinking, and your emotions evidence that you are working it "out"? If you are still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you...God will never shield you from the requirements of being His son or daughter...Rise to the occasion—do what the trial demands of you. It does not matter how much it hurts as long as it gives God the opportunity to manifest the life of Jesus in your body...May God not find complaints in us anymore, but spiritual vitality—a readiness to face anything He brings our way. The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God; and when this occurs, all of our dictating of our demands to God disappears.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 15 Devotional

Instead of rising to the occasion, this could have easily been called stop complaining.
God calls us as His sons and daughters, and then we have a responsibility to be obedient before the Father, just as Jesus was.
We need to do so with more speed and willingness and less procrastination and complaining, just as Jesus did.
God is willing to treat us as He does His Son, He just asks that we try to act a little more like Him. Is that too much to ask given what He is willing to bestow on us, what He was willing to suffer for us.
Jesus rose to the occasion of our salvation, can we rise to the occasion of grateful obedience?

May 15, 2009

Faith and Doubt

...Surely, while we teach that faith ought to be certain and assured, we cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety...Scripture sets forth no more illustrious or memorable example of faith than in David, especially if you look at the whole course of his life. Yet with innumerable complaints he declares how unquiet his mind always was...
John Calvin - The Institutes of The Christian Religion 3.2.17

Do you ever struggle with doubt, and wonder about your faith?

You are not alone. King David, described by Scripture as a man after God's own heart, struggled with doubt. He struggled with sin, which had a lot to do with his doubt. Knowing his own imperfections, his own sinfulness, how could he not doubt his faith. And maybe, in his darkest thoughts, how could he not doubt God?

We are born to struggle with our sin nature and I have to look at that as a blessing. We can only be saved by Jesus, by our faith and trust which we place in him. If we did not struggle with sin, would we place that faith, or just give in to the nature we are born with. To me, the struggle places us on the roadside on the way to salvation, and it is Jesus who gives us the ride home.

Is it OK to doubt? Not really, we are called to faith and trust in Jesus.

Is it human to doubt? Absolutely, it is in our nature to do so.

Thank you Lord for the grace, mercy and love you show this natural doubter.

May 14, 2009

Tried and Tested...And True

Some reflections from my journal, same day a year apart:

6The words of the LORD are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
Psalm 12:6 (NASB)

5Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Proverbs 30:5 (NASB)

We can put God's Word to the test: read it, study it, chew on it, beat on it, apply it, and rely on it. It holds up because it is the Word of God, true to Him and therefore truth to us. It holds up, it guides us, it never lets us down if we accept it as truth.

32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
John 8:32 (NASB)

The truth is freeing because there is nothing else to turn to, nor anything else that can turn us from it if we are true to Him.

5And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new " And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."
Revelation 21:5 (NASB)

His Words are freeing because He told us they are true and we have the faith and trust in Jesus to believe what He said, faith and trust in God to believe the Bible is His Word sent down to us.

There are not many things in this world that I can feel confident are tried and tested...and true. The Word of God is one of them, but that is because it is not of this world.

It was written by the Finger of God through the agency of His chosen instrument, people like us but inspired by Him.

May 13, 2009

Habit Forming

...Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, "I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God." No, this is your time alone with your habit... Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all...Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child.

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 12 Devotional

I think I have been guilty of this from time to time, making my time alone with God a box to be checked so I feel good about myself. Making my prayer and worship, my reflection and meditation more about saying I did it than actually doing it for the pure purpose of being closer to Him.

Do you do that? Does your time with God become habot forming for the purposes of being able to say to others (and yourself) that you have the habit?

Do I need my one on one time with God?


Do I need my all the time with God?

Even more.

May 12, 2009


I have started reading again from my personal pile instead of seminary pile. It is a nice switch. I am reading The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges, a book I have picked up several times and am now thoroughly enjoying.

Just read the chapter on contentment and it really made me think. We have a hard time being content, no matter how hard we pursue the Lord. Bridges talks about contentment with position, possessions or power. About contentment with the providence of God. The point he makes is that the word rendered content or contentment in the Bible has the meaning sufficiency. That is the key to contentment from Bridges perspective as he draws on 2 Corinthians 12, specifically God's response in verse 9 to Paul's pleading to remove the thorn in his flesh:

9And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

God's grace is sufficient. If we accept that, our place in this life will render us contentment no matter the circumstances. So it seems to me that when I struggle with being content with where the Lord has placed me, it is an issue of trust and faith in His grace.

Once again, it is me, not Him. As usual, as always, in all ways.

That does not surprise me, but it is not easy to bear things at times even if I reflect on that.

It is a good thing God's grace is sufficient, for it is sufficient in my times of impatience, selfishness or mistrust in his will.

