Conversational Skill from the Bible…

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~ Col. 4:6

Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Eph. 4:29

…for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. ~ Matt. 1237

… 

Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return, I will restore you,
    and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
    you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
    but you shall not turn to them. ~ Jer. 15:19

He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. ~Prov. 17:28

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you[a]—see that you excel in this act of grace also. ~ 2 Cor. 8:7

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. ~ Proverbs 15:2

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. ~ Proverbs 25:15

 

Lost and Found ~ More to Process Later…

LA_City_Hall_with_sister_cities~ There are those who are lost – this is everyone who does not know God. It is the default setting into which we are born in.

And then…

There are those who are lost among the lost. All I can see is that there are people who I have met in life who are just so going left and right, up and down, indecisive, flitting from one thing to another… confusion central … life is a mess.

Then there are the found… the found meaning found by God. Found in God. Those who live by faith and have their compasses ever pointing heavenward are never lost. They always have direction.

Then there are the lost among the found … This could be due to sin… it could just be due to being hit hard by the rough and tumble of life, such that they find themselves perplexed, confused, lost… I think of Job or Paul… These are the lost among the found. Lost yet found.

Lost: ” …We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, – ”
Yet Found: “- but not in despair; ~ 2 Cor. 4:8

Two Posts on Love Worth Reading . . .

 

heart_shaped_line_266972

~ There are couple of blogposts on Love that I want to highlight as well worth the read. These are from Pastor Steve Cornell’s blog Wisdom For Life, a blog thats one of my best finds this year.

(1) 12 Tests of Love:

~ How does one distinguish infatuation from genuine love? Here are some tests:
1. Test of Time – Love benefits and grows through time; infatuation ebbs and diminishes with time.
2. Test of Knowledge – Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other person. Infatuation may grow out of an acquaintance with only one of these characteristics known about the other person.
3. Test of Focus – Genuine love is other-person centered. Infatuation is self-centered.
. . .
9. Test of Physical Attraction – Physical attraction is a relatively small part of love, but it is a central focus of infatuation. (Now don’t read “small part” as “not a part” …
. . .
12. Test of Delayed Gratification …

(2) Being In Love vs. Behaving In Love

~ This is from a post titled “What if you don’t feel love?”

“A wife once told me that she planned to leave her husband because she “just didn’t love him anymore.”

She saw herself as a victim of feelings she couldn’t change. …”

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ The Nature of a Yoke (3) ~ Outline

There is the Yoke behind the yokes.
The Call behind the calls.
The ____??? {lost the thought…}

In some cases expunging, extirpating, expulsing …

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. . . .” ~ Col. 3:23

In other cases lightening the loads.

Also… Good works in the works.

John Piper Devotional on Job

~ The following is a poem I wrote on Job. I wan to attach to it a devotional from JOhn Piper.

JobIM2

Words for the Wind

Do you think that you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind? (Job 6:26)

In grief and pain and despair, people often say things they otherwise would not say. They paint reality with darker strokes than they will paint it tomorrow when the sun comes up. They sing in minor keys and talk as though that is the only music. They see clouds only and speak as if there were no sky.

They say, “Where is God?” Or: “There is no use to go on.” Or: “Nothing makes any sense.” Or: “There’s no hope for me.” Or: “If God were good, this couldn’t have happened.”

What shall we do with these words?

Job says that we do not need to reprove them. These words are wind, or literally “for the wind.” They will be quickly blown away. There will come a turn in circumstances, and the despairing person will waken from the dark night and regret hasty words.

Therefore, the point is, let us not spend our time and energy reproving such words. They will be blown away of themselves on the wind. One need not clip the leaves in autumn. It is a wasted effort. They will soon blow off of themselves.

O how quickly we are given to defending God, or sometimes the truth, from words that are only for the wind. If we had discernment, we could tell the difference between the words with roots and the words blowing in the wind.

There are words with roots in deep error and deep evil. But not all grey words get their color from a black heart. Some are colored mainly by the pain, the despair. What you hear is not the deepest thing within. There is something real within where they come from. But it is temporary — like a passing infection — real, painful, but not the true person.

Let us learn to discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind — spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love.

