Thursday, April 30, 2009

Psalm 57

Psalm 57

1Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

2I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.

3He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

4My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

5Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.

6They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

7My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

8Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.

9I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

10For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

11Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

one of my favorite verses: Lamentations 3:33

For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. American King James Version For he does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of ...

Just a lovely phrase to me. To me it implies a kind of laissez-faire easygoing God who loves His creatures and wishes them to be happy and to prosper and be in health above all things. But there are moments when humans must be afflicted -- to keep their souls from heal for instance-- and God has to do it. From His side of eternity, He knows it's for the good of the afflicted person. Yet, even from His side of eternity, He isn't willing to let humans suffer. As one of the translations below states it: His heart isn't in it.

Psalm 119 states, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes."

I think God afflicts sometimes, or He uses the devil's cruelty against us for our own good. What the devil means for evil God means for good. I don't believe we are to be afflicted and never improve, unless it's a sickness unto death given to us because we sinned a sin that brings death. (And even John says he isn't gonna say that we should pray for someone who has sinned a sin that brings death. Heck, there are so many sins that bring death. Adultery, for instance, brings death. As surely as anger brings death. And doctors are showing us how a type A kind of person is likely to bring on his own death because of stress/anger/etc.) So yeah, God brings affliction -- and to save our soul-- but on the whole, though, I don't think he gives people these permanent thorns in the flesh. (Not really convinced that the thorn in the flesh was a sickness but that's another story.) The only person in the Bible who was given a "thorn in the flesh" was someone so full of divine revelations and blessings the thorn was given to him to preserve him from being proud. So all the folks who sit around talking about their thorn in the flesh must have had some supreme glorious revelation of be so afflicted. As such, someone with a thorn in the flesh may want to be free from their afflictions but being so full of all that extraordinary divine revelation, they wouldn't lose their faith because of a thorn in the flesh.

Anyway, I just love this verse. The kindness of a loving parent who must chastise. St Paul tells us in Hebrews (yep, i believe He wrote this epistle) that a good father chastizes his children. Bastards are not chastized because their father doesn't much care for them. So in chastisements, count it all joy. -C

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
He does not willingly bring suffering or grief to anyone,

King James Bible
For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

American King James Version
For he does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

American Standard Version
For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.

Bible in Basic English
For he has no pleasure in troubling and causing grief to the children of men.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Caph. For he hath not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men.

Darby Bible Translation
for he doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.

English Revised Version
For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.

Webster's Bible Translation
For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

World English Bible
For he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.

Young's Literal Translation
For He hath not afflicted with His heart, Nor doth He grieve the sons of men.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Psalm 56

Psalm 56

1Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.

2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.

3What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

4In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

5Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.

6They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.

7Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.

8Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

9When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.

10In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.

11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

12Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

13For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Psalm 55

Psalm 55

1Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

2Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;

3Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.

4My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.

5Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.

6And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.

7Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.

8I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

9Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

10Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.

11Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.

12For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:

13But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.

14We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

15Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

16As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.

17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

18He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.

19God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.

20He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant.

21The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

22Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

23But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Time Caverns by Todd A Fonseca

"The Time Cavern" series
by Todd A Fonseca. visit:
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: Borders Personal Publishing (June 23, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605520101
ISBN-13: 978-1605520100Here's the blurb:
When ten-year-old Aaron moved from the big city to the middle of Amish country, he felt transported to a different and simpler time and place. But after finding a faded and long forgotten diary page of a boy gone missing over one hundred years earlier, Aaron began an adventure more wondrous and exciting than he could have ever imagined. Befriended by a local farm girl named Jake, together they search for answers to this century long mystery and uncover the secrets of an astounding cavern that will take them to the edge of time itself.

Friday, April 24, 2009

BOOK: A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and other Adventures

A different life
by Quinn Bradlee
240 pages
PublicAffairs (March 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1586481894
ISBN-13: 978-1586481896

Here's the blurb:

Born with a hole in his heart that required invasive surgery when he was only three months old, Quinn Bradlee suffered from a battery of illnesses—seizures, migraines, fevers—from an early age. But it wasn’t until he was fourteen that Bradlee was correctly diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS), a widespread, little-understood disorder that is expressed through a wide range of physical ailments and learning disabilities.
Ten percent of the population is affected by a learning disability, but few of us understand what being learning disabled (LD) is really like. In this funny, moving, and often irreverent book, Bradlee tells his own inspirational story of growing up as an LD kid—and of doing so as the child of larger-than-life, formidably accomplished parents: long-time Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and bestselling author Sally Quinn. From his difficulties reading social cues, to his cringe-worthy loss of sexual innocence, Bradlee describes the challenges and joys of living “a different life” with disarming candor and humor. By the end of A Different Life he will have become, if not your best friend, one of your favorite people.

He's founded this online support group for teenagers with disabilities, kind of like a facebook for disabled teens where they won't feel rejected.

He's got a group on Facebook

A bit of an excerpt here

Psalm 54

Psalm 54

1Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.

2Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

3For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

4Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

5He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

6I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.

7For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Psalm 52

Psalm 52

1Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.
2The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
3Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
4Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
5God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
6The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
7Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trusting God and God's Word

Trusting in God's word demands two things of us:

Trusting in God and Trusting in God's Word.

Trusting in God is very like Hagar's declaration of faith: You, God, see me. It means, we are aware that God sees us, is aware of us, knows our need, is walking with us and looking on us.

