14 October 2008 - belonging as parts of the body
rereading lupton. order is not an equal value to everyone.
romans 12- we belong to each other. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment." "Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body."
13 October 2008 - could've been me
have you ever been walking the same direction as someone you didn't know, in step, but perhaps on different sides of the street?
have you ever wondered how you got to be where you are in life, in particular, good things that you know you hardly had a part in?
have you ever wondered why someone was dropped into a difficult situation out of their control?
have you ever marveled at grace and turned it into a fountain of thanks that proves itself and springs into action?
9 October 2008 - the sun is huge
got to go on an exciting trip to a planetarium and more, which left me hearkening back to my studying astronomy days, which i loved because of the (literal) awe-someness of creation i read about.
for instance, do you realize how big the sun is? about 1,300,000 earths could fit inside! and the sun is not big, as stars go... yet this one star allows life to go on for us. it is thought that the middle of the sun is 10 to 15 million degrees, hot to say the least. and this one star is just a speck in the arm of our galaxy.
8 October 2008 - on my frustrating lack
i can't help but to think that prayer is like that opposing team's best player... the one that your foe goes at the most. the thinking in basketball or soccer being- we might still lose ground, but better to make their lesser players try to beat us than to have their star go off for 60. if he has the ball we're in trouble. but how much more, sports aside, do we need to go to our best weapon, the one that leaves the adversary trembling all the more when we persist, our go-to move.
7 October 2008 - the first in importance
...with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.
5 October 2008 - a tale of three cases
more courtroom inputs from different sources, ibnlt TOTC... in one, the one pressing the charges had to drop them, when it turned up that he himself had actual proof against him as opposed to the trumped up charges he pursued. in the next, a man condemned by a letter, and more so by his blood. but to get things the way they ought to be for the man and for the people was not by a call for the blood of that blood, but through an innocent man.
which brings us to the third trial. apparently (boice) everything about Jesus' trial has unjust. not just that witnesses couldn't agree, the nighttime, but every single aspect. with no case we could plead in the face of such evidence, a line we could not esape from, how fitting that the greatest injustice paved the way for resurrection and life and a chance to yearn for things to be the way they ought to be.
3 October 2008 - one day summer will come true
I heard in Addison's Walk a bird sing clear
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.
Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, nor want of rain destroy the peas.
This year time's nature will no more defeat you.
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.
This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.
This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.
Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick!-- the gates are drawn apart.
30 September 2008 - when seedy is good
"Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain. . .What shall we say the kingdom of God is like? It is like...the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."
25 September 2008 - not an ideal world we traverse
jury duty went better than expected. beyond the case and the rtm discounts, got to read cs lewis and get home early for late afternoons on the roof. life is much more manageable when things go as scheduled or even better. but life is not lived in the ideal. precisely because there are so many contingencies it is better to live in a different mindset. being prepared for things to oft go awry. . .while being thankful and making the most of the otherwise; respites such as golden afternoons of prayer.
24 September 2008 - not guilty
the lesson from jury duty this time was the difference between being innocent and being not guilty. there are many cases where someone may be not innocent, in fact, far from it. but that doesn't mean they are guilty. that has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. and sometimes that can not be done.
there is one other case where someone can be not innocent, and yet not guilty. even when the proof piles up and up. if One pleads his case, and says he cannot be condemned ...because He knows one who stands in a place to procure his pardon, who Himself suffered in the face of no evidence at all of guilt and yet took the read verdict of: guilty, on all counts.
22 September 2008 - the burden that weighs down
read pilgrim's progress on the train. allegories have a way of expressing ideas often quite clearer than the mere statement of conceptual outline. (which leaves me excited for books i want to write). like can you imagine what it must be like to have a burden on your back that you can't get off. i have a hard time even with big luggage that i know the destination of when i will be able to put it down. but how much more a burden that won't go away, that you would do anything to get rid of, and what joy you must feel when you are free of it, to run and jump and be free.
15 September 2008 - words deeper than you think
Jesus, on wine needed for a wedding, "why do you involve me? My time has not yet come."
