Showing posts from May, 2012

Trouble and the house of mourning

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.  Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 "...Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?"  Job 2:10 Well, the day I had been dreading has arrived. We received word this day that our sons' school, Northridge Christian School, is closing. We had a feeling that this would be the result of the work that the board had been doing these past weeks to try to keep the doors open, but the mounting shortfall in funding was much too great and, well, God saw it fit to close our school. Thanks be to God that He used this school so mightily in the lives of our sons. The character they have, the knowledge of the Bible that they possess, and the love they have for their God is due

The hands of God and death part 4

I had intended this to be a three part blog post, but my mind got the best of me on my ride into work this morning so I had to type this one out to conclude it all. It's a law: when I, as a man, die to something I come alive to something else. And it is precisely in that dying to and coming alive to where both the terror and peace of death reside. If I, as a man, die to selfishness I come alive to other-centeredness. Unfortunately the converse is true as well. Feeding the Spirit of God who is in me will result in a diminishing desire to gratify my sinful nature. I will be progressively dying to my sin and coming alive to the Spirit. But, if I continually come alive to my sin I will become more and more dead to the Spirit and so much so that I may never again hear his voice this side of heaven. There will come a day when my body will wear out or malfunction so epically that I will die. But, in so doing, I will come alive to something else. I will die a mortal man and come alive to i

The hands of God and death part 3

This is the third post in what I think is going to be a three part blog. The first is  here . The second is here . So here I am with some strange vision of holding death's hand. Here I am with a desire to grab a hold of it as if, somehow, he would lead me into a new and shining place. The only reason I can find for my trust in him as a God-ordained guide is that death has proven to be a good friend already. I don't fully understand him (ok there is my Englishness), but I see where he is not only of great benefit to me, but he is the vehicle of true life. I was always under the impression that his valley, his shadow was something to fear if not something to be avoided. Now I won't go visiting him , in the ultimate sense, anytime soon unless God Himself arranges the meeting. That visit would require a commitment and create a wake that I am very interested in avoiding. But I would be a fool to neglect becoming familiar with him; to receive correspondence from him as I live thi

The hands of God and death part 2

This is the second post in what I think is going to be a three part blog. The first is here . I don't like dead things. They creep me out a little. The bigger the dead thing the more creeped out I get about it. Of course this may come as a surprise to people that know how many mice I have killed in my basement (that should be done now) but dead things just seem to be unnatural to me as a son of the earth. I would think that the opposite would be true. I would think that in this sin-soaked earth I would be more comfortable around death. Maybe if I was in different circumstances (on a farm for example) I would be more inclined not to get a little weird when death came. I am trying to get more familiar with it, but I am not one of those people that likes to kill things. But I am called to die daily, and I am comfortable with the call even though I do not die as much as I should each day. So why is that? Is there a destructive death (dead squirrel under the swing) and a constructive on

The hands of God and death

I think that this will be the first of three related posts, but I am not sure. I received a great Christmas present last year. My wife bought me the complete works of Francis Schaeffer and I am working through some of his 22 books that I have not had the privilege of reading in the past. Schaeffer framed the "problem" of the apparent primitivism or anthropomorphism of the hand of God in my reading last night in a way that I hadn't thought of before (why does the song Candy Guru  go through my head whenever I write that?). Schaeffer is always quick to ensure that his readers know that our God has made Himself manifest in space time history. He mentioned that the picture of the hand of God is simply a reference to His real work in history and in, well, everything. Our thoughts are actuated through our hands (and feet, and mouths, and...) thus to paint a picture of a God who actuates His thoughts in the physical world we would naturally turn to the picture of a hand doing st

Greatest pop song of all time

I have blogged about this before  but I was thinking about it in a different light today as I drove into work. You would not have to know me long for me to share with you that I consider Steppin' Out by Joe Jackson to be the greatest pop song of all time. In fact, Night and Day, the album that the song came off of, is probably the greatest pop music album of all time. Of course this point is arguable and that is, well, my point. Well that and the fact that I am just over 42 years old. Have I heard every pop song ever recorded by any man, woman, and band? No. Do I know what the criteria are for the assessment of pop music especially in comparison to the other songs in the genre? No. If I had the perfect criteria by which I could judge the song could I be expected to both understand them and apply them perfectly to Steppin' Out? No. Could I change my mind tomorrow concerning this? It is not likely, but yes I could considering that pop music is still being recorded and that there

Joe Jackson, irrational fear, and Sir Francis Bacon

We don't know what happens when we die We only know we die too soon  - The Verdict, Joe Jackson Fear can be irrational. Whenever I think of fear as being irrational I think of Socrates' statement about his death and that it is irrational to fear that which is not known. If a person has no knowledge of what a particular situation is going to bring then it is not reasonable to fear it. The situation may bring about the greatest good that a person has ever experienced or, conversely, could cause the greatest harm. Unless someone has a reason to believe the latter then where is the fear? If someone's world view dictates that death, for example, will usher them into a state of godliness that is not possible to obtain on this earth (as mine does) then death is a friend to that person and the fear of it would be irrational. I need to move my mind and body so that I am in concert with my faith in Christ which forms my world view. If someone's world view leads them to see the i

There he sat...

There were more than a few surprises at my youngest son's first baseball game a couple of weeks ago. The first was that they played at all. Springtime in Rochester does not necessarily mean temperatures in the 50's or even 40's. It was sunny for sure and the temps at the beginning of the game were in the 30's. Thank God that his uniform shirt was big enough for him to put his jacket under. That made a bunch of difference I am sure. The second big surprise was that the coaches put him at first base and kept him there the whole game. He is not a super-strong ball catcher at this point, but subsequent events in the game would prove the coaches' wisdom in this regard. Another surprise was that they let me coach third. Yeah, I guess I knew what I was doing. He had a great first game ever. He caught a fly ball off of an opponent's bat and turned a double play by throwing the runner out at third. He also went 1 for 3 at the plate. He had a solid hit and beat the throw

Bound to heaven-stuff

This is a follow up on my Bound to earth-stuff  post. It seems to me that when I am consumed with the hurts of the past and the people that have hurt me that I am subjecting myself, voluntarily, to earth-stuff. There is no release from that that this world offers. There is no amount of earth-stuff that I can apply to my situation that will take root and result in sweet fruit. The earth-stuff that I can partake of to try to lift myself out of bitterness will only result in my ultimate destruction. There is a way that seems right to an earth-bound human, but the end result is only death (Proverbs 14:12). Not necessarily physical death (although that can certainly happen) but death in other areas of my life whether that is an unhealthy weight gain, a contentious relationship, or some other manifestation of death. But there is other stuff that I can bind myself to, namely, heaven-stuff. Now I am pretty sure heaven-stuff only has a voluntary binding. In other words, even the one who chooses

Bound to earth-stuff

I sat through an excellent sermon on Sunday about bitterness and the root that it is anchoring the fruit that is often seen in my life. It seems to me that if I dwell on past hurts, or let a perceived hurt or injustice dictate my mood or actions, I am subjecting myself to earth-stuff. I will always, this side of heaven, be involuntarily subjected to all sorts of physical earth-stuff - time, weather, viruses, and my ever-growing fingernails, and so much so that I will need to engage in certain activities in an attempt to overcome or circumnavigate them. For example, I run the heat in my car in the winter. That is a natural reaction to the subject that I am to the earth-stuff of the cold. Because of the fall, there is a spiritual dimension to earth-stuff as well. Herein lies both an involuntary and voluntary component and is far different from the physical. When someone calls me a rude name I am faced with an involuntary subjection to earth-stuff. There may have been something that I did