Many of us don't have that. We may think we have this trust in God but we are often surprised when little God winks show up that shows that God has been -- as it were-- behind our shoulders all the time. When I write a scene in a story and use a particular line, I always jump for joy when God shows me that he's been with me all along as I wrote. Once I wrote a scene in a novel in which a character says, "She doesn't like my name Stevie. She says it's a kid's name." I went upstairs to go to bed and turned on the radio. Which I usually don't do at bedtime. And I turned it onto a station I rarely listened to. Two seconds after I did that, a called named Stevie called the station to say his girlfriend hated his name and says he should call himself Steve because Stevie is a kid's name.

That has happened so often that I can only smile and know that God is behind my shoulder as I write and that He gives me little godwinks to make he know He's with me. How wonderful it is to realize that God knows when we sit and when we stand. Psalm 139 He is a very present help in trouble.

Those who trust in God's word have to realize they really do believe that God's word in the Bible is true. That's often hard. Even harder is for them to believe that God's word is specifically for them. And often much harder is to believe that a hopeful dream was really sent from God and isn't wish-fulfillment.

There is also the idea that the word of God is living and active. Some folks use Bible verses as a kind of magical formula. They know the word is powerful and they have faith the word is working. This is good...but the danger is that they are so caught up in the spiritual mechanics of the "word" that they aren't really engaging with God and trusting Him... or trusting that He is personally involved in their lives and personally overseeing the word.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Format: Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Pub Date: September 2007
Price: $22.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-31320-5 (0-679-31320-6)


Here's the blurb:
Award-winning author and broadcaster Carol Off reveals the fascinating – and often horrifying – stories behind our desire for all things chocolate.

Whether it’s part of a Hallowe’en haul, the contents of a heart-shaped box or just a candy bar stashed in a desk drawer, chocolate is synonymous with pleasures both simple and indulgent. But behind the sweet image is a long history of exploitation. In the eighteenth century the European aristocracy went wild for the Aztec delicacy. In later years, colonial territories were ravaged and slaves imported in droves as native populations died out under the strain of feeding the world’s appetite for chocolate.

Carol Off traces the origins of the cocoa craze and follows chocolate’s evolution under such overseers as Hershey, Cadbury and Mars. In Côte d’Ivoire, the West African nation that produces nearly half of the world’s cocoa beans, she follows a dark and dangerous seam of greed. Against a backdrop of civil war and corruption, desperately poor farmers engage in appalling practices such as the indentured servitude of young boys – children who don’t even know what chocolate tastes like.

Off shows that, with the complicity of Western governments and corporations, unethical practices continue to thrive. Bitter Chocolate is a social history, a passionate investigative account and an eye-opening exposé of the workings of a multi-billion dollar industry that has institutionalized misery as it served our pleasures.

Here's a video interview on youtube

Psalm 51

This is one of the most famous guilt psalms. The note to the psalm states that David wrote it when he was told by Nathan the prophet that God had seen that David had committed adultery with is friend's wife then killed his friend. That makes me want to smile. David didn't write this psalm when he committed adultery, and he didn't write it when he killed his friend. He wrote it when he realized God had seen his sin. Ah, humans! Guilt is an interesting thing.

There is a necessity for confession of sins in this world. Confession brings freedom, brings healing, brings power, brings joy. (If it's a really bad sin, I'd suggest confessing it to a priest who doesn't know you. . . and I wouldn't suggest confessing sins to elders or to ministers unless God has really pressed it on one. Confessing one's faults is one thing, confessing one's sins is something else."

It doesn't tell us what David said to Nathan but we hear what David tells God. In Hebrew, the word for guilt and punishment are the same thing. In Job 19:29, Lamentations 4:6, 22, 1 Samuel 28:3-5, Genesis 4:13 we see the word being used. Guilt can be its own punishment but sometimes guilt is a moral emotional consequence and punishment is the spiritual and social consequence. As Derek Prince says, "We don't break God's laws; God's laws break us. No one destroys the law of gravity but breaking the law of gravity has destroyed many." Jesus not only freed us from guilt but from guiltiness -- blood guiltiness or otherwise.

One thing I have always wondered about is this: David's comment that: "Only you have I sinned against." I'm not sure how capable David was of feeling the depth of his guilt. He says "I was conceived in iniquity" which might be an acknowledgement of man's tendency to sin or an acknowledgement of some unknown sin of his mother but it might also be David's way of shifting a bit of the blame unto genetics...thus making it not entirely his fault. And when he says "I have only sinned against you God" bothers me. True, God is the only one we can really "sin" against. But at the same time, I can imagine someone avoiding the hurt he has caused other people by not really looking at the trouble he has caused another human being. You know the kind of person I mean: "As long as I ask God to forgive me and God and I are fine, I'm okay. Who cares if I've wounded this person?" Honestly, I really don't like David. He may have been a man after God's own heart when he was appointed king but by the time he died he was pretty malicious, vindictive, vengeful. But it doesn't matter
I suppose. It is grace that saves us, not our perfection. And although David had the holy spirit, he did not live at a time when the kingdom of heaven had begun to rule. As Jesus said, "The law and the prophets were until John...Among those born of women there is none greater than John . . . but notwithstanding those in the kingdom are greater than he." So we can allow David his imperfections.
Psalm 51

1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

WTF moment in Bible study: Powerful Nothings?

So there I was outside reading in the sun when I'm presented with this verse:

1 Corinthians 1:28
King James Bible
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

Okay, I can understand God using the base, crappy, dissed things of the world to destroy the stuff the world respects. Hey, Jesus was a carpenter, an innocent man killed by capital punishment (ahem) and He is now Lord of all. And we all know stories of triumphant world-changing poor folks (po' folks, actually, cause these guys are so poor they can't even afford the last too letters. -- old joke, yep)

But if something isn' can it destroy what is? So am thinking about that. The essence of the spiritual is that it deals with what isn't seen. So then, if it isn't seen in the spiritual realm, does that mean it is "not."

