Here comes the sun

One thing is always for certain each night. The sun is going rise in the morning. Even more certain is God's faithfulness. The 12-step slogan, "this too shall pass", is also a profound modern proverb. I was thinking about George Harrison's song Here Comes The Sun. It's an optimistic song about good changes on the horizon for someone who's been through a tough time. Here are the lyrics. When George wrote the song, he had been going through a tough season and he believed things were about to get better. Actually longing for the break-up of The Beatles is what is believed to have inspired the song.

I've been listening to This song from Faith by Jason Upton in my car:

I will wait for You, Jesus
You’re the sun in my horizon
All my hope’s in you, Jesus
I can see you now arising.


Robust

"So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:3b

The root definition of robust is "oak, strength". Robust means physically strong, or marked by richness or fullness of flavor. It can also refer to ethereal strength in the sense of an argument or faith, or the strength of a signal. A team could have a robust defense. A cruise ship could have a robust structure that can withstand sinking.

If we think of the word picture of oaks as meaning strength, how does this help us interpret Isaiah 61:3? If we back up and look at the context, we discover that this is the passage that Jesus read from, but you will note that Jesus stopped after the first half of verse two. He was proclaiming the year of God's favor and not vengeance. However, Isaiah writes here about what the ministry of the Spirit of God does to people:
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion--

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

The last to is the one I am concerned with right now, but it's important to know that it is coupled with the others. Many times, I have heard people pray the first part of verse three over people during ministry times: "give them beauty for ashes". I did not know the context, but it sounded pretty good, and "the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness"(KJV). They seemed to always stop there, but Isaiah goes on to say that these healed people will be called "oaks of righteousness".

We got the meaning of oaks, but what does righteousness mean. What would it mean if you were called or described as a robust person of righteousness? If were peruse Isaiah 61 a few more verses down to verse ten, he shows us the meaning of righteousness:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
God grants salvation and deliverance and makes you righteous. He covers you and puts you in right standing, sets you in the right place. Then as this covered person, you can live a righteous life. Not perfect, but when God puts you in right standing with Himself, you can't help but do right in your life. Without the later, the former isn't genuine; but the later never creates the former.

So, ministry by the Spirit of God: the proclamation of the good news to the poor, the binding up of the brokenhearted, the proclamation of liberty to the captives, freeing the bound from prisons, and proclaiming God's favor; creates robust people walking in God's righteousness.

Making people into figurative oaks is God's work, "the planting of the Lord", and God does this to bring glory to himself, "that he may be glorified". Remember the Westminister confession catechism says, "“What is the chief aim of man?” “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Robust. Like an oak. Planted by God, glorifying Him.

Synchro-convergence experience

On Monday night, I had a dream about my first two cars.

While doing research on Tuesday, on "the suddenlies of God", I saw a link of an article by John Paul Jackson on Synchro-something and it stuck in my head.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was delayed and left work later than I had planned on. When I was pulling out of my parking garage, I saw a car that looked like my third car that I have not seen for 2 years. I ended up right behind it so I could read the license plate and believe it or not, it was my old car. I called my wife to confirm the plate.

And here is the picture of my old car, on the bookcase that she looked at.


Today I looked up that post by John Paul, and he says:
When we recognize and begin to value these spiritual events—learning to see them when they occur—helps us tap into God’s nature and Heaven’s activities guiding our lives. As the Bible says, we plan our ways, but God directs our steps (Proverbs 3:6). We may know where we want to go, but God decides how we get there. Such moments are deeply His.In order for us to take advantage of the opportunities that are being readied for us to grasp, we must recognize the spiritual essence and weight of the moment as it occurs. This is when the marvel begins and the purpose for which God created us begins to surface. Too many opportunities are lost due to a failure of our spiritual senses to grasp God in the moment. Over the years, I have discovered four keys that allow these events to unfold.

