A Brief Thought on the Sun, Moon, and Stars and Their Designed Predictability

Loren Sandford, who pastors New Song Church in Colorado Springs, made an observation some months back about eclipses and blood moons and other phenomena with which I heartily agree.  Further, his thoughts pair well as a contrast to the subject of this post: Predictability versus unpredictability.

Paraphrasing the number of posts Loren had up on the subject, when Acts 2 describes for us suns being darkened and moons being turned to blood, and when the sun was darkened during Passover when Jesus was on the cross, those events did not describe regular, cyclical, and predictable events.  Translation: when Jesus died, the sun was not eclipsed. It was darkened. For hours at a time. For us to take cyclical and predictable celestial objects and use them as markers to interpret eschatological and apoctalyptic portents and prophecies has never worked.

Granted, Genesis 1 refers to these things as signs, but they are regular, predictable, and cyclical signs, much in the same way that a clock points to hours and minutes as signs that the season, hour, or minute is changing.

When the prophecies of Joel 2 and Revelation are fulfilled, we will not wonder if this or that predictable event will be the long-awaited sign.  Those scriptures point to things that no man has ever experienced, and which no one will ever experience again once they happen. Those signs will be very unpredictable.

This leads me to the next thing I wish to say: a brief thought that is overlooked.  The sun, moon, and stars are predictable, and follow regular cyclical patterns.  The fourth day, being linked to the rest of the lists of sevens in Scripture, follows a predictable pattern, a cyclical pattern, just like the menorah in the tabernacle must follow a set pattern of predictable refilling, and just like the shield of faith must follow a set pattern of predictable use in order to be effective at quenching the regular darts of the evil one.

Predictability is inbred into the fourth of the cycle.

When the L-rd returns, one of the signs of his return is that the predictability of the celestial bodies will come loose in a show of unpredictability.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Advertisements

Carl Killingsworth: On Words

Carl Killingsworth is someone I deeply respect as a friend and as an occasional mentor. He has walked places that I have walked before I wakes there. We have some common friends in Missouri, and some precious memories.

I served with him on altar teams at a previous church, and, other than my wife, his example colors just about every decision I make at the altar or when working with people who are in need of healing or deliverance:

His conversations with me on the late Kenneth Hagin shaped my views on Hagin deeply. Hagin, like him or not, was very influential on those of us who stand in the Charismatic and Pentecostal Tradition.

Carl made a comment on cusswords and disparaging speech that is worth sharing, so I present it for your consideration below.

I suspect God is a lot less bothered by a cussword every now and then than He is by the parent berating a child, or a spouse berating or criticizing their partner. There is so much of that in our world, Bosses thinking that criticizing is the same as correction, Parents labeling their children as stupid, worthless, etc, or the verbal abuse that occurs in relationships. The power of words is immense, and if I bellieve the condemning critical things spoken over me and begin to affirm them with my own mouth, a spiritual stronghold is built that may never be broken. And that can be accomplished by never uttering anything near what we consider a “cuss word”

My parents did something with me, and I did so with my children, When they needed correction, Mom would say, good boys don’t to that, you are a good boy so STOP IT, and if I didn’t she would spank my butt.

All I can say is wow.

Galatians 5:12-14

Galatians 5:12-14

12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

Paul took the previous few verses before this one to talk about those Judaizers who kept the Galatians from running the race, persuading them with words not from Christ, being unholy leaven, claiming that they will be brought to account, wondering at his own persecution if circumcision fixes the problem, and saying that if that is the case and circumcision fixes the spiritual problem, then the cross’s offense has been removed.

He then shocks us with this next verse, turning a corner on his argumentation and lashing out at those who were preaching circumcision with this unsettling image. And it is understandable. Consider that Paul is a world-changer; his desire is to see people set up in a place of maturity so that there is stability. Yet, people who add to the gospel, complicate it with a list of do’s and don’t’s as prerequisites for salvation, really put us in a place where we are destabilized. If the identity or security of a believer is challenged, then all sorts of imbalance and destabilization results. Paul knows this, which is why he responds by wishing them castrated. In other words, when they circumcised themselves, they didn’t go far enough. This is the response of an Exhorter that results when someone messes with disciples that he planted. Flamboyant, over-the-top language.