Hebrews 11:1-6 tells us that God made the visible world from the invisible. As Christians who understand that God's word is living and alive, we know that the world was made by the word of God. We also know that we look at what is seen and not at what is unseen. St Paul reminds us that we walk by what we know by faith, not by what we see. And God "calls those things that be not as though they are."

But things in the spirit "are." They aren't non-existent. So, although I can see that physical things can be unmade and destroyed by the spiritual (And trust me, this is hard to believe when one is waiting patiently on God -- or not so patiently) but to go that further step and to believe that what doesn't actually exist can destroy what exists. Well, it makes one ponder.

I'm daydreaming about Wind Follower being blessed. I'm trying to see it as being blessed, trying to see it being made into a movie actually. So is that unseen hope working on physical money issues now? uhm... gotta think.

Other than that...well, it's warm and hot and I've been soo happy. The sunlight is so good. Vitamin D helps prevent breast cancer, helps sleep, helps the heart. So am doing well. But it means sitting out in the sun reading...when I'd rather be writing in my house or watching a movie. So, what to do? By a laptop? And what to do when winter comes around again? Might have to remove some trees to bring light in. I so wish to move. Will see.

I spent all winter washing my hair and not combing it. Told you I was reclusive. I honestly don't have to do a lotta stuff cause I don't have a lotta folks dropping by. I drop by my friends' houses. And those who drop by are good friends who don't care...or crappy folks I don't allow inside the house. So upshot is I have all this hair which is hopelessly tangled. Hubby gets royally annoyed when I cut my hair and says I look like a guy when I do that. But I can't see what else has to be done. I'm tender-headed as they say. I simply squirm and come to tears when a comb goes through the thing. Will see what I end up doing.

Anyways, here are other translations of the powerful destructive nothings verses:

Douay-Rheims Bible: And the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are

Darby Bible Translation: and the ignoble things of the world, and the despised, has God chosen, and things that are not, that he may annul the things that are;

Weymouth New Testament: and the things which the world regards as base, and those which it sets utterly at nought--things that have no existence--God has chosen in order to reduce to nothing things that do exist;

World English Bible: and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are:

Young's Literal Translation: and the base things of the world, and the things despised did God choose, and the things that are not, that the things that are He may make useless --

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Psalm 50

My two favorite verses in this psalm are:

Gather my saints together ....those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
To him who ordereth his conversation aright, I will show the salvation of the Lord! Wow! Take that you folks who are against positive confession of God's promises!

The great thing about this psalm is that it shows us that so many of God's promises are conditional. There are demands that God makes before the promises are shown in our lives.

We have to learn to forgive in order to be forgiven.
We have to praise God before a promise comes in order to have the promise come into our lives.
Give and you shall receive.
When the spirit says "Gather my saints together" the reader is ready to think, "Okay, that's me!" But then the spirit qualifies those He calls His saints: "Those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
Those who want to see God's salvation, must order their conversation aright.

This psalm is full of a long list of things the holy person should have done and didn't do -- "These things you have done and I kept silent."
Psalm 50

1The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
3Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
7Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
8I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
9I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
10For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
11I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
12If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
13Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
14Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
15And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
16But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
17Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.
18When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
19Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
20Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
21These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
22Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
23Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Banquets and Crumbs

Listening to a sermon about a crumb of mercy and a banquet of mercy. The syrophenician woman's crumb versus the people of the lord having a banquet. Matthew 15:27 "Imagine if a crumb of mercy can heal a demon possessed girl through intercession, what can a banquet of mercy do?"

Wow, how big is our God?!!!

If such a crumb for someone who is not God's people can do so much, what can a child of God expect? That is very challenging. It's so challenging to have childlike faith and to believe in a great God.

Whenever folks on TV portray someone with childlike faith, they always make the person look idiotic. Like on Law and Order for instance. But childlike faith takes a lot of thinking, a lot of mental strength to achieve. Childlike faith is something that is achieved. It's not a putting away of the mind but a retraining of the mind and a freeing of it from the world. Very hard work to do this. And only folks who are arrogant little rationalistic snits think it's for simple minds. Childlike faith is not for folks with simple minds. God is pleased with faith

Psalm 49

I love the "I wills" and "I shalls" in this psalm The kingdom of heaven is something one has to work toward. Even though we have the gift of salvation, there is the danger of being spiritually lazy. A determination is needed.

Luke 15:16 speaks of pressing into the kingdom. This means that we must decrease and God must increase in us. John 3:30 Jesus came to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17 We are told in Matthew 11:12 that the kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent takes it by force. Psalm 27:4 says, "One thing have I desired and that I will seek after." Ecclesiastes 9:10 speaks of doing a thing with all our might. In Matthew 7:14, we are told that narrow is the way. And in Luke 8:24, we are told to strive to enter in at the strait gate. Galatians 5:24 tells us to crucify the flesh's wrong affections and lusts. And we are told in Revelations that we must not be lukewarm.

In this psalm, the psalmist is concerned with one's mouth and one's ears. Jesus tells us to be careful how we hear. We Christians try not to sin but we often ignore things that don't seem totally sinful to us. But Jesus tells us that how we hear, what we incline our ear to, and how we speak are very very important. To not watch our mouth or our ears is to be quite lazy...and not spiritual at all.

Another thing that comes to me today about this psalm is verse 16. I feel like asking, "Why should I be afraid when someone gets rich? Should I be?" But I guess some folks are. I don't understand this verse. Will have to ponder it.

