Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why are so many "Christians" trying to "draw near" to God?

A new young friend of mine online speaks, in his vlog, of "jumping" toward God--trying to "push in" harder.

Try not jumping in.  It implies He's outside.  
Try standing under/under-standing that He is, actually, literally, inside you.  
He has been there since you asked Him to “come into your heart.”  

“If any man open the door…”  
What door?  The door to the core of you, your heart, your soul, the source of your will, desires, emotions.  It's the thing He gave you at your invention, a separate identity all your own.  
He came in, and your job is to make room for Him.  
“I must decrease, so that He may increase.”

We are made in His image.  
“God is a spirit.”   So are you. 

He imbued a spirit with its own soul, and, at the moment of conception, downloaded this "identity" into a new cell with a never-before-seen, unique genetic code He had in mind. 

The original interface between us and The Creator was blocked by sin.
When we repent, and are forgiven, and we ask Him to be our Lord, Scripture tells us His Spirit enters us with the intent of becoming one with ours. 
This begins to actually change our motives so we can begin the transformation into a child of His, dwelling and prospering in a greater, eternal Kingdom, of which all this world is just a shadow.  (Even physicists have begun to suspect that is the case.)

Yes, there is often a "baptism" experience of feeling drenched in The Spirit; but, that is a sign of the Anointing.  The real Anointing is within and ongoing, and grows as the process of sanctification continues.

Yet we have stood among sincere folks who love the Lord as they sang songs indicating they hoped He would "draw near" or "meet them here."
Didn't we each bring our share of Him with us?  Is He waiting in the car?

You do know that building isn't really the house of God, don't you?

"Where two or more are gathered, He is in our midst" because He emerges from us as we worship and that is our "fellow-ship."
He doesn't have to fill the building with an external sign of His presence, because we are each a temple--a dwelling not made by hands--meant to be joined to others to form one new man, the actual embodiment (our spiritually linked bodies) of The Prince of Peace.

"I will come in to him, and dwell with Him, and he with me."
Do you believe this?
"I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
Do you believe this?

Is the Holy Spirit the elephant in your inner room?
Stop yelling out the window for Him and look around in there.  
He may be sitting quietly in a corner, waiting to be offered some hospitality--
some acknowledgment He exists.

See what you can do to make Him more "at home" so He can do His thing in you.

As the bumper sticker said, "If you don't feel close to God, guess who moved."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The pursuit of happiness

The "pursuit of happiness" has become a central focus for our culture.

Hardly any other "developed" (industrialized) people group even considers "happiness" to be anything but temporary, and most don't think of it as any sort of deep value.

Why is it so important to us, here in the "land of the free"?

Could it be the fact that our national declaration of independence declares it to be a fundamental, undeniable right bestowed by The Creator, Himself, coequal with life and liberty?

To me, what's strange is how much importance has been placed on a few words inserted as a compromise--a substitute for the original wording with which some founders disagreed.

I grew up believing, as many did, what my father told me, which may be apocryphal, though I have seen it in a number of sources since;  specifically, that the words replaced by the vague "pursuit of happiness" were "private property," a concept government holds in low regard to this day, quite possibly as a result of the omission.

Words are the tools we use to effect ideas.  They have inchoate power as well as derived power--power shaped and driven by semantics, syntax, connotation, and what we call meaning.

The Word--the Bible--espouses a number of values and goals for us.  God's law tells us what our aspirations should be, and what we can expect of life (and God), and what the rewards of those values and aspirations are.
(The original languages of both Testaments were very precise, pictographic tongues anchored by a sophisticated written syntax.)

There is, for believers, the promise of joy.  Joy is an effect of faithfulness to certain values.  Though we receive joy as a blessing, we don't pursue it for its own sake.

The book of Ecclesiastes speaks directly to the vanity--the futility--of trying to produce or find happiness.  We see, repeated throughout the book, encouragement to do what we can today, enjoy our refreshment and rest, then repeat the process in contentment, a very different idea than happiness.

Want to become discontented?  Pursue happiness.

Who insisted so adamantly on the change of wording that has helped shape our sad, self-centered carnival?  Which founding "fathers" were so offended by the thought of humble citizens being granted, by God, a right to own land, that they felt it necessary to offer this unhelpful phrase in its place?

(Dana Carvey/Church Lady voice) Could it be Satan?

Of course, if happiness is your goal, you'll do better if you don't believe there really is a devil.

