Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Apparently I'm really excited about the new Relient K cd. I didn't realize until I saw it today at work. The deluxe edition looks pretty sweet...A little extra cash, but unlike most deluxe editions, this one looks like it might be worth it. And if you get it at best buy, as a bonus you get an acoustic version of Fallen Man. I think that beats a calender, proving that preorders are evil (I've had bad luck with preorders).
Anyways, school. Later llama peeps.
Edit: Ha! I'm studying in the big window room at FRCC right now. I can get on the internet with my laptop! Dave showed me how yesterday. It's a little slow, but that's perfect for studying...I'm downloading Firefox and AIM now. Woot.
AND...I can listen to Falling Up while I study, which makes me happy. Falling Up is my fifth favorite band now...after Blindside, David Crowder Band, Switchfoot, Lifehouse, As Cities Burn and House of Heroes...
Wait, is that math good? Oh no! It's bad math! My "?" button sticks! I can't spell kittens! This is a disaster! *runs*
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I'm addicted to Falling Up's remix of Searchlights...I've been listening to it all afternoon through myspace. I totally need to buy their new cd.
In other news, I totally still say totally too much, but I totally haven't been able to stop.
Sooooo. In my last blog (my last "real" blog) I talked about how I didn't totally understand certain parts of Philippians 2, so I jumped ahead to a much clearer instruction about grumbling.
But today in bible study, everyone was discussing the exact verse I didn't really get, so things worked out perfectly. I didn't talk much today at all, but I absorbed quite a bit, which is my usual tendency. Sometimes I have to use a notebook to order my thoughts, otherwise when I speak, nothing intelligent will come out. I've noticed, though, that lately talking isn't too hard for me anymore, it's just when I try to talk specifically about God that I tend to slow down.
I guess it's because I take doctrine and and the like way more seriously than I take any other subject. I like to think really, really hard about what I have to say before I speak. The only problem with this is that conversations usually move way past what I'm writing about before I finish...
Ah, but then I wouldn't feel as compelled to blog about it, so there's one good point...or bad, I guess...depending on how you feel about this blog, although I must assume if you read all I've written thus far you must like my writing to some extent, if I may make such an assertion.
I want coffee. The funny thing is, I also want to keep listening to Searchlights. Well, it's almost over! I'm going to go get coffee and study and then I'll finish this blog tonight and actually write about Philippians...
Um, so if you check back later tonight, hopefully after this paragraph you'll see Philippians 2:12-13, and I'll take things from there...
Monday, February 26, 2007
Go away Monday.
But I digress.
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,"
That was my first reaction when I read verse 14. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Do I do anything without grumbling and questioning? I had to think about it for a minute. In the outside world I might, but at home, I am like an olympic grumbler. I complain every chance I get when I'm "busy" with homework and don't want to be disturbed. And questioning? I question my parents all the time. Actually, I probably question everyone who asks things of me. I question my friends, my coworkers, and worse, far worse, I question God. I have a very curious nature...I always have to know. I like to pry things apart and overanalyze every chance I get.
But how dare I question God? He is working all things to my good, so to doubt him is nothing but sin. I think it's okay to ask for clarification...and to pray about why things are happening, but at the same time, there is a sinful side to questioning, the grumbling and complaining side, the "I-don't-want-to-do-this-or-deal-with-it" side.
The thing is, we don't always need to know. The reason why has no bearing on how we ought to carry ourselves and act.
Also, I think there is nothing that you can do to provoke the unsaved more. At work and school, the amount of grumbling and complaining I hear is ridiculous, and yet it is so natural that everyone does it. But we can show people a different way, by putting off grumbling and questioning. We can shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and twisted world.
Children of God without blemish!! There is grace for this!
There's so much more I could say...just off these two verses...but my family's waiting on me. Let me know what y'all think. That was all a bit rushed...maybe I can come back in and flesh things out if necessary...
Sunday, February 25, 2007
It's been awhile since my last post...there's a ton I could talk about. In fact, here's a list of everything I could blog about:
-Accidentally loud screeching noises
-Ashton wears a diaper. Don't ask. Please don't ask.
-Unstable chairs and the people who get kicked out of them
-the prayer meeting yesterday
-my semi-successful and very odd attempt at fasting
-how to build cheap furniture without noticably breaking anything...
-Mint mentos+diet coke=GIANT GEYSER OF POP!
-Courting cars. "Oh look...they're holding hands in the parking lot..."
-The wrath of Lamby.
-Island Grill: Fake hawaiian food that doesn't taste good!!
-Deciding I am fit for the circus, and that Chad and I should start one.
-Wheel of Fortune at Anne Marie's
-Learning the truth about the evils of mayo
-Carmel pop that tastes like sugarless gum
-Jeremy and Vanna. Don't ask. Please don't ask.
That's what I WOULD blog about...but I can't. We have company over for a game night thingie. My plan was to do homework, but it isn't working, so I must join in. Otherwise I'm an antisocial weirdo updating his blog during a party. And worse, I have a really, really loud laugh so I keep blowing my cover.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I got the new Tobymac cd and some of the songs are really good. Some seem really boring so far, but that's beside the point today...
One thing in particular I like is the first song, "One World" which is where I got the lyric for my title. I really like a lot of the lyrics on his new cd. It's very expressive of love for God...and that got me thinking about love...as did Philippians 2, and the Valley of Vision poem I read today.
When I decided I wanted to write about selfless love as my topic, I wasn't sure what verses I would use to back up my thoughts, and then I read Philippians 2, and everything fell into place...
