How a spouse swap affected two families

Friends, family and acquantances will fail you because no man or woman is perfect, so look ahead and consider God, your heavenly father, who has been calling us for all eternity

I randomly fell onto this article, entitled “How a spouse swap affected two families”, while waking up my computer and checking out one of my homepages,

I knew how it would turn out but reading it was titillating enough to continue to the end.

Take away?

For those on the outside looking in, beware of being enamored by clever new ideas draped in pleasant terms that give the outward impression of sophistication, of an intellectual level your forebears must have been too clouded to consider.

For those on the inside looking out, friends, family and acquantances will fail you because no man or woman is perfect, so look ahead and consider God, your heavenly father, who has been calling us for all eternity.

Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The epic blog over at Pick Fretz’s Brain has got my ol’ noggin churning. Jamie’s post, God of Justice, got me thinking. Jesus taught us how to live. He went to tabernacles. He taught there and he also taught outside in the open air. He invited, lived among and befriended the sinners, outcasts, rejects, poor, depressed, maimed and general unlikeables in society.

There is a problem with the church today – and it is the church.

What we have created in the past two thousand years Jesus once tore down in three days and rebuilt.

We have somehow created a religion of structure visitors. We visit the structure every Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the prayers, praise, love, adoration, worship and servanthood given in that building are not real. Much of it certainly is and there is absolutely a place for what Sundays, and countless other activities surrounding the church building, represent. Christians need each other. We need teaching. We need to praise together and support together.

But the church as a physical entity and as a thing that we “do” is a misconstruction. It is something man-made, developed, just as the Jewish elite had created their system, before Jesus came on the scene, we have created our own system. And it’s an efficient, well-oiled system for what it does. But for all that it does, it has only the fraction of the impact that the true body of Christ is capable of.

I believe it’s Matthew 16:16-20, specifically verse 18, that many would point to supporting the idea of the church as a physical thing or something that we do. But always remember God’s Word is a cohesive document where all parts of scripture support and clarify all other parts. So I look for clarification on the “church” and find Paul, the main man setting up physical churches, speaking on other issues but clarifying the church:

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:17-20

Not even Paul considered the church as something built of the physical and something done by people. Ephesians 5:22-24 is also helpful.

Note how both portions of scripture clarify what the church is. The church is the body of Christ. The body of Christ consists of all those that believe on Jesus’s name.

The church upon the rock, against which the gates of hell will not prevail, is not the thing we have made the physical cornerstone of our faith.

Perhaps we have placed too much emphasis on the church as a physical thing and not enough on how Jesus taught us to live outside the walls of our tabernacles.

I love the Old Testament and it ties in perfectly. Read Isaiah 58. The great thing about God’s Word is that it is His Word and He has been saying the same thing for six thousand years. If only we would listen.

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Isaiah 6:9

We shouldn’t be like this. We can not let history repeat itself.

Many Christians have lived their lives and served in the way Jesus taught and they have gone unnoticed. Maybe that’s why we don’t get it. They’re not loud enough while others are loud enough for both.

I think I’ll just end with the entirety of Isaiah 58. God always could speak better than me.

True Fasting
1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.Isaiah 58

Genesis 1 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

Trust God’s Word. Trust God’s Word not because it says so, but because it says so and because it welcomes any and all skepticism with a voracious appetite.

I’m a few chapters into Genesis already but I’ve been finding it difficult to write about what I’ve already read. I had read Genesis 1 and actually had a huge piece written up but it wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. I went real long and in-depth about the importance of the first verse, about cosmologies, creation and evolution, and about approaching Genesis from another angle (which has produced some novel ideas from others). It didn’t feel right, though.

If I’m going to write about reading the bible, I don’t want to get caught up in detailed explanations, theories, wild-goose chases or other tangents. I really want to show readers the best parts, the parts that most show the bible as the solid truth that it is and that most reflect glory upon God.

