C.S. Lewis on Joy

pbs~ I need to think about this later… its a quote from C.S. Lewis that I am excerpting from PBS.org which in turn is excerpting from Lewis’s book, Surprised By Joy.

I perceived (and this was a wonder of wonders) that just as I had been wrong in supposing that I really desired the Garden of the Hesperides, so also I had been equally wrong in supposing that I desired Joy itself. Joy itself, considered simply as an event in my own mind, turned out to be of no value at all. All the value lay in that of which Joy was the desiring. And that object, quite clearly, was no state of my own mind or body at all. In a way, I had proved this by elimination. I had tried everything in my own mind and body; as it were, asking myself, “Is it this you want? Is it this?” Last of all I had asked if Joy itself was what I wanted; and labeling it “aesthetic experience,” had pretended I could answer Yes. But that answer too had broken down. Inexorably Joy proclaimed, “You want — I myself am your want of — something other, outside, not you nor any state of you.”

Providence is in the Indicative….

thomas_watsonThere is the Indicative and there is the Imperative.  The descriptive and the prescriptive. The is and the ought.  These are found all over Scripture. Take for example, Ephesians 5:25,
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” 
“Husbands love your wives” is the imperative while “just as …” is the indicative.  The imperative is the command. The indicative is (a description of) a state. And … and the indicative grounds the imperative.  In this verse, the Gospel is the indicative, yea, the Grand Indicative for the command enjoining a husband to love his wife.
Another example – also from Ephesians: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~ Eph. 4:32 
Whats the indicative? Whats the imperative?
Quite often we misinterpret scripture when we treat an indicative as an imperative or try to elicit an imperative from an indicative. So if a verse is describing something that the disciples did like handle a snake, we tell people that snake handling is a command for all. (Sorry. I can’t think of a better example off the top of my head.)
~ Anyway… all that to say…whew!flavel
I think that Providence works in the indicative, not the imperative.

Hard to believe but true, an open door is indicative of an opportunity. However an open door is not a command.
“Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and a door stood open for me in the Lord, 13 I had no peace in my spirit, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.… ~ 2 Cor 2:12-13
~ Question: By way of Providence, an open door was presented to Paul. He did not walk through it. Did Paul sin? Did people die in their sins as a result of Paul not entering that door?
Indeed, it is as the Puritan preacher Thomas Watson said “God’s providence is greatly to be observed; but we are not to make it the rule of our actions. “Whoever is wise will observe these things.” It is good to observe providence — but we must not make it our rule to walk by. Providence should be to the Christian as his diary — but not his Bible.

~ I believe John Flavel (1627-1691), author of a The Mystery of Providence also said something similar.

Missions is a Part of the Church – William Edgar

William Edgar (linked from wts.edu)
William Edgar (linked from wts.edu)

~ The following is an excerpt that I am transcribing from a talk given by William Edgar, a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.  The talk can be found here.  ////>

“I think often times when it seems the Church is defeated, it only becomes an opportunity for the Gospel to spread in a more pure fashion.  In a country where I have spent a great deal of my time, which is France, there is drastic secularization.  Churches are emptying.  In the Roman Catholic Church, for every 10 priests that retire or move on, only 1 younger priest can be identified that is there to take their place.  Do the math and in just a few years, there will be no leadership at that rate in the Roman Catholic Church. 

And its not a whole lot better in the Protestant churches where people just aren’t attending and they are drawn to things like believing without belonging.  They want to be spiritual. They don’t want to be religious in the sense of being doctrinally driven. 

And into the midst of what seems a completely hopeless situation, the Lord is bringing immigrants with robust faith who are founding new churches every week, particularly in the urban areas. And the liveliness of these immigrant churches is attracting not only fellow immigrants, but the mainstream French person

What seems like a dark providence of secularization is turning into this marvelous opportunity to hear the Word preached and lived in a way far more fresh than anything thats been heard and preached in old Europe. 


