February 21, 2011

In Control

Do it seem to you that this world is beginning to get dangerously close to spinning out of control? Are events starting to take on a pace and a sense of urgency that leads you to think that what is happening is going to continue to either spiral down or spin flying out?

 Egypt. Libya. Iran. Wisconsin. What is going on?

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many. "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs."
Matthew 24:3-8 (NASB)
Now I am not saying that this is the beginning of the end. I am smart enough to know that in every age, people can look at events and feel like saying "The end is near."
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Matthew 24:36 (NASB)
What I do know is the following:

  • God is in control
  • Jesus is coming back
  • Nothing surprises God
He is in control, even if we think everything is out of control. He is in control, although we may not understand what is going on day to day. But we can know what is ultimately going to happen at some point in the future, whether we are here to witness it or it is to be faced by some future generation.

That is a peace of heart, soul and mind I can get no where else but with God and faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Who is in control of your world?

February 18, 2011

The Nuggets on the Mount

The class I am taking at seminary is a harmony of the gospels called The Life of Christ on Earth. It is a incredible lecture series taught by an incredible professor that is deepening my understanding of the Lord. Given the winter we have had in DFW, we have missed three classes, so we are moving fast in what appears to be the attempt to get back on track (I had thought we would have make up days, but have not heard anything yet about that).

The other day we spent time in The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5- 7, as well as the much shorter passage in Luke 6. The fact that it was probably a sermon on a plain given the number of people involved is another story for another day (see Luke 6:17). There is so much in that teaching you could probably dedicate a whole semester just to that. We moved more quickly than I would have liked, and my head felt like it would burst open and my brain would spill out like a rotten tomato. Or maybe I would have found out my brain is a rotten tomato. It surely feels that way at times when I try to fully grasp what the Word is telling me.

Here is a brief summary of The Sermon based on my lecture notes:

  • The beatitudes of Matthew 5 are characteristics of the truly righteous; the woes of Luke 6 compare godly righteous to the ungodly practices of men.
  • Being salt of the earth should create a thirst for righteousness.
  • That which generates thoughts of violating God's Law is a violation in and of itself.
  • The holiness of God is the true test of righteousness.
  • Right things done out of the wrong motives is not righteousness.
  • Righteousness can only be obtained through the narrow gate of Christ.
  • Stand on the rock of Jesus you are in His Kingdom; stand on the sand of man you are out.
These are just some brief nuggets, but they brought some clarity to me in walking through The Sermon on the Mount. There is so much more, why don't you get into it yourself and have a go?

I just wanted to share a littler bit of what I am hearing and learning.

February 17, 2011

Dead Weight

Now I don't know, but I been told it's hard to run with the weight of gold,
Other hand I have heard it said, it's just as hard with the weight of lead.
Grateful Dead - "New Speedway Boogie"
Weight is weight, especially as you deal with material things in terms of the spiritual realm. Whatever stuff I am carrying around in this world, chances are I am hauling a lot of dead weight as I approach the next. 

It turns out that most of what we value in this life is ultimately of no value. You cannot take it with you, all you can do is leave it to others who can't take it along either. It is ultimately useless.(Unless you leave to people to use in a way that brings the people, not the stuff, into the next life. But that as they say, is another story for another day). And if it is useless, it all weighs the same, it is all way too much.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:32-34 (NASB)

As usual, God's word sums things up very well. Our treasure is where our heart is. If it is hauling dead weight, our heart will tend to be dead to the things that really matter. 

I have spent too much time in the past hauling trash around in my life. Sad to say, I still do a good deal of it. Hopefully not as much, not as much.

That is where the grace of God comes in. He hauled the Cross so I would not have to worry able hauling dead weight. For without Him, that's all everything else is.

February 15, 2011

His (In)visible Presence

For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.Exodus 40:38 (NASB)

Throughout their desert wanderings the nation of Israel had the visible presence of God in their midst. Cloud and fire was with them, cloud and fire led them through. It was a visible manifestation of His sovereign presence that gave them the direction they needed to take. Yet still they stumbled, even in His very presence. You could say the nation of Israel stumbled their way through the Old Testament. Complaining about the food, the water, whatever. Gaining their freedom in God's presence by His visible Hand and complaining about leeks and onions. Getting up every morning to pick up the very bread baked by God and grumbling about something.

I am convinced we would do no better than they did, so no smirking or feeling superior.

We do not have His visible presence, but we do have Him anchored in our life. He is not visible, but He is not hidden, not shrouded form us. He can very much be the center of our life. If we have trusted Jesus as our Savior, as the only means of our salvation, we have the indwelt Holy Spirit in our lives. So we have a better deal than Israel, not just God with us but in us. And even with that, we still stumble through our sinful and sin filled lives (I told you no smirking).We stumble, but He is there to catch us.