For more about John Piper’s ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ The Nature of a Yoke (2) ~ Outline

~ Due to time issues, I am just going to put a rough outline of my thoughts here. I will work it out later.

I. What is a yoke?
A. Many types
1. A single strap often put around the neck of a someone like a slave.
2. A wooden balance shaped object with two bows for placing the heads of cows.
3. A yoke with multiple bows suited for many cows
B. Purpose
1. To lighten a load
2. To provide balance
3. Illustration: Like the straps on a backpack. They make the load more manageable It beats carrying a heavy handful of books.
C. In the Bible
1. Yoke stands for the physical implement put around the neck
i. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…” ~ 2 Cor. 6:14). I.C.1.i.
2. Yoke stands for both the physical implement and so also the burden.
i. “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” ~ 1 Kings 12:4
3. Etc. Verses can be multiplied
II. The Nature of Yokes 
A. We were created/designed to be yoked.
1. I.e. We have been created to do things with our two hands
2. We have not been created to have empty hands.
i. Illustration: Upon retirement, boredom surprisingly sets in rather than rest & relaxation. * CB2 
B. This means that there is always something to do.
1. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10
i. No such thing as unemployment when you live under God.
ii. The unemployment rate is 0 in the Kingdom of God.
iii. God is sending us a stream of good works (= yokes) our way. Things for us to do.
C. We are all constantly under a yoke – like it or not
1. During Jesus’ day
i. The yoke of the Scribes and Pharisees, 1,001 rules
ii. The Roman Yoke – taxes, rough rulers
2. During Jesus’ day and our day
i. Having a hectic, stressful life.
ii. Your job – can be a light yoke or harsh one ~~> Having a tyrant for a boss at the workplace
iii. Having a mental illness like schizophrenia and as such being on meds which keep you weak and sluggish 24/7.
iv. Alcoholism or being addicted to a drug. Your drug is your yoke. Though chosen, now its a very difficult yoke to be free from.
v. The yoke of being in debt to someone. The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. ~ Prov. 22:7
vi. While employment can be a yoke (see ii.) so also can unemployment (creditors knocking, bills piling up, etc.)
vii. Being unequally yoked (in marriage, crooked business partner, etc.). See I.C.1.i. ~~> 2 Cor. 6:14
viii. Living under a totalitarian regime
ix. the yoke of sin… our natures are sinful
x. etc.
III. The Nature of Christ’s Yoke in itself
A. Not a yoke that is imposed on us (e.g. Roman yoke) but a yoke we take on. “Take My yoke upon you.”
1. Which means that it can be rejected to our detriment.
B. Must be taken on and learned from: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from me.”
C. The yoke of a gentle and humble Person, not a ruthless boss: “For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
IV. The Nature of Christ’s Yoke in relation to other yokes
D. If taken on, will in due course expunge all yokes involving sin on your part (e.g. doing drugs)
E. If taken on, will make lighter and more bearable, all other yokes, not involving sin on your part (e.g. being delivered from tyrant boss.)
F. Summa: If you take on Christ’s yoke, other yokes in your life will become either be removed or be made more bearable. i.e. the burden becomes lighter.
IV. The Nature of Christ’s Yoke & You
A. Discipleship

1. Oxen in training are put into the bows of a yoke. One ox will be strong. The other will be weak and perhaps just a baby. This strong Ox pulls the bulk of the weight and thus trains the smaller ox.
2. Almost as if Christ is a yokefellow of yours, being yoked together with you and thus teaching you.

~ Only sinners get sick. Saints do not.
~ Only sinners get unemployed. Saints do not? No?