Psalm 49

1Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
3My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
4I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
5Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
6They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
9That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
12Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
14Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
15But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
16Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dark Parables: Python Dream

Dreamed I was looking at the clock and saw that it was 9:09 and my son was still home when he should have been in school. I walked to the calendar and saw that it was a Tuesday and that the city calendar listed that Tuesday and many tuesdays of that month as workdays so for some reason the schoolbus couldn't pick up my son. Soon workmen appeared outside my door. They were digging under the house. My son and I stood on the porch and looked at them as they grabbed a large --gigantic!-- python by the tail and pulled it out backwards until they reached its head. I was so surprised. Not really afraid but was definitely a bit tripped out to realize that python had been under my house for so long. I said to the workmen, "Make sure it didn't leave any eggs behind."

Then I kinda felt silly saying that because they seemed to know their business and would know how to find and pick up everything that might be problematical.

I went to bed last night asking why my son was so sick. I've been asking for guidance on this for years. The folks who lived in our house before also had a special ed kid born here. But my mother (my generational house) was into a lot of witchcraft and santeria. And also, I am really committing to keeping my anger issues away. . . especially since the previous dream. The python spirit is the spirit of divination and witchcraft mentioned in ACTS when Paul met that girl who told fortunes. My mother always got into that. I also have been very constricted and I haven't been careful with my thoughts.

Anyway, I feel as if our house -- spiritual, generational, physical-- has been cleansed. In my dreams "workmen" often mean angelic help or the word of God being active at purifying our lives.

So, went googling for python spirit on the internet.

Found these

A great dream on python here

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An excerpt of my latest writing-in-progress

An excerpt from my current WIP, The Constant Tower, is up at grasping for the wind, a review site done by John Ottinger, a very insightful reviewier

Tyrone went to hell

Psalm 48

God's favorite place on earth! Isn't it wonderful that God loves certain geographic features! I suspect he loves all natural areas of the earth...or else he wouldn't have made them. But he seems to love desert places and bare mountains. He absolutely loves the way Zion is situated.

Psalm 48

1Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
2Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
3God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
4For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
5They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
6Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
7Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
8As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
9We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
13Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
14For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is it a blade?

Am pondering the the seed, the blade, the full plant. 19 year old son always hated water on his head. it was a chore to get him to take a bath. Since the healing service-- he's been waking up and taking showers. Very odd. Canon Jim Glennon a healing missioner from Australia used to say, "IF you say 'Is it a blade or not?' then it's a blade. So am thanking God and awaiting the full flower of healing.

The biggest thing we're doing around here is not speaking negatively, and only affirming that God has indeed healed us...even if we don't see anything. We walk by faith in God's word, not by what we see or feel or hear. Praise God.

Weekend Movie Viewing

Seems I spent a lot of time in the boonies over the weekend

Sparks: Terence Howard stars as Byron and he's driving his girlfriend cross country to college in California. Their car breaks down in a redneck town. There's this weird paranoia. Who is racist? Who is not? Is Byron just antzy and paranoid and is he paranoid about the wrong people? A mechanic price-gouges him for his car, and they get stuck in the town. I thought there'd be some racism issue but what happens is something else. It actually works. Tense little indie flick.

Skinwalkers: A real salvation by the blood kinda movie. Two packs of werewolves live in a small town. A little boy is born in one town. It's one of those Moses/Jesus slaughter of the innocents cases of "Give us the boy, we just want the boy." One bunch of werewolves (skinwalkers) like being cursed with the urge to drink human blood. It's an addition. The others look forward to being saved by the special little boy.

Population 436: A census taker is sent by the feds to a town that strangely always has the population of 436. When he gets there, he discovers the town has made a deal with the almighty. If the pop remains 436, all will be idyllic. Kinda like a Logan's Run meets the Lottery meets Stepford Wives kinda flick. Very American gothic small town. Because he has arrived and is now a member of the town (not that he wants to be) the town must lose a member. Someone happily volunteers. Very scary because it's not aliens and it's not mean-spirited people. It's just the idea that when you're surrounded by folks in a culture who believe something totally different than you do, it's eerie. The folks in this small town are sweet folks.

Arachnophobia: Oh, I love spider movies! And mega Julian Sands crush!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

coming back to myself

Finished watching Little Miss Sunshine and returned to myself in a deeper way. Much of American Christian Culture and American Christian fiction is about being conformed to the world. The stories often end with the "saved" heroine returning to the family fold and to normal Americans know it. Christianity is then defined as a return to the world and to normalcy. But God is not particularly pro-normalcy, is He? The ways of the world is anathema to God who wants a peculiar people. But unfortunately, I'm one of the few Bible-believing conservative Christians who doesn't believe that normalcy, propriety, and All-American behavior is the way to be.

Discovered Chang-Rae Lee, a Korean American author who deals with assimilation, acculturation, societal alienation and double allegiances. Loving his themes. As a Jamaican-American Black Bible-believing Christian with an artistic bent, I've often found myself stuck in situation where I'm allied to two or three different groups. When one is in a room full of judgemental Christians who want one to dress and behave "normally" or at least conformed to the world, and the room also contains gay non-christian or Muslim folks who don't judge you and who accept you as you are...what are you to do? As a minority, when I watch the news I find myself on the side of the Muslims because they are minorities, against them because they mock Christians because we believe in Jesus being the son of God. What to do? You ought to see me watching FoxNews of Democracy Now. I like Fox News because they're not going to mock Christians. I dislike them because they are racist as they come. I like Democracy Now because it challenges the smugness of American culture. I dislike them because they mock Christians. What to do?

Be myself...whatever that is. And try to show that there are Bible-Believing Christians out there with an artist soul, who have liberal leadings in some politics, who do not worship the culture and behavior of United States and American Christians. I'm sure there are more of us out there.