Considering that Paul has a lot of maturity at this time, this lash-out arises out of a fierce mentality that is protective of those for whom the apostle feels personally responsible. And with the heart of the gospel, the sufficiency of Christ, at stake, I doubt that anyone else in Paul’s position would feel differently

Walter Hansen writes:

“…False teachers emphasize sensational rituals. Verse 12 sounds terribly harsh and crude, but we must interpret it in its historical and cultural context. It would have indeed been a sensational ceremony if all the male members of the Galatian churches had been circumcised by the false teachers. But then, Paul says, somewhat sarcastically, if [the false teachers] really want to put on a sensational show, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! {Paul] is probably referring here to a barbaric ritual that actually took place in his day in Galatian pagan temples”, where priests of Cybele castrated themselves with pincers and placed their testicles in a box.

Consider the following. Even though Paul was circumcised, and had taken Timothy and circumcised him, he who carried the circumcision knew that it wasn’t of any value at all, as far as salvation goes or standing before G-d.

It is not a ritual that adds to our righteousness. Rather, walking in the principles of Scripture, loving G-d and loving people is what counts, and expressing our faith through acts of love (Galatians 5:6, is the point).

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Again, see Galatians 5:6. Additionally, see Galatians 5:1. Paul repeats the motif of liberation, and then applies it to be used for acts of service that flow out of love. Our freedom is for the purpose of setting others free, and for expressing the affection that Christ has for us by showing that love to others.

Circumcision was the preceding stumbling-block that messed up the Galatian churches. What will follow as we proceed through this chapter is a list of other things that provide more stumbling-blocks.

Because we have been given freedom, and freedom is one of many gifts of G-d, like every other gift that he gives us, this gift serves a purpose.

Circumcision does not free us. Christ’s salvation, which is a free gift, is what frees us. And we are permitted to become saved, go to heaven, and never do a thing to positively impact that kingdom. But even in light of that, there is still a problem. Let me explain.

There are a lot of Christians that think it is their right to sit in a pew and do nothing for anyone once they are saved. And you can do nothing if you want.

The problem is, that does not advance the kingdom. It does not help the Lord when we do nothing. There are other people that need the hope that we now have. And if we do not act, they may never know that hope, and they die in their sin and go to hell, and we could have pulled them to safety.

Gifts aren’t just given in order to be used. Gifts are designed to be used. The bike that you got for Christmas, or that drawing pad and pencils, were meant to be used. Bikes are to be ridden to teach us balance, and pads and pencils are meant to be used to teach us how to catch some of the finer details in life so that we are able to understand and have an eye for the beautiful. If G-d gives you a gift, and you hoard it to yourself, then you may have eternal life, but that is not to say that there will not be discipline or consequences for failing to use the gift you have been give.

Likewise, freedom is a gift. What are you going to use that gift for? What could the Father ask you to use that gift for? He might call you to ministry. He might call you to business, which is just another form of ministry. He might call you to work with land and the ecology for conservation. He might call you to raise a large family.

I have a friend, we’ll call her Ethel. A number of years back, she gave birth a few times and after the youngest of the children she chose to tie off her Fallopian Tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus in a woman, without consulting the Lord. Now, Ethel had the freedom to do so, so she did so.

Years later, she was talking to the Lord about some things that involved her children, and the Lord interrupted their conversation with the words “I never told you to get your tubes tied”. She was blown away, repented, and recognized that that was part of her legacy, to have a larger family. Now, G-d never untied the tubes or made it so Ethel could have more children, but she has since learned the importance of talking to the Lord in every situation, and how to better use the freedom given to her by Jesus.

I would counsel you and exhort you, brethren, to not use your freedom to just satisfy whatever your desires are, but to ask G-d and start having conversations with him about the freedom he has given you, and to not just discuss the freedom he has given to you, but also to discuss with him all of the resources he has placed into your hand. For the Father has given us each a large number of unique tools that can each be maximized for the advancement of the kingdom.

Do not leave any money on the table. Drive that car or that motorcycle not until you get bored of it, but until the wheels fall off, because you have been given only one to drive. Use it and utilize it wisely.

