5.27.2010

The Dawn

I am standing on the side of the main road outside of my development taking a look at the sun. It is shining through a thin veil of clouds pockmarked by the wind. The rays of the sun are resting on a lower bank of clouds like water passing over the precipice of a waterfall. The sun is pouring light onto my early evening outside the home where I live. Yet, as I behold this beauty, I know this world is not my true home.

The sun is now obscured by a darker and thicker bank of clouds. A pale, warm orange lights up the thinner clouds the sun's rays try to poke through. The waterfall of light is fading as if the river feeding the waterfall has finally run dry. I am bound for a world where there is no sun.
Indeed, I am "between two worlds". My life is one where I constantly live at the dawn. Two worlds meet and coexist at the dawn. Light and darkness. The dark kingdom calls for me to return to my blindness and the kingdom of light beckons me to the coming domain of which I hope and press towards.

This momentary sun will yet again set and bring darkness to my corner of the globe. When I rise early tomorrow, I will wake in the dawn and know that my kingdom is coming. The ruler of my kingdom is making haste. The dawn will finally break one day and then the night will never return. For the sun will know no glory compared to the very glory I will radiate.

But the source of light is coming. It is a greater light. And "in him there is no darkness at all."

5.25.2010

Meditations on Desire, Part 4

I would recommend catching up on this multi-part series on desire if you haven't read the previous posts. You can start here.

With the idea established that we should pray for the things we desire, let me present an example that might illustrate things more clearly. Here is what goes on in my mind often:
  • I want to begin a relationship with a godly young woman with the main intention of seeking marriage.
  • I am hesitant when this desire meets my mind. I don't really know why this happens. Perhaps I think that desiring such a thing is of a lower order in the "important things to pray for" category. I have a hunch that this hesitation is unbiblical.
  • Naturally, I should test my desires to see if they are right or wrong ( James 4:3 ).
    If we are all beggars as Luther wrote in his last hours, and we really can claim nothing of our own, we cannot keep our own hearts beating nor can we make the sun rise tomorrow, then should I not take this into consideration as I want a godly future wife? I certainly cannot make her my own or purchase her (maybe I could where shotgun weddings are commonplace). I have nothing I can call my own! Perhaps I could do no wrong in asking for a wife, provided the motives are not sinful. Perhaps it is good and in accord with the biblical nature of prayer that I should ask for things that I do not have which I want.

    Let me offer a brief prayer of what I have been praying to God regarding these things. I leave a blank for the thing for which we desire.

    Father God, giver of all good things, you know that I am a creature of desires. Foremost, please make my desire for you greater and greater with each turn of the Earth. Show me the good things that you give God. Grant me the Holy Spirit, for this is the greatest thing that you give to sinful man. Purify my desires so that when I desire things auxiliary to you they may ultimately be for your glory and my good in Jesus. I ask for _________ . Good Father, if it pleases you to give me this thing, please grant it to me for my joy and your glory. Give me patience while I wait on your loving hand. If my request is not to be fulfilled as I see it, may I know and live in the truth that you are all sufficient and more than enough to make me live a contented live in thee. In the name of the Savior in whom I find all my Amens.

    5.23.2010

    Meditations on Desire, Part 3

    So I originally had what I was going to post for this blog written out but I lost it somehow. Fortunately I was able to capture most of my thoughts via the sound recording function on my phone yesterday. Technology is a blessing and a curse. Mostly a blessing it seems. Anyways, onto the post!

    If I become thirsty and want a drink of water, soda, juice, beer, whatever, then I will naturally do what I can to acquire the beverage and parch my thirst. Let's say I'm at a restaurant with my parents and I don't have any money and I find myself to be thirsty. What will I do? I will ask my parents to buy me a drink so that my thirst can be quenched.

    Read this:
    And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
    That was Luke 11:5-13.The bold words are my own edits.

