Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stalin, Obama, and incompetent snow-drivers....

“Everyone agrees that all Americans deserve access to affordable health care,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement, “but is increasing taxes during an economic recession, especially on small businesses, the right way to accomplish that goal?”

Sadly, the answer is NO. No once, No twice, ALWAYS NO.
This reminds me of what happened when Stalin came into power and instituted the "Great Terror" in the late 1930s. He destroyed the vitality of the Russian people by stifling the innovation and ability to adapt. He did this, via murder and expatriation, but it really comes down to the same thing. When you take away someone's freedom to do some thing, regardless of what that thing is, you take away their ability to adapt, and to innovate. People who cannot adapt, die. They stagnate. They cannot change, they cannot INVENT, they cannot be FREE.

Anyways, that's my thought for the day. And, this too: If there's four inches of snow on the ground, it doesn't mean the school system should SHUT DOWN for an extra two hours while people who should know how to drive in snow by now, can mosey on in to work. Can you tell I'm frustrated? Seriously. *sigh*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tavener's Svyati: O Holy One, and Oswald Chambers

I'm listening to a cellist, Steven Isserlist, play the above song, and it's haunting, and stirring, and all of those things that music should be. I really, really like the cello.


This also accurately describes the past two days' readings from Oswald Chambers' "My utmost for His highest".

The first, Feb 21:

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.

Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love Him? Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to Him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of His redemption, while neglecting all the things you could be doing for Him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things— things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to Him. Have you ever created what Mary of Bethany created in the heart of the Lord Jesus? "She has done a good work for Me."

There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. ". . . but perfect love casts out fear . . ." once we are surrendered to God ( 1 John 4:18 ). We should quit asking ourselves, "Am I of any use?" and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.

The second, Feb 22:

Be still, and know that I am God . . . —Psalm 46:10

Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.

If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, "because you have kept My command to persevere . . ." ( Revelation 3:10 ).
Continue to persevere spiritually.

These readings really made an impact upon me, and it always startles me when I see something in print and it takes my breath away and I feel sucker-punched. Not painful, so much as, breathless. Without breath.

Seeing the words, "Be still, and know that I am God" really, REALLY does that to me. I have words tattooed on my wrists (yes, I have tattoos from before I was baptized) that read, Just Breathe, Let It Go. I've always struggled with being able to breathe, to not white-knuckle life. All of life. Every little facet. I have, a few times in my short life thus far, been able to breathe, and let go. To open the hands and let go.

Seeing the words, "Be still, and know that I am God" brings to mind a panicked mare, skittish, unwilling to trust, and having a skilled handler shush her, whisper the right words, and with gentle hands, bring her back down to a state of calm and focused awareness.

There is so much more that I want to say here, but I'm running on an empty tank and I've got work early in the morning. Perhaps I'll find the inspiration to finish these thoughts tomorrow. But honestly, I doubt it. Midterms, and projects, and the like.

p.s. planting starts soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oswald Chambers...truly a blessed soul to pass on insight and strength

Put Trust in God First.

Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others. If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be— absolutely perfect and right. Never trust anything in yourself or in anyone else, except the grace of God.

Put God’s Will First.

"Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God" (Hebrews 10:9).

A person’s obedience is to what he sees to be a need— our Lord’s obedience was to the will of His Father. The rallying cry today is, "We must get to work! The heathen are dying without God. We must go and tell them about Him." But we must first make sure that God’s "needs" and His will in us personally are being met. Jesus said, ". . . tarry . . . until you are endued with power from on high" ( Luke 24:49 ). The purpose of our Christian training is to get us into the right relationship to the "needs" of God and His will. Once God’s "needs" in us have been met, He will open the way for us to accomplish His will, meeting His "needs" elsewhere.

Put God’s Son First.

"Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me" ( Matthew 18:5 ).

God came as a baby, giving and entrusting Himself to me. He expects my personal life to be a "Bethlehem." Am I allowing my natural life to be slowly transformed by the indwelling life of the Son of God? God’s ultimate purpose is that His Son might be exhibited in me.