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I woke up with a bad case of pride

Posted by Chris on July 7, 2010

The last week and a half I’ve had some “spiritual sickness.”  A dryness in my throat instead of streams of living water; heart arrythmia instead of a strong heart united with Christ; a ragged body bearing poor fruit failing to live up to the promise that a good tree bears only good fruit– it cannot bear bad fruit.

My brief time in the scriptures had been good, and I came here to meditate further on what I’d read.  I don’t want this to be another time in my life that I look back on shamefully, disappointed with what I did do and didn’t do.

You see, this is a period of dryness in my external circumstances.  My wife of one year has moved 6 hours away.  10 days before I will move, she left.  She took with her my heart and my passions.  Rather than ask the Lord for more passion– passion for him, for life, for friends– I have been happy when talking to her but just existent at other times.  I’m not moping around, but there is no visible presence of Jesus Christ in my life beyond the grace of God which persists unfairly in my actions probably because of habit.  Sometimes (thankfully) I can’t help but do the right thing.  That’s my Wednesday morning 7am definition of sanctification.

But it need not be a time of spiritual dryness.  Would the Lord return to me and bless me and reconcile himself to me today?  The answer I knew would be yes if I only allowed it to be so!  Why did I wait so long?  Why, when in other similar times of dryness on the outside I’ve witnessed the same failures rise within me?

The Lord spoke to me an answer the other day when I did open the scriptures:

[23] Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, [24] but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

Boasting.  It’s not a problem.  The object of our boasting; that’s the problem.  Not in our wisdom, strength, or riches– that’s pride.  That’s what I’ve had.  It’s not walking around with a sense of superiority, or looking down on others.  My pride found itself in the foolish thought that my righteousness this week would be found in the amount of packing and cleaning I got done around our apartment, cultivating an environment of work and busybodiness that left no room for God.

In meditating on this verse this morning, I followed the verse references in my Bible to a few other gems.  First, some verses that expounded on the consequences of boasting in the wrong things.

Proverbs 11:28: Whoever trusts in his riches will fall.

Jer 48:7: because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken and… go into exile

Jer 49:4-5: Why do you boast of your valleys… saying, ‘Who will come against me?’   Behold, I will bring terror upon you,

Ezekiel 24:4-7: your heart has become proud in your wealth… therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you

Trusting in your own things leads one to fall, be taken captive, under terror.  Because you own heart is proud.  The antidote is found in v24 above, boasting about knowing God.  Some verses to expand that include:

Psalm 34:2: My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad

Gal 6:14: But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

How do I keep falling in this trap?  A really interesting verse in 1 Kings told me what I already knew but failed to remember lately.

And the king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.’” 1 Kings 20:11

What does this even mean?  The ESV study note says

It is unwise to boast about one’s exploits before the battle has even begun; there is time enough for boasting when the battle is won.

That’s my problem.  I keep acting like the battle is over.  It’s not.  On Friday, 5 days in to my time without my wife, a dangerous thought came to me: “I’m doing pretty well.”  Instead, that was the sign that I was losing the battle.  Lord, help me to boast in you and not in my own strength; remind me that the battle is not yet over.

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Bonhoeffer on Creation Theology

Posted by Chris on April 1, 2010

I just began reading a book title Creation and Fall–Temptation, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  The material was adapted from a series of lectures he gave in 1933-1934 and the two topics are separate studies.  Bonhoeffer is known for his role during WWII of helping Jews, for which he was killed.  He did not leave the country, like many others, but actually left American and traveled to Germany in order to denounce the Nazis.  His most famous work is The Cost of Discipleship (sitting on my shelf but I haven’t read it).