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,"
Last week something amazing happened to me. I began to think of myself as not just loving God, but being IN love with him. I'm not exactly sure when it started, but the constant awareness of all the horrors God saved me from began to make it easier and easier to think of God with deep affection.
I think there's a big difference between loving someone and being in love. People say they love unimportant things all the time. It's a saying that gets tossed around almost without meaning, from "I love Chipolte" or "I love mayonnaise even when I don't know where it's been" to "I love that guy" as a girl at work has said about me...
Whereas, saying that you're in love with someone is a statement we are far, far more careful with, because it carries a great deal more weight. And rightly so, because it implies a deep bond with that person.
But I'm not going to be careful in saying I'm in love with God, ever! I don't think I can be any more selfish than if I try to hide what God has done for me. This is something the whole world needs to be hearing, from all of us!
"Count others as more significant than yourselves"
This is important. It isn't easy...or natural...but it's really, really important. In bible study we mostly talked about these verses concerning church unity. From arguments I've heard nonbelievers use, I think this is a serious problem for the church as a whole. One of the biggest arguements I have heard against Christianity is that we are so divided. Rivalry and conceit must be put away so that we can focus on love and humility! I don't think the variety of denominations out there will matter nearly as much if we are unified by the Gospel.
I don't know, I haven't thought about this much until today...
I'm stuck on the idea of loving others more than yourself, looking to others interest first, looking out for others instead of yourself. I don't think there's anything we can do to proclaim Christ in our lives more than by following His example of humility and putting others first.
And yet it's so hard because we're so sinful. It's just easier to think about yourself first. I do it without thinking. I want to be less selfish, and I've tried to take my focus off myself, but it's still what I'm comfortable with, what I'm willing to share, what I'm willing to give, and not what God asks of me...
This is not the way it should be. I want to change...
One way I see it is, if we're all putting others first, we'll have no need to ever worry about ourselves, because someone else will have our backs. Anyways, I want to put others first in all things! I'll look out for you, you look out for me...
Here's half of a Valley of Vision poem I really liked...
Lord of all being,
There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,
That calls forth my ardent desires,
That is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made-
to glorify thee who hast given me being,
and to do all the good I can for my fellow men;
Verily life is not worth having,
if it be not improved for this noble purpose.
Yet Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind!
Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for thy glory,
or for the good of others;
They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honors, pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness, merriment,
could make their immortal souls happy;
But, alas, what false, delusive dreams are these!
And how miserable ere long with those be that sleep in them,
for all our happiness consists in loving thee
and being holy as thou art holy.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Have a good wednesday, peeps. I have a bio test to study for!! Hopefully I'll find time while studying to keep working on it.
Work today was too much fun. It's getting easier for me to be outgoing. I was making jokes and funny noises and stuff all day for the amusement of my coworkers. Maybe it was all the coffee...I had two full cups. Normally I don't even finish one...
I also spoke yesterday at Bible study...and led prayer...not normal things for me by any means...it's good to know God is so willing to answer prayer! My thoughts still get scattered a lot, but I can relax when I talk now. I used to not be able to relax sometimes when I talk...thank you God for having mercy on me and being so good to me!!
See y'all tomorrow...or later today...whenever I can get this blog written. I might split it into two blogs...I have a couple of subtopics...The Bible is so cool. I love Philippians!
I also love 1 Timothy 4:12. I made a new sidebar thingy, "Verse of the week". Verse of the day would be nice, but I'm not sure I could keep the commitment. 1 Timothy 4:12 is such a good verse. I've been trying to really take it to heart over the last week, ever since I heard someone use it on WayFM. People should see an example in me in the way I speak and carry myself, and not only that, but in my faith, love, and purity. Faith, love and purity, these should define my whole life, full of faith in God, love for Him and all those around me, and purity in my words, thoughts and deeds. Purity from selfishness and sin...
Anyways, I better get going.
My scalp is pink.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
First, if anyone's curious, I got the name for my blog from a House of Heroes song I really like called "You Are the Judas of the Cheerleading Squad"
"I've slept in the belly of the beast
Now I'll sleep under your wings
Forged in the fire and the fire it burns in me"
Yes, weird title. The title is actually about turning your back on the world...
I said this was going to be a new beginning of sorts for me, so I suppose I should explain myself a bit. This is going to be a little harder than I thought. It really feels awkard introducing myself...
I'm just going to start typing, and we'll all hope for the best, okay?? Not off to a good start. I just typed a bunch and then backspaced because I didn't like it. Sooooo. I'm mainly going to try to use this space to write out of my devotions.
I love God!!
He saved me from sin and self-destruction and sadness through the death of His son and I've given my whole life over to Him. I want to honor Him and speak of Him with as many words as possible, as carefully thought out and helpful as possible.
I'll probably write about what's going on in my life as well...I like to write about caregroup and hanging out with my peeps and stuff, too...and occasionally I try my hand at creative nonfiction and attempt to put a funny spin on things...well, most things are just naturally funny. Hearing my laugh come out of a mechanical parrot? Funny, and requiring no help from me to be so.
"We're on a bridge, Chad!"
Okay, sorry. Terribly sorry, back on track.
I'm also an aspiring writer of fiction, so I may post stories and story ideas, talk about what I'm writing, and maybe also post some poetry. I write poetry and songs from time to time, and they mostly suck, but thus far, this hasn't even slowed me down. Sorry again.
Most of you know what to expect from me, if not all of you. Lots of randomness...
I'm really excited about my sidebars. I can do all sorts of lists and stuff. And links! I can link to whatever I want now!! If anybody wants to see any websites up there, let me know! I'll gladly add anything...if you have a website I WANT it up there, so don't be shy!!