The Parade

There is a parade of works coming our way.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10

 

 

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ The Nature of a Yoke (1)

~ In this post I am just going to gather some background information on what a yoke is. I will likely need to refer to this information in future posts. I will start by setting down the koine: 28 Δεῦτε πρός με πάντες οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς. 29 ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς καὶ μάθετε ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι πραΰς εἰμι καὶ ταπεινὸς τῇ καρδίᾳ, καὶ εὑρήσετε ἀνάπαυσιν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν· 30 ὁ γὰρ ζυγός μου χρηστὸς καὶ τὸ φορτίον μου ἐλαφρόν ἐστιν. From:  Nestle, E., Nestle, E., Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (1993). The Greek New Testament (27th ed., Mt 11:28–30). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. ~ ζυγός (zygos) means yoke. Here is said passage in the ESV: 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Another verse where zygos or yoke is used is Acts 15:10: “Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” And yet still another verse with zygos is 2 Cor. 6:14: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” All that said, here is what a yoke look like? Here is one picture: Although you cannot see it too well, there are these two circular things called bows that wrap around the neck of the buffaloes. Let me see if I can find a picture that shows the bows. … Since I am unable at the moment to find a free picture of a yoke, I will put together a slapdash drawing of one. Here it is: A yoke basically looks something like this. YokeBOne last thing. There is also a term that I want to jot down. It is yokefellow. Here is its definition from Dictionary.com:

Yokefellow:

1. an associate or companion, especially at work; partner.
2. a spouse.

I’ll end this with another verse: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” ~ Galatians 5:1

Atheist Fiction Writers

~ I am trying to understand something…

Suppose I am an atheistic writer who is writing a fiction novel and I am doing so because I want to produce a literary apologetic for the atheist worldview. So I write. I write a story set in our contemporary times and in lets say the Western hemisphere, say modern day Los Angeles or Chicago or Stockholm, etc.

Here is the question: If once I have finished my writing, I have basically written a novel in which the protagonist experiences various miraculous phenomena, would it make sense? I mean miraculous phenomena that within the context of a fictional work is meant by authorial intent to be present an atheistic world – would it make sense?

No? Right? I mean given an atheistic worldview, i.e. given a materialistic worldview of nothing but rock, stick, bone and atom, how can miraculous phenomena take place? Moreover if I am seeking to build up a case for atheism, then am I not in fact weakening my case, if I am present a work of fiction based on realism that in fact employs miraculous happenings?

It does not make sense right?

So here is another question: Like so, can an atheist writer of fiction utilize symbolism, foreshadowing, certain forms of allegory or irony, i.e. various literary elements in his or her writing?

Do these elements not presuppose theism? Do they not presuppose a providential outworking of life?

Take for example in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In it the Mississippi River is supposed to be symbolic of freedom.

But why say that? I have seen pictures of this river and seen it on video and its just a river to me. A bunch of molecules. There is nothing in it that even remotely says anything about freedom.

Of take for example, Hemingway’s The Old Man & The Sea which I read years ago. According to many pundits, in it the sharks are supposedly symbolic of other fisherman and the connotations are negative.  However how can a shark be symbolic of anything? A shark is a shark is a shark and nothing else.

OMSea

And just so, Hemingway pointed this out when speaking of the symbolism in said book:

“There isn’t any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is the old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are sharks, no better, no worse.”

Amen!

Peculiar Questions in the Bible

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself,” (Gen. 3:8-10).

1 Kings 19:9
9Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. ~ Ruth 3:16

~Note: The KJV translates Ruth best.

 

The Guitarist (2)

In my previous post I mentioned someone I once knew who was an amazing guitarist and who was having trouble finding steady work and income via guitar playing. His lack of an income led to problems at home with his wife because they were not financially solvent. His wife urged him to seek other forms of employment so that bread could be put on the table, however he would not because, playing the guitar was his calling in life. God had given him this gift and this was what he was supposed to be doing.  How could he turn back on God’s call? The marriage ultimately folded.

Some Comments On This – A Sketch.
1. How does one determine what God’s call is? It seems to me that in the ruggedly individualistic West, one often looks inward in order to determine such. So we look at our gifts for example. Then from here we proceed to calling and in turn to professional work. In the more social and relational East however, one often looks outwards. They look out into society and ask what the needs are.  So to put it bluntly, in the East, people look outwards, see starvation and then decide that whatever they do in life, work-wise, it had better put bread on the table or else they will starve.  There are no psychological emotional struggles and such. You either work or you starve.
 ~
2. A gift is not synonymous with a call. A gift can operate on a local level or a global level.  When a gift operates on a local level, such as playing the guitar at church or at home for fun as a hobby, it serves a different purpose than to earn income. When a gift operates on a global level, then it could really be what you do to make money as in when you give a string of guitar concerts before very many people. Whatever it is, just because you have a gift does not automatically mean it is a call. You could just sit at home and play the guitar to unwind from a stressful day.
~