In the Creation and Fall study, DB begins by meditation on the beginning of Genesis 1:1: In the Beginning, God created… He writes that there is frustration in humans because we live in the middle (meaning we cannot extend to the true beginning of time)– this section somewhat confused me.  However, it started making more sense when he discusses the vanity of trying to ask and answer questions about what happened before and during Genesis 1.  I will post a large section of it here because a)it’s eloquent and interesting to me, and b)it relates to what I wrote about what I believe in this post which introduces a blog series on reading through Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

Briefly, I recognized the debates between evolutionists and creationists but stated that I don’t have a strong opinion about who is right because I think that Genesis 1 is about a lot more than the scientific facts of creation; and that a true Creation Theology of Genesis 1 and 2 comprises much more than simply evolution v. creation.  The “other stuff” is much more interesting and significant.  This is how Bonhoeffer explains it (all bold emphasis added is mine):

The twofold question arises: Is this beginning God’s beginning or is it God’s beginning with the world?  But the fact that this question is asked is proof that we no longer know what “beginning means. The beginning can only be spoken of by those who are in the middle and are anxious about the beginning and the end, by those tearing at their chains… If this is so, we can no longer ask whether this is God’s beginning or God’s beginning with the world.  Luther was once asked what Gopd was doing before the creation of the world.  His answer was that he was cutting canes for people who ask such useless questions.  This not only stopped the questioner short but also implied that where God is not recognized as the merciful Creator he must needs be known only as the wrathful judge, i.e. always in relation to the situation of the middle, between beginning and end.  There is no possible question which could go back beyond this “middle” to the beginning, to God as creator.  Thus it is impossible to ask why the world was created, about God’s plan or about the necessity of creation. These questions are finally answered and disposed of as godless questions by the sentence, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Not “in the beginning God had this or that idea about the purpose of the world which we now only have to explore further,” but “In the beginning God created.”  No question can penetrate behind God creating, because it is impossible to go behind the beginning…

This quite unrepeatable, unique, free event in the beginning, which must not be confused in any way with the year 4004 or any similar particular date, is the creation.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. That means that the Creator, in freedom, creates the creature… Creator and creature cannot be said to have a relation of cause and effect, for between Creator and creature there is neither a law of motive nor a law of effect nor anything else.  Between Creator and creature there is simply nothing: the void. For freedom happens in and through the void.  There is no necessity that can be shown in God which can or must ensue in creation.  There is nothing that causes him to create.  Creation comes out of this void.

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Series: Devotions from Darwin

Posted by Chris on March 7, 2010

I’m going to start another series of posts (perhaps I’ll even finish it?) inspired by reading The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin’s famous work that at least popularly is considered the introduction of the theory of evolution.  First, I want to explain a) my beliefs about evolution, that is, my biases and preconceived ideas apart from reading the book, because I know that people expect one to approach a book like his either as a huge fan or critic, and b) to explain why I decided to read this book in the first place.  I would assume that very few people read it these days, in fact, that many proponents of evolution have never read it.  And I think that’s okay.

My beliefs about Evolution

  1. Micro-evolution: I believe in.  I’m not aware of anyone who does not.  As far as I understand it, micro-evolution is the idea that species evolve and adapt over time while remaining one species.
  2. Intermediate evolution (a term I’m making up) I believe.  I would not have thought of this without reading the first part of the book.  Darwin spends a lot of ink talking about the debates that naturalists had about defining variations v. different species.  Take a breeder of pigeons.  He is likely to provide a list with many species of pigeons, because small differences are very acute to his perception, whereas a general naturalist might only define a few species of pigeons but with each having sub-variations.  Ultimately, Darwin says, whether something is called a species or variation is immaterial to his greater argument about the origin of species, because he is after what causes these variations. I don’t think anyone should argue with this idea either, because Darwin writes extensively about domesticated animals, and we have seen all around us that man can do much to determine the characteristics of animals just by selective breeding.  (incidentally, this is how Darwin came up with the term “Natural” selection for the process behind evolution).  Thus, intermediate evolution results in the development of new species but within the same genus (category).
  3. Macro-evolution, generally (not of people).  I am unsure.  My answer is that it depends on some historical and theological answers that I also don’t have (see below).  If I was putting money on it, here’s what I’d say.  I would say yes, that animals have evolved beyond small variations, but on this taxonomic chart,
    Biological classification chart

    Thanks to whoever stole this from a textbook.

    it would not be at the not-life to life or kingdom levels, but perhaps somewhere in the class to family levels.  In other words, the pigeon and condor may share a common ancestor, but not the jellyfish and the robin.  Maybe that’s really stupid intellectually and faithless theologically, but I’m just being honest.  And as I said, I’m unsure– this is a guess, placing odds in the middle.   It’s not something I’m very interested in.