Good thing, as it is the only way I am getting through it all is that He did and continues to do the work I cannot and never will be able to do; being perfect before a Holy God. Trusting in the Son to reach the Father whom He revealed to us, doing it all through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Good thing He is who He is, because of who I am and will always be.

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

I am writing this to the one person who probably will never see it. My partner for life, my closest friend, my wife. She will not see it because she isn’t into the whole internet and social media thing (a friend opened her facebook account for her. In about two years, she has never been on it herself).

But that doesn’t make her any less special to me, that doesn't change how I feel about her.

That is what makes her my wife.

Lu, this is for you.

I couldn’t love you more if I tried; I cannot be made to love you less.

February 11, 2011

The Burning Continues

As I worked through a bible study I am participating in on line, I was struck with the thought today of how easily I can get annoyed, or upset, or angry with things that I feel are done against me.
Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, Who forsake Your law.
Psalm 119:53 (NASB)
But do I burn with such intensity when I see the actions that people take that go against God? I have to admit, my fires burn hotter for the same slights against myself more times than they rage for what is done against His holy name and sovereign will.

So I need better fire control, not necessarily fire prevention. I want the burn to be hot, but for the Lord not for myself. More of a controlled burn, anger under control, an indignation for what is righteous and ignored, not a self righteous indignation for what I feel for me.

I also need to thank Barry at who am i? for pointing out a couple of days ago that however hot our fire burns, we must not lose sight of Jesus. 

Always let your fire illume and not obscure you sight of the Lord.

February 10, 2011


Here I am, living in the DFW area and just surviving my 5th snow day from work, and 3rd from school in the matter of a week and a half (We didn't do this good as children growing up in NYC), dealing with temperatures in the teens, thinking about warmer weather (like the 60's to 70's we are supposed to have in a couple of days).

Thinking about how quickly we will forget the ice and the cold when we are in the throes of some 100+ degree summer days. Makes me think of how long God remembers in comparison to how long we do not. Of what He chooses to forget as opposed to what we cannot seem to remember:
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.
 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
 and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.
 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
This is just a small sampling of what you can find between the covers of your Bible. 

He chooses to remember His promises, we choose to forget what He has done for us. And in order for us to live in eternal harmony with Him, we are not going to remember all the junk of our earthly past.

We remember to forget; He chooses to forget to remember.

February 9, 2011

Avoiding A Spiritual Caldera

Caldera. I like that word today. A caldera is a basin like depression formed by the explosion or collapse of the center of a volcano. You have all the heat and energy and activity. Then the bottom falls out of the top and you have a caldera. A kind of sunken look, a mere shadow of the former power and energy you once saw flowing from that volcano, when it was full in its' passion and activity and rocking the world immediately around it.

Doesn't sound like a good idea to have a spiritual caldera, does it? Who wants a collapse, when we need the fires to be burning as hot today as when we came to faith in Jesus, as hot tomorrow and each day until He comes back or calls us home.

I clearly want to keep the fire stoked, don't you? So I am in the Word daily, recently I started participating in an on-line bible study (my first) on Psalm 119 with some really cool and very godly women (and a guy or two), I work at an  evangelism training and outreach ministry, I attend seminary part time, I try to focus hard on my prayer life.

I am stoking my fires as best I know how right now. (Know how right now. How now, brown cow? Not sure where that came from. Possibly a mini-caldera, an attention implosion.) I am a little shy of 8 years into my faith walk, and I want to make sure that fore keeps burning bright. 

I know it isn't about the volume of activity but the level of intensity. So I am trying to do all these things as deeply, as sincerely, with as much fire as I can. I hope I am succeeding. I will keep going. I choose to avoid the caldera of a cooling passion for the Lord. I want the fire kept hot so I am stoked for the Lord, but that the fire also burns away what is worthless in my life, what is worthless in the pursuit of the Lord and the giving to Him of all glory.

I hope you are doing things to keep your fires stoked up to their full potential. Anything less than a blazing bonfire is not giving God the glory He so richly deserves from each and every one of us.

We (I) are open to suggestions as I (we) keep stoking things up at our (my) end.

February 8, 2011


I was prompted, convicted or just made to get off my duff and blog about renewal today. Kudos to PeterPollock.com for putting this on the table today.
I think about what it takes for me in the spiritual sense. A willingness on my part to pursue it. A willingness on the Lord’s part to offer it freely and continuously to me. In fact, renewal makes me think of another word.
His, not mine. For His offer stands 24/7, while my desire and drive to pursue it wanes daily. It makes me think of another word.
His again, not mine. He is willing to keep after me and bring me into the fold. He will not give up on me now that He has made me His. Which brings up one more word.
All His. He would do this all for me even after he knows who I really am.
So renewal really has little to do with me, and is all about Him. It has to be that way or it really isn’t going to work in my life.