Humans have a common enemy most don't even admit exists.
He's been working to destroy us from The Beginning, and doing very well, especially in these latter days.  He delights that the most capable nation on Earth is pursuing happiness rather than the joy offered by You Know Who.

Go ahead.  You have the right.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression in the news

A celebrity has "committed suicide," premeditatedly murdering himself, and, because he was famous for his comedic abilities, we are all "shocked and saddened."

To be saddened by the scope of this problem is the right and natural response.
The shock is not as understandable.
Why are we surprised that someone with a great sense of humor and all that fame and fortune provide could become a "victim" of depression?
Just look at the list of dead comedians and other artists.
Money not only can't buy love, it can't buy hope.

It is now in vogue to regard this "mental illness" ("condition," if you prefer) as a result of bad brain chemistry; but, this is just moving the problem down the page.  Brain chemistry is affected by a number of factors, among them the emotions that are produced, to some degree by that very chemistry, which is, in turn, affected by diet, trauma, stress, and even genetics. 

This still mysterious closed loop of interactions is being "treated" by medical doctors who have split into denominations.

Some are researchers in the field of neurology who have focused on the physiological processes and discovered chemicals which can switch the brain into a mode that changes the subject's behavior to a more comfortable, manageable standard.

Others are invested in the quasi-science of "psychology," a field of endeavor presuming to deal with the part of "the mind" which had, for centuries, been considered "spiritual."  The word they have appropriated for this use is, in fact, derived from the Greek word for "spirit," not "mind."

Of course, it is important for the secular doctor to rule out any possibility of anything "supernatural;" so the entire field bases its approach on correcting the mind through various forms of "therapy" (including chemicals, again), none of which is proven, all of which are fleshly.

Neither of these genius hordes can regard the heart as anything more than a muscular pump; even though "science" now knows
there are brain cells in the heart.
What?  Yep.  Why would that be?  Evolution is so random and strange, isn't it?

The Bible (a book you may have heard of, revered as The source of Truth for millennia) has a lot to say about the heart.  It turns out it's more than just the place where we feel things.

The Bible says the heart is the source of ideas, imaginations--that out of it come the issues of life.
We are warned that it is desperately wicked, can be deceived, and can be "given over" to others, including The Creator, who has offered to actually indwell it, once invited, to comfort, heal, strengthen, and deliver to eternal life.

"Clinical depression" sounds so treatable to the aspiring mind mechanic.  To get involved with non-scientific vagaries is pointless to the carnal mind.  The Bible also says that.

Sorrow, however,--deep, inconsolable grief at the state of things--bottomless sadness and hopelessness--is not something we are going to banish with a chemical brew and its concomitant list of dangerous "side effects."

If you look out there, and are not depressed by what you see,
you may, in fact, be crazy.

The Bible has answers that explain what has happened, and God's plan to provide a remedy and an escape.  It is packed with practical life-saving tools for emotions, crises, finances, marriage, parenthood--every challenge we face.  And The Author stands by, ready to personally intervene and to supply the missing character required to effect the transformation.

Out of answers?  Can't really even express the question?

My personal testimony to you is that the Bible is truer than I ever imagined.
I challenge anyone to forget what you have been told about this amazing book, and what you have heard from the desperate deniers, and begin to read it for yourself.

What are you afraid of?
Would you turn your back on the only real redemption available just because it might change your really swell life?
That is depressing.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Gosh darn it!

(This week, we're featuring a "guest blogger"--a friend who has been both that and a brother in the Lord for 40 years.  Yes, 40.)

That's not the original title.  It was euphemized for "Christian" acceptance.  But, isn't that just what we do--change the verbage (but not the meaning) to meet the current ethic of the situation?  

We know and sing David's plea in Psalm 19:14, "Let the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."  Do we forget that's an exhortation to us, too?  

In Philippians 2:14-15, we're told to "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be children of God in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights of the world.."  That certainly encompasses "cussing." 

Whether you use good old Anglo-Saxon expletives or choose some more acceptable toned-down alternative, the intent and purpose remain the same.  "Oh Fudge!"  "Don't be such a poop(head)," and the ubiquitous "Get your freakin' hands out of there!" are a few that come to mind.  