3. While we all have gifts that need to be nurtured, they can never develop into calls such that they conflict with what I call default calls. What do I mean by default calls. One, our primary call is to be Jesus’ disciple. If our gift/calling becomes an idol, we have a serious problem. Another default call is that we are all by nature called to be a father or a mother or son or sister or a husband or wife, etc. You cannot renege your responsibility, that is, your calling to be a father on account of your apparent “calling” to be a guitar player! To do so is not only to renege on your calling to be a father, but also to do a disservice to the Kingdom of God. The Bible explicitly speaks on what Kingdom values and actions are in very many places (e.g. 1 Timothy 5:8).  Honor them and push the Kingdom of God forward rather then getting caught up in self-fulfillment related call.

Mandora by Georges Braque (1882-1963)

David Foster Wallace Quote ~ Books & Culture

The following is David Foster Wallace quote that I am excerpting from an article, “Everybody Worships” by Alissa Wilkinson. Wilkinson is Christianity Today’s chief film critic and assistant professor of English and humanities at The King’s College in New York City.

“Here’s something else that’s weird but true. In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” ~ DFW

 

David Foster Wallace

 

 

 

The Guitarist (1)

The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

~ The following is an excerpt from an email I sent to a friend:
\\~~>
I remembered a friend of mine from a long time ago who was a trained guitarist. This guy was having trouble finding steady work and income via guitar playing. I mean he played solo at times and was a part of some bands but that did not cut it. There was just no bread being put on the table.
~
Howevvvvs . . .  He would not look for any other type of work. He only was looking for more guitar gigs.  His wife was very frustrated.  However… he had to stick to his God given calling!  “This is my calling! God has gifted me with musical ability. This is what I am supposed to be doing in life!” Yet, as they sunk into a deeper and deeper financial hole, the tension, anger, fighting, etc., increased and a divorce ultimately resulted.
 <~~//
Now ~~~> That all said: What is wrong with this picture?

Tentative … cb2 l8r

We compare ourselves with something higher with the hopes of ascending, rather than descending.

Some ppl – so entrenched in negativism compare themselves only with view to stating what they don’t have. Others of a more noble mindset compare to ascend. It is about what God can do.

If it is not of faith it is sin… transitions… cb2

~ ~ ~

Story telling is our default setting. We all want to tell stories.  We are wired to tell them.

You ask a question: “How did you two meet?”

Nobody want to say “We met randomly at a bar one night. He was drunk. We had to take him home.”