Also, I welcome any and all comments...I love hearing from people...whether it's "Sweet, dude" or a novel to rival War and Peace in length. Even if I don't know you! Go for it!
...I think that's all I wanted to say.
Normal blogging shall ensue.
The last few days have been totally awesome. On friday, the girls in my caregroup made us dinner and honored us and gave us some tasty rice crispy treats with notes attatched. I'll have to post a picture of the note...I would post a picture of the rice crispy treat, but it didn't last long enough for such things. It's funny that we were given food. We gave the girls flowers for the valentine's day dinner we did, and this reminds of something Josh Harris said in one of his books. Girls like flowers, guys like food...anyways, it was totally sweet and we had a good time.
I'm sure there's more I could say...but we must move along steadily...
I say "totally" too much. I need to buy a lemur and carry it around on my back. Then I'll train it to slap me everytime I say totally twice in one paragraph.
Or a sawtooth ostrich! Sorry, inside joke. Just picture an ostrich slapping me with its beak.
Sunday I had children's ministry at Church and made a castle out of blocks, and a little girl proclaimed me a princess. And she invited me to her birthday party. Woot.
And we played Ultimate Frisbee this Sunday! It rocked, even though we lost. I got my first diving catch! Woot.
Last night we had our second annual Crazy Hair Party...I've got pics of my hair with three different styles, the last one colored pinkish purple. Last year we did green, this year pink. I'll explain more later when I post some pictures. I've got a ton of pictures. I'm glad my hair is kinda long now. It's so much easier to do crazy things with longer hair...Chad was limited on what he could do...
I love all our weird traditions. So much fun. Chad and I decided we're going to dress up as cowboys for Spiderman 3. We needed an excuse to wear cowboy hats and we wanted to dress up for the movie, so we decided to just combine the two. Not into superhero costumes, personally...not into cowboy duds either, but it'll be fun.
In other news, I bought Underoath's new cd "Define the Great Line" last week. I'm currently addicted to "In Regards to Myself". I like Tobymac's new stuff, too. I have a preorder on his new cd, and I'm off to pick it up now! I'll let y'all know what I think.
Anyways, hopefully not all my entries will be as long and rambely as this one, but I'm sure it'll happen. My next few posts should be fairly focused...I've got some thoughts I'm really wanting to write out...
Until then, later llamas!
Monday, February 19, 2007
I'm not quite ready yet, but I was so eager to get going, I decided to just jump in...
Some old writing has been archived for your perusal...any and all comments from any and all llamas would be welcome, as always!
I'll add more later, including a more introductory post...
...for now, hi and bye, llamas!
Edit: Quick note on the links section. I want all my peeps websites up there. Give me some addresses and I'll put them up...
The world is empty and I fear it. It is vast beyond my ability to grasp. As I trudge eastward I feel as if where once I held the whole world between my fingertips I now hold nothing but broken dreams. I all but cling to Eve, the only other person in existence, she walks just a few feet ahead, her long dark hair shimmering in the brilliant moonlight.
I can still hear the crackling of the mighty sword Yahweh placed before the entry to
The sword and the thorns, though, are not nearly as terrifying as Yahweh’s cherubim, I must confess. Massive, holy beings too dense and lovely and full of light to look upon without feeling the weight of what an awful, small and dirty thing I am.
What we walk towards, I cannot say. I only know that we must walk out of the presence of the angels’ far reaching sight. I could feel their anger at our fall radiate almost as strongly as the burning sword’s flame.
After a moment I noticed Eve’s footsteps had stopped and I looked up from my contemplation to see her standing before me with tears glistening in her eyes. I was still struck by her beauty whenever I looked at her. Though all the wonders of the world struck me, there was something about her that seemed lovely in a special, different way. Imperiously above everything, and yet below all with me in the dust. That Yahweh had paired me with a creature so filled with the mystery of Him only made my shame fresh.
We embraced there, in that field, the sound of chirping crickets our only company in the emptiness. “I feel dead inside,” Eve whispered. I nodded, unable to speak. I too, felt a deep pain at having lost all bonds with God. Where once he had dwelt in our hearts, there was now nothing but an ache as vast as the whole earth. “Do you think He’ll come back?” she asked, her voice still hushed.
“I don’t know,” I whispered, remembering what He’d said. Remembered what had been said just hours earlier, when the glorious maker of all things had walked the earth still.
It tears at my bones. I have betrayed Yahweh and broken the one commandment. Eve and I hide, trembling and terrified, within a clump of trees. The fruit tasted wonderful, sweetly honeyed in a way unlike all the other fruits of
Before I even knew what I was doing, I responded. “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
The skins that had been made to cover our nakedness shuffled uncomfortably as I pulled from Eve’s grasp and glanced at the sky, wondering if it was to some other world veiled behind the stars that our God had withdrawn to.
“Why?” Eve asked, and that one question could be applied to everything. Why make a world for people like us? Why create that tree, or that deleterious serpent? And why not just destroy us?
“Why did we die when we ate of the tree?” she continued. “If God can know good and evil, then why not we?”
I had only one answer. “Because we’re not God.”
She shook her head. We were both tired. It had been a long, terrible day. The grass here would not be perfectly comfortable, but it was certainly better than going on, with our heads full with the buzz of fear and pain.
When I slept that night, I dreamt of a more joyous age just a day gone.
I dreamed of the day I met my wife. I awoke feeling strangely light. Yahweh had bid me sleep not too long after I’d named the creatures of the world, and I, in trust complete, had obliged. I’d sat up, the beauty of a crystal clear azure sky and striking emerald trees utterly surpassed by the Maker standing above. And then I’d felt a jolt of electricity run through me as I’d seen her.
