Wednesday, November 18, 2009

She Did Not Know

It is both amazing and consistent how God his relationship to his people as a husband to his wife. Throughout Hosea 2, you can hear the pain and agony in God's voice as he talks about how Israel has gone following after other nations and their gods in search of fulfillment. Sometimes I tend to think of God as all powerful and perfect, without blemish. Sorrow causes pain and scarring that doesn't go away easily. When I read this text, I see God waiting, longingly for his bride to come back, all the while having his stomach tied up in knots–-she doe not realize what her life is doing to his. We also see this attitude in the Father of the prodigal son in Luke 15 and in numerous other places where marriage is related to the relationship of Christ and the Church. i am also reminded of a passage from The Singer, by Calvin Miller, when the little girl whose legs have been healed puts her hands into the mangled hand of the Singer. She asks if it hurts, to which the Singer replies not anymore, but the scars never fade. The end of the chapter in Hosea, shows us God's great love in that he wants to take us back if we will only come home--his love is stronger than our rebellion; however, the scars remain. She did not know it was I who gave…

Revelation 17

the beast with seven heads and ten horns!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tell Me If You Know

What God asks Job in the last chapters of the book of Job is overwhelming. Job has been defending himself throughout the book from "friends" who want him to come clean about his sin. Job insists he hasn't sinned and longs to vindicate himself before God. Well, here is his opportunity. But first God wants Job to answer a few little questions. It turns out the questions aren't as little as Job is. I remember when my children were younger. They would ride in the back seat of the car with their friends waxing eloquent about their vast knowledge (which was admittedly laughable and completely off-base). When I remembered those moments, this whole section suddenly came into sharp focus--I'm that child. Job is that child. God's understanding is so far above ours that we shrink in comparison. But we only shrink when we are willing to compare what we know and how we act with what God knows and how he acts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finally Brothers

When we talk about truth, the right, the noble, what is considered lovely and admirable and all things excellent and praiseworthy, we think of many different things–all of which lead us back to the author of it all, God. I have a love for words and lettering, especially handlettering. John writes "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…" God chose to reveal himself to us by the spoken word. He spoke words and the creation came into existence. So I thought that giving my best to make the words visually beautiful was a good way for me to "think about such things."

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad

Our passage for this week was Matthew 6: 25-34, the "do not worry" passage of the Sermon on the Mount. I read through it and it made me think of how we are weighed down by our thoughts and worries–most of which we have no control over. This passage speaks primarily of food and clothing. God takes care of that. We worry about other things, as well. In John 8, for instance, Jesus was having a discussion with the religious leaders who seemed to be very concerned about their power and prestige–much of which was derived from their ancestry. They were very proud of the fact that they were children of Abraham. Jesus pointed out to them that they were in fact children of the Devil and not of Abraham, because of the way they treated other people including the prophets of God. Their worry about their power and position was such that their thinking translated into violence against the very children of God. Jesus's father, and our Father God, is much bigger than the Devil. An he can beat up Satan!

Friday, May 1, 2009

And We, Who With Unveiled Faces…

The temple veil, the veil covering Moses' face after he was with God, the veil that covered the hearts of the followers of the old covenant--all of these had the common trait of hiding the truth from full view. Jesus' death and resurrection removed that veil for all who believe.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

I've always thought that glory from God has to be colorful, the complete opposite of drab and pale. Once we begin to take on "ever increasing glory", we will stand out from the crowd--even to the point of appearing clownish. God's foolishness is wiser than man's wisdom. There is an acting group on the Harding Campus called Theatron, which I understand is Greek for"fools". They consider themselves fools for Christ. I think we like them and the apostle Paul will naturally become more colorful and "foolish" as we live in the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bandages Are For Healing

In John 20, we find the strips of burial cloth laying in the tomb with the head cloth folded neatly to one side. As I thought about that, I was reminded that Jesus came into this world as a human baby wrapped in strips of cloth. Bandages. These strips of cloth were bandages. Bandages help us to heal when we've been injured. Christ came into our world and left with the one focus of healing us from our injury from sin.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

John 18

Testify to the love
Shown in the stumble
And the stagger
As the power of the
Saviour revealed itself
In the raw, losing
None at all as it
Was spoken.