Anyway… when stories take on a providential character, thats when they become good.

~~~

Christianity is both religion and relationship as I have blogged somewhere earlier.

The thought for those who only view it as a religion: Your way of relating with your mother, father, wife, etc. Is it a religion?

Revivals and Job Interviews…

Revivals are like job interviews. For a job interview, you do everything you can to prep and primp for the position. You research the company, study what you need to study, practice answering interview questions out loud, even in front of the mirror, dress well, and so on…

However once the interview actually takes place and you do everything within your power to make the best impression that you possibly can… and in fact lets us say that you do in fact do an incredible job… even then… EVEN THEN:

It is still up to the company to give you the job.

Even if you handle the interview in a most fantastic manner, the company is still not beholden to give you the job. At the end of it all, for reasons only known to them, it is still within their power to say “No”.

~ Like so with revivals. A church can only work to prepare itself as much as possible. However at the end of the day, … {Add comments on Martyn Lloyd Jones’ Church}

On the flip side, if you are slack in your prepping and primping for the interview, you can guarantee that things go south.

~ So you can either be in a position of prepping and primping with a who knows? Or you can be a position of slacking and slipping and be living down south.

(2) More or Less ~ The Job Interview

~ I made some additions to my previous post, (1) More or Less ~ Theological Background such that the post grew too long. So I am doing a cut and paste job and reposting here.

Possible Illustration – The Job Interview 

~ Lets say you are applying for a job as a museum curator or something like that, where you will be taking care of priceless Ming Vases. So when your interviewer tells you about the vases and asks you whether you can in fact take up a job where you will be handing such you say

“Well. I have scrupulously handled far lesser things – ordinary vases – with great care and attention. And since that has been the case, how much more will I take care of the Ming Vase.

Alternatively…

~ Lets say you are applying for a job as a museum curator or something like that, where you will be taking care of ordinary vases, and the interviewer acknowledges that they are ordinary but then asks if you can still handle them well. You answer,

“Well. I have scrupulously handled something far greater than this with great success, namely Ming Vases, so how much more am I capable of taking care of these vases.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much …” ~ Luke 16:10

(And it goes without saying that if you can be trusted with much, you can be trusted with little.)

One more verse has now come to mind

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  ~ Luke 12:48

I had a friend who once had a really rough medical school interview. He came from a very well to do family and just had a lot of things put in place for him.  In addition, his father was a big-shot who was very well known in his community.  The guy who was interviewing him knew about all this and sort of had it out against him for that reason. And at one point during the interview, he basically told him that “Unlike many other candidates, you come from a position of advantage. You have had it all. So why should we let you in?” Something like that.

My friend had no answer. I think the question was actually unfair, but I don’t want to get into that right now.  Suffice it to say that the guy would have had a really good answer if he knew Luke 12:48. He basically could have said something like the following:

“Yes. I understand that. I do not deny any of that. I realize that I have been born with many advantages that very many other people have not. However I also think that if the demands on me were greater, then I have no complaints and fully expect to meet them. In fact, perhaps the demands on me should be greater. In any event, due to my background, I intend to work that much harder and produce that much more, etc.”

~ Something like that. I am not giving a clean-cut crisp answer. However you get the idea.

(1) More or Less ~ Theological Background

~ There are some passages in the Bible that teach that if God takes care of little, i.e. lesser things, then how much more will He take care of for us, greater things.

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? ~ Matthew 6:25-31

~ Then there are those passages that teach us that if God has given us what is greatest thing to give, viz. His Son, then how much more will He take care of for us, lesser things.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” ~ Romans 8:32

~ We can apply this idea to other passages in the Bible. For example,

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 1:6

~ A lot of people think that this verse is referring to some current situation that we are now in. Maybe you think that God inspired you to write a book or take on some major project at the workplace.  But I believe that its actually referring to salvation, hence the mention about the day of Christ Jesus.

Yet still, we are not too far off in thinking that if God will take care of the grand, great, and good work of salvation in us, then He will also take care of other lesser good works in our lives.

Grace is like a Boomerang.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” ~ Romans 11:36

Grace is like a boomerang that God throws and like all boomerangs it returns to to the thrower.

However when God throws it, it does not return the same. What I mean is that God throws it bronze, it returns to Him, silver. God throws it silver, it returns gold.

“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” ~ Isaiah 55:11

~ We are given the privilege of somehow being involved in this process. It is called worship.

“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” ~ 1 Chronicles 29:14

~ If you think about it… boomerangs are pretty amazing. They used to be used for hunting, warfare, etc. However unlike swords, spears, wrenches, they are ingenious and amazing.

 