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The second-most important verse in all of Scripture, deals with the spiritual interactions between humans. This deynamic of love is not just a physical or and emotional response. Love, and specifically the unconditional love of G-d, is housed in our spirits. The agape love of Christ, the love that cause Jesus to die for us on the cross, came not from an emotional choice, for, if you will recall in Luke 22:42-44, Jesus’ emotions were against going to the cross. His soul and body were not relishing the idea of suffering. He, with his emotions, said “’Father if you are willing remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in AGONY he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Those were the state of Jesus’ emotions, being against this whole idea. But his spirit came to the front and dominated, and because of the intense self-sacrificing love that flowed from deep within his inner being, deeper than his soul and emotions, he followed through, and died for us.

This is why we fulfill the law when we love our neighbors. It is because that love flows from our depths to nourish those whom we are loving.

And who is our neighbor?

The hated Samaritan. The Republican. The Democrat. Whomever it is that you most despise. The person that will challenge that deeply-held unspiritual belief that you have in the dark places of your heart. For the black southerner, it might be the white southerner. For the southerner, it might be the northern snowbird that overpopulates your highways and can’t drive properly in December, but pushes your every laid-back southern sentiment of proper driving.

For you Red Sox fans, it might be that gloating Yankee fan. :).

The bottom line is , you never know whom G-d might put in your path in order to force you to walk in love. And yes, he does have a habit of forcing the issue.

From the Desk of Eric Hatch: Respect Those Who Are Elected to Serve, Disagree With Their Policies, But DO NOT Waste Your Authority Reviling Them

I have a tremendous respect for Erich Hatch.  I met him while I was in seminary.

I surmise that he has a strong dynamic of Teacher, by Redemptive Gift. And he is such a treasure.

We are partners in going through Ezekiel. Currently we are in the process of reading straight through the entire account. Chapter 13 so far.

I will share some of our study time in another post, when I am not on the brink of bedtime.  But now, I have to share some of our conversation following our Ezekiel Deep Dive in which we engage a thorough conversation on the subject on how we treat those who are elected to serve in public office.

The First is his tweet from @hatchevent

Politics’ harsh tone these (enter # <6,000) years displays all govts.’ flaw: hallow people leading…hallow people. Our flaw isn’t absolute power. #Jesus, the One & Only who had it, was fully humble & replaces our death w/ His life. (Philippians 2:1-16) #Humble #ServantLeadership

The second, a series of notes from our from our Skype Call:

You hear that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely (said John Dalberg-Acton), but that really isn’t the case. It is not power that corrupts, but sin and the sin nature that corrupts.

Calling out our elected officials for the wrong they do is one thing. Correcting them is one thing.

However, attacking their humanity is completely different.  Saying asinine things like,”[people of this political persuasion] should stop breeding”, “shame on them”, and blah blah blah.

Mind you, that comment about “these people are still breeding” was uttered by a pretty prominent figure in Christianity.

QUIT WASTING YOUR AUTHORITY, YOUR TIME, YOUR SPACE, AND YOUR DAYS!!!!

From Eric’s desk: “We do not have an unlimited number of days, nor do we have an unlimited sea of opportunities.  We do have grace that can wash over all of our sins.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t planted seeds in the ground” for better or worse”, that at some point could sprout.”

“The reality that there is a past, [seeds planted] that will come back to either haunt or bless us.  Christians use a significant amount of grace and resources and power on things that are useless. I am not talking about happy, good, restful activity.”

“There is nothing wrong or right about going to a College football game on Saturday using our discretionary time.”

“But at the core, what we have got to understand is, ‘are we building something appropriate with our lives?'”

“If they are corrupt at 1% of their lives we need to call them out on it.”

“But wasting our resources on curses, disrespect, power plays, on letting our attitude show up and it is a bad attitude.”

“We do not have the time to focus our attention on exactly what G-d has told us not to do.”

“If we don’t attack the root, which is corruption in our hearts, and demonic activity, we are missing the point.”

Ed Silvoso, the Exhorter, said, “If your enemy has a driver’s license and a Social Security Number, you have the wrong enemy.”

You have got to stop fighting spiritual battles with soulish and natural weapons.

Birkenstock, A Servant Company? Perhaps…

topaz-1-1

Many of you who know me, know that I waver between boringly predictable, and breathlessly unpredictable.