The mystery of Godliness

Today there's all this mystery in the earthly realm, the greatest of which is: what church will the Obama's attend?

The most church-going presidents in the recent years were President Carter and President Clinton -- surprisingly liberal types. President Bush rarely went to church yet he was called "God's Man in the White House." Not that church-going makes a person holy but well, it's interesting.

So here I am sitting pondering: Obama grew up with the AFrican-American style of worship so the media pundits are convinced that's the type of church he'll take.

Then there is the mystery of little Sandra Cantu who was murdered (allegedly) by a white female Sunday school teacher. Wasn't the BTK serial killer a church elder/deacon? Not sure why this lady killed 8-year-old Sandra. Anger? Accident? Who knows. But it makes us wonder about holiness and those who profess to be holy.

Weirdly, I have found many Christians to be not particularly godly. They often are more legalistic than loving. When minister preach on Bible characters, they often speak as if they are judging the characters by law and not by grace. This scapegoat character is bad; this sacred cow character is good. Often they preach from omission and make up whole sins for some character the Bible doesn't tell much about. For instance, many preachers are unaware that Moses wife, Zipporah is called one of the great circumcisers of Israel (a descendant of Midian, Abram's son, she returned Circumcision to Israel via Moses) and many Christian preachers seem to think that her phrase to Moses (You are a husband of blood to me) was her picking on Moses. They don't realize she's saying there's a blood covenant between her and Moses. So they go on and on making up some sexual innuendo and impugning Zipporah for some supposedly "mean comment she said about Moses."

It's the way, I suppose for these ministers to reason from ignorance and impute sins to Bible folks they know nothing about. It's human behavior. Unredeemed human behavior. We want to understand godliness -- even if it's as small as knowing why a sunday school teacher would murder, or why and where a president goes to church.

But Paul tells us what godliness is. God's godliness. I have never heard a sermon on this verse, I think.

1 Timothy 3:16:

International Standard Version (©2008)
By common confession, the secret of our godly worship is great: In flesh was he revealed to sight, kept righteous by the Spirit's might, adored by angels singing. To nations was he manifest, believing souls found peace and rest, our Lord in heaven reigning!

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
The mystery that gives us our reverence for God is acknowledged to be great: He appeared in his human nature, was approved by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was announced throughout the nations, was believed in the world, and was taken to heaven in glory.

King James Bible
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

American King James Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

American Standard Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Bible in Basic English
And without argument, great is the secret of religion: He who was seen in the flesh, who was given God's approval in the spirit, was seen by the angels, of whom the good news was given among the nations, in whom the world had faith, who was taken up in glory.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels, hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed in the world, is taken up in glory.

Darby Bible Translation
And confessedly the mystery of piety is great. God has been manifested in flesh, has been justified in the Spirit, has appeared to angels, has been preached among the nations, has been believed on in the world, has been received up in glory.

English Revised Version
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

Webster's Bible Translation
And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Weymouth New Testament
And, beyond controversy, great is the mystery of our religion-- that Christ appeared in human form, and His claims justified by the Spirit, was seen by angels and proclaimed among Gentile nations, was believed on in the world, and received up again into glory.

World English Bible
Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

Young's Literal Translation
and, confessedly, great is the secret of piety -- God was manifested in flesh, declared righteous in spirit, seen by messengers, preached among nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory!

It is God's holiness that matters! Not ours! His holiness is what makes us holy. Let's ponder the One who is Holy, holy, holy. Let's look at the one who looks at the heart and not on the appearance

Hallelujah Christ is risen!
Christ is risen, indeed!

Psalm 47

Hubby Luke writes:
This psalm reminds me of something I read recently.
"By bringing together singing and praying, the Psalms do something genuinely significant. On a purely human level music is one of the most powerful of mediums because it appeals to both emotion and volition, both imagination and reason. When we tie music to prayer, we have a powerful combination. Singing also adds vivacity, buoyancy, and gaiety to our prayers. You may know the old adage 'the one who sings prays twice.'" (Richard J. Foster)

Psalm 47

1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
2For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
3He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
4He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
5God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
7For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
8God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
9The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Psalm 46

Hubby Luke's comment on this psalm:
This psalm has to of my "go-to" verses-1, and the first part of 10. (In a literal translation, it's "Desist, and know that I am God" Desist! Stop doing whatever it is that you think is going to fix your problem and let the Creator take over.

Psalm 46

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A great gulf fixed

Was listening to the parable of the rich man in Hades in Luke 16:26. The rich man didn't care about the poor man during his lifetime. Now in hell he sees the poor man up in heaven. He sees the joys of heaven afar off and asks Abraham to send the poor man down to hell with some water to cool his tongue. Uhm-- is Abraham the only one he personally knew in heaven? What, did he think he and the poor guy were friends? or does he still think of the poor guy in heaven as lower-class and someone whom one can order around? Whatever his reasonings, he is told by Abraham that the poor man cannot be sent to give him any water. Because there is a great gulf fixed between heaven and hell.

Incidentally, this is one of those moments in the Bible where a prayer is answered in the negative. Abraham has no power to help the rich man, even if he wanted to.

No need to expound on it. The various translations is enough to terrify and to explain it.

International Standard Version (©2008)
Besides all this, a wide chasm has been fixed between us, so that those who want to cross from this side to you cannot do so, nor can they cross from your side to us.'

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Besides, a wide area separates us. People couldn't cross it in either direction even if they wanted to.'

King James Bible
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

American King James Version
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there.

American Standard Version
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us.

Bible in Basic English
And in addition, there is a deep division fixed between us and you, so that those who might go from here to you are not able to do so, and no one may come from you to us.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.