That Yahweh had paired me with a creature so filled with the mystery of Him only made my awe and wonder fresh. The loss of a rib I considered meaningless compared to the fact that I was to be joined with one so beautiful.
When I’d understood what it was Yahweh had done, I said in the poetic vein of the moment, “this at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of
The sun rose that morning over a changed world. Though it was less than a week old, there seemed to be a sense of age that had arisen overnight, as if the earth were growing older beneath our feet. Or perhaps, rather than age, it was a sense of death, of endings distant but there just the same.
We continued walking again. What else was there to do but continue east as we’d been directed? I had a feeling, an impression in my head, that my lot would be to till soil, laboring in the dirt I was born of, but how and where I could not say.
Both of us stayed silent, lost in our thoughts. There was so much about the world I didn’t understand. Was the whole of it endless plains? Were all the great beasts that had been present at the Naming going to be as friendly when next we encountered them? And death. The end. I had learned of it when I bit into the forbidden fruit. It was of all things corporeal the most mystifying. I could feel in my heart that we were somehow already dead, that life had ceased in our minds even as our lungs continued to draw breath and our muscles carry us along. But I knew there was physical death now, too. Our bodies could become as lifeless as stone. It worried me, because I didn’t know what was to become of us. Was there hope for we lost children? Were we to be left to become as stone, returning to the dust?
My stomach began growling after only a few minutes of walking, another painful reminder. In
In spite of my wearied mind, I let myself get caught up in her infectious joy and took off after her, both of us racing to be the first to the river. When we finally reached it, however, we were in for a horrible shock. The trees were withering.
The only fruit at hand was brown with rot.
“Oh my…” Eve whispered, and began to cry.
I took my wife in my arms and we stayed on the bank of the thin stream for a long time. The water was perfect and refreshing. I could see no reason for the trees to have died, but I was beginning to understand further the nature of decay.
It was going to spread.
After a few hours of rest, I decided we needed to move on. I could see a large formation of rocks in the distance, and felt suddenly that that was where we should head. The five stunted trees that grew here had nothing to offer.
By sunset the rocks were towering above, reminding me of Yahweh’s angels, above us, looking down. I wanted to climb that night, reach the top and see if there was anything but rolling prairie, but I could sense that this would be the worst thing for both of us. We both felt exhausted and a climb in the dark seemed unwise.
It was there at the base of the outcropping that we learned another new way of the world, and how we might provide ourselves with food. As the darkness began to grow and we attempted to make ourselves as comfortable as possible on the ground, a tiny flock of scraggly sheep came bleating from around the other side of the rocks. Eve paid close attention to them, laughing at their antics as one young lamb tripped over its own feet.
I feigned interest for a moment and then looked away, thinking about what tomorrow might bring with its next sunrise. But after just a few seconds Eve drew me back with a loud, fearful gasp. I glanced back to the flock to see a streak of red darting across the white, as if a bit of sunset had fallen to the ground. As I watched, however, I recognized the creature I’d named fox.
At first I couldn’t imagine what the fox was doing, darting in and out of the legs of the sheep, and then realization came, a cold fist of dread striking me. This creature of God was hungry and on the hunt.
Eve started to sob and this time I felt tears wrenching from my own eyes.
What have we done?
I could only stare, paralyzed, as one sheep, slower than the rest was struck down by the smaller creature. They wrestled for a moment, the fox snarling and biting, both animals rolling in the dirt, and then with a sudden, heart-rending crack the sheep’s neck broke, its body a bloody mess.
What have we done to this paradise?
The both of us looked away as the predator set to devouring its dinner. Holding hands, the two of us followed the flock to the far side of the jagged formation, no longer feeling safe where we were. It was in this way that I saw how we might climb tomorrow. There were really just three giant rocks. Two slanting to the west, and one in between them that pointed east. And on the southeastern stone there was a slope that would make climbing easy. I felt that it was at the crux of these three rocks that I must go, at first light tomorrow.
Thoughts of the fox filled my head. Leaving my wife where I thought her safe, both from harm and from seeing the further bloodshed that was to come, I turned back the way we’d come.
“Where are you going?” Eve called, an edge of panic filling her voice at the idea of being left alone in the infinite emptiness of our world’s night.
“We need food.” I said simply, not looking back.
The next morning, I awoke at dawn and left Eve sleeping to begin the climb alone, as I’d intended all along. Thoughts of last night seemed incongruous with the beauty of the sunrise, but I could not keep them at bay. Killing the fox had been hard, harder than I’d anticipated. In the end it had been Eve, appearing out of nowhere, that had finished it off, using a sharp little stone to blunt it in the back of the head.
Sweet, gentle Eve.
Seeing her with that bloody rock in her hand had broken my heart. The mother of all men, a beautiful and regal queen, forced to kill food for her husband.
I felt lightheaded from hunger. We hadn’t even managed to get any meat from the fox’s carcass. It’s thick coat of fur certainly did not seem edible. Nor had the mangled sheep been of any worth. Last night’s struggle had been as fruitless as the trees that had caught our attention yesterday.
Perhaps soon we’ll find another garden, I thought as I began to climb, hauling myself arm over arm at first and then merely crawling across the rough but convex formation.
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Yahweh spoke harshly, his words full not merely with anger but sorrow, too. Eve looked away as he glared at her. She couldn’t seem to keep her head up, as if the very weight of her shame were a force of gravity weighing her down. The dark curtain of Eve’s hair covered her face as she looked to the ground, no doubt thinking about how what was meant to be beautiful had become a thing of agony.