~ I have heard a similar story elsewhere with regards to something similar happening in Spain.  The secular Spaniard does not listen to believing Spaniard when the latter shares his faith.  On the other hand, when the Filipino nanny shares her faith with the same secular Spaniard, then the person listens. 

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” ~ Mark 6:4

Pessimism & Optimism Quote

~ There are things in the world that we can so consume that ultimately they wind up consuming us.  Moderation is the key.  Here in the States, I have been trying to avoid consuming politics too much and in light of it, to avoid prognosticating too much about the future.

That said I like this statement by Al Mohler:

                                 “For the Christian, optimism is naïve, but pessimism is atheistic.”


If Reality has a Storified Character …


I have written about this before and just am thinking it over again with an added fact I suppose.

There are some writers of fiction, whose works are understood to be apologias for Atheism. Jean Paul Sartre, I believe was one of them. Camus, quite possibly. Carl Sagan, in terms of this writing, not his movie, so also.

What I am not able to get is the following: In literature we use devices such as allegories, foreshadowing, symbolism, etc. to make certain points or convey certain ideas or thoughts. If you think about it, these sort of things are features of the world of literature. They are not features of the world that we live in.

So for example, the paperweight on my desk – it does not foreshadow anything. Nor the pen and pencils on my desk. If I look out the window, the trees out there – they are not in anyway allegorical of anything. They are just trees. Nothing more. Nothing less. It would be absurd of me to say something like, the trees are allegorical of the fact that human life will always flourish.

Absurd indeed. No? For after all reality unlike fiction does NOT have a storified character.

This is why I find atheistic writers of fiction to be perplexing. If they are trying to argue for a world without anything supernatural, then why utilize literary devices such as symbolism, allegories, synedoches, etc. to describe the going-ons of the world.

(And not just writers – movie makers also. Take for example, the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock. The movie ends with Bullock’s space-capsule crashing into a lake on the earth and she then swimming to shore and finally crawling up on a beach. This crawling – it is apparently supposed to symbolize evolution. Huw? I argue that if evolution is the case, then symbolism is impossible. Sandra Bullock crawling on the beach is just that – crawling on the beach. Nothing more. Nothing less.)


Yet – on the flip side, it makes sense when writers like C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien and such argue for something opposite all this and utilize such literary devices.

And… all that to say this one extra thing… my added (inchoate) fact.

If literary devices can be used within literature without any inconsistency as the Inklings did, then can they be used in this world also? That is to say, does reality have a storified character?

Where the Inklings used to meet
Where the Inklings used to meet

Romans 12:12


~ For the last 4 days I have been thinking about this verse… strangely enough even in the dead of the night, in mid-sleep. I have wanted to pass it on to someone going through some struggles and been thinking about it a whole lot.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it because it seems as though it can be translated in both:

  • a descriptive sense and a prescriptive sense
  • an indicative fashion and an imperative fashion
  • in the form of an is and the form of an ought
  • as being and as a be.

Both are important and yet my preference is for the indicative, for being over be (= doing). The indicative seems to be more passive-oriented and about the work being done in you by the Holy Spirit whereas the imperative is about the work that you have to do.

First the Greek:
   τῇ ἐλπίδι χαίροντες,  (= in hope, rejoicing)
   τῇ θλίψει ὑπομένοντες,
   τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτεροῦντες, ~ Romans 12:12

~ Which I need to think though and come back to later… but post for now for future reference. Also I will quickly note the οντες for now… These signal participles or ______-ing words.

And now… the English…
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12, NIV).

~ Notice that this verse in the NIV begins with a “be”. The NIV is a more user-friendly version.


 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12, ESV).

Two be’s.

 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer (Rom. 12:12, KJV).

~ The above is the classic King James Version in its 1611 English. No be’s. Just being?

 “… rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer …”  (NASB)

~ No be’s… two -ings for being but all three describe states of being.

