Archive for the ‘life’ Category

babies

March 13, 2011

This is just a curious thought – nothing more.

I’ve typically seen Adam and Eve depicted as twenty-somethings.  But couldn’t they just as well have been (the equivalent of) teens or five-year-olds or even babies?  Maybe God started out changing Adam’s diaper – or whatever – and raised him as a single dad?  Maybe when Eve believed the lie and ate the fruit she was middle-school aged?

Okay; just something to mess with your 21st century presuppositions.

Blessings to you!

an answer in view of the multitude of his idols

September 23, 2010

I’ve been reading and re-reading Ezekiel 14 this week.  Wondering how many of the “answers to prayer” I’ve heard have been answers “according to the multitude of the idols of my heart”.

amazed

September 9, 2010

I used to be amazed that the authors of the Bible, over a huge span of time, told a consistent story using the same images.

Now I’m amazed that all of creation tells the same story using the same pictures.

God rocks!

when God works

August 19, 2010
going through the ditch

image courtesy trucktrend.com

God is sovereign.  He decides to intervene in a situation based on his own will.  He alone knows the ultimate results of any action and he alone is in the position to choose action or inaction.  But it seems there are two things that influence the likelihood of his intervention.

No Plan B – God is more likely to act when the situation is otherwise impossible. As Gideon went out to his famous battle with the Midianites and Amelekites, God said:

The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.” – Judges 7:2

God wasn’t willing to join the battle until Gideon reduced the size of his army from 22,000 to 300, making it unwinnable in any natural sense.  God does not want to share credit for the victory.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 say that God curses the man who trusts in man’s strength – either his own or someone else’s – but blesses the one who trusts in the Lord.  God acts when our hope is in him and him alone.

It’s His Choice – God is more likely to act when we submit to his sovereignty.  This includes submitting to the possibility that he may choose to not act.  The three Hebrew boys being thrown in to the fiery furnace testified to Nebuchadnezzar:

Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. – Daniel 3:17-18

They put their fate completely in God’s hands.  “We know you can save us, now we’ll find out if you will save us.”

Jesus said it like this: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

My hands are off the wheel.  I trust your driving.  If you drive me into a ditch, I trust it’s the ditch I need to go through to get to the road I need to be on.

missing person alert

June 21, 2010

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”

For what reason?

The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

For the reason that she isn’t a separate entity, but rather part of him, living in a different body.  For the reason that he is missing a piece; he is incomplete without her.

unalloyed

May 29, 2010

God spoke to me through three different scriptures today.

I’m a couple chapters into Mark and Patti Virkler’s book Dialog with God. Chapter two points out the passage in Ezekiel 14 where the elders came to the prophet to ask God a question. God responds to them: “Since you’ve come to me with idols in your hearts, I’m going to answer you regarding your idols”.

I might further paraphrase: “You’ve already decided what you’re going to hear and what you’re going to do.  Why should I answer you?  Get the garbage out, then we’ll talk.”

This may become a pivotal verse for me.  What God is saying is that he is actively involved in the ongoing purification of my heart.  Even though I know him and pray to him, he’s not going to answer when I’ve placed a man-made idea or concept as his equal in my life and mind.

As I was reading the verses in Ezekiel I was reminded of the one at the beginning of James’ letter where he says: “But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.”

Satan’s first words to Eve were calculated to introduce doubt.  And doubting God is an indication of an idol.  It means I’ve believed God is less than he is, or something else is greater than he is.

The third verse was one Adam Edelstein posted on Facebook.  It’s in Paul’s second Corinthian letter where he wrote: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Together the three verses said to me: “God wants my whole heart.  He is at work on me, through my relationship with him, revealing the impurities.  He expects me to use the power tools he has provided to continually purify my heart of the things he is revealing.”

Not a bad word for a day, eh?

telling stories

May 10, 2010

The good guys wear white hats and draw faster and shoot straighter.  They win all their fights and ride off in the sunset with the pretty girls.