So let me just get this whole ball rolling…

  1. Genesis 1:1 Is there any more simple, pragmatic way the book could open than this? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s the perfect introduction to history. There was a beginning to all of this and God was there creating all of it and us.
  2. Origins of the Universe. Look up Russel Humphreys and read up on Starlight and Time. His theory may not stand the test of time but others will take inspiration from his novel approach to the text of Genesis 1.
  3. Creation/Evolution. It may seem to you like there’s no evidence for creation. Mainstream media will rarely report anything to do with creationism, less still in a flattering light, so how would we know? It’s up to every believer to be familiar with the massive field of creationism. Many thousands of believers have spent their lives understanding the Genesis account of creation and going about showing that it is true. Answers in Genesis is an organization which I find provides solid, well-reasoned, rational answers to many of the questions we have about what mainstream science is telling us and what the bible is telling us. Their Get Answers section may help you if you, like many, ask why a biblical creation even matters.
  4. God created you and I, male and female, to have not only amazing relationships with each other, but to know our creator personally. God wants to know you and He wants you to know Him. You just wait. You’re going to learn incredible details about the character of God just by reading His Word.

The bible is jam-packed with goodness but I feel I would detract from it by writing too much so I’ll stop here and give you these points and links to ponder. Let me just say one more thing that came up just now.

As we begin reading the bible I do want to give you one bit of advice. Google is your friend. Wikipedia is your friend. Firefox is your friend. Googlepedia is your friend. Neither of these things has a Christian bent. In fact, Wikipedia can easily lead a weak Christian astray. But let me tell you what just happened while I googled the wiki article for Answers in Genesis, where I knew I was likely to find not only positive views but also criticisms.

What I found was a very unflattering portion of the wiki article entitled Controversy over interview with Richard Dawkins. It painted a very unsavoury picture of Answers in Genesis. Had I stopped right there, I would probably have dismissed Answers in Genesis forever after. But you know there’s always two sides to a story. And you know you have a brain for  a reason. So I went to the Answers in Genesis website and searched for “dawkins response” and their own search results gave me Skeptics choke on Frog, a response to critics about the controversy of the interview.

I hope the lesson is clear. You really need to have more than one side of a story before you can form your own positions.

What’s it like to read the entire bible?

What’s it like to read the entire bible? It is like sight to a once blind man.

It is like sight to a once blind man.

I have read the bible twice. Once with a side-by-side King James version and Amplified version, and once again with a Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Think you can’t commit to reading the entire bible? You might surprise yourself. Hey, I did it reading 4 pages per day. How much of a slacker am I?? But I did it. :)

Modern Christianity focuses on the Bible’s New Testament. Christianity’s history is in this section so, naturally, a lot of focus is put there. The Old Testament, on the other hand, is like hidden treasure. You will never fully appreciate what Christ did for you on the cross until you have read the OT. I really hope you consider reading the bible cover to cover.

When I was going through the bible, I didn’t commit to prayer before or after reading a particular section. I often found, though, that a given portion was so heart-rending, or so convicting, or so enlightening, or so beautiful, that I was compelled to give praise to God or to ask forgiveness or to ask for help – just from reading words on a page.

One thing you’ll begin to understand is what other Christians have recited time and again from scripture, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Words on a page, indeed.

I started this blog with a purpose in mind. It wasn’t to run off at the mouth about my fancies (although I reserve the right to do so!). Instead, it has been my purpose for some time to get myself back into the Word and to blog as I read my way through the bible again. Firstly, I think it will help me get back into the bible as I combine my faith side with my tech side. Secondly, I hope others read along with me and let me know what they think of what they’re reading (and I hope they kick my butt when I slack off).

So, I hope to begin a series of posts that will see us begin with Genesis and read through til Revelation. I’m still thinking of how to structure a post so there’s something constructive to read and to respond to.

Whatever happens, I know I’ll be delighted to be reading things I’ve forgotten, I’ll be learning new things, and hopefully I’ll be shedding new light for others as we go through.

So, what’s it really like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Create in Me a Clean Heart is a song by Keith Green. I’ve always loved this song. It’s based off of Psalms 51:10-12. Here are the basic lyrics:

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away
From thy presence, oh Lord.
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.

I liked it so much I wanted more to sing so I looked at the surrounding verses and used Psalms 51:13-17 in addition. Here’s the additional lyrics:

I will teach your ways
To see sinners come home.
Free me from blood-guilt, oh God.
Restore unto me, thou God of my salvation,
And I’ll sing of thy good and thy right.

Open thou my lips.
I will shew forth thy praise.
Thou desires not the things man has made,
But you, oh Lord, smile upon the broken hearted.
So renew a right spirit within me.