  4. Macro-evolution (as the source of human life & the greater universe).  On one hand I’m unsure, but I also feel stronger about it.  Furthermore, there’s a large dose of agnosticism in my view on human evolution.  I’m going to break my answer down into two parts: one scientific/practical (what I think actually happened), one theological (what it means).  You may not care that much about my long-winded answers.  Feel free to scroll to the next bold heading to see why I decided to read the book.  I do give a summary of each view in italics at the end of each section.

a) SCIENTIFIC ANSWER . For starters, I know relatively little about evolution– I’ll know more after I finish this book.  Nothing is off the table to me.  I will entertain anything from “young-earthers” (the idea that God created the earth in a literal 6-day period ~6000 years ago) to more moderate Creationists, to backers of Intelligent Design, to evolutionary biologists that say we came from monkeys.  My theological view could fit with all of them.  Well, except that I don’t know the differences between ID and Evolution all that well– if the only difference for some is whether or not God is guiding it, then I’d stop at ID.  Neither my scientific nor theological view would consider a scenario that leaves God out.  Because of my theological view, I am agnostic as the scientific answer wouldn’t affect me that much.  My agnosticism is not naivety or snobbery or fear.   Again, I’ll give what I find most likely– once again, the middle ground.  I’ll take an earth older than 6,000 years, more like millions or billions or however old the universe is.  I’ll take the Big Bang because of the ever-expanding universe.  And if I was being really crazy, I suppose that there were two kinds of human beings: There were some that were chosen/created directly by God as the ancestors of his covenant people (Adam), and others that were created either simultaneously or pre-existed Adam.  Adam did not evolve from monkeys.  Concerning other potential people, I cannot and will not hazard a guess as to whether they evolved from other primates.  So to summarize: The universe has a finite life; the earth was created as part of the creation/expansion of the universe; people were not necessarily created physically through one man, Adam, from dust (though I don’t rule it out).

b) THEOLOGICAL ANSWER. I know and care a lot more about creation theology than evolutionary biology.  I’ll admit to some snobbery here: I think it’s more important and more interesting.  I think that Creation Theology is a really big circle, of which evolutionary biology is a small part.  Creation theology comprises much more about human life, existence, and the future than just “how we got here.”  And no, I’m not talking about the Bible v. Evolution.  I’m talking only about what Genesis 1-2 teach vs. the theory of evolution.  Simply, Genesis 1-2 would be like a book, and the theory of evolution would be a section in a short chapter in that book.  Maybe it would get a bold heading.  What do I do with the Creation story (the six days)?  I don’t read it literally or allegorically.  I think the way that would best describe how I read it would be as a cross between a parable and a myth– each of those terms properly understood.  We think of parables as illustrations that teach a lesson, but the Greek word means comparison.  Thus, if Jesus tells a parable about types of soil, the point of the story is that Jesus is comparing soil to something (people) and the way seed grows in the soil to the way the Gospel grows in different types of people.  One would miss much of what is being taught if the lesson was thought to be simply: “Be good soil.”  Myths are not just made up stories about Greek gods.  Merriam Webster defines a myth as: “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.”  Therefore, the word myth could just as rightly applied to a story of historical events that serves to explain a natural phenomenon, as a story about made up gods and how they judge people.  Before you send your hate mail, please re-read that definition.  Thus, myths are common in many traditional cultures and there are many similar myths because everyone has asked the same questions about life: Where do we come from?  Is there a God? etc…

So I believe that Genesis 1-2 is a myth in that it tells us what God wants us to know about creation.  A literal explanation alone would lack the richness of what we have.  Perhaps we do have a literal story, but that’s a BONUS, not the heart of the matter.  As a myth, it should be the source of our worldview about creation, mine which I will explain shortly.  I also call it a parable, because it is a passage of the Bible that comes alive along with other scripture through an amazing synergistic process.  I will give some examples of this as well.

