Saturday, March 31, 2007

The unexamined life is not worth living. Or having to answer for. 

2 Corinthians 13 - Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!

Daniel 9 - "Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You."

The irony is the source. This from the only man in the Bible against whom God expresses no cause for complaint.

Luke 19:1-28 - "I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away."

This seems unfair unless you think about the opportunity wasted. Unless you consider the context.

Three servants are given resources and time and then asked to account for their use of it. Those who make good use of their resources in the time allotted are blessed. Those who hide what they're given and play a zero-sum game are cursed.

i hate this story.

Friday, March 30, 2007

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." 

Exodus 14:15-31 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward."

2 Corinthians 12 - ...to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh....

Daniel 6 - Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions' den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you."

Luke 18:18-43 - "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Taking It on the Chin 

Exodus 14:1-14 - "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."

2 Corinthians 11 - For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.

Daniel 5 - "...you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient."

Luke 18:1-17 - "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?"

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

War and Rumors of War 

Exodus 13:17-22 - Now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, "The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt."

2 Corinthians 10 - We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God....

Daniel 4 - "...And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What have You done?"

Luke 17:11-37 - "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Exodus 13:1-16 - "You shall tell your son on that day, saying, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me....'"

2 Corinthians 8:23-9:15 - Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.

Daniel 3 - "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire.... But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

Luke 16:19-17:10 - "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Against Expectation 

Exodus 12:37-51 - ...they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

2 Corinthians 8:1-22 - ...a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality....

Daniel 1 - At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food.

Luke 16:1-18 - "...that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Frozen Moment 

Genesis 22:1-13 - Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

John 10:1-16 - "He who is a hired hand... sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees...."

1 Kings 8:22-53 - "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them...."

John 17 - "Father, the hour has come...."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Presence 

Exodus 12:21-36 - "...when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you."

2 Corinthians 6:11-7:16 - "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

Jeremiah 44 - "Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone."

Luke 15 - "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?"

Friday, March 23, 2007

New Life for Old 

Exodus 12:1-20 - "This month shall be the beginning of months for you...."

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:10 - Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Jeremiah 43 - "He will also come and strike the land of Egypt; those who are meant for death will be given over to death...."

Luke 14:25-35 - "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Exodus 11 - "But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel."

2 Corinthians 4:7-5:10 - ...we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Jeremiah 42 - "Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God...."

Luke 14:1-24 - "Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.... Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Exodus 10:21-29 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt."

2 Corinthians 3:1-4:6 - But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart....

Jeremiah 41 - Then Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went; and as he met them, he said to them, "Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam!"

Luke 13:18-35 - "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hardening of the Arteries 

Exodus 10:1-20 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them...."

2 Corinthians 1:23-2:17 - ...on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

Jeremiah 39:11-40:16 - "Because you people sinned against the LORD and did not listen to His voice, therefore this thing has happened to you."

Luke 13:1-17 - But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, "There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day."

What a hard thing, to be the hardened one, unaware of one's own gracelessness.

To become the proponent of the Curse, in the process of trying to do What's Right (even at the expense of other people, but shouldn't they have known better?).

To end up the symbol of unyielding authority, as a result of simply trying to protect the People from themselves.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Chief End of Man 

Exodus 9:13-35 - "...I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth."

2 Corinthians 1:1-22 - ...so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.

2 Kings 24:18-25:11, 20-22 - For through the anger of the LORD this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence.

Luke 12:35-59 - "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division...."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Foolish Sons 

2 Samuel 18:5-33 - "Is it well with the young man Absalom?"

Luke 15:11-32 - "I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."

Genesis 13 - ...Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.

Matthew 7:13-29 - "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's not a dogma. It's a relationship. 

Exodus 8:1-19 - Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them...

1 Corinthians 15:20-34 - The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Jeremiah 37 - But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.

Luke 11:29-54
- "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here."

The problem with Pharoah and Zedekiah and this generation and me isn't that we find God hard to believe in. It's that we don't want Someone telling us what to do.

It's not that we're incredulous. It's that we're insubordinate.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Our Father 

Exodus 7:14-25 - ...all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood.

1 Corinthians 15:1-22 - If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

Jeremiah 34 - "Although recently you had turned and done what is right in My sight, each man proclaiming release to his neighbor.... Yet you turned and profaned My name, and each man took back his male servant and each man his female servant whom you had set free...."

Luke 11:1-28 - "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

i'm really glad i've had a chance to be a dad. Of course, it helps that my four kiddos are cool, cool cats. But i have in mind the changed view of God that being a father has given me.

There are some things i think i understand better as a result: His long silences. His patience in the face of my ongoing, chronic complaint. His sudden, swift protections in the face of dangers i don't even anticipate. His willingness to let me struggle through a difficulty on my own. The testing of my reliance on Him in order to build my trust in Him.

And the inexplicable sense i have that, in spite of everything i've put Him through, what He really wants is for me to be happy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First thing we do, let's convert all the lawyers. 

Exodus 6:28-7:13 - So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.