May 11, 2009

Longevity Redux

I talked about longevity on Friday in the context of the Star Trek movie that had just come out. More on that in a minute. I got another smack in the head yesterday afternoon when i was flipping through channels on TV. I came across the Blues Brothers movie, the scene where they are being chased through the shopping mall. At one point they crash into a car dealership and you see a sign for the '80 Oldsmobiles.

Then it hit me, this movie is almost 30 years old. For some reason I found that depressing and turned off the TV. I actually read a chapter in a book that was not assigned as part of a seminary class for the first time in months, that felt good. But before I did, I came to the realization that my legitimacy through longevity thoughts of last Friday can also be tied in with nostalgia.

When things from the past seem legitimate to me, it is probably because I am somewhat nostalgic for the old days, when I wore a younger man's clothes (my apologies to Billy Joel and The Piano Man). Our yearnings probably legitimize the past to some extent. The good old days were not necessarily better, they may just seem that way.

So now I look ahead and look forward to what the Lord has for me. I would rather be nostalgic about the future.

As a side note, I thoroughly enjoyed the Star Trek movie. I thought it was the best Star Trek movie to date. it honored the past, but brought in some novel stuff that did not take away from the original TV series. I found it entertaining and creative. All in all, worth the watch. That's it for a review. You want more go to Truth on Cinema. Dan does a much better job at reviewing movies than I ever will. I think he will like it and he is not even a Star Trek fan, not even close from the sound of it.

May 10, 2009

To Be With Him

We must now examine this question. How do we receive those benefits, which the Father bestowed on his only-begotten Son-not for Christ's own private use, but that he might enrich poor and needy men? First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Therefore, to share with us what he has received from the Father, he had to become ours and to dwell within us.
John Calvin - The Institutes of The Christian Religion 3.1.1

Jesus must be in us for us to fully experience what He has to offer. What that is quite frankly, is incomprehensible to us as finite beings, that is where the faith and trust in Him comes in. But there is such richness and joy, eternal joy, awaiting those who allow Jesus to step into their life, into their very core.

He is waiting patiently, lovingly. But He will not wait forever. One day He will come back. One day you will leave this earth and lose the opportunity to come to him anymore.

No one but God knows either of those days, but they are both coming. You can run from Christ in your heart and mind but not from that final day.

But with Him within you boith can be faced with calm, with peace and yes with the joy of being with the Lord.

May 9, 2009

The Short Order Cook

Several people who blog and follow my blog have made a similar comment about my blogging style. It does not take me long to catch on to a pattern (Yes it does) or to what people are saying about me (YES it does).

But this one I have known for a while. My blog posts are short (most of the time) and to the point (some of the time).

Short and sweet.

The short order cook.

For those of you who know me personally (as in person and not just on the internet), short and sweet is never a way anyone would describe me. Neither short and sweet, nor short, nor sweet.

But it is a style I have grown accustomed to, based on some advice I got early in my blogging career. Advice that fits into my personality. I am usually a man of few words.People sometimes take my personality for indifference or inattention, but I am taking it all in, I just usually have nothing to say about it. So it goes with my blogging. I guess it isn't that I do not care about people, I just do not want to show how much I care. A basic character flaw I am sure.

How short is too short for me in my blog posts? The one I do not write is too short. All the others are fine.

I hope you like this style, because I am not going to change it any time soon.

OK, this has gone on long enough.

May 8, 2009


So I am going this afternoon to see the new Star Trek movie. Picked up the tickets last night for a late afternoon show (For retirees a 4pm showing is the new midnight movie).

I am amazed at the stamina of the Star Trek franchise, birthed from a not too successful TV series canceled in the third season for low ratings. Watched most of the episodes first run during the original airings. The original series, as low tech as it was compared to the TV sequel series and the movies was always my favorite. Even suffered through the early syndication efforts with those butchered commercials inserted at what seemed to be 15 seconds too soon or too late in the plot. I mean they had the natural commercial break points from when it ran the first time, how hard was it to do?

It will be interesting to see this look back into the lives of the two main characters from the original in this movie. I am wondering what memories will it trigger. I was not one of those Trekkies who got upset if any bit of minutia was not followed to the letter, although I was never happy that the first movie seemed to be just a rehash of the Nomad plot line from The Changeling episode of September 1967. At least I think it was. But they did wait 12 years to rerun it.

There is something to be said for longevity. if you are around long enough, you take on an air of legitimacy, no matter how you were received at your inception. Here's to an over 40 year run for a concept that started as a TV series greeted with mediorce enthusuasm by popular audiences, although always well received by Sci-fi fans (here's to their passion and stamina as well).

Makes me wonder when I take on an air of legitimacy. I am starting to have been around long enough myself. I think it may even be time for me to be a sequel.

May 7, 2009

Looking Forward to the New Normal

I am looking forward to developing a new routine for the summer, or maybe it is reestablishing an old one.