Or perhaps she was wondering what it would mean for me to rule over her.
I soon found myself on a long shelf of rock overlooking what I knew was but a tiny drop of land in the unfathomable vastness of the earth. The plains rolled away until they merged with the western sky. I thought I saw a sea in the distance, but I wasn’t quite sure. After a moment, my eyes turned down to the shelf and I noticed a perfectly circular rise in the rock, like a natural table.
On it sat an ornate golden chalice studded with diamonds. The sight of the cup glowing in the sunlight confused me. It seemed wholly out of place; gaudy and glaring amidst the Maker’s natural works of art. I took a step closer and saw that it was full almost to the brim with crystal-clear water.
“Do take a sip. It’s quite cold, and I’m sure you’re thirsty.”
I started and turned quickly, to see a man standing behind me, one with bright hair like straw and a robe as dark as the night sky.
“Wh-who are you?” I stammered. It was the first time I’d seen another man like myself. Did Yahweh create others? Are there more people out here? “Are you…?”
“Oh, goodness no!” he cried. “I’m not a human! You and Eve are it, Firstborn.” He looked at me almost in awe. “This so incredible! It’s almost too amazing to believe. You’re the beginning. It’s really true. The Lord in all his infinite wisdom be praised!”
“Wait…is Yahweh still here?”
The man squinted as if scrutinizing me. “Of course. He never went anywhere. The only reason you can’t see him is because you’ve been divorced completely. By choosing to disobey and eat that fruit, you set yourself against God for eternity.”
I gasped, startled. I had feared our problems ran deep, but I’d had no idea. It was like a canyon with no bottom had suddenly breached the space between man and God.
To my surprise, the man laughed. “You’re so amazing. So tiny and fixed and unchanging. So small and solid. And yet one day He’s going to dwell in the hearts of your children! Have faith, little one! Don’t you see that Yahweh has a plan? He wouldn’t have allowed you to ever touch that fruit if it weren’t to His glory!”
I was without words. “Who-who are you? How could you possibly know all this?”
“I, sir, am an angel of Yahweh!” He grinned a lopsided grin and ran his fingers through his hair, looking excited, as if he was bursting to tell me something incredible. There was no other facial expression he could wear or gesture he could use to make himself look less like the cherubim.
Maybe he’s young like me.
“Hardly.” The angel said quietly. I looked into his eyes and saw ancient life that had watched stars congregate into galaxies at mere words. His words were like a soft mist, but they carried more power than an angry volcano. “I am a seraphim.”
“I don’t understand. What’s going to happen now? Are we to be punished?”
The angel sighed. “If only you had been there! Can you even begin to fathom the beauty and might and mystery of a voice that can shape universes and knit together the minds of the living?”
I was speechless again. But I can. For I’d heard that very same voice speak gently into my ear. I could see Him in my wife, in fiery orange sunsets, in the smell of the sea. His was a presence that invaded everything.
“The tide of your thoughts are carrying you very far from the rock beneath our feet. Let’s get right down to business. I love that saying. Right to the heart of the matter. One of your children…well, never mind. I digress. As it will one day be written, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. You are neither young nor old. Therefore, it has been ordained that you as firstborn shall experience both.”
He leaned past me and lifted the chalice. I could see its interior through water so clear I almost doubted it was there.
“Take a sip, little Adam.” He lifted the cup for me to take. The water trembled as he moved it, a dash of morning sun glinted on its reflective surface. I felt my heart quiver in fear. The last time I’d taken what had been proffered to me, it had been my doom.
I found words fleeting. “I...I…musn’t.” My voice was so soft and dry I could barely hear it myself.
The angel suddenly seemed perturbed. “The will of the Lord will be done whether you are willing or not. And I must say, at this point, a little obedience wouldn’t kill you, young one.”
“But…” My thoughts turned to Eve. Would it be I bringing despair down on us this time?
“What have you left to lose? You’re lost, you almost died last night trying to procure food that would have done you no good, and you’re dressed in skins that will not keep you warm when the icy whisper of winter claws its way into your lives.”
A moment of deep silence hung between us. “Do you know how to till soil, Adam? Do you know how to make shoes? There’s more to this world than you can see, too much for you to grasp. You’re far more insignificant than you realize. Do you know what music is? It is a glorious thing one of your children will discover someday. There are whole ideas, whole worlds, you haven’t even begun to understand.” He paused. Silence grew between us. I saw a large, brown and white bird wheel overhead.
“Have patience, and your descendents will one day be like a rising symphony, a beautiful heartbeat rhythm rising and growing. There will be much suffering and war. There will be many, many, agonizing childbirths. But they will add to the flow, to the melody. One day this song will reach Yahweh, and all His glorious designs will become apparent.”
Without another word, I took the cup from his hand and drank deeply.
It was cold and fresh, but otherwise unremarkable.
I tried to speak, and found my voice at last. “Is something supposed-” I suddenly felt terribly dizzy. The world around me spun, and I felt my legs give way beneath me. The last thing I saw before a greedy darkness swallowed me was the angel unfurling a pair of beautiful iridescent wings. He grinned cheerily and vanished into the air.
“Adam!” a voice calling me in darkness. A beautiful voice like an angel. No. I’d spoken with an angel, hadn’t I? And this voice seemed to me all but incomparable. The voice of my dear wife, thoughtful worry ruffling her words.
Not as beautiful as He that called me to be and formed me, but to be cherished, none the less.