Exchanging dictionary and medical terms as well as translating to another language are no more than poor end-run attempts to finesse that "blameless" thing.  We may feel cute and intellectually superior to substitute "fornicate" in front of a pronoun like it or you, but everyone knows what was meant.  So does God.  Like my friend and brother in Christ, Whitt McKinney, says, "God never guesses. He only knows!"  If it was meant as a curse, that's what it is.  ("I'm pooped" is a  different story.)

God made speech a creative force.  He said "Let there be light", and it became!  
We are told we are made in His image, and, as born-again Christians under the power of the infinite Creator, whatever we ask of Him, He will do!  With faith as minute as a mustard seed, Jesus said we could command mountains to move and they would go bouncing off to the sea.  By His grace and Holy Spirit our words can command demons and heal the sick.  You know,  just like Jesus did because He is now in us and gave us His creative power?  Why then do we go around asking Him to vaporize or plague just about everything and anyone annoying us?  

Dang it!  Are we out of our Philippian minds?

Like Paul confessed, I am chief among the sinners here, but probably not alone.  Imagine what would happen if God honored that offhand request, no matter how much we "didn't really mean it"?  For prime examples of what happens when He does damn something or someone, look no further than Genesis 7-12 at the plagues God visited upon Egypt, or, my favorite, what He did in Genesis 19:1-26 to Sodom and Gomorrah (and Lot's wife -- we are told to remember her).  Salt anyone? (Better put some light with it!)

There's much more to come as foretold in John's Revelation.  Knowing He desires to spare all who will come to Him all that hellfire, pain, and misery--that not one would perish--is it too much to expect us to watch what we're saying, considering the power of it?

Yes, the tongue is the most unruly member of the body, but we must tame it!  Not just for our witness to the world, but for own walk.  By cursing or damning something while not expecting biblical results, might we be getting dangerously close to Mark 3:29, blaspheming the Holy Spirit?  God forbid!  

In James 3:5-6, we're told ; "So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.  Behold, how great a forest fire is set aflame by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our entire life, and is set on fire by hell."

Oh, that Dave, he's so goofy and light-hearted!  Thanks for sharing, brother.
Here's another point of view, from our young friends at Blimey Cow:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hidden cash

The man giving away money this time calls it a "social experiment."

He hides an envelope with a random amount of cash and posts clues to the location online.  Then he enjoys the results, no doubt, as folks descend on an area frantically searching, hoping to be the winner/recipient of any amount of wonderful cash.

I am reminded of a book popular in the 60s called "The Magic Christian," by Terry Southern.  An extremely wealthy man sets up elaborate projects and campaigns to show what people are willing to do for money, often leaving a mess and  problems in the wake of the degrading display.  (Maybe you saw the mediocre film version with Ringo Starr.)

I am also reminded of a story my father told me about his time in Shanghai before the Second World War.

He told of an old gunnery sergeant he said was "a pig" who would entertain himself while on liberty in town by going to one of the city's many open-hearth eating establishments.  There he would place a shovel in the fire with a roll of pennies broken into it.  An American penny would literally buy a day's worth of food as ruinous hyperinflation had hurled the entire nation into a catastrophic financial collapse.  Once the pennies were glowing, our hero would strew them into the street and laugh uproariously as the starving burned themselves to get the precious coins.

Newscasters gush about "paying it forward" and "random acts of kindness" as the desperate and even some greedy scramble for what they perceive as a little help.

For every person beaming and blessed, how many disappointments have risen from false hope?  How many just wasted time they already had precious little of because the glimmer of hope was so needed?  How many more "philanthropists" and "benefactors" are out there, wanting to play this newest game for the rich?  What does it really do, or help, or change?

Sure, I would also like to find some money; but I'm not jumping into this "experiment" any sooner than I'd become a drug trial participant for money. There are just some things a rat won't do.

But, I've always had a problem with the "random acts of kindness" thing.

I get that anonymous giving is more of a blessing;
but, I prefer it to at least be purposeful, not random.

We know that giving in the flesh can sow to the Spirit.  We are even allowed to do so, at times, expecting a harvest--some sort of fruit.
What is the cash cache guy sowing, and what will his "experiment" reap?

Here's a social experiment I propose:

There's an ancient book with the answers to all of life's problems in it.
Let's hide copies everywhere, and then post clues to how to find it!
Think of the good we could do, the changed lives, the hope arising from it!
We could even put copies in motel nightstand drawers, and prisons, and hospitals and, well, no, not schools, of course; but, that would surely help everyone!