So I don’t ask how the earth was created.  I find theological truths.  The origin of earth? Gen 1:1- “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  That fits with the Big Bang.  It fits with young-earthers.  It fits with the macro-evolution of species.  I won’t restate these points, but it’s the same for all the theology I’ll include below.  In verse 3, we get more specificity that leads people to speculate “how” or “how fast” God does creation: ” ‘And God said, Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  This is my best and favorite example of parable, and why Creation Theology is bigger than evolution.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6, we are reminded of the mythological explanation, and given the comparison: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  What’s the better miracle: Jesus healing a blind man and giving him sight, or the salvation of John Newton, a former trouble-maker and captain of a slave ship who never lacked physical vision but wrote “I once was blind, but now I SEE”??  The light of the gospel is like the ceiling light of your bedroom, which gives you the ability to make sense of your surroundings, compared to our solar star which is like a book light that illuminates a paragraph or two in front of your face.  I better appreciate and understand the process by which God plants the gospel in my heart through this parabolic connection of Gen 1 and 2 Cor 4.  I worry less about whether God literally spoke english words, or caused a big bang, or whatever to make the sun, and how long it took, because when I’m reading Gen 1:3 I’m re-checking all the references to scripture that have nothing to do with the practical act.  Spend some time in the six days of creation, Genesis chapter 1.  Follow it all over your Bible.

Rather than give other examples, I’ll trust that the above is the best I can do to explain why I read Gen 1 as myth and parable.  Having that view enables me to worry less about the scientific and makes the scientific facts, whatever they may be, jive with my theological beliefs about creation.  However, I want to come back to the original topic, which is Evolution.  It cannot be addressed without addressing creation, because the two are inseparable in traditional Christian belief.  There are two versions of the creation of humans in Genesis 1-2.  The first, in Genesis 1, is very similar to the picture I drew about creation of light.  We learn that God creates man “in his own image”, commands him to be fruitful, etc… Genesis 2 gives the account about God creating man from the dust of the ground, and woman from his rib.

This second story is less like the first, than the first is a reflection of the other days of creation in Genesis 1.  However, I read it similarly.  The description of how God created man and woman is contained in 3 verses: 8, 21, 22.  But we get a lot of other good stuff: Mandates to care for creation; A tree that serves as a parable of our struggle between good and evil, sin and righteousness; the goodness of God to provide woman for man; and a theology of marriage.  My take away from the two creation events is that not only did God create man (or serve as the cause of the creation of man), but that it is a personal event.  Adam was personally known and cared for by God.  Thus, if people evolved from monkeys, there was at least a person chosen by God to be in communion with him, and God had to supernaturally act in this man’s life in some way to do it.  (I don’t consider this set of circumstances likely, remember).  In my practical belief, I explained that I thought there may have been other peoples on the earth that did not descend from Adam.  This is a scientific belief that I draw from the historicity of scripture– simply that Cain left the area where his parents lived, and feared that he might be treated with hostility elsewhere by other people.  To my knowledge, the Bible never says that all men literally descended from Adam.  However, the line of descent of God’s people in the Old Testament, and more generally, the point at which we begin tracing a spiritual heart of man is with Adam.  Thus, Adam introduces sin in the world, and condemnation (Romans 5:12).

So to summarize, I think that the Creation account of Gen 1-2 shouldn’t be limited to an alternate or complementary narrative to the theory of evolution.  It explains much more about us, the Bible, and God.  Therefore, theology matters to me a lot more than evolutionary biology.  But, in order to make an attempt to explain my beliefs, I asserted the view of scripture that God created the universe and the heavens, and everything else.  This is stated as fact.  Furthermore, other parts of creation, such as light, can be viewed as a myth that explains the source while acting as a parable to give us a greater significance.  The greatest light God speaks into being appears in the darkness of our hearts, rather than over the darkness of the earth.  Finally, I view the 2 accounts of the creation of man with some uncertainty as to how God acted, but with certainty that God was responsible and again, that we learn many other things far superior to the methodology of creating man.