One more…

“… rejoicing in hope, enduring in affliction, being devoted to prayer” (Lexham)

~ this one even has a being in it…

Going back to the context in Romans – I do want to note that verse 9 which precedes it states the following:

“Love must be sincere. …” Romans 12:9 (NIV)
“Let love be genuine” Romans 12:9 (ESV)

So am I being told to allow love to be of a certain sort (= being) or do I do something so that it is expressed sincerely?

Words cannot describe why I like this verse – in the Indicative. I basically like the NIV minus the be.

…  joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12, NIV).

When I first met this verse in the NIV I think, it seem to have wrapped up within it some sort of a beautiful contemplative silence.  A pensive, emotional silence. Something of that sort. I am not sure how to describe it.

Eternal Life & Abundant Life

The following stems from a conversation I had with someone. Had to do some digging around and reading after words.  A couple of things  or points emerged basically.

The First Point: The Bible teaches that there is such a thing as Eternal Life.

~ If you ask a random person out on the streets – someone who is unfamiliars with the Bible – what they thought Eternal Life was, they would probably tell you something like, “Its living endlessly. Never dying. Being immortal.”

This is quite a contrast from what the Bible teaches.

And .   .   .   Annnnnnnnd . . .

Second: The Bible also teaches that there is such a thing as Abundant Life.


~ If you ask a random person out on the streets – someone who is unfamiliars with the Bible – what they thought Abundant Life was, they would probably tell you something like, “Its having a nice, big, fat paycheck. A good retirement. Lots of money in the bank. A fancy sports car.  Etc.” I.e. An abundance of goods.