    I remember hearing a sermon on this passage sometime last year and while I don't remember what the message's main point was, I remembered this passage. Let me preface my discussion by noting that the passage here mainly speaks of asking and receiving. What is the thing Jesus is talking about receiving here? The Holy Spirit. I just wanted to get that out of the way and make sure that this is presented as the clear, literal, meaning of Jesus words so that in my forthcoming discussion on this passage, I will not overly force an outside idea on the text. You came here to read about desire and you got a brief note on reading and applying Scripture. That one was free. ;-)

    Back to desire. If I ask my parents for a drink, they will give it to me because they are friends to me and they enjoy giving good things to me out of love and joy. Now if I am desirous of something that is not a beverage, and I am praying to God, communing with him, what am I to do? What should I ask of God? It seems that I should ask for the things I want. It would seemingly belie the teaching of this text in Luke to do otherwise. Now, in saying this I am assuming that the desire is not ending in asking for something that is sinful or is something that should not be prayed for. Yes, if you were wondering, we can pray for the wrong things, just see James 4:3.

    I am actually going to stop this post right here and present an example of wanting something specific in the next post...if I included it the post would become far too long for rodent-like attention span of my generation. And I like to keep my few readers in suspense. :-)

    5.21.2010

    Meditations on Desire, Part 2

    want
    1. to feel a need or a desire for; wish for:

    Want. I want to go ride my jet ski. I want to go get ice cream. I believe that there are many misconceptions about what "want" is truly defined as. Want is intangible. It is a feeling. To want something is not to require it, although something required may indeed be wanted. I want to go see Iron Man 2, but I don't require this. I require proper hygiene to maintain my physical body, and I want to brush my teeth after I finish writing.

    You may be immediately jumping to the comparison between want and need, but let me ask you to stick with me on wanting a little longer. To want is not inherently evil. I am not a Stoic. I am not of the philosophic system that decrees all desire as inherently bad and unnatural. Epictetus, a Stoic, stated:
    "Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire."
    Now I do not seek to explore the concept and definition of freedom in this post, but a brief comment is called for. If a man is to be completely removed of desire, will this man have any true soul? How can a human being with a volitional nature operate without forces that press them on in all directions of life? To strip a man of desire is not to free him, but to effectively turn him into a functional piece of fleshly machinery. Want - desire - is not evil. Lest I leave many confused, the wants of man have indeed become totally depraved and affected by the evil which is sin, but desire in itself is of no evil. I digress...

    It seems to me that I certainly have some manner of "freedom" as Epictetus would mention, but I do still conflictingly have desires. I can somewhat identify with this ancient Stoic in the sense that desire can often bring confusion and frustration within one's mind. I think this is perhaps a more natural reflection of the human state. If we had no desire, how pitiful the human race would be.

    Next entry in the series: I will address a specific example in my life where desire frustrates and confuses and try to explore this and offer some thinking points...especially for my own sanity.

    5.17.2010

    Blog Post #475,819,4572 on Ergun Caner

    According to my very scientific and very methodological...methods, I estimate this to be the bajillionth post in the Christian blogosphere on none other than Ergun Caner.

    (Photo Source)

    For those of you out of the know about what in the world this post is about and who Ergun Caner is and why I am writing something about him, I direct you here and here. I recommend you check out both those links before getting too riled up.

    Ok, onto the meat of this post. Today I read this post by Tom Chantry and decided to comment on a few things. (Oh and if you want a superb address on the deep significance of the Caner controversy - albeit slightly lengthy for the ADD generation of the information age - check Tom Chantry's thoughts out starting here.)

    Now that you, the reader, is hopefully caught up on the entire shenanigans surrounding Ergun and the Christian bloggernauts, let me offer a quote from the above article (this post...too many links, I know) and then a brief word.
    "First, the Caner scandal is no surprise. It has happened before, it was bound to happen again, and it will happen repeatedly until we reform the practice of preaching, stop talking so much about ourselves, chain ourselves to the text of Scripture, and pour out the pure milk of the Word week after week."
    I have been riding a train of thought that has been traveling the tracks of this pithy thought for a while now it seems. If you are reading this and you know me, you probably know that I choose my words very carefully when I am speaking in any manner that is not merely joking around or having mindless fun. Perhaps it is this characteristic(?) of mine that lends me to think along the lines of Mr. Chantry.

    Personally, I have heard Ergun Caner preach once in person, at the church (Northside) my mother, father, and sister attend. I believe he has preached at Northside two or three times. If I could summarize his times of preaching at Northside, I would say this: comedy show/recent events cultural commentary for around 15 minutes full of uproarious laughter, mention of a Scripture text, and then exposition of the text with personal stories, jokes, and edgy racial terms mixed in (with some jabs at Calvinism). Might I note: By hearing maybe 2 hours total of Caner preach, I cannot offer a comprehensive picture of his preaching, only a brief synopsis that my ears have collected.