To learn how you can partner with us in this exciting ministry, just send any amount to Sendmethemoney Ministries, Metoo Blvd, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

This is the day

"This is the day the Lord hath made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Most believers are very familiar with this scripture, if only as a Sunday School chorus; but, how many of us can consistently make the deliberate choice that's revealed there?  What are we really talking about?

The first statement should contribute to the second.  The Creator, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has decreed that there will be, in fact, another day, and here it is!  Another opportunity for good or evil in the life of every earthling, except, of course, those who will die today, and it's the same for them right up 'til the "last minute."  For the believer in His amazing plan, this is, indeed, encouraging; but, we can become so overwhelmed or tried that we have ceased looking forward to new days.  That's depression, and we stumble into it just like the zombies if we're not careful.

Daily I see "positive affirmations" and "motivational helps" and other forms of "encouragement" posted by and from the countless faithless fleshly lost intended to give folks the ammunition to fight on.  And fight on, they do, without any Plan other than their own, nor any Guidance than other lost souls.  How do they do it?  Why?

The verse we began with tells us the miracle of "ordinary, daily life" has been repeated again!  The Hope we have been taught and promised should help us speak the next affirmation with deliberate ferocity, if need be, to confirm our resolve to actively "rejoice."   I will rejoice.

Now, let's not just trolley over that word--let's think about this term we have heard so many times.

Does not the "re" prefix indicate doing something again?  Does not the second syllable sound like its root might be "joy"?  (How can I re-joice, if I've never joiced?  And, what does Joyce have to say about this?)

I can only speak for myself, here; but, my personal experiences of salvation, deliverance, and healings was each accompanied by intense joy.  Relief and hope and eternal reassurance has flooded through me every time the Lord has moved.  That's what I must learn to recapture during the "other" times, when not much seems to be going "my" way or my prayers regarding something have not yet been fruitful.  There's no shame in needing to do this. The exhortation to rejoice is so frequent in the Word, I think we can assume it's something even kings have to remember to do.

We are told, on at least one occasion, to "comfort one another with these words."  I think that applies to The Word as a whole and in part.  Take and eat of the Bread of Life twice daily, at least, and The Comforter will rise like the sun in your heart and empower you to execute this decision.

In the Marines they would often make some announcement regarding upcoming activities and close with the admonition, "You will enjoy it!" indicating that it was not an option.  Let's emulate the Psalmist, and voluntarily decide.

This is the day that the Lord has made!  I will rejoice, so the light He has given me can be seen by those in darkness, and so His power can flow through me unimpeded.  I will.

Will you?

En-JOY some Blimey Cow!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A message from Ben Stein

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS's Sunday Morning Commentary.

"My confession:

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

In light of recent events--terrorists attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.

The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with, 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it. No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and Respectfully,

Ben Stein"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Can you give an answer?

Wags--comics--have a new technique for ridiculing folks who believe the Bible.  It's the assertion that we "don't believe in science ."

As this nifty tomato circulates among the jeering mob, it becomes soggy and decays to the level of "don't believe in dinosaurs" or "don't believe in fossils."  Really.

Media are doing their propaganda/sales-driven job for the massive conglomerates who now own them and the government. 
(Okay, they lease the gov't.) 
Kneel Dewgrassy Tieson  is condescendingly explaining Everything to us, so we will soon have this species of peculiar people embarrassed, if not out of existence, at least into hiding.  Then we can put this laughable god/creator thing behind us.

This is the fulfillment of high level educational policies revealed in Ben Stein's classic documentary, "Expelled."

Meanwhile, there are thousands of published, professional scientists speaking out (and being ignored by media) and daily converts in every field to at least the concept of intelligent design (ID).  Unfortunately, the average "christian" in America knows even less about the Bible than he does about science, which is mostly learned through media and the educational system previously mentioned.

Most of us, though, do know some things about our brains--less than we don't know, of course,--but still enough to convince many to experiment with some of the new info about learning, memory, and cognition recent research has brought to light. Neural pathways have been shown to be something we can consciously establish and develop.  New perspectives can be taught to the brain through deliberate challenge and exercise.  Sadly, the Borg caught onto this before mankind, and most of us are already conditioned beyond recovery without help.

This, for believers, is where Scripture has so much to offer.
The Bible, itself, offers solutions to the predicament of the believing mind facing the faithless flood that is our culltour.