1. Recognize that God is present and continually active in His creation. Creation itself is not God, but everything in creation is made by God. God is involved in His creation; He is not passive about His handiwork. God will move Heaven and earth for our sake. He aligns various elements in creation to converge at just the “right” time. Scripture calls this the “fullness of time.”

2. Recognize that heavenly beings are forever working in our lives. Angels and other spiritual beings, which are created by God, are continually arranging people, places, and things to act on our behalf. These heavenly beings arrange things years in advance; convergence happens when God’s plans and timing intersect. At that moment, the “suddenlies” of life seem to happen.

3. Learn how to connect your desires to God’s desires. All of us desire a sense of connection with God and with each other. We are relational beings; we need each other to reach our God-given destinies. Synchronous convergence cannot happen without relationship. The tighter a family or circle of friends joins themselves to God’s desires, the easier it will be for them to recognize God’s activities in their daily lives.

4. Harness your soul (mind, will, and emotions) through meditation and prayer. These powerful tools capture the unseen, rein in its spiritual benefits, and propel us to our destiny. Through meditation and prayer, we break out of the fog that shrouds our spiritual awareness. We are able to touch and be touched by the realm of the Spirit, who searches the deep things of God.
What this event says to me is that God is in total control. I knew that, but the demonstration of it inspires awe in me. I felt like it was demonstrated to me that heaven and earth are intersecting in my life. I tell people that they are on a collision course with God's destiny for them.

(6/2) Lastly, I thought it was cool that this happened on 3/20. I began to think about what is the 3:20 verse that I like and I remembered Ephesians 3:20.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us"

Punishing the enemy

Saturday morning, I had the French children's song "Alouetta" in my head. It is a song about a lark being prepared to be cooked. The lyrics keep adding to the list of the bird's body parts that must be plucked of feathers and other things.

The Lark is symbolic of ascension or exaltation.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:17-19

In this passage, Jesus is not reflecting on how he was there back when originally Satan fell. Some people teach this, but it's not correct. They way that the Greek grammar is written, Jesus is saying that while the seventy-two were casting out demons, he pervieved or beheld Satan falling.

Imagine that if God allows you to take out a demonic entity, that God then also uses you and perhaps anyone who gets set free, to punish it.

One year anniversary of blogging

I thought it was kind of cool that I began doing this on 3/16. Here it is, one year later. After being an avid blog reader for 2 or 3 years, I took the plunge and started doing it myself. My friend Matt kept encouraging me to start and my friend Steve encouraged me to blog daily and complimented me along the way.

I don't believe anyone can give you 50 life-changing messages a year, much less 100, or 365.
I just try to offer a daily scribble from ideas that come to me.

two-ten in the afternoon

I have a watch that is synched up with towers receiving time information from the GPS satellite system.

MY watch read 2:10 when my son Johnathan was born. The longest and best day of my life:

We had planned on a natural birth, at a birth-center in Fullerton. Labor started on Sunday morning and we headed East on the 91, believing we would be celebrating with our families that afternoon or dinner time; certainly before midnight.

After many hours of labor, drained and disappointed, our mid-wife, Lori, called her on-call chiropractor, to give Janine an adjustment, so that her body would be in alinment for the baby to come. The chiropractor turned out to be a man I had gone on a missions trip with to Australia and New Zealand back in 1989. A year or two previous, out of about three thousand people, he was the only person that I saw at a music release celebration at the church building I used to go to as well. He is a man filled with Jesus. He came and adjusted Janine, late that Sunday night.

But the baby still would not come, so we decided to go to plan B, which was Placentia Linda Hospital. We were given the very best nurse and the very best doctor and the very best room for us to stay in for the three days after the baby was born- like a hotel room, and the nursing staff that took care of us were wonderful.