This is quite a contrast from what the Bible teaches – not that having an abundance of things in life is bad… (Its about the why’s of it all)

~~~>So what according to the Bible is Eternal Life?

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” ~ John 17:3

And what according to the Bible is Abundant Life?


We are not given an exact definition, however it is mentioned in John 10:10:
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The word abundant as used here has the idea of fullness. It means something along those lines. It is as if Jesus says “I have come that they may have life and have it exceedingly.” (I am going literally from the Koine here.) To understand better what it means however, we also have to look at how John uses the word life all through the Gospel of John. Do that and you will find that Abundant Life = Eternal Life and Eternal Life = Abundant Life.

*The amazing(!!!) artwork is by  Mr. Mostpato (Hernan Jacome) whom I follow out on DeviantArt.

Honor / Shame Cultures – Note from The Big Story

The Big Story by Justin Buzzard

~ I am reading a book, The Big Story by Justin Buzzard. In it, in a section titled Act 4:Rescue, he discusses The Parable of the Prodigal Son. With respect to this he relates the following story:

“I had a chance to preach through this parable while traveling and teaching in Cambodia. It was in a rural context, and the culture had many similarities to first-century agrarian societies like the one where our story is set. I asked the people what would happen if a son in their society came to his father and made the same demands as the younger son in our story did.  Their response was quick and stark. The son would be beaten for his disrespect. Beyond that, if the father was wealthy, he would take out an article in a local paper or publication to definitively disown his son.”

~ I am not really surprised at this reaction from the rural Cambodians. I think similar responses can take place in many Asian and Middle Eastern societies.


The Things of Earth & the Lord’s Supper…

~ The following is an excerpt from Joe Rigney’s book, The Things of Earth. It is a brief comment on the Lord’s Supper.


“In cultivating creation, subduing the earth, and faithfully naming God’s world (in all its varied forms), we are fulfilling the cultural mandate and participating in God’s mission to fill the world with his glory.

    When we write, perform, or listen to good music, we are being invited into the life of the triune God, who is the supreme harmony of all. When we write poetry or immerse ourselves in a novel or watch a good movie, our heart and mind can be enlarged so that we have greater capacity to worship God and love others. When we tend our gardens, change the oil, study for a math test, discover the characteristics of electrons, serve our customers, or build a new house, we are assisting in the enrichment of God’s world, and we ought to enjoy these activities and their results with clear eyes and full hearts.  Joe Rigney

   The Lord’s Supper is a regular reminder that human culture can be a means of grace and a divine invitation. After all, we partake of bread and wine, not grain and grapes. In other words, God mediates grace to us through created goods that have been cultivated and transformed by human effort. Bread is grain, but transfigured. Wine is grapes, but glorified. Human creativity and labor mingle with the stuff of God’s creation, and then God establishes the result as the church’s sacramental meal. And this special sacrament testifies to the potential of all human activity to communicate the grace of God. Our cultural efforts are fully capable of enlarging our heart and mind to know God more fully.      

   But this process of heart expansion through human culture is not automatic. As we saw earlier, it requires receiving culture (or making culture) with a heart of gratitude that is governed by the Scriptures and dependent on God in prayer. It requires believing and knowing the truth, so that our efforts align with God’s purposes, so that our creativity runs in biblical ruts, so that we cut with the grain of God’s world and not against it.

~ Rigney, Joe. The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts (pp. 147-148). Crossway. Kindle Edition. 

Inspiration ~ Evangel Notes

John Wesley and the Mob
    1. Erwin Lutzer – How to respond to an Atheist  ~ On Youtube with The One Minute Apologist although its [2:02] long
    2. A sermon: Door to Door Evangelism – from out in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. I found this on sermonaudio.com. Very good sermon… Very good and very encouraging.
    3. Everyday Evangelism Stories – from South Western Baptist Seminary out in Texas
      1. Suicidal woman restored, rebuilt by good news of Christ
      2. FIRST PERSON: Door-to-door evangelism actually works
    4. Lex Loizides
      1. ‘A Fire was Kindled in my Soul’ – Howell Harris and Revival
      2. Methodism and the Mob – what it really takes to change a culture
      3. Methodism and the Mob – Part 2: Changing Cultures
      4. Methodism and the Mob – Part 3: Howell Harris Gets Beaten up While Preaching
      5. Methodism and the Mob – Part 4: Threatened at Gunpoint – The Methodist Revival Advances
      6. Methodism and the Mob – Part 5: Preachers Pelted with Dirt, a Cat and a Dead Dog
      7. Methodism and the Mob – Part 6: Violence Seems to Triumph – The First Methodist Martyr
      8. The Emerging Mob: Why Whitefield began open air preaching
      9. Surrounded by the Mob – Wesley in Wednesbury 
      10. John Wesley Speaks to a Violent Mob
    5. From the UCC to the PCA? A Story of God’s Grace ~ A wonderful story coming from the website of Westminster Theological Seminary
    6.  Is This The Revival Generation? – Johnny Derouen @ A Chapel Message at Dallas Theological Seminary. The story that begins at [22:00] and ends at [26:00] – listen to that without fail!
    7. It Happened to George Washington’s Church – The Falls Church Anglican—A Story of Gospel Awakening by J.B. Simmons @ The Gospel Coalition

Count it all joy … ~ James 1:2

~ James 1:2 states:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