I opened my eyes, and sunlight flowed in like a raging river of blinding light. I squinted and realized I was still on the rock. I stood and saw Eve standing thirty yards out searching for me. I was about to call out when suddenly the world around me vanished.
I am standing before a massive tower, onto which a tornado of bricks is being funneled. All is a maelstrom of activity all towards the goal of building a tower high enough to reach heaven. Someone wants to put themselves on level with God. I see thousands of people bustling about at work, some whipping some being whipped, and others merely sitting around being fanned.
After a moment I realize with a horrified jolt that these are all every one of them my offspring. As I stand trying to puzzle out why some are in comfort and some toil, the sky changes. Abruptly a gray, overcast sky turns black. And once it has turned black, orange cracks begin to appear, yawning wide to erupt fire. Destructive pillars of flame smash into the tower, obliterating it and sending slave and master alike tumbling and burning into their graves.
And then just as the explosive heat is about to consume me, I’m back on the rock shelf, overlooked by a noon sky. I hear Eve wailing and suddenly realize she’s been left alone for a long time. In our desolate world, even a brief time spent alone can be an excruciating eternity.
I rushed to the ground and ran to her, feeling terrible. She threw herself into my arms sobbing. Both of us fell to the ground in an awkward heap, our arms and legs tangling together, and for a moment, she merely pressed her face into my chest and cried. “I thought you were dead,” she choked. “I thought Yahweh took you away to punish me for tempting you. I was afraid I would be left all alone.”
“Shh. Calm down, Eve,” I consoled, patting her back, grass tickling my face. “Please… stop crying. We have nothing to worry about! We will never have anything to worry about!”
“B-but…why not?” She lifted her head, and a pair of icy blue eyes softened and rimmed red by tears drilled through me. Still as beautiful as the day we met.
“Because God is still here.”
In the days following that strange, sad, and wonderful morning, Eve and I continued on apace eastward until we reached a small valley filled with wonderfully soft green grasses and some sort of blue flower that bloomed every morning. A tremor shook my body. Through all this time, I had had no visions, but as soon as we reached this new place, I saw an image of people working soil. People with dark skin toiled relentlessly while paler men whipped and cursed them. I could not make out anything that was said, but I saw faces screwed up in hatred.
Again with the whipping. What a grim future lies ahead. But it told me something. This was to be our home, and I was to become a farmer, a worker of crops and manipulator of dirt. I was born of dirt, I would eat from dirt, and when I died I would return to the dirt.
Eve was delighted by the valley. She soon fell to talking about a garden. She seemed to want to rebuild something of
In the starry depth of night I awoke from a dream of war. Men had been riding horses and brutally tearing each other apart. The field beneath them had been soaked with blood. I could still smell lingering scents of dirt and sweat. I could still hear all the screaming. Vaguely panicked, I leaned over, reaching instinctively for Eve, wanting to be sure of her safety. My hand met a warm patch of grass and nothing more.
I stood quickly, glancing around, heart beginning to race. “Eve?” I called out quietly. There was but a crescent moon and all was dark. The darkness seemed like a living thing, able to shift and stretch to hide anything if it could only devour enough light…
The only other person in existence.
I called out again, growing ever more fearful. Suddenly a shadow separated itself from the darkness and walked towards me. “What is it, Adam?” She asked, an unfamiliar edge to her voice. The darkness was so hungry it swallowed all her features, turning my wife into a wraithlike silhouette.
“Where were you? I was terrified. My heart will not stop pounding.” I sighed. “Please tell me, when you leave from now on, alright?”
She shrugged. “As you wish, oh great and glorious Adam. I shall readily report everything I do to you, so you can rule over me.” Her sarcastic tone was like a whip biting into my skin. My mind swung back to the visions I’d seen the previous day.
If words hurt this bad, how much worse would an actual lash feel?
“You’re worse than the snake,” Eve snapped suddenly. “Tempting me, pulling me in wrong direction after evil direction.” I could just barely make out her hands gesturing wildly in the blackness.
The thought was so small and subtle that I ignored it. How could I ever hit Eve?
“If you were half a man, you would never have eaten the fruit I gave you. Why didn’t you think? You’re the man! It’s your leadership that killed us!”
I remained silent. My beautiful, lovely wife I could never lay a finger upon, but this venomous wraith, that was something different. Frighteningly different.
“What a joke, you master over me. You’re too weak to be a king, or even a farmer. You’re a sad and wicked beggar.” I’d never suspected there could be so much hate in one who had once been so kind and loving.
Not giving it another thought, I reached through the night and slapped the shadow before me as hard as I could. I imagined more than saw her head reeling back, long black hair flowing like dark ocean waves.
She groaned in pain. I felt Eve’s hand brush my chest as she raised it to rub her jaw.
“Adam…” there was no anger in her voice now, only a bleak misery that tainted the air like the rotting corpse of a dead bird.
Still not quite knowing what I was doing or why, I reached forward and grabbed her by the waist and twisted her arm back. She yelped a quick, sharp scream of pain.
It occurred to me I hadn’t spoken in all this time. I’d been motivated by a pure, almost thoughtless cruelty. But now I was beginning to feel increasingly angry. How dare she?
How dare she say those lies about me? I thundered in my head. Without meaning to, I began to scream the words, still twisting her arm back. “How dare you?” I roared into her ear.
“Adam, please…I’m sorry. You’re really hurting me,” Eve pleaded, and something else occurred to me. I am far stronger than you.
Eve’s knees began to buckle, causing her to collapse to the ground in my grip. She began to weep, struggling to get free, slapping me with her free hand.