    In general, I will agree with Tom with the call to "reform the practice of preaching". I have had the chance to preach once and I summarize my thoughts as thus: take a text, explain it, apply it, and pray that God would move the affections of the congregation towards God and his truth. To be a little emotional, I cannot stand when professing preachers take the pulpit and give jokes, personal stories worthy of hearty "amens", and a constant barrage of cliche challenges and Christianese lingo.

    If the word of God...
    • is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true ( Psalm 19:7-9 )
    • revives the soul, gives wisdom, makes us rejoice, enlightens the eyes, endures forever ( Psalm 19:7-9 )
    • warns us and gives us great reward ( Psalm 19:11 )
    • is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey ( Psalm 19:10 )
    ...why should preachers not give every ounce of energy they put into sermon preparation towards the mass and rich spreading of the benefits of the Word of God? (Oh, and by the way if you want a gazillion more reasons why the Bible is extremely powerful, check out the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 .)

    Therefore, all who call them selves preachers and moreover all those who speak in the name of Christ, these should devote their energies to the exposition and application of the Word to their audience in all facets of life.

    5.11.2010

    Meditations on Desire, Part 1

    de·sire
     1. to wish or long for; crave; want.

     There is an affection I often come into that burns within me like a torch and simultaneously I feel as if I am empty of it. I find within my very being a deep longing for different things: God, friendship, purity of heart, a romantic relationship, social interaction, progress; these are among the foremost. Then, I come into a frame of mind where I desire desire. I want to be composed of more passions that move my soul towards this and that. Usually I find myself in a state of wanting to desire God himself more. He grants me and grows within me desire for his glory and beauty that can manifest itself in deep, moving emotions, albeit all too infrequently for my parched soul.

    Often I envelop my mind in the things of my own self. Now I mean this not to note selfishness, though this characteristic does manifest itself at times, but I rather care to point out how humans often are lost in what I shall call the world of their own vision. That is, all that we see is our world. The world is limited to what the 140 degrees of our vision beholds. I find that I see people, acknowledge their presence and existence, but not ponder deeper to see that this being I am looking upon has a mind, emotions, diseases, troubles, sorrows, joys, griefs, pains, thoughts, tasks to complete, desires. Why do I comment on this field of mental vision that restricts us? Perhaps it is because this fact is neglected due to our (my) limited mental pondering of other humans' state: It is very easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated by desires and affections of various kinds; this is seen in the one who centers and retains all affections within one's self.

    Perhaps this failure of mine to see people as actually humans who feel and think like I do is truly connected with my frustrated desires. Maybe there is no connection. I think, on a personal note, that I tend to become confused with emotions and longings because I cannot feel the trajectory these affections want to lead me to and I do not take time to ponder and discuss my desires with fellow humans. Isolation from social interaction causes desires to become pent up and often misdirected or corrupted. The proper expression of these desires, which are often brought forth in praise or satisfaction, aids in the joy of the soul and clarity of mind. I feel that I so often lack this, for my desires put within me an unsettled feeling and confusion. Perhaps this is due to the nature and situations regarding my desires or perhaps it is because of my lack of complete emotional and mental maturity.


    [Note: This is the first in a series. I will write more about the personal circumstances motivating these ponderings in the next entry.]

    5.09.2010

    We all die


    The girl on the right in the above photograph is 13 years old. The girl on the left is 16 years old.

    ...Huh?

    Brooke Greenberg, pictured above with her sister has an unknown genetic condition that has caused her physical development to never move past infancy. The authors of the article reporting on this wild phenomenon quoted a team of doctors studying Brooke's strange case and they have noted:
    "Just possibly [studying Brooke] could give us an opportunity to answer the question of why we are mortal."
    "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." - Romans 5:12

    5.06.2010

    This is madness...


    ...No. THIS IS FINALS WEEK!!!

    Now that I am a graduate student everything conveniently comes crashing down in a 3 day timeframe as opposed to the week or so of dare I say, the madness of undergraduate finals. Sunday I will be finished. In the meantime I will be pulling a Leonidas and slaying some serious Persian invaders in the form of marketing essays, exams, and Excel projects. All while working a job that starts at 6am.

    Expect a post on something great by Monday at the latest!