That up above is the NIV.   In the ESV, we have: 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds …”

~ If you look up other versions, such as the NASB, NKJV and so on, you will most often find either “count” used or “consider”.   Lets quickly look at the Greek which I will excerpt out from Logos:

2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις

Greek from:  Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed., Jas 1:2). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

~ The word of interest from up above is: ἡγήσασθε – hegesasthe which comes from ἡγέομαι – hegeomai.  This is the word that has been translated as “count” or “consider” in verse 2.  Logos has a nice chart showing the words various meanings. Here it is:


~ You can see that “consider” and “count” are primary meanings.  So what is my issue here?

Quite often when we read this verse, we think it is telling us to enjoy suffering somehow.  We think that someway, somehow we are to experience our trials as pure joy.  So we at times meet people who talk as though they are enjoying their suffering, delighting in their pain. How godly they are!

~~> I don’t think that that is what is going on in James 1:2.

~ Abraham was justified by faith alone. That is to say that righteousness was reckoned or credited to him. He was regarded by God as righteous. He was counted by God as such. Did he commit sins again for the rest of his life? Yes. But God considered him as righteous. In God’s eyes, he has the status of righteous on account of Christ righteousness being imputed to Him.  Like so…

Abraham by József Molnár (1821-1899)
Abraham by József Molnár (1821-1899)

When we repent of our sins and turn to Christ for forgiveness, we are regarded as being righteousness from that point on. Yet this does not mean that we feel righteous from that point on.  In fact we may feel like scum quite often.

So ??? James 1:2 ??

So James is telling us that when we go through a fiery trial, we credit what is happening to us as joy. We may not feel joyful, but we credit it as such. We regard it as such. We count it as such. We are taking joy to the bank.  And what we put away in the bank, will be something that we use or will experience in the future.

So when you go through a trial, it is as if you are making an entry in a ledger for future joy. Credited today. Experienced in an even greater fullness tomorrow.

No Gift of Evangelism?

The following is an excerpt from an article that I am reading:


Second, some claim that since only some people have the “gift of evangelism,” not everyone is obligated to witness. Space prohibits a full discussion on the topic of “the gift of evangelism,” but a few observations are in order.

First, evangelism is not recorded in the common spiritual gifts listings in Scripture; instead, the office of evangelist is mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. Some (myself included) question whether “evangelism” should be seen as a distinct spiritual gift, such as giving, serving, and so on.

In addition, even if evangelism is a spiritual gift, it is also a command for all believers, just like giving, serving, and so on. Not having “the gift of evangelism” does not excuse a believer from his or her call to share Christ with others.

…” – taken from Must Every Christian Evangelize? by Tim Beougher

~ I am not 100% clear on his comment regarding the office of the evangelist and how that might mean that there is no gift of evangelism. I will have to continue to read up.

One thought that I have is that the gift of evangelism might be a species of the gift of healing. If the latter is still around today, then…

*Note: I am not denying that healing is around today. I am questioning whether there is a gift of healing that inheres in a particular person. Sometimes Joe may pray and you get healed. Other times Joe may pray and you do not get healed. Yet still Jane may pray and you get healed…

To be read: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2010/july/no-such-thing-as-gift-of-evangelism.html

The Songs of Ascents ~ Some Quick Notes

~ What is today regarded as Mt. Zion

There are a set of Psalms that bear the subtitle “A Song of Ascents”.

There are fifteen of these Psalms, viz. 120-134.

Why do they bear the subtitle, “A Song of Ascents”?

Here is why . . .

~ During certain times of the years, the Israelites used to observe certain festivals (Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, etc.)  Part of what this observance involved was a pilgrimage – a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem.  This is where the temple was.

Here is the thing about the city of Jerusalem though… It was situated on top of a hill. And this was no small hill. It was fairly sizable.


So as the Israelites would converge upon the hill from the various parts of Israel, and then proceed to climb the hill, they would sing certain Psalms. Can you guess which Psalms they sang as they ascended up the hill to get to Jerusalem?

Exactly. The Songs of Ascent.

Actually beautiful picture emerges from all of this. The picture is that of various groups of people coming from all over Israel and surrounding the hill and then climbing up. And as they climb, they also sing.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?” 
~ Psalm 121:1 (A Song of Ascents)

And as various groups of Israelites would make their journey up the hill, all the while singing, they would meet other groups of Israelites – fellow pilgrims. And as they met one another, they would all join their voices and sing together and the praise would get louder and louder as they ascended up the hill.

Volcano in Antigua, Guatemala

Finally as they got to Jerusalem, here even the priests would be involved in playing musical instruments and in singing and and the city would in effect explode in praise. The city and the mountain in effect were turned into a mountain of praise and a city of praise. Almost like a volcano of praise!

I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet have been standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem!
~ Psalm 122:1-2

In this world, Christians are pilgrims. We are headed up Mount Zion, on our way to the New Jerusalem. As we make our journey, we too sing songs – songs of ascent.