Darby Bible Translation
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is fixed, so that those who desire to pass hence to you cannot, nor do they who desire to cross from there pass over unto us.

English Revised Version
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they which would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us.

Webster's Bible Translation
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Weymouth New Testament
And, besides all this, a vast chasm is immovably fixed between us and you, put there in order that those who desire to cross from this side to you may not be able, nor any be able to cross over from your side to us.'

World English Bible
Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'

Young's Literal Translation
and besides all these things, between us and you a great chasm is fixed, so that they who are willing to go over from hence unto you are not able, nor do they from thence to us pass through.

St Thomas the Doubter: Lift up your hearts

I just read a sermon by the 19th centrury theologian A B Bruce on St Thomas. Wow! what a sermon!

Basically he says that Thomas' lack of faith had little to do with being a rationalist. (Heck, I always thought so. None of the other disciples believed until they saw Jesus either.)

He basically states that Thomas tended to despair. When jesus said they would go to lazarus, Thomas said, "Let us go that we may die with him." This is a disciple prone to great pessimism and who is readier to believe sad news than happy news because his spirit is so linked to despair and pessimism of great causes.
He starts it by saying "Jesus came to the disciples but Thomas wasn't there."

Now, why wasn't Thgomas there? Because he was indulging that melancholy which goes off by itself and leaves its friends to despair in isolation The disciples tell him they saw jesus and probably gave him a gist of the exposition jesus had given to them about his resurrection. And it was probably a great sermon but Thomas couldn't see through ... because even if they gave him all the theological truths his personality was not so inclined. When Jesus told him "Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen" it is a challenge to all doubters but it's a challenge to Thomas and those like him to consciously change minds that tend to despair into minds that choose to be joyful. The act of will that trains the mind to expect good and not to sink into kneejerk despair is an act of belief and renewing the mind. It's not really a mind doubt but a heart doubt.

This really spoke to me. It spoke to me. I have faith, but there is such a pessimism
in my soul at times. Remember when Jacob said, "i've had a lot of sad things happen in my life." It must have taken so much belief to believe that his son was alive
He believed in God and yet.... to expect great things to expect joyful things. A god of joy in addition to a god of holiness and miracles. joyful outcome is hard to believe. For I know the thoughts I think of you...thoughts of good and not of evil to give you a future and a promise The word translated promise can mean a "looked for hope" or "an expected end."

We can accept promise but when we see that promise. We can even accept hope. But when we think that it means a looked for expected end that you'd be happy to gets unbelievable. Like the gospel. Too-good-to-be-believed news. It's not the miraculous we can't believe; it's the joy. It's not, "Am I gullible to believe this weirdo miraculous supernatural crap?" It's "Dare I be happy?" and "Dare I believe that God could make me that happy?"

There are a lotta folks in the Bible who have faith but who simply cannot believe that something good has or can happen. Like Jacob being told his son Joseph was still alive. Took a while to believe that. Like the church praying for Peter's release from prison. Poor Rhoda. Trying to tell all the spiritual giants that their prayers had been answered and they didn't believe her. Sometimes we have faith, we simply don't have the capacity to believe our life can be filled with joy. I think that might be a kind of double-mindedness. At least, we must work to renew our hearts and spirits as well as our minds.

I really am pondering the joy of the lord now. The meaning of joy is coming closer and closer to my spirit. I'm almosting it. As the psalmist says in 139, "It is 'high' I cannot attain unto it. I hope to attain to it. Heaven is about the capacity to receive and accept joy. Life trains us to be like Thomas...not of two minds but of two hearts. No wonder his nickname was The Twin. But he was not double-minded, he was double-hearted. A sad hopeful heart joined to a despairing heart. Lift up your hearts!

value and opinion

Am pondering this:

Luke 16:15 What is highly prized in man's eyes is detestable in God's eyes
Proverbs 29:25 "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe."
If only we could understand these verses, we would grow so much. We would not live in fear, rejection, shame, envying, provoking, if we saw things as God saw it. We would not have the fear of man <-- a totally great article, btw! Check it out.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Psalm 45

This is a psalm totally dedicated to women and to love. IT is so dang passionate it reminds me of the Song of Solomon. When I wrote Wind Follower I wanted to show the love the human heart can have for God. In many traditions, there is this passionate longing for God. But, the passionate longing of God's heart for his bridegroom.

I love my husband so much but when I consider that God made me for himself, that in ways I cannot begin to understand God is my dearest True Love....well, hubby doesn't even begin to measure up. Yet, in loving my hubby I can see and understand being loved and being loving.

The power given to a godly woman is strong, beautiful, holy. May the Lord admire my beauty!

Psalm 45

1My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
2Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
3Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
4And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
5Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
6Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
8All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
9Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
10Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
11So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
12And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
13The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
14She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
15With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
16Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
17I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Am really disconnecting from Christian TV

There are a few shows I like and some folks I trust but for the most part I feel very alienated from the theology and culture of American Christian Television (or foreign shows patterned after them.)

First of all, Christian television is often about a culture. And it's not a Christian culture -- it's an American culture with American concerns, American proclivities, American musical production "values", and American prejudices. It doesn't help matters that I look at Democracy Now and see what's happening with Monsanto (taking over lands in other countries, patenting seeds and ruining American farmers) or Pepsi and Coke (owning rivers in other countries and Poland Spring trying to steal Maine's water) and how complicated the economic, food company's poisoning our foods, and medical/health issues really are....and then one turns to a Christian station and they're exuding all-American self-centeredness and ignorance of these issues.