Discussion Starter

As infants, we must drink only milk: it is all we can bear. As we grow older, slowly we learn to stomach stronger, heavier foods, until we are guided to the truth that all foods are permissible.

John 16:12-13 "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Hebrews 5:12-14 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


This short poem is based on Bethy's connection of John 16:12-13 and Hebrews 5:12-14.

John 16:12-13
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will tell you what is to come."

Hebrews 5:12-14
"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

Carried by the hands,
taken along the path.
Crawling along the path,
bounded by the rails.
Toddling along the way,
directed by the string.
Walking in the direction,
guided by the signs.
Running towards the goal,
following my heart.

Bloody Thorns

Piercing thorns drenched in blood,
Strangling my struggling heart.
Angry roots are shoved deep into
The black manure of my sin.
Roses grow, withered and worn,
Displaying the false hope of my pride.

The Gardener scoops his hands into the dirt,
Digging out the roots that cling.
He rips them out
And tills the new soil,
Preparing me for the seed.
Love sows the seed,
Thrown by the hands of the Bride.

Yet the thorns remain,
Tightening their hold as the
Roots are clipped from the stems.
The Gardener tightly grasps those
Sharp cutting thorns that encircle my heart.
His blood flows onto the soil,
Cleansing and enriching it anew.

His blood mingles with mine
As he rips the bloody crown of thorns apart.
He leaves the wounds as reminders,
But the way for healing is left clear,
As our blood-pact is sealed once more.

This simple poem is just a description of the breaking process of returning to God after a period of separation from Him. Although the process may be hard and hurt, eventually the heart can heal and be renewed in Him again. Reliance upon the church and the body of believers for this process is a must, as they can provide the guidance needed to see the way to a more meaningful Christainity.

Monday, March 2, 2009

John 13

Where I am going,
Preparing your future home,
You cannot come...yet.

Friday, February 20, 2009


John 12.

Verse 6: He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief....

Verse 19: So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"

Verse 43: ...they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

Taking what is given to us and perverting, misusing, 
Wanting more, stealing what isn't ours.
We place value on worldly things, toss away what should be a cherished gift. 
We miss the big picture and focus on our own agenda. 

Mary poured out her expensive perfume on feet. 
Christ poured out his blood for sinners. 


Thursday, February 19, 2009


In John 12, Jesus is anointed by Mary, she's criticized by Judas, Jesus redirects the discussion back to the focus, which it is where it should be. Mary had a jar of perfume, Judas had a pouch of money and both were being poured out, yet for very different purposes. After the triumphal entry with it's palm tree branches, Jesus himself is being poured out at Golgotha. And with that sacrifice, the Son of Man draws all men to himself.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Genesis Gravity

This all holy gravity –
Draws us ever upward, onward,
To a deeper light, that we may walk in it
As He is and does.
As a seed dies to produce many others,
Light goes out forever,
Through the creases of time
Never ceasing its journey to
New eyes and ears and tongues and hearts,
For light waves cannot be stopped
Unless blocked and
Nothing can block the rock.
If we walk there, in deepest light
With Him,
We too will shine,
For His glory will be on us and
None shall veil our faces,
For we fear not this blessing.
No longer is death required
For the greatest debt has been paid in full and interest.
Gravity pulls us upward –
Anti-gravity to draw us from the earth –
For, in all His holy, radiant light,
He extends, radiant, perfect and holy,
Radiating out
In unending spirals to cradle, comfort and
Lift high.
All power
Emanating outward
Serves only to magnetize
The streams of light
To draw all back
To the genesis.