Courage, Fear, Weakness and Strength {Scratchwork}

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least two ways that courage plays out in our lives.

1. Co-existing:
~ I am afraid to do something (e.g. talk before a large crowd) but in spite of the fear I go ahead and do it.
Here fear co-exists side by side with courage. And what happens here in fact involves courage. I after all went ahead and gave a talk.

2. Replaced/Displaced:
~ I am afraid to do something but then pray, reason or talk to someone about the thing that I fear and courage arises and fear disappears.
In this case, the fear is either completely driven out or becomes displaced in good measure. For the most part what remains is courage.
It seems that something of a similar sort is at work with weakness and strength, although the way it plays out is different.

1. Co-existing:
~ C.S. Lewis was horrible at math. He flunked his entrance exams and such. He could appreciate math, but just could not do it. It was his weakness. Here is the thing though… what if Lewis was good at manage math and had gone on to become an engineer or something? Then the world would never have seen Narnia or Perelandra and so on. There would have been no Mere Christianity or The Abolition of Man. What a loss that would all have been!

And yet Mathematics remained his weakness throughout his life and co-existed side by side with his strength in writing to develop. In fact this weakness paved the way for him to develop his strength.

2. Replaced/Displaced:
~ The C.S. Lewis example falls under this also in the sense of being displaced – to the very margins. However I am also thinking that there are cases where the weakness is driven out by a strength. Like you work on that weakness such as being lousy at basketball or cricket or whatever.

~ Finish this later.

Good Things & Bad Things . . .

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
~ Psalm 84:11

A little of a bad thing is a bad thing.
A lot of a bad thing is a bad thing.
A little of a good thing is a . . . good thing.
A lot of a good thing is . . . ? . . . bad thing.  Quite often anyway…

God sometimes withholds good things in our lives because if he gave the good thing, we would not be able to handle it and thus it in effect would have really been a bad thing.

~ So for example if God did not allow me to get promoted to the position of a manager at work, it might be because the promotion really would have been a bad thing for me.  Had I been promoted, perhaps I simply would not have been able to handle the stress level, the added multitasking, the higher workload, managing difficult people, etc. and I would have wound up on a psychiatrists’s couch.

~ So for example… if God allowed me to win the Pulitzer Prize next week, my head might inflate with pride and that would be not be good. And so the Puliz would really have been a bad thing.

If a good thing really were a good thing for us, God absolutely would not withhold it. In real life however, I think we tend to receive good things in increments.

“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”
~ Psalm 31:19


The following is an excerpt from a blog post, titled WHY SEX ISN’T THE BEST THING EVER that is well worth reading in its entirety.  Not only that Lore Ferguson of Sayable is generally worth reading always.

” . . .

Sex is good, God created it, he blessed it. He made it the integral piece in the procreation of humanity—science thwarts it and succeeds it but even science admits the masterful design of two humans making more humans. Sex is great, but it does not make all the angsts of longing for intimacy before marriage go away. All those angsts still exist within marriage, they just take different forms.

I know it’s easy for the married person to say this, you protest, because at the end of the day I can still have sex. But what I wish I could tell every unmarried person I know is until we realize our issues are much deeper and more profound than a sexual itch for satisfaction, we will still find our desires unmet. Within marriage and without.

. . . “


Yet Another from – E.M. Bounds on Prayer (2)

The following is a sentence that I have excerpted from Ch. 6 of E.M. Bounds book, Power Through Prayer. 

bounds“I am sorry that I have prayed so little,” was the deathbed regret of one of God’s chosen ones, a sad and remorseful regret for a preacher.” 

~ I find this to be quite a thought.  When I am on my deathbed, I cannot say something like, “Yeah. I have not prayed much in life, but thats ok. I will make up for it now by praying non-stop until I make my exit from this life.”

No. Its not going to happen. Likely not going to happen anyway.  Lost time is lost. Lost time is dead to you. It cannot be resurrected. It will not come back. You could have prayed during all that time, but did not. You could have poured it out and you life and other peoples lives could have been so much different, but – but – its all gone now. It never happened. It never will happen.


One More from – E.M. Bounds on Prayer (1)

~ These words from Ch. 4 of E.M. Bounds(1835-1913) book, Power Through Prayer, are words that I always will need to be reminded of.

” … The character of our praying will determine the character of our preaching. Light praying will make light preaching. Prayer makes preaching strong, gives it unction, and makes it stick. In every ministry weighty for good, prayer has always been a serious business.

The preacher must be preeminently a man of prayer. His heart must graduate in the school of prayer. In the school of prayer only can the heart learn to preach. No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack.

Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still. He will never talk well and with real success to men for God who has not learned well how to talk to God for men. More than this, prayerless words in the pulpit and out of it are deadening words.”

~ The entire book is online. Its very powerful.

~ Elsewhere Bounds uses the term, “oil of prayer”. I really like that. We all know that whether it be mixing ingredients when we cook, or wiping our hands or the hinge on a door or the engine in a car – oil makes everything go smoother. Everything flows better.