And then I have a great love to peel apart complex systems and research deeply and methodically. This post that follows, while not the most meticulously-researched, does hold a special place for me, because many of the things that follow remind me of qualities that I find in my wife.

The Redemptive Gifts of Romans 12:6-8, seem to find reflection in all that is. In people, in cities, in land, and in businesses. Every entity has a flavor that manifests, and many if not all of these seem to resemble the sense or aroma of one of these Seven Gifts.

It is my intent in the above paragraphs to give food for thought and not make a didactic pronouncement for the sake of my more cautious and methodical readers who may treat stronger language as a turn-off.

While perusing Facebook, I came across a comment from Bryan Trapp in response to my distinct love for Birkenstock sandals that resonated well with me. The comment related that the DNA of Birkenstock’s culture as a business most readily mirrors someone with the Redemptive Gift of Servant.

Now, I knew nothing about Birkenstock’s history until tonight when I did a little researching.

Here are some quotes from the Wikipedia article:

“The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to Johann Adam Birkenstock, registered in 1774 as a “vassal and shoemaker” in local church archives in the small Hessian village of Langen-Bergheim. In 1896, Johann’s great-great-grandson Konrad Birkenstock developed the first contoured insole for use by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear. Also in the year 1896 Karl opened two shoe stores in Frankfurt, Germany where he continued to make and sell his insoles.
1902 saw the development of the first flexible arch-support for insertion into factory-made shoes; and in 1964, Karl Birkenstock developed these inserts into a shoe — thus producing the original prototype of the Birkenstock sandal. In 1925 Konrad Birkenstock expanded the company by buying a large factory in Friedberg, Hesse. After World War II (1939-1945) the Birkenstock sandal was popular among returning soldiers because of the orthopedic support. Starting in 1963 and continuing into 1964 Karl Birkenstock released his first athletic sandal with a flexible footbed called, Madrid. It soon became an icon especially among gymnasts.

In 1966 Birkenstocks were introduced in the United States, as well as elsewhere. American, Margot Fraser “discovered” Birkenstock sandals while visiting a spa in Germany. She gained relief from a foot condition, and founded a trading company called Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc., in Novato, California, based on her enthusiasm for the sandals

List of observations:
-The founder was a vassal, one who pledged loyalty to a lord in Europe. A servant.
-Langen-Bergheim was located in the German State of Hesse. Hesse is notable for contributing Hessians to fight for the English in the American Revolution. These soldiers, known for their strong military performance, were distrusted by the English who forced them to fight, treated with contempt by the Americans against whom they fought.
-Birkestock furthered their influence in the Hessian region by building a factory in that same region.
-Footwear, as a general rule, provides comfort for the feet, similar to the way Servants help others by providing a place of comfort and rest.
-Birkenstock gained recognition in the United States because the American founder of the US variant of Birkenstock gains relief from a foot condition.
-They were popular among soldiers returning from World War II because of the orthopedic support.

Also, consider the following observations, courtesy of Mr. Trapp:

-They are quite plain, shunning fashion.
-They are worn often by people who look for a simpler no-frills form of footwear.
-They are not really a fashion statement.
-They are often worn by those who are on a spiritual journey or a quest of purification.

All of these qualities are quite typical of servants, who love purity, enjoy simplified living, provide comfort, help relieve those who are hurting, are quite adept at dealing with prickly people, and provide a critical resource or relief without standing out. My bride is all of the above. And, it seems, this company manifests many of the best of those qualities.

What are your thoughts?

A Bit of A Story, A Tale of Two Exhorters

“I always THOUGHT I was stoopid. Pamela saw my sparkles and spoke the words which set me free. <3”.

A new friend of mine made the above quote.

This is not a new concept to me, Exhorters who sparkle, or at least, are designed to sparkle.

This friend for a season may not have been aware of the reality that she sparkles. But she does. And it brings me great joy when Exhorters grab an old of that third part of their design.

The other vignette, though no less indicative of Exhorters and their sparkle, comes from a deep and sometimes-difficult place in my memory.

I have an old friend, who is an Exhorter with an old calling to missions work: nation-affecting work.

