Category Archives: Bible stuff

Envy is a terrible thing

I have been doing some reading and studying on the topic of envy the past week or so. And the results are giving me that sort of ‘trembly’ feeling inside.

“A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” Proverbs 14:30

God, in his mercy, has put me in several situations the last few weeks that have been bringing up envy and covetousness. [Oh the depravity of my soul!] I used to sort of give a side-glance to whenever envy came up in my spirit. Sort of like “eh whatever, no big deal”. But that was foolishness. Envy is a terrible thing. It’s end result is murder; because of envy Cain killed Abel, Sarah cast Hagar & Ishmael out to starve, Esau and Jacob were deeply divided. The results of that brotherly competition is still seen in the midst of the hatred of nations today.

Quite simply, envy is when you see something that your friend or brother has and you want it. It clouds your mind so you end up accusing them in your heart of sin or some sort or another. Just to excuse why you are disliking them so much. It causes terrible division. This is why I say that God in his mercy has put me in situations where I am struggling with this. And, in His mercy, He is giving me the grace to resist it.

But I just want to say, we need to resist envy! We cannot just ignore it, allowing it to foster in our souls and grow into something evil that quenches the life in our spirit and our communion with God. It must be resisted and fought – and by the power of the Holy Spirit it can be overcome. I want to be an overcomer.

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Singing the Word

I have rather belatedly decided on a few new years resolutions. A few weeks ago I was somewhat snickering at people who were making those temporary-just-do-it-to-feel-better-now sort of vows. I don’t like committing to something that I am going to give up on in a week.

But I have been provoked. First by some near friends and their lifestyle. (BEST sort of provoking there is!) Second by an overheard conversation in the midst of a new bible study plan and a few things God had been speaking to me. Sounds like a divine appointment if I have ever heard of one.

So, my resolution this year is to be a determined singer of the Word. I have spent quite a bit of time studying the Bible, but when it comes to actually singing it. Although I have heard about it for a long time, well, every time I tried it was just awkward. I can carry a tune, although it may not sound stellar, it won’t be painful. But, well, singing the bible sometimes just feels silly.

Why the change? Well, I have a new plan to go deep into the book of the Song of Songs. I took 6 months a few years ago, to study the song of Solomon in depth. And I have a good understanding of what the language means, interpreted through the New Testament in the paradigm of Jesus loving the church. But very little of that language has become my heart language, nor have I gone as deep in it as I have wanted to. So, I spent time pondering what I could do, to get my emotions and heart more involved in what my head has learned, and I realized. I need to begin singing the book. So, I have a new plan and I began a few days ago, with chapter 1, verses 2 – 4.

So far? Well, I haven’t gotten very much. No revelations that is, nor stunning heavenly experience. But I did find my heart moving in love for Jesus again, and I was weeping a little bit over the beauty of God. So, that is a good beginning.

Now, I am going to blatantly steal an analogy from a leader here at the House of Prayer. I guess it’s not plagiarism if I say this is not my idea first, but I really like it. Anyway, so singing the word is like stacking up the dry wood. It doesn’t feel like you are doing much. In fact it feels like nothing is happening. Fasting is like pouring lighter fluid all over the dry wood. It is going to add to the eventual combustion. But, God is the one who chooses when to drop the match. I really like that analogy. I can remember several times in my life when God just dropped that ‘match’ and everything in me lit on fire. I felt something only God can do, change, shift dramatically in me. Our works do not accomplish it, they just position us for God to do the work. So, I am feeling charged up to do some more singing of the Word. And to wait for God to bring the Word to life within me.

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I am afraid of hunger

I think I am afraid of being hungry. I have just begun a study on the Song of Songs. It has already stirred and convicted me. Even as I begin this study, my mind is racing around with all the things I could do instead, and my stomach is sending ice-cream cravings to my brain… I just read the following…“This inward urge is the beginning of all progress. Spiritual edification can never be separated from a pursuit that is based on hunger and thirst. If the Holy Spirit has not put a real dissatisfaction with a general relationship and a pursuit for personal affection in a believer, he can never expect to have an intimate experience of the Lord. This pursuit is the basis for all future experience… Indeed, His Love is better than wine. Of everything that brings us joy, elation and excitement, the Holy Spirit shows us that nothing can be compared with His love. Once we have seen and known His love, is there anything under the sun that can compare with it?” (Watchman Nee, The Song of Songs)

I find it funny that even as I read about the hunger given to me by the Holy Spirit, I am at the same time afraid to experience this hunger. Even as my spirit awakens and says ‘Yes! I am hungry for God!” I also have the urge to run far away and satisfy this hunger in something – anything! To exerperience hunger is to experience weakness. It’s to say, yes, I really need God. Apart from Him I can do nothing. Frankly, my flesh really does not like weakness. When someone points out my weakness I get angry and defensive. And I just want to justify myself and attack them.

It’s like when my roommates ask me to do something different from how I want to do it. I tend to spend a few minutes thinking about how their way is so illogical and insane. I feel annoyed and frustrated. I dream about the day when I can set ‘my own rules and do things my way’. (ha – like that will every happen!) Then, I stop and realize, wait, why am I so upset about this. I am upset about it, because I want things my way. Oy that sinful nature.