~ Like so with prayer and the things of our life.  So we must pour prayer out into our lives and the lives of others.


Smoke Signal – by Frederic Remington(1861-1909)

It seems to me there are at least three ways that God communicates to us today:
1. Through His Word – the Holy Bible.
2. Through nature.

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
~ Psalm 19:1

3. Through providential actions – for example if you are praying for healing, and according to the doctors, the odds that you will get healed are nil, and yet still you get healed… that was God.

Two things to note:
Note 1: This last one – providential happenings – is one that we have to be very careful about since we can be way off in our assessment as of what is from God and what is not.

Note 2: God is constantly communicating to us.

All that said … It seems to me that there are two ways that we communicate to God today:
1. Through our words – that is, through prayer.
2. Through our actions.

~ So for example, if we are going on a journey, and prior to starting up our car, we pray for travel mercies, then we communicate one thing to God. However if while on the journey we speed and drive rambunctiously, we communicate another thing.

What is it that we communicate? We communicate that we really do not want His travel mercies.

One thing to note:
Note 1: We too are also constantly communicating with God, whether we realize it or not, whether its deliberate or not.  Our actions are constantly sending a message to God.

Some common birds of India – Post by Dr. Conrad Mbewe

ConradMbeweDr. Conrad Mbewe is the pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia. I often listen to his sermons online and even have some downloaded onto my computer. He recently did a interesting post on India, titled:

Some common birds of India. @ A Letter from Kabwata
~ I had no idea that Dr. Mbewe was in India for a brief bit. Interesting. The post contains some great photographs. In addition, I like what he says here in his opening paragraph:

“I was still obedient to the Lord’s injunction that I should “look at the birds of the air” and be refreshed by them.”

~ Thats a thought. Really.

Getting Back to Faith the Size of a…

~ So suppose that you are going through a massive, massive trial – something very difficult and painful.

What if Jesus had said that you need massive faith in order to handle massive trials?
~ Speaking for myself, I would despair. It seems so often during trials, that I have difficulty scraping up any faith and now, I am being told that..

Anyway… Jesus not say that and Thank Him, because had He said that it, would have … let to an infinite regress. Huh???

What I mean is that, had Jesus said that, then there would have been something incoherent, something odd about what He said.

Why? Because now, where before you have one massive trial, now you have two. That is, in addition to the first massive trial, now you have another massive trial, which is the need to have gigantic faith and the thought of this makes you groan.

So in order to have massive faith, you need to have massive faith beforehand. And in order to have massive faith beforehand, you need to have massive faith beforehand beforehand… and soon…

Again – thank God Jesus said, you need mustard seed sized faith. The size was not really important. What was important is the presence of faith. Just having it.  The only benefit that giant faith gets you is a greater assurance… a psychological benefit.

Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved,
but abides forever.”
~ Psm 125:1


Faith the Size of a Double-Coconut…


What if Jesus – instead of saying:

“If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

Had instead said…

“If you had faith like the seed of a Lodoicea Maldivica aka the Coco de Mer, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

The Lodoicea Maldivica aka the sea coconut, coco de mer, or double coconut is a tree that grows in the Seychelles Islands.  It grows a massive fruit, ~ 40-50 cm in length, which contains a seed, that has the honor being the worlds largest seed (see above).

India’s only double coconut tree artificially pollinated @ The Hindu

~ Yes. So what if Jesus had said something like that instead? What would you have done? I think I would faint.

I would faint, because that itself would be a trial.  A trial for which I did not have the requisite faith, because the requirement for faith was too large. Too difficult.  So I would faint.

~ Something buzzing here… Ok. Take a breath… a thought

-> In order to get through a difficulty, I need to have faith in God.

What could an example of this difficulty be?

It could be a sickness, financial struggles, a car accident… and so on. And – it could also be the need to have faith. Huh? So how does the above sentence get re-worked.

-> In order to get through the difficulty of not having faith, I need to have faith in God.


-> In order to get through the difficult of having little faith, I need to have faith in God. ~ Well maybe not quite this last one.

A thought ~~~~> Thank God Jesus said that you only need a little faith in order to get things done. Not much. Quality was more important than quantity. Both small faith and big faith result in getting the job done. The only difference between the two is that large faith comes with some psychological benefits. You don’t freak out as much.

God’s Permissive Will

~ Sin are suffering are a part of God’s permissive will. It is something that God allows to happen.  The crucifixion is a prime example. He allowed this to happen. The permissive will can be a result of sin or not. Christ was not where He was on account of sin.

On His Blindness by John Milton

~ The following poem(Sonnet 16) by John Milton(1608-1674) was written when he was blind. For me a key question is found, dead-center in the middle. It is one in which I have been in a discussion with, with a friend of mine.
  And the question in question?
~~~>  “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
On His Blindness
by John Milton
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν:

