Let me bring others to their new heart.

Help me to be a jolt for the heart or a pronouncer of the dead or to share my own hospital journey . . Whatever will bring people to long for a new heart from You, Most High Exalted GOD.

"Reaching" by Joel Montes

“Wake up, sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14b)

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Photograph “Reaching” by Joel Montes, profile on http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelmontes/with/4229957797/

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Published in: on November 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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<3

I’m so thankful for my dearheart Ben.

He’s so handsome and sweet and kind.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for my Ben.

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17, NLT)

Published in: on November 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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On worship

On worship

He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about “His glory’s diminution”? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word “darkness” on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God—though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain.

From The Problem of Pain

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24, NIV)

Published in: on November 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How I love the writing of C.S. Lewis

But how could it be true, sir?” said Peter.

“Why do you say that?” asked the Professor.

“Well, for one thing,” said Peter, “if it was real why doesn’t everyone find this country every time they go to the wardrobe? I mean, there was nothing there when we looked; even Lucy didn’t pretend there was.”

“What has that to do with it?” said the Professor.

From the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia

Published in: on November 28, 2013 at 9:22 am  Comments (2)  
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Take Another Look

Yesterday on my way home from work, what I thought I saw warranted a call to 911.

A man was lying in a the ditch on the side of the road, motionless.  Even though it was freezing cold outside, he didn’t have on a coat, and one leg of his pants was pulled up to the knee.  Clearly he’d been laying there for some time.  Another man was standing over him, and there was a large truck.  I wasn’t looking at the truck, but filled in the details: there was a garbage bin beside the man who lay motionless . . as the garbage disposal worker had stopped to pick up the can, he had seen the man lying motionless on the side of the road.

I pulled into a near gas station.  I was in a bit of a quandary–should I call 911?  There was already a man helping the man in the ditch.  But I had seen a TV special where droves of people walked by a man pretending to be homeless and unconscious on the sidewalk.  Few cared enough even to dial 911.

I have always wanted to be a hero, and I called 911.  The dispatcher asked me for the exact location.  When I realized that I’d need to pinpoint exactly where he was, I pulled back around–which took considerable time in the traffic.  On my way back, I recognized the man who had been lying down, but now he was standing up and talking to the other man.  And the truck wasn’t a garbage truck at all–it was a City Utilities truck.

I reported that he was up to the 911 operator.  I was trying to make sense of the new information.  Probably he was homeless, and had passed out, but he was all right now.  But, as I turned around once more, this time on the right side of the street to pull over and talk to them, I was thinking something else.  They were talking more like friends.

As soon as I got up close, I realized (with a sinking feeling) how wrong I had really been.  The two men were doing something around a flooded ditch–I don’t know what, but one had a cup and seemed to be trying to drain it.  The other, I realized, had been on the ground doing something–maybe reaching into the drainpipe–and not hurt at all.

I’d called 911 for no reason.  I got out of the car to ask if they were okay to confirm it with the operator, and the dispatch was cancelled.  The 911 operator told me she would rather to be safe than sorry.

I was embarrassed–I had jumped to such wrong conclusions.  How had that happened?

I was reminded of something very real: sometimes we think we know what is going on, but what we really need is to take another look.  Whether I made the wrong move over not by calling, I cost emergency operators some of their time.   I took a few facts I had, and imagined a story around them in my mind–so quickly that the story became nearly fact itself . . until I took another look.

The operator didn’t seem to blame me for messing up.  But what if, after I’d known the truth, I’d lied to try to fit reality into my fiction?  What if I’d hung up the phone and made matters worse by not correcting my mistake?  Or what if I’d made the report and driven on, as I’d originally planned to do, without taking another look?

Immediately after I hung up with 911, I realized the metaphor God was giving me through this story: take another look.

If you’ve glanced in the direction of what you assume Christianity is and think you’ve got this faith all figured out, now is the time to take a second look.

You might have looked at people you thought were Christians, talked to people who you thought were representing Christianity accurately, or just drawn conclusions from jokes on your favorite sitcom.  But what you need to realize is, until you read Christianity for yourself, you will never know if the first impression you got, or the long-held belief you’ve had are really true.

Christianity is found in the pages of the Old and New Testament.  And only when you ‘pull back around’ and look with a willing heart at this Book can you possibly expect to know what is true Christianity.

You can’t call Christians hypocrites, make judgment statements about Jesus, or dismiss faith as ridiculous if you don’t even know what Christianity truly looks like.  All you can do is make your best guess based on what you thought you saw.  And that’s a shaky ground to stand on when it comes to eternal destination.

If you drew false conclusions, whether you had the best of intentions or the most nefarious of motives, the great news is Christ loves you and wants to start all over with you today, right now.  Pick up His Word and read it for yourself.  See how much He loves you.  And most of all, delight in the extraordinary mercy, unwarranted privilege, and unspeakable joy of God giving you the opportunity to take another look.

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  Even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  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 3:13-18, NIV)

Footnote

On devotional blogs, books, and why if this is what you’ve based Christianity on, you MUST take another look:

No matter how many devotional books or blogs you’ve read, you still haven’t seen Christianity clearly until you go to the Source.

Christian authors of course try to get the picture right, but we are all struggling with personal sin, mistakes in our thinking we don’t even know we have, and erroneous conclusions.

Christian authors go to God’s Word to be clarified and to get closer and closer to the Truth, but we never fully arrive until we are out of these bodies. (See Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3:12.)

So if you’re basing what you know about Christianity on how many Sunday school workbooks you’ve gone through or how many devotional texts you get on your phone–it’s time to take another look.

This is an IMPORTANT point to me, because for years I fell into this category.  As wonderful as the wisdom was, not even the finest of Christian literature brought me to Jesus Christ in the way that His Word alone did.)

Published in: on November 27, 2013 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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The love of God through us

True love doesn’t throw in the towel because things don’t seem to be working. Scripture says love “always perseveres” (from 1 Cor 13:7).

Please sign this new petition for Pastor Saeed. It might seem signing petitions isn’t working, but it’s a gift we can give him. We can’t bring meals to his cell or doctors to tend to his wounds. But we can sign our name on a letter that says we care. And most of all, we can pray.

Published in: on November 27, 2013 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Bible: Why I look inside

Everything I really know, everything I want to be, and every dream I have is here.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8, NIV)

Not “the sweetest frame”

God will not allow a believer to rely on the ‘sweetest frame’ for long.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame . .

but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

–On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, by Edward Mote

As for God, his way is perfect:

The Lord’s word is flawless;

he shields all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the Lord?

And who is the Rock except our God?

(Psalm 18:30-31, NIV)

Acknowledge

When we do not acknowledge God as the Giver, we cannot give Him the glory for what He’s given.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17, NIV)

Published in: on November 19, 2013 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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The peace of grace.

I relax in Your grace.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” –Jesus, Matthew 11:28b

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Photograph by Oliver Kendal, profile on http://www.flickr.com/photos/oliverkendal/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

Published in: on November 11, 2013 at 10:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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