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Showing posts from September, 2008

Lies, Fear, Roots and Laughter

The following was written on Monday, the 22nd, and should have posted then. For some reason it did not.

God, I sit here in your presence, not knowing quite what to say. I know there is deep pain inside of me that is easily triggered but I’m afraid to go there. This past weekend I learned about guardian lies—lies we believe that place barriers between us and the truth. I’m beginning to realize that my life is full of guardian lies.

I learned one of them at church yesterday when a friend was praying with me. I’ve avoided my prayer room since our family crisis overwhelmed me last week. Why? Because my prayer room is a place of honesty before you and I’ve been afraid that if I begin to look at what’s been happening with any sort of honesty and transparency, I will fall apart, unable to be strong for the rest of the family. But that is a lie. You reminded me of the angel you sent to me here in my prayer room two years ago and reminded me of his size and strength. You are with me a…

Under the Blood

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:13, 14 NIV

My (non-Christian) psychiatrist advised me during an “emergency” visit with her on Friday, to not neglect my prayer room. So here I am.

On the wall of my prayer room hangs a large painting. It would never win any awards and was never created with the idea of hanging on someone’s wall—or even of being permanent. It was part of a speaker’s illustration and I asked if I could have it (I’m not usually that bold but this really spoke to me). The key part of the painting is a large cross and from the centre of the cross pours the three primary colours, which have come to symbolize for me the blood (and thus the life) that …

Not Coping

My apologies for not posting in the past few days. We've had a family crisis this week and then I learned my brother died yesterday. I'm not coping well so it may be a while before I'm posting frequently again. I'd appreciate your prayers. Thank you.

What's Biting You?

Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19 NIVI was reading the Lindenville Cafe the other day, and came across a post entitled, “Learning to Fish for Souls.” The author, Lynn Mosher, talks about her fishing experiences with her dad, how they didn’t use a lot of fancy lures. They simply stuck worms on a hook. Fish like worms and so they’re attracted to come and take a bite. When they do, they also clamp down on the hook and they’re caught.

In the comments to the post, the author writes, “Fisherman [sic] use worms because that's what the fish want. It makes me wonder how often I fail to explain Christ well because I turn up my nose at what people want and need.” Sadly, as fishers of men we too often put the wrong things on the hook and then wonder why the fish aren’t biting. Mosher writes, "our lives must be fresh bait on the hook of the gospel."

Interesting thoughts. What kind of bait are non-Christians hungry for? I propose…

Expressing on the Outside what is on the Inside

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11 NIVMy reading of Oswald Chambers* today intrigues me.

When a child is born, its ability to express itself is limited. As that child grows, she becomes able to speak but even then she has thoughts and ideas she doesn’t know how to put words to. I suppose this is one of the primary purposes of education—to teach one how to express themselves in a way that others understand.
When a young life is trying to express itself, it experiences exquisite suffering; music is run to, theatres are run to, literature is run to—anything to try and get the power to express what is there in longing.... Whenever a person or a book expresses for us what we have been trying to express for ourselves, we feel unspeakably grateful, and in this way we learn how to express for ourselves.*What happens when a person is born again? Spiritually, she is a b…

Leviticus--Holiness, God and Man

Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord. Leviticus 18:5 (NIV for all Scriptural quotations; emphases added)

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32

Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Leviticus 20:8

I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Leviticus 11:44

You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Leviticus 20:26
Perhaps the biggest message of Leviticus is that God is Yahweh* and God is holy. The phrases, “I am the LORD (Yahweh),” and “I am the Lord (Adonai),” occur (combined) 49 times in this book. The word “holy” is used 74 times in Leviticus and 13 times God calls himself holy and the one who makes his p…

God and the Large Hadron Collider

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 NIV

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:6 NIV

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 2 Peter 3:5 NIVYesterday, the multi-billion-dollar Large Hadron Collider (LHC), billed as “the greatest experiment of all time” was turned on for the first time, making news around the world.What is the LHC and why is it considered so important?According to It smashes together particles smaller than atoms at near-lightspeed to break them down into their constituent parts and recreate conditions which existed fractions of a second after the Big Bang.Scientists hope the £4.4 billion project will help them understand how the universe was created and find "missing" particles which are thought to exist but have never been observed, including the Higgs boson…

Leviticus--Blood Atonement

When Christ came as high priest...he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made.... He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ...cleanse our consciences.... In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.... Hebrews 9:11-28 NIV
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. ...none of you may eat blood.” Leviticus 17:11, 12 NIVBlood. We need it to live. For this reaso…

Leviticus--Sexual Sin and a Vomitting Land

My habit is to read my Bible every night in bed before I go to sleep and sometimes before I get up in the morning. Currently I’m in Leviticus and I find myself struck by several things.

