God has spoken. What are you praying for?

I was reading Matthew 4 today and came across a fascinating perspective on Jesus’ response to Satan’s temptations. I’ll highlight the passage and follow it with Chuck Smith’s comment on it.

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Lives of Quiet Desperation

Henry-David-ThoreauMy father, on more than one occasion, has referenced this quotation in various discussions on purpose and meaning: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation“. I’ve been thinking about that lately. So, I Googled the phrase this evening and came across this enlightening write up, entitled Quiet Desperation, on the words, the man behind them, and where those thoughts can lead, either for good or for ill. Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste,

One night very early on in a life, a young boy lay back on the rocky New England soil, contemplating the heavens,  “looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them.” This quest became one of the primary motivators of his life — one might say he never stopped looking into nature for the ultimate truth.

But what did Henry David Thoreau mean by his famous observation, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”?

You may have seen those Facebook/Twitter/Instagram memes, the ones that say something to the effect of “Everyone you meet is battling inner demons that you known nothing about.” It’s so true. As much as we want to be open and free with our feelings and emotions with friends and family there are some things too deep, too subtle, too sensitive, to speak openly about. I think of the late Robin Williams. A man of laughter but a man of surprising inner turmoil to the point of ultimate desperation. If you don’t have a friend you can talk to, know that you have a friend in Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16,17

Soli Deo gloria

Is this the ultimate Christian love song?

Ever since I made a concerted effort to explore the Christian music scene, and discover the “good music” that I knew was out there, I’ve been aware of the controversy of Christian love songs. Controversy? Yes, in between the awkward attempts and lame lyrics, there were a number of good sounding attempts (for their time), but I found, like many, they played on sophomoric sleight of hand with ‘God is my girlfriend’ lyrics. There are Christian songs that appear to easily swap out “Jesus” for “girl”, and vice versa, without harming the content in anyway. And if the lyrics stand on their own, some are so ambiguous as to cast doubt on who exactly is the subject of the love. Astoundingly, for a faith that holds love as the highest ethic and motive, there are woefully few good Christian love songs. Now, however, I think I’ve found a truly exemplary one: And, if you’re reading a blog like this, I’m sure you’ve heard it and probably already love it, too.

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Happy Easter

So the LORD God said to the serpent [in the Garden of Eden], “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

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Sanctus Valentinus

Oh, Saint, can you hear my voice from ages past?
I hope against hope because your voice seems to be the last.

Oh, Saint, may I ask a question?
Will you proffer a suggestion?

Oh, Saint, to your name, thereof,
My question is this, what is love?

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The Idealist

Aaron Swartz wanted to save the world. Why couldn’t he save himself? -Slate

On Jan. 4, 2013, Aaron Swartz woke up in an excellent mood. “He turned to me,” recalls his girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, “and said, apropos of nothing, ‘This is going to be a great year.’ ”

On the morning of Jan. 11, one week after he’d insisted it would be a great year, Swartz woke up despondent—lower than Stinebrickner-Kauffman had ever seen him. “I tried everything to get him up,” she says.

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Scary Dreams

I woke last Friday morning from a scary dream. I was traveling around the downtown Toronto subway system, trying to make my way around the bottom of the U. At some point, I got out of the subway system and started walking on the street. Nothing was scary at this point. I was just trying to make my way around downtown Toronto. I guess I was walking up the street to the next subway stop when I heard the explosion.

It was that kind of explosion. That deep, thunderous, rolling explosion. The kind that tears through your thin courage veneer and lays bare your soul. In my dream, I was so scared I didn’t turn my head for a while but I kept walking. People were looking, though, all staring, speaking in frantic tones, and looking down at the waterfront.

When I did turn my head, my fear was cemented. A massive warship was broken in charred, mangled pieces. It felt close enough to touch. The world seemed to turn grey, and for some reason it started to get cold. It felt like the end.

At some point in the dream, I started praying to God to save me.

I found myself getting into the back seat of a car with some couple in the front. In the backseat was a long-sleeved sweater, a toque, and pants. I put these on to ward off the cold. I remember feeling whole, bound up, confident that I could deal with the cold, in a much better condition than those frightened people running all around me to deal with what was coming next.

Shortly after this, I must have wakened because I don’t really remember any more of the dream.

When I awoke, that fear was clinging to me. I was happy that it was just a dream but my mind reminded me of a scene in a movie I once saw.

In the film, Constantine, there is a scene of a woman having a vision of Hell by being held under water. When her vision is finished she struggles frantically from the bath and exclaims “I knew it was real! I always knew it was real!” I’ve always remembered this line because it rings true to the feeling in the pit of our stomachs in some certain horrifying moments of our lives.

Having awoken, I was comforted by the knowledge of God’s love for me, love that overcomes fear,

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:16-18

From this we gain a peace that confounds understanding,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

How do you get this peace?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Then, go out and change your ways,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9

We all know it`s real. We always knew it was real…

Powerful Last Words

I finished the reading the Book of John today and my next chapter in the Book of Psalms was Psalm 22, a Psalm of David, to the tune of “Doe of Morning.” I didn’t plan it but I was instantly piqued by Jesus words on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), Jesus quoting Psalm 22. By choosing those near final words from Psalm 22, Jesus was using the Psalm to speak more words than his tortured body had left. Psalm 22 is a prophetic, crazy accurate picture of exactly what Jesus was going through there on the cross. But not that only. Psalm 22 goes onto describe the glory of God and His Salvation for ever after that crucifixion moment. Selah.