And they’re not real; they’re just a badly told story, missing most of the details.

Ever notice the heroes in the Bible?  Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul – all great men of God – all just as human as you or me.

A bad story is idealized and moralistic.  A good story shows pride and desire and fear and the battle to overcome them or to deal with the consequences when they’ve prevailed.  The goal of a good story is relationship and the protagonist’s temptation is to rat out a friend to save himself.

And God is a great story teller!

open and honest

May 4, 2010

One of the things I do for a living is design and develop business software.  My favorite project of all time began eighteen years ago at IBM’s Toronto lab on a product called ImagePlus.  We completed the project on time, within budget, and with an unusually low defect rate.  Two doctoral students from the University of Guelph somehow heard about our project and came out to study the team and discover the secret to our success.

Each team member filled out a survey and the researchers interviewed a number of us.  Their finding was eye-opening.  We weren’t successful because of superstar team members or a new breakthrough in management theory.  They felt the keystone of our success was one key phrase that came up on the questionnaire and in interviews: “open and honest communication”.

I heard that phrase several times recently listening to Ed Catmull speak at an event put on by the Economist magazine.  Ed is president of Pixar Studios and was speaking about running a creative company.  He too listed open and honest communication as a key factor in their success.  Working with strong, creative, even eccentric personalities was all part of the job, but the real challenge is calling things what they really are.  Being un-intimidated about saying so when something isn’t working.  Willing to recognize when people are gaming the system. Thick-skinned enough to handle criticism.  Willing to trust the other people in the process to do their jobs while you do yours.  That’s what makes an excellent project team.

And couldn’t we use some of that in the Kingdom of God?

friends

April 21, 2010

I was in a familiar situation yesterday – looking for something that I knew was in the room but I couldn’t quite find.  And I repeated that familiar prayer, “Lord, you know where it is and I don’t.  Please show me where to look.”

I know a few things about God.

For one, he is not on my time schedule.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he thinks it’s funny how much I worry about time.

Another thing; he knows what I really need, and that’s frequently different than what I think we need.

One final thing I’ve noticed about him.  He wants to spend time with me, just like any good friend.  If I don’t make the time, sometimes he’ll do it for me.

So that’s where the game started.  I say game, because that’s exactly what it was – God was playing with me.  He knew I was in a big hurry to get the thing I was looking for.  People were depending on me.  I’d committed to be at a certain place at a certain time with some equipment.  So I asked him, “Should I look over here?”

“No”, he said.

“Ok, back here then?”

“Ok”

This went on for a couple hours.  By then end I’d found several items not on my “things I need”  list – but which turned out to be critical for what I was doing.  Also he opened my eyes to his plans for my near future that I’d been wondering about – but plans not-at-all related to my pressing dilemma.  And of course, he did finally point me to the thing I originally asked about.  It was in plain view in a place I’d looked before I’d even prayed.

I drove away literally laughing about the good time we had, just hanging out with my best friend, God.  My sense was that he enjoyed it too.

I was extraordinarily late for my appointment.  And it was somehow no problem at all.

A Few Things About Jesus

March 31, 2010

Ever notice that Jesus’ ministry only occasionally involved religious institutions?  When they stopped inviting him he didn’t even complain.  His message was kingdom, not church/synagogue.

He spent a lot more time showing people how to live than telling them.

His first, most important job was to maintain his relationship with his Father. He regularly skipped opportunities to minister so he could spend time with Dad.

He was humble, but fearless, before men.

We don’t know if he laughed, but we know that he cried.

He never worked a crowd.  He never gave an altar call.  He never took an offering.  He had no salary and no building to maintain.  He forbade his disciples to be called by religious titles.

He didn”t worry about who he might offend.  Sometimes he intentionally offended people.

The people he hung out with were distinctly un-religious.

His very existence bothered religious people because he wasn’t part of their system and they couldn’t control him.  Eventually that cost him his life, which he freely gave.