Monday, July 30, 2018

Who is God?

Our time here is swift. Maybe twenty years we are students, then forty years we are rock stars on a stage, then we are old, but still going, because we are also young. Sixty, maybe? Seventy? Eighty? Ninety? How many years is that in the light of eternity? 

Even if we get one hundred years, forever is long. It goes on and on and on. There is no end. And so it is with man. We change, but we don't cease to be.

What is God? Something else. Who is God? Someone else. He is knowable. Like you know me or I know you, we can know Him too.

Isaiah 9:6 says he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Counselor: He hears you. Really hears you. Hears you and cares what you say. Do you hear Him? He is calling your name.

Mighty: Our world looks for strength. It is full of heroes, some with capes, others in suits. They are not really mighty, even those who seem to be.

Father: Protector. Leader. Do you know God does this?

Peace: Prince is a small word. It is tiny. A man. Royal. Royalty is usually a scam. I mean, who is more special than another? What is royal blood? It is just like yours or mine, really, but one of their ancestors did something big and now, well, now what? But peace. That's something. God is peace. 

Can you take a deep breath and know peace? Can you rest in it? It is real, this peace that He can give you. It is fulfillment and honor. It is a bright light on a dark day. It is refreshing and regenerating. It is a song to deaf ears, the sight of a mountain in the distance to the blind. It is my heart beating again, then again, and it is the path changing right before my eyes and leading me another way instead. It is life, abundantly. Do you know this? Do you know God? He longs for you to know Him.


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Another Star Trek Quote


"Risk. Risk is our business!"

Captain Kirk


Fools


But God has chosen 
the foolish things 
of the world to 
confound the wise; 
and God has chosen 
the weak things 
of the world 
to confound 
the things 
which are mighty...

1 Corinthians 1:27


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Baptism


The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you 
and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his 
countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

It's too Late

He stood in the open field for a long time, an eternity and forever and then one more day. It was too late for him. He was spent, used up, a shell of a man, not even a man. He was indignity wrapped desperately in the world around him, fearfully and wonderfully made, but he did not know it. 

The tiger stood with him, telling him the truth. It was the color of a Tiger Lily. Black spots, vibrant fire-orange, not like a tiger should be, just as the man was not like a man 
should be. 

They watched the sun set and rise. They saw the dawn, but neither moved toward it or accepted its warmth. The tiger, because he was standing guard; the man because he didn't know how. 

"I am broken," he said, repeating over and over that he, 
"Got it." He was ingrained with a lie. It held him, whispered to him, froze him. He thought he was one thing, but he was another. The tiger growled and spoke and recited the truth, but the man would not hear him. He would not believe even a talking tiger.

No longer will you be called Forsaken...
Isaiah 62:4

So they stood, facing the sun, staring at it. One saw nothing. One saw hope. Then the sun moved. It reached into the man, deeply, to the spot in his heart he had hidden away, the protected place. The sun leaned in and whispered. The whisper was like a shout. A proclamation. "You," the sun said, "Are mine."

And suddenly the lie would no longer do. The man wanted to know what that meant.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

From Russia with Love

My blogging friend Catherine sent me this postcard. It's a monastery located in Moscow. The glimmer in the upper left is a reflection of the lights hanging above my kitchen table. 
I like the effect! 

If you are in America, you may be scared to say the word Russia because the news has gone insane here. But Americans and Russians aren't so different and the fear of Russia that has seized our media is ridiculous. It really is. So shine the light. You know what? 
Our world isn't what it once was.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Beautiful

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; 
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.
For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


"What comes into our minds 
when we think about God is 
the most important thing about us."

A.W. Tozer
The Knowledge of the Holy


Monday, July 16, 2018

Did he say, "weapons in space"?



Peace between nations is a good thing, right? Why not talk? Silence is a prison. Nothing changes if no one speaks. I was glad to see the Trump-Putin meeting happen. 
I hope good things come of it.

Did you hear Putin's remarks at the press conference? He said all the normal things, but one phrase jumped out at me. My 11 year old and I said at the same time, 
"Did he say 'weapons in space'?" (COOL!)

Yes. Yes, he did:

"We believe that continued joint efforts to fully work through the military-political and disarmament dossier is necessary. That includes the renewal of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, the dangerous situation surrounding the development of elements of the US global missile defence system, the implementation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, and the topic of deploying weapons in space." (en.kremlin.ru)  

Did you watch any of this? What do you think?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Here's How...


I am small...
With my whole heart I cry to the Lord
And He hears me.

"Whisper,"
He says.
He tells me,
"Your whisper will be as a scream."

When I say, "This is too heavy."
He lifts it and tosses it like a pebble.

