Archive for July, 2005

Notable Quotable

  • “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

    Mark Twain

What Do You See In Your Clouds?

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

Behold, He cometh with clouds. – Revelation 1:7

In the Bible clouds are always connected with God. Clouds are those sorrows or sufferings or providences, within or without our personal lives, which seem to dispute the rule of God. It is by those very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were no clouds, we should have no faith. ‘The clouds are but the dust of our Father’s feet.’ The clouds are a sign that He is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow and bereavement and suffering are the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near without clouds, He does not come in clear shining.

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials; through every cloud He brings, He wants us to unlearn something. God’s purpose in the cloud is to simplify our belief until our relationship to Him is exactly that of a child-God and my own soul, other people are shadows. Until other people become shadows, clouds and darkness will be mine every now and again. Is the relationship between myself and God getting simpler than ever it has been?

There is a connection between the strange providences of God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

“They feared as they entered the cloud. . . .? Is there anyone “save Jesus only? in your cloud? If so, it will get darker; you must get to the place where there is “no one any more save Jesus only.?

Blacklisting

I’m stepping up my war on comment spam yet again. Previously, I required all new commenters to be sent to moderation before their comment would be posted. Once you have a cleared comment, future comments would not be held for moderation unless they contained certain key words.

Now, I am getting more aggressive with the blacklist. As comments come in that are spam, I will pick out key words that are fairly unique to comment spam and add them to the blacklist.

The list of blacklisted words can be found at the link “Comments Blacklist” under the section “Writings”, currently along the right side navigation bar. If you think you may have fallen victim to the blacklist and have a legitimate comment, check that page to see if a word you used is on the list.

If you have a list of words on your own blacklist you’d like to share, please do. You’re free to leech from my blacklist any time you want.

Thank God for the Thief

One of my biggest pet-peeves in my faith is bad theology. There are legitimate differences in opinion and interpretation, but there are also differences based solely on ignorance.

I recently came across a posting on digg.com, a totally secular site, lambasting Christians for boycotting Verichip, because many see it as either a precursor to the mark of the beast or they see it as the technology that will be used for the mark itself.

Now I am agnostic on this particular issue. Verichip may very well be the technology used to allow people to buy and sell, but the scripture in Revelation 13, in my interpretation, requires an outward, visible mark. It is Satan’s form of cattle branding.

What inspired this post wasn’t the opinions about Verichip, however. There was a comment left by a naive Christian that in order to be saved, one must be baptized. Similar beliefs that torque me are Pentecostal teaching that one must speak in tongues.

This is where the thief that hung on the cross next to Jesus is invaluable. He came to a belief in the savior that was hanging next to him, dying with him, and asked that Jesus remember him. Jesus promised that before the day was over, they would be together in heaven.

There is no record of the thief coming down from the cross temporarily in order to be baptized. Likewise, there is no mention of tongues being spoken.

Anyone who has ever been saved, from Adam until now, has been saved in the same manner: faith in their savior. Before Christ, that faith was in an unknown future messiah. Since Christ, that faith has been in Jesus. It has always been faith in Him though. There is no record in the Old Testament of anyone speaking in tongues upon being saved.

Baptism is a form of Christian witness. It as an outward expression of an inward cleansing. It is not a religious act required for salvation. If it were required, Jesus would have been lying when he told the thief they would be together in heaven. If your church teaches that you must be baptized to be saved, your church is wrong.

Likewise, tongues are a gift of the spirit. Some have it, others do not. Those who do not are not condemned to hell because they haven’t been given that particular gift. Paul said the greatest gift is prophecy. The least of the gifts is tongues. To say that someone who has the least of the gifts is saved, while someone who has the greatest of gifts is not is ludicrous.

Thank God for the thief!

After Obedience-What?

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side. . . . – Mark 6:45

We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I defend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process-that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God’s end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present; but if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.

Alabama State Highways in ……. Massachusetts?

This is kind of funny!

Disappointed

I just took a look at my traffic reports over at site meter. I have to say I am a bit disappointed that 68% of my readers are using Internet Exploder. Only a meager 13% of you are using Firefox, and the rest are using Netscape.

Internet Exploder is so bloated and ugly. I can’t use it without unbearable frustration. With firefox, I haven’t gotten popups in a long time. I know, the newest IE has a popup blocker, but that isn’t good enough to use IE.

I have tons of extensions loaded on my version of Firefox. I block banner ads with Adblock, have several that manage how my tabs work for tabbed browsing, and I like their download manager. Extensions are awesome on Firefox!

I know you’re already aware of Firefox, but I would encourage you to give it a shot. Use it for a week. Get it here.

The Way to Know

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine. . . – John 7:17

The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey.

No man ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test over it. We disobey and then wonder why we don’t go on spiritually. ‘If when you come to the altar,’ said Jesus, ‘there you remember your brother hath ought against you. . . don’t say another word to Me, but first go and put that thing right.’ The teaching of Jesus hits us where we live. We cannot stand as humbugs before Him for one second. He educates us down to the scruple. The Spirit of God unearths the spirit of self-vindication; He makes us sensitive to things we never thought of before.
When Jesus brings a thing home by His word, don’t shirk it. If you do, you will become a religious humbug. Watch the things you shrug your shoulders over, and you will know why you do not go on spiritually. First go- at the risk of being thought fanatical you must obey what God tells you.

The Account with Purity

Today’s My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.

Out of the heart proceed. . . – Matthew 15:18

We begin by trusting our ignorance and calling it innocence, by trusting our innocence and calling it purity; and when we hear these rugged statements of Our Lord’s, we shrink and say-‘But I never felt any of those awful things in my heart.’ We resent what Jesus Christ reveals. Either Jesus Christ is the supreme Authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust His penetration, or do I prefer to trust my innocent ignorance? If I make conscious innocence the test, I am likely to come to a place where I find with a shuddering awakening that what Jesus Christ said is true, and I shall be appalled at the possibility of evil and wrong in me. As long as I remain under the refuge of innocence, I am living in a fool’s paradise. If I have never been a blackguard, the reason is a mixture of cowardice and the protection of civilized life; but when I am undressed before God, I find that Jesus Christ is right in His diagnosis.

The only thing that safeguards is the Redemption of Jesus Christ. If I will hand myself over to Him, I need never experience the terrible possibilities that are in my heart. Purity is too deep down for me to get to naturally: but when the Holy Spirit comes in, He brings into the centre of my personal life the very Spirit that was manifested in the life of Jesus Christ, viz. Holy Spirit, which is unsullied purity.

Cheap Gas

I’ve had a small graphic for twincitiesgasprices.com up on my blog almost since I started blogging. Now someone has put together a site that combines the same type of price tracking with Google maps, so you can see exactly where the cheap gas is.

You can check it out here.