In chapter 18, God gives a list of sexual prohibitions. (I find it interesting that the only prohibition specifically addressed to woman is that she “must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it,”v.23 though it seems logical that the same prohibitions given to man applies to woman as well.) At the end of the chapter God makes a link between sexual sin and defilement of the very land:
Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you become defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you...must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. A…

Cauterised Conscience

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIVWhat does this mean, “seared as with a hot iron”?

I’ve been reading Oswald Chambers’ discourse on the conscience.* He argues that the conscience is not the voice of God but rather that it “attaches itself to that system of things which man regards as highest.”* He gives Saul before his conversion as an example. Chambers says that Saul was following his conscience when he persecuted the Christians:
"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Acts 26:9 NIVChambers tries to show that conscience can be distorted, perverted or seared and uses the passage from Timothy above, as evidence. At times I can be sceptical and hard to convince—some might call me obstinate—and I have t…

Shame and Trust

We feel shame when our longings surface and we are failed or we fail...condemning our own soul for being so foolish as to hope, want, or risk. –Dr. Dan B. Allender*

The fear [of shame] is greater than simply losing relationship. It is the terror that if our dark soul is discovered, we will never be enjoyed nor desired, nor pursued by anyone.Shame is heavy baggage that those who were sexually abused as children carry. Even though as adults we can acknowledge that we were sinned against, we continue to carry the shame, the child inside unconvinced that she was not somehow responsible. We wanted affection, closeness, emotional intimacy, love. Instead we got a monstrous wound that resurfaces whenever our legitimate longings dare to rise to consciousness.

The terror is real. It shapes all our interactions and is compounded by the hidden sins we have committed (not just those done against us) in an effort to meet our longings in ways that have not included God. For too long I have been …
"The most important [commandment]," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'” Mark 12:29, 30 NIV

“If the mainspring of your service is love for God, no ingratitude, no sin, no devil, no angel, can hinder you from serving your fellow-men, no matter how they treat you.” --Oswald Chambers*

“We shall easily be the servant of all men, not because it is our ideal, but because we cannot help it. Our eye is not consciously on our service, but on our Saviour.” --Chambers*

“His honour is at stake wherever I take my body. My body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, therefore I have to see that it is [His] obedient slave....” --Chambers*God at the centre. God, the sole object of my love. God, the focus of my heart, soul, mind and strength. God, the mainspring of all I do and of all I honour.
“ the unconscious r…

The Spirit Brings War

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. Romans 1:24 NIV

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:17 NIV

...when a person is born again of the Spirit, there is a disclosure of enmity against God. No man knows he has that enmity inside until he receives the Holy Spirit. Immediately he receives the Spirit the carnal mind is aroused and the carnal mind clamours and will not yield to the Spirit. This war is described in Galatians 5:17, the flesh lusting [desiring] against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, both demanding, “I must have this body at once. --Oswald Chambers*Chambers argument is that the carnal mind, the person who has not been in relationship with God and who has not been convicted of her sin, isn’t aware of…

Immorality vs. Carnality

“We are horrified at immoral conduct in social life, but how many of us are as horrified at pride as Jesus Christ was? ...God gives us a deeper horror of carnality than ever we had of immorality.”*My Oswald Chambers reading two days ago didn’t strike me as having anything worth writing about, at the time, but since then, I haven’t been able to get out of my mind the idea presented in the above quote. Chambers is saying that, as bad as immorality may be, there is something worse, something that should horrify us even more than immorality and that is carnality. Realizing that today’s definitions may differ greatly with the way Chambers understood the words, I went searching to see what are “immorality” and “carnality.”

the quality of not being in accord with standards of right or good conductdeliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrongOne self-proclaimed agnostic writes, “Belief in God is not necessary for a moral system. Logic will serve us just as well,”² …