I had no control over when the birth was to occur and the thought didn't even cross my mind as 2:10pm, then 2:10am came and went on the previous day and that morning. Then at about 2pm that afternoon, the thought came to my mind to keep an eye on my watch when the baby comes and it happened- he was delivered right "on time" at 2:10, by my GPS Synched watch.
10 years before I met my wife, I was praying here at sunset beach, about her or rather for her and about getting married to someone someday, and I heard, "I have saved the best wine for last". I looked up the word and it was John 2:10. Not only was this promise or prophecy fulfilled when I married my wife, but it was confirmed again with the time of our son's birth. God is awesome. This word is the word that encouraged me through many lonely years of singleness, that God had a future he was saving for me to experience.

This is part of my testimony of God's faithfulness (Rev. 12:11).

p.s. At the same place, on a different occasion, I heard that, "houses and riches are an inheritance from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." Turns out, Janine is the most prudent woman I have ever met. God's gifts are beyond even what we can imagine.

God acts

God never reacts to things or to the enemy. God always has a plan and since He is God, He already knows what the enemy is going to do.

Everything else in inconsequential.

Who God is

Oswald Chambers: "Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is."

For me, the answer to every question, concern, or worry I have is this:

"God is faithful."

Come let me love you

You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Come let me love you, let me give my life to you,
let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms,
let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you.
Come let me love you, come love me again.
Annie's Song, John Denver (1974)

I woke up this morning with this beautiful song in my head. If you didn't know that it was a song John Denver wrote about his love for his wife, you might think it was a worship song about your love for The Lord or His love for you. This is one of the most honest love songs I know of. Very pure.

Background on the song's inception from Wikipedia:
Annie's Song is a song recorded and written by singer/songwriter John Denver. It was his second number one in the USA, occupying that spot for two weeks in July 1974. It also went to number one in the UK. "Annie's Song" was written as an ode to Denver's then-wife, Annie Denver (Annie Martel). The two had started to come apart following his sudden success, and had separated when he took a trip to Switzerland. While on a ski lift by himself, Denver started to marvel the beauty around, and, thinking about his wife back at home, penned the song in a few minutes. The song has since become a wedding standard and an expression of love for many people, due to its grand imagery and the fact it could apply to anyone (Annie is not mentioned by name in any part of the song).


My thought is that mercy is God's last word (Karl Barth). Many people are outside the church and most of them are hurting. But the church, as it has existed, has actually blocked the light rather than shedding it. Many people are in the place of "Jesus- yes!", but "Church-no!"; because the so-called-church has not been congruent with Jesus Christ. This must change and I believe it is.

Confining spaces

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matt. 7:14

In this verse, the word translated narrow means to press hard upon like when grapes are crushed for juice. It also means a compressed way; metaphorically, to trouble, to afflict, or to distress.

You could translate it: "the way is troubling or afflicting that leads to life". The way of discipleship is the way of suffering, the way of the cross; but that way leads to true happiness, to life.

So, I think that when we are going through confining spaces, confinement being a word like prison that means restricted and afflicted, we striped of everything that is not of Christ and in Christ. To detour and avoid the hard way, that really is the fastest way, is to avoid discipleship and really avoid Christ.

Take another thought

If you are vexed with negative thoughts, take another thought. This is what I've heard Graham Cooke say. Take a bigger, more true, more positive thought... I'm thinking it's scripture-based, and send that thought down the path at the negative thoughts like a bowling ball down the lane at the pins.

I don't know what the consensus is in the psychological community, but what I've been told is that you cannot erase "bad" thoughts. You can only think new thoughts or restructure your thinking, so as to get a better perspective on negative thoughts, thereby diminishing or eliminating their power.

Contra

If you were a fan of Seinfeld, you might remember the episode where George decides that the key to successful living is, "to do the opposite of what I would normally do".

Contarian
Contradict

There are many Bible verses that seriously espouse this practice, like blessing those who curse you.

Graham Cooke talks about doing the opposite of what you feel a knee jerk reaction to do.
Lily talks about experiencing this in much the same way as I have.