Why I decided to read the book

  1. Intellectual Curiosity.  I like to read some of these famous, influential books for myself.  Recently, I read The Prince by Machiavelli for similar reasons.  Not because I care that much about political or war strategies in Italy hundreds of years ago.
  2. To learn more about Evolution, but more specifically to learn more about the attitude of those who feel strongly about evolution.
  3. To have more credibility when talking to people who believe in Evolution.  And to be honest and self-centered, so that I could say to someone who is trying to cram it down my throat as a reason God doesn’t exist, “I’ve read The Origin of Species, have you?”  Not that it makes me smarter, or more interested in it, but to show that I’m not afraid of it and to give reason for the other person to stop and be as considerate and open-minded as I try to be.
  4. I got it for really cheap on the Amazon Kindle.  I would’ve never paid retail.  It’s important to note that I pay retail for very few books- most books I purchase come used from thrift stores or amazon.com.

All that being said, I had no intentions to blog about the book or all of this, until I read a passage in it tonight.  So now I’ll blog about that passage in the next post.  Click on the Devotions from Darwin category link for all posts under this topic.

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God; direct & indirect causes; & the death of Saul, king of Israel

Posted by Chris on July 15, 2009

excerpts from 1 Chronicles 10

v2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons…

v3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was wounded by the archers.

v4… Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.

v13a So Saul died for his breach of faith… he did not keep the command of the Lord…

v13b-14 [And also Saul] consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord.

v14b Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David.

3 human events led to Saul’s death. A battle with the Philistines turned against and his foes began to defeat his army. Saul did not escape, being struck by an arrow. Lastly, as he was dying, he hastened his death by killing himself (rather than dying directly from the blow of his enemy).

Yet, the text tells us that Saul’s death was a sentence. Not the natural results of losing a battle, not random, not chance. And not a sentence from the direct agent of his death, but a sentence from the Lord. It was against the Lord that he had sinned, not keeping his commands & seeking guidance elsewhere.

[This was not the intention. Saul was the first human king of Israel. In a sense, he replaced God, who had been their king and Lord. At the very least, he was an steward of that throne. The Lord had ruled and guided the Israelites according to his Law, created for their good, and consulted his will, the only omniscient sovereign source of guidance.

Saul should’ve picked up where God left off. He had no sovereign, all-knowing will. He obviously was far short when it come to moral purity and upright character, attempting many times to murder his servant David. But he threw off the light burden of his Lord, accepted the heavy yoke of depending on himself, and brought the Israelites into corruption and servitude. This was the source of his guilt.]

How do we reconcile the last bold statement with the first 3? Archers shot him, he falls on his sword, God puts him to death? They can’t all be literally true. The Lord rules the earth through direct and indirect causes. This the case here.

Take this truth and hope in and fear it. He’s in control, but he also allowed it to happen (and we all have many it’s).

John Piper writes in his book Spectacular Sins,

By ordain I mean that God either caused something directly or permitted it for wise purposes. This permitting is a kind of indirect causing, since God knows all the factors involved and what effects they will have and he could prevent any outcome. So his permission is a kind of secondary causing, but not a direct causing.

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The House built on the Rock

Posted by Chris on September 20, 2008

Lone house to survive from Hurricane Ike

Lone house to survive from Hurricane Ike

This blog post brought to my attention the above photo of a solitary home still standing in the town of Gilchrist, TX, after Hurricane Ike passed through the state last week.  The owners of this home had their previous house destroyed by Hurricane Rita– they re-built with a plan for a building that could survive a Category 5 storm.

The obvious parallel, to a Christian, are Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6 or Matthew 7.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matt 7:24-29

A few verses from the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

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Hebrews 13 challenges this morning

Posted by Chris on September 1, 2008

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

  • I know someone who was just sent to prison.  When he was in jail, it was easy to take a few hours to go have a 20 min visit with him every week or every other week.  Now, he’s much farther away.  Will I write?  Will I visit?  What should I do?

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have

  • I will have a fat checking account soon- several weeks of overtime, a returned security deposit, and new cheap rent will do that to you.  The money is not going to stay there.  What will I save?  What will I give?

It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.

  • I like spending time alone.  Circumstances in life have made that less frequent than in the past, but these are good circumstances.  I have my internet surfing, sports-following, other private hobbies that I’ve used to strengthen myself- in a sense, my ceremonial food.  Will I be selfish and make sure I get that no matter what?  Or will I approach the throne of grace and ask in my time of need?