Bhangra – 1st go…

~ I’ve been wanting to do some kind of Bhangra art for some time now… Anime/Manga style.  Finding references of dancers in their original Bhangra dress and wear is not easy.  You can find 100’s of male refs but not much of women.  Anyway here is a rough starter sketch. I did the first sketch in Manga Studio 5, and then just duplicated the original 2x and resized. Anyway… lets see where this winds up…

Bhangra

The Greatest Need of Humanity

The greatest need of humanity is not

. . . happiness, joy, contentment, pleasure, sehnsucht, bliss . .

. . . nirvana, mukhti, moksha, fanaa, satori, cosmic oneness, the numinous . . .

. . . self-realization, self-actualization, self-fulfillment, self-annihilation, self-abnegation, . . .

. . . girl-friend, boy-friend, husband, wife, lover, or any “you complete me” person . . .

. . . soul-mate, mind-friend, kindred soul, kindred spirit, muse . . .

. . . friends, family, house, car, dog on the yard, . . .

. . . character, virtue, well-being, wholesomeness, . . .

. . . good deeds, great achievements, phenomenal accomplishments, . . .

No, rather the greatest need of humanity is forgiveness of sins from a holy God, and this can only be found on the Cross.

*Note – I am not saying that all of the above are bad. Some of them are good. However . . . one takes priority . . .

Can positives conceal negatives? Post @ Wisdom For Life

~The following is a great post that I came across at Wisdom For Life. It is written by Pastor Steve Cornell. I place just an excerpt to it here. You can follow the link below to read the whole post.

“Each year for the past 23 years I’ve taught a class for singles on making marriage one of their best decisions. One of the things we look at is a chart titled, “Things I love now and what they might be in 10 years.”

The person you’re thinking about marrying, for example, is very attentive and you love that about him. Later his attentiveness turns to possessiveness. The laid-back person turns out to be lazy. The playful person proves to be immature. The confident one turns out to be arrogant. But because you’re in love, you didn’t have eyes to see the negatives in the positives.  …”

Read further at: Can positives conceal negatives?

~ Also make sure you read the list of Positives without Negatives which is contained in the link below in his post. It begins like this:

“Positives without negatives:

1. Confident without being arrogant.

2. Humble without being weak.

3. Determined without being stubborn.    …”

~ This has to be one of the best reads that I have had in a long time.

Cause & Effect

“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” ~ James 4:2

“But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.” ~ 2 Kings 3:15

21 … for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well. ~ Matthew 9:21-22

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22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” ~ Matthew 21:22 (ESV)

The Hounds of Sin ~ Weakness

~ The following is taken from a quote in E.M. Bounds’ book, The Necessity of Prayer:

“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” — A. C. DIXON.

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 “Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God.” ~ E.M. Bounds (1835-1913), The Necessity of Prayer

Faith & Fear: Thoughts On The Side

~ Tentative thoughts…

1) Faith and fear are synonymous if the fear in question is Fear of the Lord.

2) Faith and fear are mutually exclusive if the fear in question is a fear of the world, the devil, man, the future, etc. I.e. all that is not God.

3) Fear of the Lord and all other fear are mutually exclusive such that if the Fear of the Lord is truly present in a person, it will exorcise out all other fears.

~ That is to say that the big Fear drives out all the little fears.  For example, you could be waiting at the mechanic-shop, fearful about whats wrong with your car and how much its going to cost to fix it, and you get a phone-call telling you that someone you love has cancer. Now all those car worries are gone as you ache over the sick person.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

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Weakness: Worldly & Biblical

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9, 10

~ There are very many verses that talk about weakness in the Bible. The above is just one. There are also stories of weakness. I just read ARE YOU WEAK ENOUGH FOR GOD TO USE YOU? by Pastor J.D. Greear which is in the main, about Gideon.

The quick comment I want to make in passing is that there is such a thing as worldly weakness and biblical weakness.

Worldly weakness, no matter the form it comes in, whether it be sickness, insecurity, hopelessness, etc., is a form of weakness that ultimately terminates in the self, i.e. a dead end.

Biblical weakness on the other hand has as its endpoint, God. It has as its end, a full-fledged, abandoned to the world, complete dependence upon God. This is what Paul is talking about. This is the one where we consciously claim the promises found in Scripture, pray day and all night, get godly counsel, etc. and thus move forward.

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Findlay on Faith

MarshallBook~ I found a book online that I hope to eventually read. It is Faith as a Theme in Mark’s Narrative and it is by Christopher D. Marshall. You can read parts of it in Google Books. In it Marshall quotes an author from yestercentury, J.A. Findlay (1880-1961), on a definition of faith that he supplies. It is from pg. 107 of Findlay’s book, Jesus As They Saw Him, Part I. Mark.

“Faith, as illustrated in Mark’s gospel, may be defined as a painstaking and concentrated effort to obtain blessing for oneself or for others, material or spiritual, inspired by a confident belief that God in Jesus can supply all human need.”

~ The definition is nothing special. That is exactly why I like it. A child can exercise faith. You don’t need to be some super-saint.

Aside: While I find Findlay’s books online, I can find almost nothing about who he was. Go figure…

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