“Walk in the light, as He is in the light” –1 John 1:7
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” -John 12:02
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” –John 12:24
The Radiant Face of Moses –Exodus 34:29-35

God is Love

The creation of man boggles me. How could any one come up with the idea of how to make us work? How could any one being come up with a concept that complex? The theme in chapel this semester is "I believe because”. I believe because random combinations could never come up with something this intense, this complex, this complete. I believe because I’ve been blessed with a creativity that defies my imagination. I believe because this world, this existence, this reality is something so thoroughly crafted, so carefully and intricately designed so that it fits together just right.

God put so much time and effort into each and every one of us. He knew each step we would have to take and shaped our feet to match the footprints we’d leave behind us. He crafted our shadows so that they would never grow too long, nor would they ever be too short. He gifted us with individual thoughts, a mind of our own that allows us to decide for ourselves whether we should follow Him or not, or if we even think He exists.

And there is where I find my proof. I believe because I have seen God’s love.
This is love: Knowing when to let go.
God created us in love, longing for relationships, and then released us to make our own choices, even though He knew the destruction we would bring on ourselves. He stood by and let us make our mistakes, and when we're looking for a helping hand so that we can stand back up, He's there waiting, loving us always and longing to heal.

God loves me and He gave me a way to reach other people. He blessed me with a talent for writing and for music. I’m so undeserving of these gifts and I’ve misused them in the past but I see now that even in misuse, God can be glorified.

Music is an amazing creation, which I all too often take for granted. It’s a daily part of my life. There’s almost always music playing in my room and I’m in choir every weekday. I sing in church on Sundays and when I’m hanging out with people on Saturdays, there’s always music involved. I love music and I love God so putting the two together is like some sort of special treat that I feel honored to receive. Even when it expresses the darkest emotion, music is just amazing and awesome because of how wonderfully it affects us, how something as simple as sound can impact us so powerfully.

Words, too, are startlingly powerful. Words are capable of turning someone’s life upside down or healing the deepest wounds. With a word, you can mend broken homes and stop a war from happening. I might be a writer of fiction, but the power of writing is still apparent in the genre. In my head, there are dozens of characters all chattering away, sometimes louder than my friend sitting next to me. I know their stories, I know their lives and their struggles and their joys and their pain. The idea that God entrusted me with these ideas, these people, so that I can help others and show them something true and right and powerful is overwhelming.

God is love. Love is God. When you love someone, you’re showing them God. So stop reading this and go love some people for me. Go love people for God. What are you waiting for?

“If music be the food of love, play on…” –Duke Orsino in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

A writer's creed:
"Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true." -Ecclesiastes 12:9-10

Our Foolishness

In all foolishness,
We have hardened
Our hearts till they
Are as flint,
When the snare
Is already broken.
We have chosen
Not to escape.

Allusions, references, quotes and paraphrases from 1 Cor. 1:18-31, Zech. 7:7-12 and Psalm 124:7.

Who Has Listened to His Message? - Feb 18 class

This week's song is a response to John 12:38-40: " . . . so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

'Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arms of the Lord been revealed?'

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

'He has blinded their eyes,
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.'"


Famous words, but so sad. The "blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart" is always a difficult thing to deal with. But, I see it kind of this way: when people are doing wrong and are confronted by what is right, the human tendency is to justify themselves and reject the advice they are given. It's often been that way with my kids, sometimes just me being "for" some idea is enough that they will automatically be "against" it. Many times if they would take my advice, live would have gone much easier for them.

So the very nature of Jesus, the "rightness" of it was enough to make many of the people and Jewish leaders reject him, blinded and hardened by their desire to justify themselves.

Here are the lyrics for this week:

Who has listened to his message?
Who has seen his hand?
Who has turned to him for refuge
In this weary land?
From a world that is steeped in sin
He calls us out, he invites us in.
But who has listened to his message?
Who has seen his hand?

Blinded eyes that will not see,
Don't you want to be set free?
Troubled heart as hard as stone,
Open up, he calls you home.
Turn to him, release your soul
In his arms you'll be made whole but
Who has listened to his message?
Who has seen his hand?