~ So the more I read and re-read 2 Corinthians, the more I think that something along the lines of human weakness and human insufficiency giving rise to God’s strength and sufficiency is a major theme of the book.

καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν:  means “and not from us” 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Cor. 4:7

~ So what is of you and what is not of you?

“And who is sufficient for these things?” ~ 2 Cor. 2:17

5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,  ~ 2 Cor. 3:5

Weakness ~ Distinctions…

1. Imposed: in some sense or some way… from within, from without, involving circumstance or inability
~ “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.” ~ John 9:1

And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?” ~ Exodus 5:14

2. Self-Imposed: Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. ~Mk 14:34

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No. . . .”  John 12:27.  Yet ~ “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? …~ Matthew 26:53

3. Sinful-Weakness: “He[Judas] did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” ~ John 12:6

The forms of weakness described in (1) and (2) are good if the foundation for them is God’s strength.

 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Much human strength and especially those which are much admired can actually be categorized in (3) believe it or not.

” … apart from Me you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. ~ 2 Cor. 2:5

~ One last one…

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted,but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.


Oswald Chambers Quote relating to Weakness

~ I heard the following in a Kent Hughes sermon and had to look it up.

“God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power and resources, or abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on him made possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chose and use somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.” ~Oswald Chambers


I found the quote online at the DASH/HOUSE post God Chooses And Uses Nobodies

~ Interesting finding it there because that blog happens to be my most recent discovery and I have been reading there a lot lately. Cool!

Weakness and Strength

4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing,


But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”


6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break;…

~ Luke 5