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,"  (2Tim.2:15) "...and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..." (1Pet.3:15)  These verses tell us where to begin and why.

Study your Bible.  Use the helps available when you don't understand a passage.  (If you're at a computer often, an excellent resource is the Blue Letter Bible.)
Don't just skip over tough parts.  Act as though you were trying to learn more about, and how to please, Someone you love with all your heart.  The credibility of your witness is increased when it is clear you know what is, and is not in the Word.

"...Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." (1Tim.6:20) 

"Avoiding profane and vain babblings" speaks simply to the futility of attempting a discussion with someone blasphemous, or who doesn't know what they're talking aboutJust excuse yourself politely.

That bit about "science falsely so called" is important, though.  Considerable real evidence abounds for the facts revealed in Scripture.  Simply being able to say "There's new research on that," and then citing it, is a very powerful argument turner, even for "intellectuals."

The "scientific" argument is presumptive of some knowledge of an empirical nature--something proved; yet most of these claims are specious, and easily refuted by someone who has done some homework. Reams of scientific evidence of ID have been published.  An excellent source for such info is In Six Days, subtitled "Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation."  There are many more.

Those allergic to reading can find many  audio ad video resources.  Among the best are the studies offered by Chuck Missler of, Koinonia Institute and by Answers In Genesis (regardless of the dismaying performance of Ken Ham in his "debate" with Bill Nye, the "science" guy).

Learn the Word.  Dwell in it.  Fit your brain with new neural pathways to Truth by memorizing passages you find powerful.  
Learn some actual science, and you won't be backed down by ignorant claims or assumptions.
Best of all, the sheer supernatural power of the Bible will transform your heart.

Here's a little something to get you started:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Same sex" marriage

"Same sex" marriage has always been a poor meme, to me, because my brain goes into dialogue mode:
"Yes, Reverend, we each plan to remain the same sex."
Or the old saw about the old married guy saying, "That's the whole problem...The same old sex!"

"Same" is a close translation of the prefix "homo" and doesn't require any explanation to a child, so I suppose it's practical; but it's a scriptural oxymoron.  And I don't think it is only "the religious right" who are uncomfortable about this.  (There are cultures, and religions, in other parts of the world that will never accept this who make that guy with the rude signs seem pretty reasonable.)

To express anything other than complete approval and actual encouragement of homosexuality (and a group of other practices and conditions grouped in an acronym) is social and political suicide.  You will be branded, first, a "homophobe"--a term invented to imply that anyone who doesn't care for homosexuality is simply "afraid" of their true desires.  Second, you will be called a "bigot" and a "hater" even though you have never discriminated, never said or done anything threatening in any way.

A lot of believers chafe under this simply because of how frustrating it is to be misrepresented by assumptions, called names, and not heard.  "Now you know how we feel!" they cry, and around it goes.

Here's the thing.  The vast majority of Americans want, and believe in, a separation of church and state.  I do, too, now that the state has made ungodly intentions clear, and much of the church is sounding like a political action committee.

"Marriage" is an institution controversial to the carnal mind because it was invented by God.

It's recorded right there in the Bible as His pattern for the relationship that anchors a family; nonetheless, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers and humorists have been confounded by it for centuries on end, insisting it can't work, is obsolete, and unreasonable.  That's because, "except the Lord build the house, they who build it labor in vain," and "the carnal mind can not comprehend the things of God."

Soooo, at some point, someone decided that, for legal reasons (related to divorces and estates), the state would offer a legally binding "civil" union for those folks who didn't grok the whole "sacred" union deal.  And, so bureaucrats proceeded, without a peep of protest from the Body of Christ, to "marry" people in a revocable legal contract that has nothing to do with the covenant God had in mind--sort of an imitation of Biblical marriage.

Now, they want to broaden eligibility for this arrangement--expand the market--and "Christians" are outraged, claiming the "definition" of marriage has been violated.  Well, that ship sailed long ago when we let them call it "marriage" in the first place.  They have their own definition, just as they have their own ideas about the Book on which ours is based.

I recall that Someone told us our "kingdom is not of this world," that "our weapons are not carnal;" that, though we are in the world, we are not to be "of it."

Some people want to outlaw sin.
Been done.  Doesn't help.
Paul tells us clearly what the Law is for.  Until conviction and repentance occur, it's all the same to God, and should be to us.  Sin is all the same, in spite of how certain types affect different ones among us emotionally.

