Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Fritz | 27 June 2014 – Consider the Greatness of God

This weekend take some time to yourself and just consider the greatness of God. It is easier to do this sitting on a beach, or from some mountain vista, or staring into a starlit night. If that is available to you then go to that place. If not, find it in the face of a child, in the love of your spouse, or even the most mundane of creation. Regardless where you look you can see the greatness of God. Never let that revelation be far from your conscious thoughts.

Two passages of scripture for you to consider:

Romans 8:37-39 (KJV) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hear that! Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (KJV) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

It takes the Spirit of God to reveal truly how great God is, and to know the love of Christ. Read these verses several times, slowly, and consider what this is saying.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thor's Day Thundering | 26 June 2014 - The Creative God

A few years ago I taught a class on Biblical Creativity. It was a very interesting study. Six weeks could not do it justice because it is impossible to exhaust the creativity of God. The following is an excerpt from "Creativity in the Bible" by Dr. Barry Liesch. This portion is describing "Bara Creativity". I believe this describes part of God's nature. Throughout scripture you find that God always does a new thing.

Creativity in the Bible
© 1999 by Dr. Barry Liesch

The Church should not only seek to be relevant to local culture, but also an agent of transformation.

Creativity: The Reformed View

Creativity - Troublesome Word

If asked today, what institution in our society clearly espouses creativity, our response would probably not be the church.

Just as "performance" is a troublesome term, so is creativity. Artists value this term, and often feel the churches have an inadequate understanding of it, and will not allow much of it.

Are we "workers" or "creators," "imitators" or "imagers"?

Bara Creativity

Creativity has become a buzzword in our society. Everything from a child's scribble to Einstein's theory of relativity is considered creative. In the Scriptures the Bible "create" is reserved for extraordinarily exalted activity. The Hebrew and Greek words for it, respectively, bara and kitzo, are very similar in meaning and are employed sparingly to denote only the pinnacles of God's achievements.

In the Bible, creative activity must contain something of the miraculous and the mysterious (Exod 34:10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.). If the phenomenon can be explained away by natural means, it is no longer bara activity.

Bara creativity is illustrated in Numbers chapter sixteen where the sons of Korah were rebelling against the divinely instituted leadership of Moses. God instructed Moses to tell the people to separate from the tents of these rebels:

Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away.... If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.
As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them...They went down alive into the grave with everything they owned; the earth closed over them and they perished and were gone from the community (Num 16:26, 29-33, emphasis added).

The words translated "totally new" in the above passage are a rendering of two successive bara words ("bara beriah"), the only time this succession occurs in Scripture. A strictly literal translation would be the Lord "creates a creation."


In this excerpt you see where God did something in the earth that man had never seen up to that point in time. It is ironic that God describes Himself as, "I am the Lord, I change not", but yet He is constantly doing new things. This to me can only mean one thing: God always does a new thing! It is part of His nature to be creative. We were created in His likeness. It's time that we become creative! Get out of the rut, box, hole, or whatever is keeping you from releasing the new expressions that He has placed in you.

Wednesday Wit | 25 June 2014 - The IRS and Grandpa

In light of the current IRS debacle I thought this might be fitting.
The IRS and Grandpa
The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, Which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable.'

I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The auditor thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.'

Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.'

The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops. Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.'

Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet. Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye. The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks. 'I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

'Are you okay?' the auditor asks.

'Not really,' says the attorney. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it!'

Don't mess with old people!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Thrombosis | 24 June 2014 – Laodicea

This was originally posted a few years ago after I shared it in communion. I thought it was worth repeating here.

I hate to be wrong. I am very quick to challenge any implication that I am wrong. I will research diligently to prove my point. I learned that this behavior is one aspect of my Control Temperament: Choleric. Choleric people tend to be right. That’s one reason some people do not like them. People grow weary a know-it-all.