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

  • As I’ve become busier, it’s been easier to feel justified in turning down opportunities to do good.  I’ve also had to make choices between two or more things that are intrinsically good- such as honoring scheduled time with a friend vs. spending time with someone who may benefit from it but is not really a friend.
  • I live in a house now where we have many things in common.  Will I resist the temptation to be selfish?  Furthermore, will I become more selfless?  The positive should be our goal, not the lack of a negative.

Pray for us.

  • Will I pray for friends on the mission field?  Will I pray for friends who have sick family members?  Will I pray for my own family?  Will I pray for my relationships?
  • Will I pray for those I don’t know, whether it’s the poor in Champaign, those starving in Darfur, or even politicians?
  • How will I pray?  In passing or focused on the person and God?  “With many words, to be heard by men,” or privately, because “God hears what is said in secret”?

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Sunday inspiration: “It’s an altar”

Posted by Chris on July 26, 2008

Sometimes I think of an altar as the carpeted stairs and dais at the front of the church meetinghouse. But it’s not. It is a bloody place—a place of sacrifice and death.

I need to remember that.

From Desiring God blog.

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Naive and generous

Posted by Chris on July 25, 2008

If I had to choose between being naive and generous, or discerning and stingy, I would take the former every time.

As much as I don’t want to be an enabler, it is preferable to paternalism in our personal relationships and patterns of generosity.

There are so many things we can give. The cry of the discerning and stingy, who “has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him” (1 Jn 3:17), is often a cover for an unwillingness to think outside the box or take the time needed to meet needs in a way besides giving spare change. The verse continues: “How can the love of God be in him?” The equivalent of deciding whether or not to give spare change to a drunk would have been God deciding whether or not to send good weather to sinful people in agrarian Israel. Jesus said that God “sends rain on the evil and the good”; in the same way, we should sow into those who are deserving and undeserving, those who will use the money wisely and those who will be wasteful.

Thankfully, God acts outside the realm not only of the deist imagination, or the sphere of the meteorologist, but in a way that penetrates into our deeper needs. He came to earth, sacrificing a good ol’ time in Heaven. Think about that when as we discern that “being somewhere” precludes us from being generous. When His people failed to meet the accepted standards of right and wrong, He came and offered the reward of the righteous to anyone who would accept, without them first having to reform their lives and “prove how serious they are.” Think about that when we listen to hear certain words to confirm someone’s intentions to really improve their life. And He did this in the context of seeing us fail again and again, accepting our charity and His promise of blessing, only to turn our backs and again run to a curse and death. Think about that when you get tired of seeing the same faces on the same corners.

The cry of the naive and generous is not a complaint. It is genuine tears, shed in empathy for those in need, or in a desire to themselves grow in compassion that they can love others unconditionally.

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Sunday inspiration 7/20/08

Posted by Chris on July 20, 2008

I watch this at least once a week…

“I don’t know what you feel about the prosperity gospel, but I’ll tell you what I feel about it: Hatred.  It is being exported from this country to Africa and Asia, selling a bill of goods to the poorest of the poor… People that ought to be giving our money and our time and our lives, instead selling them a bunch of crap called ‘Gospel’…”

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Long-term care for a spouse

Posted by Chris on June 19, 2008

I have some personal family experience with this- one  spouse is put in a position of long-term care (or potential or expected long-term care) for a disabled or ill spouse.  I really enjoy reading good examples of care, patience, etc… in the midst.  The following story comes from the Desiring God blog.

Benjamin B. Warfield was a world-renowned theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary for almost 34 years until his death on February 16, 1921. Many people are aware of his famous books, like The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. But what most people don’t know is that in 1876, at the age of twenty-five, he married Annie Kinkead and took a honeymoon to Germany. During a fierce storm Annie was struck by lightning and permanently paralyzed. After caring for her for thirty-nine years Warfield laid her to rest in 1915. Because of her extraordinary needs, Warfield seldom left his home for more than two hours at a time during all those years of marriage.

Check out the rest of the post.

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