As is often the case, "Christians" thought they would prevail in a public argument (it's hardly worthy of being called a "debate") through indignation and an insistence on some sort of "morality."   None of those things makes sense or matters in the culltour we're in.

"He said the world would hate us!"
Yes, but it better be for the right reasons.  If you get yourself persecuted for some cause other than the gospel of salvation--which is NOT the Law--will that glorify or please Him?

"Conviction of sin is the ministry of the Holy Spirit," not ours. 
Stick to the message we were given to pass on: "Be reconciled to God."
If you can't speak the truth in love, please be still.
And let the lost play house under whatever rules they make up. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Let's start by sharing a video:

First I have to quiet the nagging voice of my culltour-hardened carnal mind that's whispering, "It's all staged, set-up and all. Very well done, but staged." 
Does that make a difference?  Does that undo the point somehow?

Yes, it would.  So, let's follow the rules of love set forth in I Cor. 13, in particular, "charity believes all things."  So, what we just saw was, indeed, a really cool blessing.

I have spent some times, in a wide variety of circumstances, ministering to the whole spectrum of "the homeless," from indigents determined to bum their way, to the uninstitutionalized mentally disturbed, to folks displaced by hurricane, and migrant workers stranded by the same storm.  Yeshua was right.  There will always be a need for this kind of service.

Decades ago, I was involved with a coffeehouse ministry which grew into a food and clothing bank hosting two free meals a week for, at times, upwards of 300 "street people."  As part of this, and in addition to our coffehouse entertainment, we put on gospel concerts in public parks.  (Yes, and we didn't have to file any forms or pay any fees.  Most times they even turned on the power for us!)

Recently (at my wife's urging, of course) I have been "back in touch" electronically with some friends from those days.  Some of these renewed contacts have been discouraging and sad.  Others have been the opposite, and have felt, in fact, like actual "fellow-ship."

Fellowship, to my mind, is more than getting together and having a nice time sharing in something.  It speaks of a depth of common experience and feeling that is the lasting bond among veterans of anything.  Those with whom I have shared experiences of testing are particularly dear in my mind, even if the tests were, in themselves, nothing major.

A young, long-haired brother, who also played and sang at the coffeehouse and concerts, was helping me put together a print shop, and we had acquired an old offset press and, with the help of an elder brother, reconditioned it.

I got up exhausted one morning from a night of violent vomiting and stumbled into the print shop to find my young friend with the press running, testing the vacuum on the steel feeding prongs with his finger.  "Mark," I said, "don't do that!  It could suck your finger right in there."
"That's the problem." said Mark.  "It won't pick anything up."

"Let me see," I said, touching the middle finger of my left hand onto the tip of the prong.
The machine hungrily seized my finger and stuffed it between two steel rollers where a sheet of paper would just fit. Mark had his hand on the switch, so it didn't go in very far; but it was caught firmly.

"Get help," I suggested, and the entertainment began.

Standing at the press I watched Mark dash out the door and turn left.  Moments later, he crossed in front of the door again, farther away, running in the other direction.  A few seconds later, farther away, he crossed my narrow field of view again and I wondered what someone coming into the shop right then would have thought to see me, finger caught in a machine, doubled over laughing helplessly.

The memory of that cartoon and its hilarious sincerity have made me laugh aloud many times over the years.

If Mark Stone had not put his hand on that switch, I might have a mangled hand to this day. 
He shared the above video, and shares parts of my testimony to this day.  That's fellowship.

Now, some Blimey Cow:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The "mounting death toll"

Television, in its fractal way, brought three disparate issues together this week.
First, the latest in the endless chain of catastrophes buried some folks in a mudslide, and the grim facts soon turned the impossible rescue mission into an impossible body recovery operation.   
Second, some progress has been made in locating and identifying the remains of still-unaccounted-for U.S. military war dead.   
Third, the haystack needle search for a missing airliner has triggered angry demonstrations by families of the missing.

The first event, so small in terms of “death toll,” is made intimate as we see a father’s anguish.  Empathy tells us his heart is holding onto the hope that a miraculous event has sheltered his child in a pocket of air where he will be found alive.  We can all clearly see workers struggling to move through the suffocating, ubiquitous slime to search.  It’s exhausting, agonizing, dreadfully slow, and so difficult, estimates for completing the search have extended into autumn.