This is relatively new information for me. My wife, Martha, is a certified pastoral counselor, with a degree to prove it! She has tried to help me over the years to understand that, just because I know the answer, not everyone wants to hear it. I am just the opposite. If someone knows the answer to my question I want to hear it. I love to learn. I love discovery, but I also love shared knowledge.

I mentioned a little about me to give you some background for this post. I have recently had an epiphany. It has not come easily, but I’m glad that I learned it now, at 54, rather than finding out at 75. I have come to realize that I don’t know everything. Specifically, I don’t even know as much as I thought I knew about my God, and His Kingdom.

I’ve been on a journey for at least 3 years of looking at everything I believe with new eyes. My friend, Ed Chinn, published a book called “New Eyes for a New World.” I recommend it. It will help you think in new ways. Another book that I read recently is by Matthew B. Redmond, called “The God of the Mundane”, another that I highly recommend. These, along with several others, have challenged me to look at everything a second time. Go back and find out WHY you believe what you do, not just debunk everything that is not in agreement with WHAT you believe.

Another milestone on this journey came after reading a recommended blog entry by Rachel Held Evans ( I replied with this:

Interesting times in the Body right now. I'm beginning to feel like a man without a ‘country’. I'm beginning to get a glimpse of what the Lord was saying to the angel at Laodicea. I have numbered myself with them, but I'm trying to break free.”

After writing that in a rather off-the-cuff manner, mainly because I liked the self-righteous sound of it, I started looking deeper into Laodicea. I found something interesting, and convicting.

When you look at the Greek, of which I am not a scholar, I found that 2 words were used to form Laodicea. The first is laos which simply means “people.” The second word is dike (pronounced dee’-kay) which means “right, or just.”

One could draw from this definition that the people there were self-righteous. They justified their position, behavior, or beliefs concerning spiritual matters. The Lord spoke to them and said, "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'; and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 4:17-18 NKJV)

One of the greatest problems with deception is the fact that you are deceived. You cannot see the deception because you believe you are right. It has taken 3 years, and counting, but I believe the walls of my stubbornness are beginning to crack, allowing the amazing light of God’s glory and truth to invade my world in ways I have not experienced in a long time.

Just so you know, I’m not talking about “sin”, necessarily. I never have walked away from the Lord or pursued other gods. I have simply allowed the light (little “l”) of my wisdom and knowledge to be enough for me, instead of letting the Light (big “l”) show me how to live my life.

I’m not speaking as one that has arrived, simply as one who is in pursuit of the One whom I love, and that loves me.

One final thought about Laodicea. According to scripture there was an epistle written by Paul to the Laodiceans. He mentions it in Colossians 4:16: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”

Wouldn’t you love to have read what Paul wrote to these folks? I know I sure would.

Our response: Consider your motives, especially when you are criticized, to see if you may have allowed self-righteousness to creep in. If so, repent. Allow the Lord to remove the “thrombosis” of pride from you so life can flow freely both to you, and from you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Mooring | 23 June 2014 – Axiom 1: God

An axiom is a statement accepted as true as the basis for argument or inference; an established rule or principle or a self-evident truth. The Declaration of Independence uses language like this. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

By making these statements the writers gave the foundation from which the rest of the argument for freedom was made.

I read a book recently called “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen. The author makes the case for one to really look inside your self to see what you truly believe, not only about yourself, but also about life in general. It matters what you “hold to be self-evident.” It will determine how you live your life. It will affect the decisions you make.

The Bible starts with what I believe to be an axiom: “In the beginning, God …” It doesn’t make any claim about WHEN the beginning happened. It does not state HOW God began. All it says it there was a beginning and when that beginning happened God was there. If you allow that truth to be your bedrock, doubt will never be able to make your life shipwreck. Once you establish God as a certainty then you make room in your life to receive all that He has for you.

So, as you journey through life, when the winds blow and rain falls, the ship may get tossed to and fro, but always remember “In the beginning, God …” and that He still is. Everything else will work from there.