Sure, there are shows such as the 700 Club which sometimes covers these issues but let's face it...the show is smug and Pat Robertson tries his best to behave as if he was so important as a presidential candidate and puts on that "elder statesman" wisdom act of his. Plus they have a bias. It's obvious. And I don't mean a christian bias. I don't mind Christian biases...I mind conservative biases...such as "this is a Christian nation." Christian nations are rare, and they are subject to the whims, prejudices, ideologies and greeds of so-called Christian men. So while I am totally Biblical, I believe we shouldn't pull the Constantine mistake of trying to make the world Christian -- through laws, birth, what not.

Okay so perhaps the Christian shows have no desire to deal with things of the world. Maybe they want to talk about the Bible all the time. But honestly, if that was the truth, I'd like their shows. But they don't. And even when they do, one can see the American prejudices. So, we have sermons on issues in the American church: pro-prosperity teaching versus anti-prosperity preaching. Anti-abortion sermons. Sermons about saving your marriage. Sermons about how evil the Arabs are and how good the Israelis are. Famous Christian celebrities in coffee-klatch talk about good sex in marriage or testimonies about how talking with therapists helped some woman deal with depression.

Honestly, if these shows were geared only towards Americans, I'd keep my mouth shut. But when one is dealing with all this on shows ostensibly geared toward all the Christians in the world -- that's why they say we should donate, right?-- it makes me shake my head. Are down-trodden Christians in some Arabic country really interested in therapy for bad sex?

Okay, it's not all bad. There are some good folks who actually seem to read their Bible instead of simply rehearsing traditional stuff they heard in seminary. And it's good to look at some shows when the world makes us feel exiled and weird for being Christians. If it weren't for Christian television I wouldn't have been lead to this article about the Oprahphication of our culture and Oprah's spiritual growth.

But for the most part, I feel I'm listening to folks in a snug wealthy little cocoon. Too much the Christian is identified with the good middle class folks in our culture. Their talk is about their nails being manicured and "allowing themselves to enjoy" a pedicure. It's not that I want suffering to be the big thing. But these hosts are too identified with the power structure of the world. And why shouldn't they be? Many of these Christian broadcasters flaunt their power in the arts, music, broadcasting industry. I once heard an auto worker say on the news: "If I talk to a big guy in the Union, there's no difference than talking to a big fat guy company owner." It's true. These guys are important and they know it. They exude smugness and satisfaction with the world. They are "important" and they have more money than many of their listeners. How can they not identify with the world when they no longer are poor in spirit? How can a Christian healer or teacher be poor in spirit when he has fans? -C

Weekend Movie Viewing

Well, yesterday wasn't bad. Amazingly.

First movie I really got into was "They Wait." I immediately liked this because the main characters were an interracial couple: white girl, Asian guy. They have a son, Sam, who ends up in the hospital in a coma that can be reversible if some horrible past crime is discovered. Talk about generational curses, hidden family crime, Asian superstition! The ghost story has a real Asian influence, so don't expect the ghost to behave in a western manner. So the story totally worked. And these ghosts are playing fair.

Then there was "Stay Alive" -- a movie where the supernatural doesn't play fair at all. This is a movie about a beta video horror survival game and they aren't supposed to play it. They die when they start playing it. Kinda like the movie with the evil video tape, this one brings mucho trouble to anyone who starts playing it. The game warns them -- after they --like fools-- speak the chant to let the game begin. Pretty sneaky if you ask me. I mean, they didn't know what they were getting into and bingo they're committed. According to the threatening intro of the game, the players have to find out the reasons for a horrific happening years before...and in order to do that they must "stay alive." The game is a bit like Doom except it's based on the life of the Countess Bathory and folks can play it online together or by themselves. And the movie shows us scenes of their real lives when they aren't playing the games or when they their game persona dies. If you play games like this, you'll like it. All that talk about perceptive reality. One of the best lines: "I haven't tripped out like this since I hate that hot dog matzoh ball at Bible camp, Brother"

I actually liked this flick. The girls in it were actually likable...not screaming bimbettes with bouncing breasts. Ah, the young! Always more prone to believe in the supernatural than the older wizened cops. But why do they even attempt to tell these cops the supernatural truth? Do they really thin they'll be believed?

Then there was The Florentine. I swear! Stories about male bonding are great but when it's about neighborhood lost souls on the edgier Catholic side done in an indie flick it really really really has to work. Talk about burdensome and heartfelt indie emotions. The story is mostly about the guys so the women kinda just revolve around them until it's their time to have a scene which affects the men.

After that I watched a little of 1000 ways to die. It's a show dedicated to showcasing people who do stupid things and end up dead because of it. There's even a sociologist who talks about darwinism and the stupid gene. Wouldn't have watched it but I had gone to sleep and dreamed of someone dying in a ridiculous manner. I laughed in the dream and then felt sad about the death. When I woke up I figured I would honor the dream by watching 1000 ways. I pretty much lack a sense of humor when it comes to making fun of other folks getting hurt. I don't laugh at someone falling on a banana peel, for instance. I hate mockery and cruel humor. And when I think of Sheol and folks doing stupid things and possibly ending up there....sorry no way I can laugh. I just can't. I still don't know why I watched it. Maybe because I saw the show listed in the schedule and my midnight nap grabbed at it. Aaargh. -C

Saturday, April 04, 2009

set a watch on our lips

More and more it dawns on me that the Christian right's tendency to freak out whenever Obama is mentioned is fueling murderous hatred. Okay, I was peeved when the Christian stations/channels/cable networks ignored inauguration day. . . and continued on their coffee klatchy way...although back in the day if Bush so much as sneezed they'd be calling him God's man. But I let it go. I'm not even pro-Obama. He kinda reminds me of some snooty black guys I've worked with who sought only the respect of white folks. Kinda like a liberal version of Clarence Thomas. Except that he has a black wife...and Clarence is so hateful he can't even deal with a black white. Honestly, I've lived long enough to know these kinds of black guys. But I figure he's our president and if we pray for him God will guide him.

The trouble with the Christian right -- on TV and in churches-- is that they don't want to admit that many of their people are also pretty racist. Okay, I'm christian right and I know many white chirstian right folks who are not racist...but fact remains racism is pretty rooted in our country. And both the right and the left are guilty.

The trouble, though is that the christian right gets so dang apocalyptical about Obama. Okay, yeah, I believe in the rapture. I believe Jesus is coming soon. But I'm not going to say Obama is the antichrist. He may have some anti-christian tendencies ( God definitely hates abortion, for instance) but the whole world is in darkness. So I'll allow him to be in the dark on abortion, on certain other moral issues. I'm not into saving the world. But when the Christian right starts equating him with the end of America as we know it and the end of the world, they're fueling the fear of angry folks out there...and in this country it often means fueling the anger of certain whites.

Three small examples in point:

FIRST: old white man in local supermarket who held up the checkout line because he had bought $2000 worth of canned goods because he said the end of the world was coming. (If it's the end of the world, why buy all this food? It certainly won't last.)

SECOND: On December 31, 1999 a woman in a town near here who was otherwise sane killed herself by carbon monoxide in her closed garage because her minister had put the fear of Y2K disasters in her head.

THIRD: (This may not be quite right and we have to see what the newspapers make of it but) the guy in Pittsburgh who killed the cops because he feared Obama would take away guns and destroy the world.

One thing I've learned is that most Americans don't think things through. We believe what the pundits and our ministers say. If folks hang out with a ton of atheists, they believe what the atheists say. If folks hang out with a ton of fearful white conservative christians who think a black president is the end of the world as they know it -- which to them means the end of the world PERIOD-- they are gonna believe that.

And, they are going to get violent.

Would Jiverly Voong -- a man from a minority who has obviously adopted our gunly American ways -- have killed all those folks in the Binghamton Civic Center if he hadn't been brainwashed into believing he could get no other job? In another time, he might have gotten depressed about losing his job, but when media folks and ministers are crying that the sky is falling -- literally-- people in America (land of the guns) get violent. Heck, this fear thing is affecting everyone!

So...let us all do our part and stop being negative. IF the end is coming, let it come. But please!!! some peace, please. Some positivity. Stop feeding fear because fear breeds hatred and anger. And in a country where certain white folks still are supremacists and who are not quite used to thinking of themselves as equal to other races...much less having a black president....well, that only creates mucho trouble. So, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, all those media pundits ...and all those conservative christians.... watch your mouth. Don't feed violence. Don't make depressed, desperate people more depressed and desperate. (As I always say to the annoying bill collectors on my phone: You never know what a desperate person will do!) Don't feed crazed racist minds who might really believe it is God's will to murder Obama. And the rest of us, don't start conversations being negative and fearful. Life is way too hard as it is. Let's not feed folks' depressions. There are other things in life to talk about.

Psalm 43

My favorite verse is the one where the psalmist asks God to "send out your light and your truth. Let them lead me."

How wonderful to have the God who lights every man who comes into the world lighten our way. We have the word of God as the light for our feet. We have the light of God's truth coming to us in dreams, visions, inner guidance. We want the light and the truth to lead us to God's HOLY Hill. There's a Proverbs 18:2 which states, "A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself." What a snide comment! But how common nowadays. The folks in the Bible have no patience with these folks who sit around meditating trying to understand if self-understanding is the be-all and end-all of existence. The reason we ask for light is that we might become holy and worthy of something far greater than ourselves.

The last verse is similar to a lot of the psalms in which the psalmist encourages himself.

Psalm 43

1Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

2For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

4Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Corporate Prayer for Christians who have autistic kids

Found this post at Children of Destiny via Fruityfantastica

Do I believe in prayer? YES!

"Why?" a very pushy word

More and more I've begun to see the pushiness of the word "why?" Of all words out there, it's the most bullying, judgmental, and cruel. Why do people have to ask you "why" when you make a decision, especially a decision they don't like? And when they ask "why," they're pretty much demanding that you give them an explanation that they will understand and approve of.

Why is this X so XX?
Why don't you do this?
Why don't you do that?
Why don't you answer?

Now, why do we live in a world where folks believe that they must be given a good reason to understand the choices others make and the situations that arise in other folks' lives? I've gotten pretty snippy lately. Whenever someone asks me a question, I try respond with "Why do you want to know?" Most of the time I find myself answering their WHY question before I ask why they want to know. And by then it's too late. They inch out of it -- see, they don't want to show what's going on in their minds, but we've got to show what's going on in ours???-- And even when they give you a "reason" for demanding a satisfactory explanation from you, they seem to think they
have the right to ask it.

Not now. Damn! Remember the old phrase, "none of your business!" Okay, it's not old in some quarters but it's old in mine...because hubby and I never use it. But honestly, now that I'm aware of how intrusive (and judgmental) people are about the reason for my choices --- from now on...I'm gonna be waaay aware of someone whying me. -C

Psalm 42

In this psalm, the psalmist speaks about his desire for the living God. Some folks are satisfied with religion and the little aesthetics touch them or the rules. But there are some who reach a place where they thirst for a living god who can be spoken to and whose love can be felt.

There are all these multitude who keep holy day and yet do they really seek the living God?

In this psalm the psalmist is saying to his soul: "Why are you cast down?" He's been weepy, but bad enough he has folks around who don't help matters. In this state, deep calls to deep. Something deep within him calls out for the deep things of God.

Psalm 42

1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

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