'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
but if they don't listen to what's available..."they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
14 September 2008 - doing something great
watched two movies (one was amazing grace- finally!) that raised interesting questions on what it means to do something great with your life. they were similar in that they both showed that it takes quite a lot, persistance, time, opportunites...as well as inevitable cost. but there was a difference. to do something great ,say- academically, is hard, as there is nothing new under the sun. and making one own name's great by new discovery twist can only do so much for you. but to do something great for people is potent even in the difference it could make for one particular person. and how much more a people. and how much more yet again to be a part of something unshakeable that comes with a promise that it is not in vain and an exhortion to all the more give yourselves fully to it.
12 September 2008 - greater things are still to come
and so it is finally here... along with a veritable excitement in the air. the moment now years in the works. the church fittingly opening tonight with a prayer meeting. pray that God would do even greater things than we've already been able to witness at RLC without a building, now that there is a haven for the neighborhood in which people can find refuge in the One who can really be such.
current listening: You're the God of this city... You're the light in the darkness. You're the hope to the hopeless... There is no one like our God. There is no one like our God.
07 September 2008 - a wounded Lover
i was telling a friend this week how i am bad at repenting. and then the next day i heard sinclair preach on the 2 Cor. 7 passage i have so often meditated on trying to figure it out, and was able to get new light on it through examples from the Bible. Esau was a good example of human sorrow. "He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears." then Judas, he was full of remorse. yet it lead to his actual death.
meanwhile, i feel like godly sorrow is hard to grasp. but helped by a tk sermon today, when he talked about sorrow not over a broken rule but a broken heart. a concept still hard to understand why this would be so, unless you put it to life. like seeing unfaithfulness in the very context of what was given in love... given to another [other things] so easily. against the only Lover that can really say and you don't even have any idea what I would do for you or how much I want the best for you. after everything... and how from the very beginning...and i start to get it a little more. yet all i do is worldly sorrow. wondering if i'll have a bad day. or louse everything up. and even catching myself listening to the oldest lie of all time in its many forms- He's really out to spoil your fun. He doesn't have your best interest in mind. while my Lover stands by waiting. having already proved otherwise.
22 August 2008 - we commend ourselves in every way
it was good to read 2 corinthians. paul and his lists. his life was lived in such a way in that every portion was lived out for the sake of the gospel. even when people saw him, they must have seen the gospel, through the "marks of Jesus", such as the scars on his face from being stoned (the rock kind) and left for dead. and what does he say about all this... "as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way" and the list is huge. abridged greatly here: endurance, troubles, hard work, purity, truthful speech, sleepless nights, bad report, dying yet living on, sorrowful yet always rejoicing...
a few chapters later he is back at it, listing similar things, boasting in weakness. these things were even able to be delights because they were not about him. and thus they were transparent windows, through which a weak vessel, mere clay, was able to display its greatest treasure, the treasure of Christ.
19 August 2008 - how to measure a day
while i do not claim to know the best way to measure whether a day was good or bad or in between, i know that it is probably not the way i can tend to measure some days, like ones of late that cause me to think of this subject, either full of varying feelings that make me a captive balloon or running very hard away from such. could not one measure at least be how well the gospel was fully and firmly grasped that day? by fully i mean not one-sided. not just that i'm hopelessly given to failure. not just that i'm forgiven or free so what does it matter. but actually the one that spurned the Father's love of abundance despite what it cost Him despite Him waiting there for me to come back. and actually the kid abandoned and left all alone who was sought out and found and picked up to be a part of something wonderful, yet with responsibilities, a family.
and what of those days that still don't measure up, that lose sight of such good news... well, for that, every now and then, perhaps a grace day should be declared. that that is what living in grace can mean. measuring is fine and sure has its purposes in many things. but some days the measuring cups best use is to be tossed aside to leave arms unencumbered to run into those strong arms of Love, and sit there under such Love.