Before I knew it, she was flat on the ground, her right arm pulled behind her and pressed against her back. She was still crying.
I twisted her arm harder, till I heard her shoulder click, and pushed my knee into her back, shoving her further into the grass.
“Oh, Lord!” Eve called suddenly, her voice slightly muffled. “Please save me!”
I released her wrist and fell backward as if I’d had a river of icy water wash over my body.
“Yahweh…” she whispered, voice shaky and racked with sobs. “I’m sorry I disobeyed…please save me from Adam…”
I shrank back, feeling like a miserable worm. “Please rescue me from my husband…” Eve continued. Even after I pulled away, she simply lay there, indistinguishable from the ground in the weak starlight.
A cliff had risen up between us. An icy cliff reaching into the clouds. We’d held together at the top all this time, but now the both of us were tumbling down opposite ends, away from each other. I felt as if I were a million miles away from Eve, my heart frigid and my insides numb.
I curled into a fetal position and looked up at the stars, feeling as if the weight of Yahweh’s stare was upon me. Surely the pain I inflicted on the one I was to cherish will not go unpunished. From ten feet off, from across a canyon of snow a thousand miles wide, I heard Eve crying. As I stared up at the sky, feeling empty, I cried for the first time in my life, a few tears at first, and then finally a wailing and sobbing that filled the quiet cold with noise.
As the world took on a gray cloak of predawn color, the both of us cried on.
Together, yet miserably alone.
Finally as the gray began to give way to choir robes of pink and orange, I stood. Eve was sitting up, not looking at me, not crying, just looking out at the valley she’d been talking about so happily yesterday. I barely looked at her. Couldn’t stomach the thought of her blue eyes gazing upon a husband stained with evil.
I turned my eyes south. More open fields. I thought I saw a forest slightly to the northwest, but I wasn’t sure. I just knew I had to get away. I had to flee, so I took off running.
Don’t look back, I told myself. I repeated it like a mantra, over and over again, but it didn’t help. I looked back, and I saw Eve watching me go.
She made no move to stop me.
The only person in existence.
Utterly alone, amidst nothing but the waving grass in the growing sunlight, I ran for hours. At one point I saw a forest of enormous trees rise up to my left, but I didn’t stop, didn’t feel like I could ever stop running from Eve.
I want to die.
When my strength finally gave, I collapsed at the shore of a massive river.
My face crashed into the mud at its bank. I simply lay still for a moment, trying to find something, anything, to grasp at, to make myself feel whole again.
I need to die.
Suddenly I felt a familiar shakiness wrack my body. I was beginning to recognize it as the sign of an impending vision. I screwed my eyes shut tightly against it and curled up in the filthy silt. I wanted no more scenes of death and decay. There was enough of that working its way through my veins and arteries. Decay shuffled through my lungs, was the air I breathed and the blood pumping in my heart.
I deserve to die!
But the engines of prophecy were not slowed by my efforts, and I was soon swept into another time and place.
Water washes over me in a torrent that brings me to my knees. I try to stand and merely slip, my body crashing against the hard wooden deck of an enormous ship as mighty as a mountain. Confused thoughts begin to pile up as I struggle to keep from being washed away. It is as if the blue sky is nothing but water held back by a veil of Yahweh’s design.
A veil that is now torn away, allowing an ocean to crash down upon the earth. I can’t see, I can’t stand, I can’t even breathe.
As the water has it’s way with me, I can hear the lowing of a strange beast from within the depths of the ship that is holding me above the water, meaning there must be animals inside. I barely have time to process this thought before water fills my lungs…
“Such is the power of God, to make a grown man weaker than an infant.”
Still curled up in the mud, I came back from the vision coughing and gasping for air. The angel’s voice found me with lungs miraculously clear and ears empty of water.
I simply lay there on my back and ignored him, still sputtering raggedly for air. A seed of rebellion blossomed in my heart, into a flower thick with thorns. I wanted to blame him for what I’d done to my wife. I wanted to blame God.
You gave me life.
“Eventually,” the angel continued gravely, not waiting for me to acknowledge him, “the wickedness of your children will bring about the destruction of the entire planet. More water than the world has ever seen or ever will see again shall fall in a rain that will mark the end of civilization.”
Why didn’t you make me stronger, Lord?
“The only hope for humanity will be placed in the hands of a man named Noah, a man who loves God the way you will teach your sons to love God, and the way their sons will teach their sons to love God.”
Why is life so hard?
The man, the angel sighed. “Come away from there, Adam. I’ve much to teach you about the way of things.”
I didn’t want to hear a word he had to say. I am stained. There is no hope for me. I tilted my head back without lifting it and caught a glimpse of the river raging behind me, and thoughts of drowning filled my mind.
Another sigh. “Of course you’re stained. That stain is called sin. I told you, you’ve been sealed for eternal damnation. When you die, you’ll be devoured by the flames of hell and rot in your sin forever.”
I cried out in anguish and began to drag myself towards the river
“It takes death to cleanse the stain.”
“Then let me die!” I roared, finally speaking. I was at the very edge of the water now. The ground grew softer, absorbing my hands.
“Drowning in the
I stopped, and looked up at him for the first time. He was less than ten feet away, his handsome features controlled and calm as before.
“I don’t understand.” I said, still close enough to the river that its spray washed over me. “What innocent blood? Eve and I are both guilty. We stole the fruit, she spoke to me with hatred. I…”
I had to stop for a moment. “…I hurt her.” I said softly. I gently pushed myself away from the water and stood.
“I need to die.” I whispered. But still, I hesitated on the water’s edge.