Many years ago, while we were conversing over Scrabble, she related to me a trip to IHOP in Kansas City, and a series of prophetic words that she had received, and they all said a common thing.

“You sparkle..”

And over the course of the next several years, she received a number of words from various people, including a word that pertains to all the positive parts of the Letter to Thyatira. The gift of the morning star. Influence in the nations. The knowledge and encouragement that all her current work at the time of the prophecy exceeded the first works.

Years later, she, like many friends of mine, has left the path she was designed to trailblaze, and though designed to sparkle, which she does, she doesn’t have the same vibrancy.

I pose these two vignettes side-by-side, not to shame anyone, but as a reminder that some realities shine through regardless of differences because of design.

There are three parts to the Fourth day of Creation, which is a good descriptor of certain qualities of the Exhorter, and two of those get mentioned and highlighted.

The Sun influences us by providing a source of heat, light, and orbit. Life.

The Moon, while it does play a part as a satellite, influences us by affecting the tides as it tugs and pulls this way and that on our waters, ignorant of whether or not this inconveniences us. Dominion.

Then there are the Stars.

Thrown into that verse as an afterthought.

Yeah, we are good at exegeting the sun and moon, and we forget the stars, unless on a cloudless night with a new moon or no moon and clouds to obstruct our view.

And if we don’t live in a city.

And…

And…

But, get that into you.

The STARS!!!

What a wonder they are on a cloudless, light-free night.

Red shift, blue-shift.

Parralax.

Pulsar. A rapidly spinning neutron star.

Quasars.

Quarks and leptons. I am not a String Theory guy. Oops. Sorry, that is particle physics. Wrong field.

Back to the right field.

Galaxies, black holes, white dwarves, red giants like Betelgeuse, Big G…

And questions from Dr. Glander’s class like, “How many newtons do I exert on the chocolate sundae?”

That last question is a question of universal gravitation, because objects exert force and gravitation on each other.

All those sorts of things were spun into existence on the Fourth Day.

Glory of outer glories.

And this is the glory of the Exhorter’s potential and capacity.

And, yes, the capacity is given for better or worse, with the full knowledge of the bad that can happen…

And the good…

Pardon the physics pun, but Exhorters rightly should understand the gravity of their situation.

And they should understand the glories of it as well.

So, yes, you sparkle, dear Exhorters,

You were made that way. So when you receive that word from others, it is bang-on-the-dot. And it is a reminder that we dare not forget the massive deposit Father has placed in us.

Exhorters carry a lot of influence in their words, and when they are deeply wounded, those words can mean negative things for them and others in the gravity of their words and actions.

But as Exhorters fight from a knowledge of Father’s great affection for them, work through the deliverance Father intends, and push back the hell that attacks them full-on, the Father of Lights will respond with his Reality, and brings wholeness to the wounded Exhorter.

We call that wholeness by a singular word.

Shalom.

May the L-rd bless you and keep you.

May the L-rd make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

May the L-rd lift up his countenance upon you and give you shalom.

Numbers 6:24-26

Beer-Lahai-Roi

Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.
Genesis 24:62-63 ESV

Isaac was dwelling in the wilderness and desert of the Negev. And this passage says he had come up from the place his brother’s mother, Hagar, had named.

My question for this passage is, “Why? What was he doing in Beer-Lahai-Roi?”

Here is an idea. It isn’t set in stone, but it has some merit perhaps.

Isaac comes across as a Teacher by Redemptive Gift in the limited Scripture devoted to him, given this passage describes him meditating. This is something high functioning, homebody Teachers do, as did Mary and Isaiah did.

And in that place, it is possible that Isaac was pondering why the birthright, the covenant, and the fullness of inheritance had passed to him instead of his older brother. Perhaps he was questioning his own legitimacy in the aftermath of losing his mother, and the right he had to receive from the L-rd the fullness of inheritance.

G-d, as The One Who Sees, intends to use specific lands to bring specific revelation. And as someone who later unlocked the land through his birthright, and reaped 100 fold, it is possible that, among the soil of that land containing the well of Hagar’s revelation, Isaac was communing with the G-d of Abraham or his own spirit to receive direction for the next season.

And, fascinatingly, Isaac walked right into another portion of the blessing: His wife.