The truth is that His love is better than wine. Nothing in this world will satisfy my hunger. It’s just hard to sit in this place of hunger. Sitting and waiting. Waiting and watching. Watching and sitting. (Growl – I just want to do something!). Again, sitting and waiting, stomach rumbling, hunger for God. pant, long, restrain limbs which want to run fast and far away, and again pant and hunger.

God, I will wait and I will watch. Until You have a resting place. Until You come. I hunger for you.

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Meditations on John

I have been reading and re-reading John 14-17 for the last week or so. For my Gospel of John study, I decided to do a ‘manuscript’ study. Basically, I copied and pasted the bible (NASB) from Biblegateway onto a word document. I deleted all the verse breaks, titles and chapter breaks. Ending up with a lovely long document with no breaks in it other than the actual text and dialogue. Wonderful.

It really is amazing, as a side point, to look at scripture without the breaks in it, and just read the scripture from start to finish. You really see a lot of connections that were hindered by the verse divisions. It is harder to refer chapter 6 back to chapter 2, when every time you see a new chapter break, you think a new train of thought is beginning.

 Anyway, I have found after my multiple readings of John 14 – 17 without chapter and verse divisions, that I am beginning to understand and find depth in the passage that I did not find before. Previously, I always felt like a ping-pong ball that kept bouncing off the surface of the text instead of diving into the real issues. At any rate, I have decided that the passage is all about abiding. Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. Being part of the Beloved. Accepted in the divine embrace. Intimacy with God. There are many terms for the exquisite delight of depth of relationship with God. But I love the reality that the passage talks about. In both deep language and yet startlingly simple language. If you do not abide, you will dry up and be like a dead branch and be tossed into the fire. A terrifyingly simple parable.

I love abiding. I need to do it more. Okay, I am going to now. End of post.

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Meditation on True Joy

Have you ever heard the story of Saint Francis of Accissi and his explanation of true joy? I have been pondering it a lot the last few months. The full story can be read here. To sum it up, St. Francis was walking with Brother Leo and he told the following story: They arrive at the monastary where they are to serve. They are dirty and cold and desire to enter. But the doorkeeper believes they are criminals and sends them away. So they go to the neighboring town and ask for housing. But no one provides. So they return to the monastary begging to be allowed in. Instead the doorkeeper comes out and beats them till they collapse on the ground. At the end they are lieing cold and wounded outside in the freezing rain. True joy, says St. Francis, is if at that point there is no anger in your heart.

A clean conscience, a free heart, a spirit that is alive in God and cleansed of iniquity, a heart response that says yes to God and no to sin. That is true joy. I want it.

I was prompted in these meditations by my perusal of Psalm 32. I love the psalms of David; so emotional and human and yet he turns again and again to God. David, in this psalm, says basically the same thing at St. Francis, but with different words. Check it out:

“Blessed in he whose transgression is forgiven” – David understands the freedom and blessing of a heart forgiven. (and the heart who chooses to forgive!) That person is blessed and happy.

“He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.” – I love this verse. The mercy of the Lord surrounds him who trusts in God. It gives me the picture of Revelation 4, where the emerald rainbow surrounds the throne of God. The picture of mercy surrounding you.

So, “Be glad and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”. That is true joy, when trouble surrounds, we trust in God’s mercy and our heart sings his praises.

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Israel & the wailing wall

Or Romans 10:1. Yep that is the subject of my lesson today with the 3,4, and 5 yr olds!

The wailing wall

I have been pondering and wrestling over how to teach the kids the apostolic prayer “My hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved…”. How do you teach young children an abstract concept like a nation that is very far away and then teach them God’s passionate love for Israel and then ask them to pray? Well, the prayer part is pretty easy. I think i am going to build a ‘wailing wall’ with construction paper on our wall and use that in a concrete way to have us pray for Israel. We will see how it goes. As with all of my lessons with CEC, most of it is an experiment to see how high I can call these children to go in the Lord!

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The second trumpet

I have been pondering the trumpet judgments as I proceed through my outline of Revelation.

I spent some time a few months ago researching the 1st trumpet – what is the impact on the world with losing 1/3rd of the trees? My first thought is that there will be a dramatic increase in CO2 – carbon dioxide. Depending on where the trees are wiped out, I think it is safe to say that many people will die from lack of oxygen. In addition all the green grass is burnt up. I also theorize that it may cause a lot of erosion – similar to what happened in the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s in the Midwest. Farmers plowed up so many fields for grain and cut down so many trees, in addition to several years of drought, that almost the whole midwest became a desert.

 So, that moves me on to the second trumpet. What could be the ecological impact of 1/3 of the ocean becoming blood? The scripture tells us that 1/3rd of sea creatures die and 1/3 of ships are destroyed. I assume in some sort of Tsumani effect from the mountain that falls into the ocean that causes it to become blood. The ocean has around 1300 million cubic kilometers of water – so imagine around 400 million cubic kilometers of blood! Ick! And since the oceans cover around 64% of the earth’s surface – 20% of the earth’s surface will be blood!The ocean

Here is a map of the oceans of the world. Can you imagine 1/3rd of them blood?! 

Here is another picture – detailing the water cycle.

 Water Cycle

I am not sure how the judgment will impact the water cycle and therefore rain, snow, ice, irrigation of land and springs and so on. I imagine the change will be drastic and not good. Probably resulting immediately in drought, but who knows for sure.

 So, just a few thoughts about the second trumpet judgment. I don’t have any conclusions, but I find it fascinating to think about what it will be like and what may happen.

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