The DOD is proud of having finally consolidated the bureaucracies responsible for communicating with survivors of soldiers, sailors, and airmen missing in action from a chain of wars going all the way back to “The Big One.”  Some vets who missed getting “decorated” have finally been awarded their due, and some more remains identified.  We saw footage of soldiers sorting through trays of dirt from archaeological type digs looking for fragments, as part of an ongoing operation in sites all over the world.

When the jetliner disappeared, precarious, justifiably paranoid politics may have misled location efforts in the crucial first days.  The search that has been going full tilt since the first hours has mushroomed into a vast, expensive, multinational effort with no end in sight, even though everyone involved admits too much time has passed to expect success.  Meanwhile, relatives of the missing are actually angry with their government for not “solving” this.

What do all these people want?  The popular word for it is “closure.” 
The silent emphasis is on the second syllable.

Decades after an event, survivors will weep to finally feel the “relief” of “knowing for sure.”  It’s just so hard for us to actually accept—believe in—death.  But, there it is again.  Every time, in fact.

Why do people care so much about the fate of carcasses?

One of many “hard sayings” of Jesus was “Let the dead bury the dead.” 
What did He mean?  Do we not know? 

But, why do folks who don’t bat an eye at a growing list of abominations and slaughter seem so dedicated to “knowing” what became of corpses they knew personally, or were responsible for nationally?

“Remains” is such a revealing term. 
Here is what’s left, after the person has ceased operating.  Every culture has ghost stories about what might happen to the “soul” or “spirit,” based entirely in fear and ignorance.  First, they don’t understand the difference between soul and spirit, and have never consulted the single document on Earth that explains such things; but, they know what happens to the flesh, and because that’s all they really get, that’s the focus of their concern. 
For long ages, folks have made a big deal out of what must be done to “properly” and “respectfully” dispose of human cadavers.  Even now, when “science so-called” has convinced most of them we’re just animals, and it’s all just “tissue,” most people have strong visceral and emotional responses to the issue.  Paul makes plain in Romans, they know deep down what’s right and wrong; they just can’t get it to work right because of that whole dead to the spirit thing.

Being born again, raised to new life through baptism, is the only Way, according to The Master, to find eternal Life, and to be transformed, by the renewing of your mind, into someone who knows the Truth, and has been set free--free from the law of sin and death.  Being one of these new creatures calls for full-time focus on a greater reality than the soap opera being acted out around us. 
Our “closure” came as we sank beneath the water.  Now we live again, but not as our own.  

When someone close to us dies, we rejoice to know there is no doubt of their membership in The Kingdom.  If a loved one has not been saved, then we know they will rise again, with all mankind, for judgment. 
Whether we know the exact time, or the circumstances, or get to have a “proper” burial, death is the certain end of us all.  What happens next is the important part, and the grandest funeral ever celebrated won’t affect that outcome at all.

Here's this week's video treat 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I recall the arrival of the term “mindset” on the consumer level of American language.  
Now it is commonplace, universally taken to mean how we think about things--how we regard things, by choice as well as nature & nurture.   
It can be learned/ taught.

In these hypervisual times, we also need to consider eyeset; because the eye does more than the miraculous job of seeing.  It looks.  Faster than you can stop it.  That’s what makes illusions work.  This too can be learned/trained.

If you think this hasn’t already been done to virtually everyone in this culltour (sic), then it has like totally worked on you, dude!

Actually a part of the brain from the womb, and interacting with intelligence via stunning electrochemistry, my eye is constantly scanning (even as I dream!), registering all it sees, focusing as interest indicators increase, then responding like lightning to something in the periphery, then darting back to the exact location on which it had focused.

Point is, my eye learned what to seek, so it can be re-taught.  It took all your life to get it ingrained; so, short of miraculous deliverance (as with my tobacco addiction), this may be your cross, a trial of faith, or just a long time overcoming. 

It took an embarrassingly long time to train my eye not to respond to certain stimuli—not to look. There is, of course, a scriptural term for this problem. 
Lust of the eye is a trainable, controllable force.  The media know this.  It is their business.  It must also be ours if we are ever to “come out from among them” in any way. 

We have scriptural encouragements galore in the areas of mindset and “eyeset.”
“I will set no evil thing before my eyes.”  Set?  Remind you of anything?