The Good Shepherd--Feb 11 class

I focused on John 10:1-6, where Jesus tell us: ". . . But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." (Jn 10:2-5, ESV)

We have often been compared with sheep, which is not all that complimentary since sheep aren't too bright. But it struck me in reading the passage this time, that sheep are smarter than us in this sense: they will follow the voice of their master and flee from others. Too often in this world I hear all the other "voices," getting distracted from my purpose in life, and forget to listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Like a sheep I'm lost and wandering,
In a world of noise and strife.
Piercing through the mass confusion
Comes the Shepherd's words of life:
"Hear my voice and follow, follow,
In my fold you will be free.
Hear my voice and follow, follow,
Hear my voice and come to me."

Friday, February 13, 2009

One Flock, One Shepherd, One Man

John chapters 10 and 11 bring up and interesting parallel. At the beginning of chapter 10, Jesus is talking about the good shepherd as one who really cares for the flock. In fact he lays down his life for the sheep--and they know it. They recognize it and will come to no one else. The end of chapter 11 has the high priest Caiaphas prophesying about Jesus' death and its effects on spreading the Kingdom of God. Caiaphas' intent was that Jesus' sacrifice would appease the Roman government and keep the Jews from incurring the wrath of breaking Roman peace by following Jesus. Jesus had spoken about false shepherds in chapter 10. The high priest of the Jews was supposed to be a shepherd of the flock, yet he was willing to run when times got tough. Jesus did indeed die and through his death, he brought salvation to not only the Jews but to believing people from all over the world. I'm one of those sheep. Halelujah.

Who Is He, Sir?

In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind. You'd think that would have been great news--at least the blind man thought so. If you read the chapter closely, everyone besides Jesus and the blind man had a negative angle on the event. The disciples asked who sinned that he was born blind. The rulers of the synagogue couldn't think of anything good to say about the miracle. Even the man's parents were more afraid of the synagogue leaders than they were in love with their son. They basically turned their back on him in front of the "influential" people. After arguing with the synagogue rulers, the man was thrown out. I guess he just wandered around a while in disbelief that this great miracle that changed his life was so easily tossed aside by others. That is until Jesus came up behind him and asked him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" What else could the man believe in? The world had rejected him. His parents rejected him. But God's own son sought him out and welcomed him. "Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Confessions of an Adulterous Woman

Oh my, what a day. Sometimes it stinks to be a woman. I feel like I'm a nobody. That's why I'm attracted to him. When I'm in his embrace, I feel like I'm worth something. I know it is wrong, but in my heart it feels right.

I was so overwhelmed with the experience that, at first, I didn't know what was happening. Then it hit me. There were others in the room pulling us apart. The shame is more than I can bear. Caught. Naked. The yelling, the curses, the accusations (all true) and the forced march to the Temple of God.

Guilty and unclean, dirty. I've never felt this awful before. The world sees me as I am. Through burning tears and rushing thoughts I understand that they have presented me to a young rabbi. I've been set up. I am trapped. I think this is only partly about me. They seem to be using me to get at him.

The young rabbi, Jesus, has been set up, too. We are both trapped with no where to go. I'm going to die and there is nothing that I can do to stop it. I do not want to stop it. There is no reason to go on living.

What is he doing? Why isn't Jesus sneering and yelling like the rest? What is he writing in the sand? Why doesn't he do something?

The silence is agonizing. But wait. What is Jesus saying? I can not believe it. "Those without sin cast the first stone." What does he mean? More silence. The traps have been sprung, only neither of us were caught. I can't look up. All I see are feet–and one gentle but strong hand. My head is pounding and swaying under the guilt…and then it happens.

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

I slowly look up and around. The only face I see is that of a kind, compassionate man who sees me as a person. "Neither do I condemn you. Go and leave your life of sin."

He treats me like somebody. That is why I am attracted to Him. When I am in His loving embrace, I know I am worth something.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Perfect, Impossible Holiness

Flesh and blood
Real food,
Real drink.
Is this cannibalism
Or impossible holiness?

Walking on water
Raising the dead
Life to Death to Life
Impossible holines?