13 August 2008 - that we might not rely on ourselves
sometimes struggle and difficulties actually provide clearness. as your focus narrows on the thing it begs the question what should my focus be on. "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." thankful for the days i'm reminded that loving God and loving people are worthwhile activities to fix on... and where God's Word is such a source of encouragement.
12 August 2008 - meanwhile we groan
can't wait for tent trade-in day.
"...Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."
there is quite a difference between staying in a tent and staying in hotel. in both cases you are not home, but in one the disparity is emphasized more. reading 2 corinthians while camping, thus thinking about the nomadic lifestyle of those in the OT who lived in tents. and then the One in the NT who left His home, and came here without a place to call His own... to give us a lasting home. as it says, "an eternal house in heaven." now that is somewhere i wouldn't mind staying.
07 August 2008 - where the love lasts forever
"So i throw my life on all that You are cause i know You gave it all for me. . .And forever i will sing, Lord forever I will sing. . .
With You, where the love lasts forever."
01 August 2008 - the wonder
driving home for the weekend. even traffic can have an upside. "We sing with everlasting joy, For sin and death have been destroyed, yes,
Sin and death have been destroyed.
May I never lose the wonder, The wonder of the cross..."
31 July 2008 - dust
dust is mentioned often in the Bible. even in psalm 103, interestingly enough... "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. . .But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children"
30 July 2008 - poured out
listened to a cfc sermon on john 12 which i liked. judas was a 'too much' person. whereas mary was a 'not enough'. not only was what she gave costly, but she gave all of it and perhaps would have given more if she had it. we all worship. our worship is a response to something beautiful. the question becomes what do we value the most. there is One so beautiful, so worth our worship, that any cost would be far outweighed. sometimes such worship seems illogical whether it is teaching kids to being faithful at work. but such a worshipping heart that sees such things as worth it, can be powerful, like the fragrance that filled the whole room that day.
29 July 2008 - hebrews 11
by faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he didn't know where he was going. He was enabled to become a father to countless children because he considered him faithful who made the promise.
Moses chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.
He has prepared a city for them, those longing for a better country.
25 July 2008 - like the sky above the earth
He sees! He knows. . .
"I don't think the way you think. The way you work isn't the way I work... the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think... the words that come out of my mouth [will] not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them. . .living and lasting evidence of God."
22 July 2008 - grace breaking through
listening to more sermons. the Bible is not full of stories of perfect men. far from it. but rather disfunctional families, timid leaders, and those whose faults loomed bigger than their strengths. but into those lives, we see grace breaking through, often against our will, rescuing from sin and brokenness otherwise unescapable. and we see how in our lives too, amidst the sun and frost and frost and sun, we can be broken open to God and His work. which is good news for ordinary people whom God loves.
20 July 2008 - two fists
the middle proverb has long been my favourite...meditating on verse 9, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."
18 July 2008 - maximum glory of God
keep going back to this one. what does it look like to do things, decide things with the maximum glory of God in mind. because sometimes it is not even a thought. when it is, sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is unclear, and sometimes it is hard. but how worth the effort... oh that You would get as much glory as You can in my life.
12 July 2008 - the startling nature of grace
and i had to go back. and i stood on the rock by the water. asking for a greater vantage point. realizing mine is sometimes subpar, based on things that while nice, may perhaps not be the best truth.
if you read it, the locusts came because of sin. and they were devastating. so why would He restore? when it was deserved? that is just the thing about grace, it has an aspect of perpetual taken-abackness in questioning-almost confusion. there is no good reason in itself. and yet He gives us more grace. in hopes that we can be grace-givers ourselves. following in the cycle of poverty to riches to poverty. "for you know the grace. . ."
11 July 2008 - joy beyond the walls of the world
at sg we have been talking about joy and peace and how it is possible to have the real versions of these, as opposed to the temporary ones subject to circumstances. "joy comes by knowing everything you could want and need is found in Christ." you already have what matters most. already have available satisfaction. that which is most important is forever secure.
worries are inevitable. but we can pray them in this mindset. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."