Double Jeopardy

1 Corinthians 14:20-40 - When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

Order in the Court

Jeremiah 28 - "Listen now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth....'"

Death Sentence

Luke 10:25-42 - And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" ...But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Cross Examination

Monday, March 12, 2007

The problem with prophecy is that it. Takes. So. Loooonnnnggggg. 

Exodus 5:22-6:13 - "O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all."

1 Corinthians 14:1-19 - Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Jeremiah 27 - "So do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, 'You will not serve the king of Babylon,' for they prophesy a lie to you...."

Luke 10:1-24 - "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them."

i live in anticipation of changes that don't come, in fear of my circumstances, in hope of some kind of insight.

God does so much for is, speaks to us, in so many ways that it is difficult to keep them all in mind. But here are waves crashing, here a flower blooms, here a windfall, here an earthquake. In the night, we dream His Word. By day, we encourage each other.

But i worry, and what is worry but a deliberate blindering of my sight? a focus on some temporal particular? So i fail to see His revelation of Himself. That revelation is not about me, after all, is it? And won't it be there again tomorrow? Today i have this concern.

What God seems to expect of me is that i lay aside my immediate, urgent concerns, in favor of synthesizing the manners in which He has revealed Himself, so that i may know Him better.

Once again, it seems He values insight over accomplishment.

Friday, March 09, 2007

What He Makes of Us and We of Him 

Exodus 4:1-23 - "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?"

1 Corinthians 12:1-26 - ...no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 18 - But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Luke 9:18-36 - And He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Isn't that an odd thing? See how much the relationship between Christ and me is based around the idea of identity. He makes me and gives me my place in the world and provides me with my faculties. In return, i tell Him Who He Is: i give Him His place in my world.

It's almost constructivist.

Except that He is the one for whom the tree falling in the forest makes its sound. If i give Him His rightful place in my world, i am the one made right. If i fail to do so, it's my orientation that is cock-eyed, my gravity that is askew, and all my falling goes toward wrong directions, with no catch, and nothing to stop me.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Identity Crisis 

Exodus 3:1-20 - "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?"

Am i a person i can admire? Matched against the person i admire most, how would i fare?

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 - But a man must examine himself....

What do i see in a photograph of myself taken last week? taken ten years ago?

Jeremiah 21 - "Behold, I am against you, O valley dweller...," declares the LORD, "You men who say, 'Who will come down against us?'"

Are my securities well-founded? or are they based on blindnesses?

Luke 9:1-17 - Herod said, "I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?"

And what is it that i really think of Christ?

And how is it that He changes who we are and frees us from our fates?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Exodus 2:11-25 - And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning....

Life can be hard, but we do whatever it takes. We endure, we try something new, we weather the storm.

We even, eventually, cry out to God for help.

1 Corinthians 10:15-33 - We are not stronger than He, are we?

Of course, it's not out of belief but desperation that we cry out to Him. If we really thought He could do the trick, wouldn't we do that first?

The truth is that sometimes—not always, but sometimes—it's God who puts us in the position of clinging desperately to our lives.

Jeremiah 29:1-14 - "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

He does it to get our attention.

So whatever it takes to get our attention, He'll do it.

Luke 8:40-56 - And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.

While for our part, whatever it takes for us to survive, we'll do that, no matter how farfetched. As long as it works. It may or may not involve Him—we don't care. Usually, it doesn't have to.

There's only one thing we don't seem to be able to weather without Him, really.

He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Child, arise!"

Fortunately, He offers a cure for that too.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Exodus 1:22-2:10 - But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.

1 Corinthians 9:24-10:14 - No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Jeremiah 24 - "I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart."

Luke 8:22-39 - They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.

...they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.

God doesn't mind putting Moses' mother in the position of abandoning her infant to the whims of the river current. And He tells Jeremiah not to fret since the exiles of Judah will come back some day. Christ seems a bit put out that the disciples have interrupted His nap just because they're afraid of a little thing like drowning.

God's concerns and ours don't seem to match up. He promises us that our temptation won't be more than we can bear, and we keep trying to read it as suffering instead of temptation.

But that can't be right. There's a lot more suffering than we can bear. Which of these would you choose? finding yourself rudderless in a terrible storm? giving your infant away? enduring the torment of insanity for years? exile and slavery in a foreign land?

And yet.

And yet the storm is stilled. The infant is returned. The demons are exorcised. The exiles are called home.

He is a Person (indeed, He is the Person), and He wants us to want Him. So He makes our concerns His.

But He also is our Creator, and He has intentions for us, and they include a certain maturity: He expects us to make His concerns ours. He expects us to not to worry about things that He can control. He even seems to expect a certain degree of recklessness from us.

He expects us to trust Him.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Arrogance and Extravagance 

1 Corinthians 8 - Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.

Jeremiah 22 - Thus says the LORD, "Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place."

Luke 7:24-50 - Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet."

Back in the day, giving houseguests a kiss of welcome and offering them water to wash their dusty feet was the cultural equivalent of taking their coats and offering them a drink.

But there's no cultural equivalent for washing their feet with your hair.

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