Reading books I want to read at my own pace. Following and commenting on blogs a lot more closely than I have been been doing. Sitting at the table for two with God a lot more than I have been doing. More prayer, deeper prayer.

More time in ministering to others as opposed to tending to self.

I think the greatest growth comes not only when we stretch ourselves, but when when we also stretch for others. Investing in others is so much more valuable than just investing in self.

I am looking forward to a valuable summer. I will try to keep you posted, but I may be too busy.

But I am out of school for the summer. I almost feel like a teenager. I said almost, I am too much of a realist to leave that word off.

May 6, 2009

Facing A Giant

In a little while I am going off to take the test I spoke of yesterday.

I am facing a giant today. This is the weakest part of my student life, prepping for exams. That is my giant today, facing a part of my life I do not like to deal with, doing the best I can and getting through. Not much of a giant, taking a test, but it is the one to deal with today. And if I can face a "little giant", I am one step closer to facing the real giants that will cross my path.

I must admit, I do not feel as prepared as I should be. I feel small in the face of this little giant.

One thing is certain; no matter how I do, I will not talk about the results in a future post.

It is time to move on the next task the Lord has for me. Waiting to face the giants in my life with a real giant, my Lord, by my side.

May 5, 2009


This is going to be a short post today (OK, all of them are pretty short).

I am studying for a final tomorrow, so all my effort needs to be as a focus on that.

As a result I do not have much to say today, other than I will now get into the struggle of studying, the part of being a student again that I like the least of all the school experience.

Let's face it, everyone in this situation does.

Do you think it is sin or pride that drives that? Is it the nagging feeling that you did not put as much in the study of the entire term to allow you to do well in an activity designed to measure your success in mastering the subject at hand?

May 4, 2009

No Sin, No Shame

25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:25 (NASB)

Adam and Eve could stand before their God is this state because they were both pure and without sin. Can we stand before God without shame today? No, not given the sin that entered the world, and the sin that is in our nature as a result.

So, we must be clothed by Jesus to be justified before God, to be declared righteous in His eyes. Is is only with Jesus in front of me, shielding me from my own sin, that I can stand before the Father, that I can come before Him in prayer, in praise, and ultimately in worship.

Romans 3:10 (NASB)

There will be a day when I will be brought before the Lord in my resurrected state, and I like to think that is the state Adam and Eve were once in, without sin and unashamed.

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23 (NASB)

That will happen one day. Right now I have to get through this sinful world, of which I am part, as best I can, trying to face my God, having Him look at me through the eyes of My Savior.

May 3, 2009

Strength in Patience

I am not by nature a patient man, never have been.

Patience is not the same as indifference; patience conveys the idea of someone who is tremendously strong and able to withstand all assaults.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 2 Devotional

I also have not usually associated patience with strength, but more with a willingness to put up with stuff, usually unpleasant stuff.

3"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3 (NASB)

The words I highlighted are the ones in the verse that Chambers stressed. It is a convicting point to me; a lack of patience is more than just a failure of my strength, it is a failure of my faith.

As I move through the week, looking to wrap up the school term, looking to lay out what I will be doing the next few months, I need to keep in mind that waiting on the Lord is the strength I desire, the faith I require. Nothing less is needed, nothing more is required.

As you think about moving through the upcoming days, weeks and months ahead; what requires yuor strength in faith, but more importantly, how are you going to go around to getting it?

May 2, 2009

In God We Must...

Have faith,not emotion. It may sound a little strange that faith is what it takes to be in proper relationship to a relational, personal God. You would think the emotional would drive the relationship. Some excerpts from Mr. Chambers, an old friend of The Narrow Road:

A self-assured saint is of no value to God. He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God. We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world...But what God wants us to do is to "walk by faith." How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, "I cannot do anything else until God appears to me"? He will never do it. We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, "Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!" Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises. God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them...

Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: May 1 Devotional

In our faith God will reveal ourselves to us. I am not saying we shouldn't have joy and deeply intense and personal feelings about our relationship with God. On the contrary, the deeper, the more personal, the better.

But let your feelings be driven by your faith,, and not your faith driven by your feelings.

May 1, 2009


Are things winding down or are they just beginning to heat up?

Today is last day of classes and then I am off for a little over three months. Lots of time to think about my fairly new status as a student and how best to manage it going forward. Lots of time to pour into the ministries I have been supporting this past year. Lots of time to plan a get away with the wife this summer.

What I seem to lack is the imagination to deal with these. I am hoping some down time turns into an uplifting time, to allow me to map out what the Lord would have me do the next three months, the rest of the year and into 2010. (2010? Yikes the 00's are almost over! When did that happen? Seems like yesterday I was planning for the end of the world with Y2K. I must have slept in for a big part of the past decade).

So I will focus on thought, on reflection and most of all on prayer. To determine the next step to take to stay firmly planted in the middle of His designated path for me.

For I know that the Lord is not finished with me yet.