I wondered about that for a long time, that choice of words, but it holds up everywhere I’ve looked.  Evidently, in what we think of as “Bible times,” there was something folks put up to look at that wasn’t nice.  They set it there, and admired it, perhaps.

Forty years of personal study convinced me that the translation we need is the one in our hands, and that the odd coincidence of certain archaic terms as they now relate to current language is not, in fact, coincidence.  Like the words “talent” or “set.”

Some folks had a radio set, when the medium was new, but most soon just had radios.  Same with television.  Everyone who watched TV had a TV set.  Sure, we all say “TV,” for both the item and the medium, but ads still say “TV set” or “television set.”  The tuner must be “set” and then the screen must be “set” in a place where we can conveniently gaze upon its seductions.   

I will set no wicked thing before my—children? 

 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Good advice, no doubt, but how exactly?
Motivational “experts” in the flesh know that our mindset is repairable, even replaceable.  We have user access to reprogram conscious, voluntary operating systems.  We can change our mind.

Bombarded by powerful engineered images as we all are, we owe it to ourselves to learn to retrain our eyeset, utilizing the powerful mind/eye relationship, and become wise to the machine and protect ourselves from it.

Watch it.  Don’t relax in front of it.  Watch it, skip everything you can, mute commercials, and don’t look!  Don’t just accept programming, choose it.  Then watch it not as one entranced, but as one studying it for glimpses of the truth.
Better yet, think of it as the monitor for your DVD/DVR and select only edifying/educational material.  Even then, stay alert to the mind altering effects of the flickering image. 

Seriously.  Start being aware of hypervisual techniques, and resist while you still can.

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  No, I’m not trying to be funny. Retrain your mindset and eyeset for a new set of pleasures.  The creation is full of them, as is the world of art, if you seek them out.  “Seek, and you shall find.”

If you are a Christian video producer at any level, I beseech and exhort you to stop the quick cutting, flashing, whip panning, and rapid zooming in and out. 
“Be not conformed to the (very) image of this world!”
Don’t give “as the world gives.”  
Become part of the solution, not a panderer.   
Take a look at your eyeset, and how it’s trained.

This week's sight for sore eyes is another Tim Hawkins clip:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The heart of God, and our place in it

What does He feel?  Well, presumably, everything.
How deeply?  How intensely?  Well, it’s unimaginable, isn’t it?

If Love is the motivation for a construct this vast and complex, how strong is the loneliness which evokes such longing desire for a Bride—a child-friend-brother-companion to just be with and enjoy forever?

Maybe a few million such creatures would keep such a mind occupied, such a heart full.  I hope we will.

What joy to know Him finally satisfied, the whole immense, complicated thing accomplished, the King victorious and the Kingdom prospering eternally!
Please let me be part of that.

I want my feelings to be righteous.  Change of heart: to not feel the same way--to allow His Word to change my emotional responses and reactions.  Create in me a clean heart.

He persists, loving each of us with the depth and intensity of a first born, only child and actually gave to this mob of disappointing brats the crown of blessing, His First Born, only begotten, DNA-related Son.

He so loved the world, and so trusted His plan, He came as a baby.  Perfect love casts out fear.
We mortals completely lived up to His expectations.  Prophecy was fulfilled 131 times before we finished torturing and killing Him.

“Oh, He didn’t really die,--” some moron said.  They were the police.  They checked--quick stab to the heart with a spear, just to be sure.

By obedience—living the perfect battle of obedience—He became the only animal in the herd capable of carrying all the sins of believers according to the sacrificial system of law He gave them.  He had created a costly plan of repentance and sacrifice and mercy, drilled in for literal millennia, all part of His plan to get us back to Heaven with a soul capable of appreciating the worth of it all.

We are told God is love.  Why?  What’s in it for Him?  Us.  (I know I am.)
There’s a huge Family of brothers and sons, sisters and daughters, forever and ever and ever and victory over evil, doubt, and disobedience also forever--a definite biggie for the universe.

Wait.  Only daughters and sisters?  No wives or mothers?  The latter are strictly earthly relationships, in my opinion.  Since no wrong thing can enter God’s Kingdom; therefore, no husbands.  No husbands, no wives or mothers either.  It’s that simple, as am I.  (I am currently involved in research to discover scriptures which support this view.  Stay tuned.)

Weekly treat:
So controversial to some that he often begins with a promise of "something to offend everyone," Chuck Missler is one of our favorite expository teachers. Here's a tidbit of his we can all agree on: