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I Ain’t Superstitious

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the term associated with a fear of Friday the 13th. There are many theories of it’s origin, but I think it’s just the superstition of the number thirteen itself. How can the last work day of the week be a bad thing? Right? Then there are a number of horror movies and entertainment media surrounding, and exploiting this particular superstition. The franchise “Friday the 13th” alone has twelve film installments. Having only twelve definitely leaves room for the ultimate thirteenth and FINAL installment for the near future.

Superstitions are everywhere. Either taken seriously or not so seriously, the inclination toward this phenomenon is all around us. Have you ever seriously been involved in the sport of baseball? Superstitions abound! Each little ritual a player goes through prior to batting, pitching, game prep, or even what they wear and how it’s worn plays into some form of superstition.

As Christians, how are we to deal with superstition, or engage our neighbors who might have this phobia? I looked up and researched scripture about superstitions and being superstitious, and I encountered a very encouraging verse from the book of Colossians.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:8-10 ESV

Superstition is a man-invented fear of something in control outside of himself. It is not of God at all. It is an ignorant faith in an object or even a day that might or might not have magical powers. Another word for superstition is idolatry, which is putting faith in something other than God.

I ain’t superstitious, but surprisingly, the phenomenon is well saturated in our western culture. Do you avoid stepping on sidewalk seams? Do you walk the other way when you encounter the path of a black cat? Have you ever owned a rabbit’s foot? We need to remember that the God of this whole universe is alive and in charge. He watches over us and nothing happens outside of his sovereign hand.

Soli Deo Gloria!

PS – Check out a highlight from one of my favorite “Supernatural” TV episodes, “Bad Day at Black Rock”. The premise of the following compilation of clips is that the subject, the rabbit’s foot, is supernaturally charged with good luck for the possessor of said foot. But if the possessor loses it, the luck turns bad. It’s hilarious!

 

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Posted by on October 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Easter – Theocracy

With Easter coming. (You know, the one day the Western Civilization recognizes as the resurrection of Jesus Christ) I discovered this song in an album I’ve had for quite some time but hadn’t had the time to listen to completely. But today I’ve listened to it in it’s entirety and have fallen in love with it, lyrics and all. Please check out the lyrics and the youtube.com video for the song below.

Easter

Three days in darkness far below
Death hearkens from an age ago
The ancient promise that we waited for so long
Has gone away

All hope is lost, left upon that cross
A bloodstained robe
It seems redemption’s dream has died

Visions and the prophecies all washed away in vain
Groanings of creation as it cries out in pain
Sacrosanct the stories of what is and what will be
All foretold this was supposed to end so differently

All nature mourns in unison
Creation forms its requiem
Branded with the mark of sin and shame
A life laid down, a cursed name
A crown forsaken, burden, blame
Another cycle just the same
Is this the end of Promise
Dying all alone?

Easter morning’s Son will rise
Radiance warming tearstained eyes
The Son of Man shall be raised up on the third day
The grave denied

Run and see the stone has rolled away behold the way
They’re trembling in terror at the grave
(Is this an empty promise, that we’ve been waiting for?
Because I’m so afraid to get my hopes up anymore
Is this a cruel illusion? Or could it really be
The miracle of miracles unfolding right in front or me?)
Blinding angel, white as lightning
Violent earthquakes, do not fear
why seek the living among the dead?
Behold, He is not here

Glory! Glory! Hope is alive
And lifted up, before your eyes
Waking all the world, open gates to paradise
Now it’s done, life has come
Death has died
Easter glory, what an ending to the story
My Son, arise!

Early misty morning
Just before the dawn
An empty tomb, a broken body gone
Thieves have done their bidding
Before the light of day
They’ve stolen Him and taken Him away

“Let Me break apart
The secrets you’ve held in your heart
Awaken now
Remember
Words you hid away
A promise to rise after the third day
It’s Me
Do you remember?”

All the things we’d hoped for
And waited for so long
The kingdom of deliverance is gone
Faded like a candle snuffed out to kill the light
The morning runs away into the night

“Let Me break apart
The secrets you’ve held in your heart
Awaken now
Remember
Words you hid away
My promise to rise after the third day
It’s Me
Do you remember?”

Glory! Glory! Hope is alive
And lifted up, before your eyes
Waking all the world, open gates to paradise
Now it’s done, life has come
Death has died

Glory! Glory! Hope is alive
And lifted up, berore your eyes
Waking all the world, open gates to paradise
Now it’s done, life has come
Death has died

(Earth awaken, all creation open up your eyes again
Alive again, for Christ hath torn the veil of darkness away)

Easter glory, what an ending to the story
My Son, arise!

 

Mom jokes

Have you heard of dad jokes? How about mom jokes? ? I didn’t think so. There’s a reason. It’s because they aren’t even corny. Take last night. My bride and I went shopping at falafel-chips Aldi and found the delicious chips in the accompanying photo, So the whole night my lovely bide kept playing word jokes with the name of the chips. Such as:
“I had too many of these chips and now I falafel.” IKR? It’s cute when she tries. I think we’ve been watching too much “Last Man Standing”. The mom, Vanessa (played by Nancy Travis), tries too hard to be funny with words too. The funniest part about is Mike’s (played by Tim Allen) reaction to it.
For you viewing pleasure, and not really related to the content above, I have added a video clip from “Las Man Standing”.
 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in dad jokes, Last Man Standing, mom jokes

 

Grieve Not the Holy Spirit – November 21st

This was taken from Spurgeon’s morning section of his “Morning and Evening” devotion. spurgeon

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit.”
Ephesians 4:30

All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except he worketh in you to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus–how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master’s cause? You cannot without the Spirit–“Without me ye can do nothing.” O branch of the vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through his Spirit! Then let us not grieve him or provoke him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench him in one of his faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting. If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring his blessing. Let us do him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from him, and then depending alone upon him, having this for our prayer, “Open thou my heart and my whole being to thine incoming, and uphold me with thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts.”

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

A Prayer for Our Dry Bones

October 11th – The following is taken from the book “Everyday Prayers: 365 To A Gospel-Centered Faith” by Scotty Smith and Tullian Tchividjian. dry-bones

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 37: 1–6)

Gracious heavenly Father, I’ve always prayed that I’d get to experience one significant revival before you choose to take me to the revival of all revivals, heaven itself. I renew that prayer today, and I’m going to be quite specific. For the glory of Jesus alone, I ask you to demonstrate the truth, beauty, and power of the gospel by pouring out the Holy Spirit on our church family in a most tangible and transforming way. My hope is in knowing that you are a far more generous God than we are a desperate people, and we are desperate. We need what you alone can give, Father. Make yourself unmistakably known as the Lord in our midst. Prophesy the gospel to our dry, scattered bones. Drench our drought with the dew of heaven. Breathe your life-giving breath into our empty lungs. Reattach brothers and sisters to one another as one body, for we are in great relational distress. The only “skin” we need is the covering you’ve already given us—the righteousness of Jesus. May our glorious standing in grace humble us, quiet our racing hearts, bridle our wagging tongues, and send us to our faces before you, prostrate and repentant. You are a God who gives grace to the humble, but also one who resists and knows the proud from afar. Have mercy on us; have mercy on me. I cannot imagine a better story to be a part of than for our repentance and transformation to become far more notorious than our sin and brokenness. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. I pray in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name. Amen.

 

Hymnaltheology

Whenever we sing hymns or worship songs through corporate worship to our Lord. I often find myself examining the lyrics for gospel content or not-gospel content. Does that make me a

hymnal lyrics curmudgeon? Maybe, or maybe not.I have provided a bit of a contrast in lyrics here. Let’s examine the lyrics to the old hymn “Jesus Paid It All” in reference to the gospel of scripture, and what the gospel is not, “Jesus Paid It Some“, even though we tend to live the way of the former, it is not the gospel.

In John 4:23-24, Jesus is engaging a woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria, and she references the worship her fathers had done on the mountain where they were, and Jesus says to her:

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

I’d like to emphasize the word truth in the context for this posting. You see, we sing many songs of, so called worship, but are they really songs expressing the truth as we know it to be through scripture? Some might think of you as a “curmudgeon” but just remember John 4:24 and go worship in the truth as well as the spirit.

I’ll leave this post with one more real example. What is the object of our affection here?

(Acknowledgements go to Stephen Altrogge for his “not gospel” lyrics.)

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in gospel, hymns, John 4:24

 

Bravo Zulu

This week I had the privilege of being interviewed for an article section in our company newsletter. The section entitled “Bravo Zulu” is a section of the newsletter that profiles employees who have bravo zulu flagsaccomplished something. The author of the article had approached me based on her observation of my participation in the company “step challenge”, recent weight loss, and my frequent trips outside to do some walking. The interview went well. We spoke of my health concerns as I get older (now 56), my family health history (dad had diabetes), some of the ways I stay active, what my exercise regime looks like, and my goals for fitness.

After the interview I got to thinking about the term “Bravo Zulu”. Wikipedia defines it:

Bravo Zulu, also referred to as “BZ,” which is a naval signal, typically conveyed by flaghoist or voice radio, meaning “Well Done”

I’ve heard this phrase used in Christian circles many times. “Well done” refers to the scripture from Matthew chapter 25 and the Parable of the Talents which is also accompanied by “good and faithful servant”. It has become a phrase professing Christians desire to hear after they have passed from this life or as the verse states in the parable “enter into the joy of your Master” (ESV).

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!’

Most might take the meaning of this parable as the method for getting your Heaven’s ticket punched. They may work and strive under a perceived oppression from their master yet begrudgingly, adopt a “suck it up little camper” attitude, and dutifully do the task to the letter. But, they may be missing the most important factor behind the servant’s performance for his master, which would be the servant’s love for his master. If there was no love for his master, then no matter what the task is set before him, the task would seem too great, too cumbersome, or unfairly given. But when the servant loves his master and desires to see him glorified through his efforts, no task will seem to difficult.

So as I revel in my newfound fame, not really, I am humbly reminded of the “Bravo Zulu” given to Jesus Christ for his obedience to God the Father. So “well done” that:

He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23 HCB)

Ultimately the “Bravo Zulu” belongs to Christ, because anything deserving a “well done” is accomplished by and through him.

Soli Deo Gloria, Bravo Zulu!

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in bravo zulu, Ephesians 1