When I say, "I can't see."
He says, "Look."
And I see it now.

"How?" 
I ask.

"If I told you that,
You would know everything
And you would never be afraid again," He says, 
"Here's how..."

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The All-Seeing Eye


The Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God) is a symbol showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light or a glory and usually enclosed by a triangle. It represents the eye of God watching over humanity (or divine providence). -Wikipedia

We know Wikipedia is always right. 
(Snicker!) 
But I think this is a commonly accepted definition.

What is this eye symbol that shows up every.freaking.where 
in our popular culture and religious iconography? 
What does it mean?

There's the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. 
There is even a version called 
Eye of Sauron for Your Home, 
like Fireplace for Your Home on Netflix. 
I have an awkward sense of humor because I think that's hilarious.


These two guys defeated that big eye of fire.


There is the creepy eye pyramid on American money. (Does it look sinister to you too?) Apparently, it was in use on our money about ten years before a secretive group called the Freemasons began using it and it developed into a symbol of mystery, intrigue, 
and, in modern times, conspiracy theories.


This is all kinds of creepy.


There is even one in the Grand Kremlin Palace. Did you know it was torn down by the Communists when the building 
became less of a palace and more of an office space, 
but was restored by Boris Yeltsin's government in the 1990's?  
Way to go, Yeltsin!


So Much Gold.


It is an enduring symbol. Symbols usually tell us about ourselves.
What does this one say about us?

I once read an online account of a person called into Christian ministry. They saw an eye appear before them in a room. That weirded me out, but they described it as a sign from God. So...I am still weirded out, but maybe I shouldn't be. I am, though.

It appears in many other places. 
For example, on Coats of Arms and Seals, 
various currency, the Constitution of Serbia, 
Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah,
and- I kid you not- a WWE, 
World Wrestling Entertainment, 
tag team called The Ascension. 

Remember the Prince girls from the 80's who had 
their hair over to one side with just the one eye showing? 
I have no idea if that was 
Providence or fabulousness, 
but I remember it was a thing.

Have you seen The Eye?

What do you think, good, bad, stolen from good, stolen from bad? 

I see it a lot and I wonder if symbols mean anything these days. How do they affect us?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Sometimes Christian denominations have different ways of talking about or describing salvation, so I will only talk about my thoughts. I was baptized Lutheran as a baby, and later as an adult in a Messianic Jewish congregation, and have also attended services at other churches, including Wesleyan, Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist, and a few more. Non-denominational churches are a good fit for me. Though there is something in each that I love, that's Jesus. One kind of church I have not been to, but want to, is Orthodox. I have a photo of a Russian Orthodox church on my fridge. It's blue, white, and gold and surrounded by snow. I have a similar picture I post on my blog. 

To me, to be saved means changed, transformed, once was that, now is this, freed, forgiven, doesn't even smell like smoke. There was a definite Before and After when I got saved. I went forward at a church. I was that and now I am this. I struggle to find words to describe the purity I felt wash over me. Jesus is real. A real being. Meeting Him changed me internally.

Like many things in life, maybe it can best be expressed by Star Trek. In episode 23 of season 3, the original 1960's series, "All Our Yesterdays," Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, beam down to a planet whose sun is about to go supernova. They soon discover the inhabitants have safely escaped into the past. They meet a caretaker who wants to transform them with a machine called the Atavachron so they, too, can escape. But before any transforming can take place, Kirk goes one way and Spock and Bones go another. In the distant past of the planet's history, they discover that the people they meet have been transformed and cannot be changed back, and without transformation it is deadly for our heroes to stay where they are. With only seconds remaining they...well, I'll let you watch it.

The point is, once changed they cannot change back. I feel like that. It was a transformation for me. I am not the same. There is no back.

I think someone can reject the things of God or just simply not be interested in Him anymore, even no longer believe. But God is faithful. Even when we're not. Didn't He call us before we knew Him? 

Psalm 139:7-10
Where shall I go from your Spirit? 
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! 
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and 
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me, 
and your right hand shall hold me.

John 6:39
And this is the will of him who sent me, 
that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, 
but raise them up at the last day.

John 18:7-9
So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” 
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 
 Jesus answered, 
“I told you that I am he. 
So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 
 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: 
“Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”

Romans 8:38
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, 
neither angels nor demons, 
neither the present nor the future, 
nor any powers, neither height nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But this one is my favorite:

John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, 
and no one will snatch them out of my hand.


I know, I know. 
Old, bearded, wise men of the ages have argued this. They studied. They read.  
Maybe they would disagree with ordinary me.  
They thought deep, important thoughts. 


But what do you think?