I don’t consider this final form. I’m irked by the “Thou desires” flow but the meaning will remain no matter what the words are. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Here are the guitar chords.

You may be interested to know that some translations indicate this particular Psalm was “To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bathsheba.”

Selah. Pause, and calmly think on that.

You may be wandering what’s up with my site name and what’s up with the tagline. Well, here’s some details while I test out this WordPress QuickPress feature…

Selah is a word used in the bible in the book of Psalms. It’s often used as an interjection between significant portions of songs. It’s used many times.

The “Pause, and calmly think on that.” comes from bracketed text following every occurence of “Selah” in the Amplified translation of the bible. Here’s an example:

O you sons of men, how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies? Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalms 4:2

The word and the Amplified idea of its meaning have always closely aligned with the way that I think. I really like the flow and texture of the word and phrase and so there you have it.


When I fail you, remember I wrote this to you.

When I fail you, remember I wrote this to you.

In my writing, you will find lots of authoritative language. For those amicable to my style and rationale, you may find my writing or even myself worthy of putting up on a pedestal. Yes, I sound incredibly arrogant, don’t I? But if I had never said this, and went on and on with thoughts and ideas attractive to some, the day I fall or some grave wrong is found in me, will those people not be hurt for the worse?

James MacDonald is a man I admire quite a bit. He’s a well known and well liked preacher. He reads and understands the Word largely as I would want someone in that position to read it. He expounds upon it in a manner that I can understand. Many of my thoughts have been influenced by his teaching.

A while ago a friend let me know James bought a two-million dollar house. I don’t know all the details. I tried to defend him. I googled around for the “real” story. Maybe he bought it during that period when all houses were way over-valued? While googling around I found a criticism directed towards James that went something like this:

It doesn’t matter if he used his own money. It doesn’t matter if everything is above board. The fact of the matter is he bought a luxury item far out of the reach of the majority of those who look up to him. What is the message he’s sending?

That was maybe half a year to a year ago. It’s still on my mind. That was a day James MacDonald failed me.

The only man who ever lived who can be held up without fear of failing you and I is Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who He sent as a sacrifice for the forgiveness our sins once and for all. Jesus lived a perfect life and gave up his perfect life willingly for us.

So, if it’s me, president Obama, some sports, music or movie star, keep in mind no man or woman will ever remain unstained in this life.

When I fail you, remember I wrote this to you. Look back in my writings and find solace in my transparency and sincerity. Fallible humans have been tasked with an infallible message.

I will fall, but know that which I speak of will not.

Why I don’t categorize my posts

So let this be another key about my blog. I will not neatly put posts in boxes that can easily be separated one from another because, like life, faith should permeate all that we are and do.

I’m new at this but as far as my own blog goes I don’t think I’ll be categorizing my posts.

Followers of all religions around the world have a common ideal of living the teachings of their faith. Christians are often criticized for compartmentalizing their faith. Sunday is for church, monday is for work. Church is for spirituality. Work is for earning money. And neither the twain shall meet.

So let this be another key about my blog. I will not neatly put posts in boxes that can easily be separated one from another because, like life, faith should permeate all that we are and do.

Let this be a factor of my blog, something to remind me and others who may ask, that categorizing our lives can all too easily close doors of relationships and hurt our ability to reach those in need.

But, remember, I’m new to blogging and not categorizing my posts isn’t something to be canonized into doctrine. Forgive me if I ever renege and remember, also, that holding too firmly to a system or belief, one not worth dying for, may actually hurt you or others.

Pick Fretz’s Brain

My good friend Jamie, over at Pick Fretz’s Brain, deserves a shout out.

My good friend Jamie, over at Pick Fretz’s Brain, deserves a shout out. He’s attending Emmanuel Bible College and I’ve seen a really significant and impressive change in him since he’s been there these past two years. From a small town boy with small town views, he’s really taking it all in and growing his intellect, growing in his walk with Christ (even admidst the struggles that all of us face), and growing the basis of his belief.

I had the thought of starting a blog to follow and help my bible reading (my lack of bible reading) and it wasn’t until I saw Jamie’s blog that I took the jump.

So props Fretz, you are an influential man! Keep your stick on the ice!