“If death is what it will take to help you see, then I suppose you will have to die after all,” the angel said, walking up behind me. He gave me a mighty shove and I fell face-first into the water, and this time, the water that my lungs absorbed was real.
As soon as the breathtakingly chill water of the
This time was different. I left my cold, drowning body far behind and floated high into the air. As I soared upward, above the river, the air seemed to change, to shimmer and take on a silvery quality. When I looked below me, I saw the earth itself changing. Buildings rose and fell, or remained and grew old and dilapidated.
I began to descend. There were no people, but roads spread themselves across the plains, and towns sprouted like unfolding flowers. I didn’t see any animals, but sometimes I saw their bones. The skeletons of horses, dogs, birds, and once the hulking bones of an elephant.
I saw the river Euphrates flood its banks and withdraw, I saw rains fall soaking the ground, saw grass wither and die, everything moving at an unnaturally fast pace, years seemingly flying by before my eyes.
The buildings began to change, over time. Little tents and cabins eventually gave way to great walled castles and towers that soared into the sky, like little man made mountains.
I saw the flood the angel told me about. The water surrounded me, and rose hundreds of feet over my head till I should have been drowned or crushed or both, but I didn’t feel a thing. I simply stood there and watched great fish the size of small buildings float where they didn’t belong.
And then the waters withdrew, and after a time, buildings came back, even more elaborate and ornate than those that came before. And taller. One tower in particular soared so high into the air I couldn’t see its top. At least, I couldn’t see it until it came tumbling down in the firestorm Yahweh had shown me in a previous vision.
After what had to have been a couple thousand years, things began to get crazy, and suddenly the time and place would change without warning. I would be watching a thousand men armed to the teeth tearing down an emerald green countryside on horseback one second and then the ornately dressed warriors would vanish and I would be floating in the air, staring through the windows of a great contraption shaped like a bird that carried people through the air.
I saw great stone pyramids, gray roads filled with zipping vehicles that looked like shiny beetles, an immense green statue of a lady presiding over an ocean, with an upraised torch, I saw people killing each other, brutal wars that left land bloodstained or pitted or both or worse, I saw countless little petty abuses and kindnesses, death and pain and murder and theft, all roaring by too quick to take in.
Eventually it all slowed to a halt, and I was finally able to get my bearing. But I wasn’t back. Instead of the river
There was a jeering, jostling crowd standing around what looked like three crucified men that had just been executed. Three crosses stood baking in the sun, the poor men pinned to them as still as stone. But then after a moment, the one in the middle stirred.
He lifted his head and let out a loud cry and then sagged.
My heart jumped. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew, knew that somehow this man had died because of all that I had done. He had been the payment, the angel’s innocent blood.
That was God who died right there.
I closed my eyes, unable to absorb all I’d seen. When I opened them again, I was back on the river bank, the angel standing behind me. I turned and looked him in the eye.
“Time to get to work, farmer.” He said with a grin.
He put his arm around me, walking me away from the river and back towards faraway Eve.
A thought occurred to me as we left, a thought simultaneously wonderful and terrifying.
God will walk the earth again.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Okay, so in Bible study today, we talked about Philippians 1:1-11, and I have some thoughts...
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."
I was all over the place today. I started with Matthew 10, read half of it, then jumped to Philippians 1 and reread it, and then jumped back a couple hundred years to Proverbs and read Proverbs 8. Recently I started reading the Proverb corresponding to the day occasionally when I'm not sure where to go, so since today is the eighth, I read Proverbs 8. There's so much wisdom in the Proverbs, it really helps to straighten out my thinking. Straighten. Align? Something like that...
Anyways, I was asking God to help me understand the passage I posted above, and the thought occured to me that this passage is a portrait of how a pastor should think. More than giving us direction or specific teaching on how we should act, it seems more like this is a model for how we should view and care for those around us. We should, I think, be praying that our brothers and sisters love may "abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight." In some ways, it's not just our duty to be looking out for ourselves in terms of sanctification, but others as well. Obviously, we can't be watching for our friends to fail so we know what to pray for, but I think this passage suggests that we should seek sanctification for others as well as ourselves. I think that's an example Paul is laying down here.
I can't think of much more to say on that area than that, right now.
There is also a need for wisdom voiced here. We need studied worship and worshipful study, both flowing out of each other, like I said last week...and Dave said something to that effect today...The more we know about God, the wiser we will be, and the more we love God. Therefore as we grow in wisdom, we will grow in love. The greatest commandments are to love our neighbors as ourselves and love God with all our heart, so what greater wisdom can there be than to love with all our hearts?
So in closing, here's a bit from Proverbs 8. Starting with Scripture, closing with it. I like that. Better God's Word be highlighted than mine!
Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
"To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
They are all straight to him who understands,
and right to those who find knowledge.
Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
We're here to talk about Matthew 9 today! These verses got me thinking last night...
And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
-Matthew 9: 1-8
I think it is important that Jesus healed the man's sins before he healed his paralysis. There's an As Cities Burn song called Admission: Regret that helped me understand this. In that song, they flip things a bit and tell the story of a man trapped in his bed due to sin rather than any physical ailment. "So I hear there's a whole world out there, but I've grown to love this bed too much to leave it." It is our sins that keep us bedridden, that make us ill, and paralyze us from following God.
It may seem like gaining the ability to walk is the big deal here, but it's really not. To quote Ted Dekker, "Whoever said a straightened hand was better than a healed heart anyways?" It's in this way that God, in his wisdom, always gives us what we need first, and what we want second. It's a safe bet the main thing on the paralytic's mind was being able to walk, but Jesus gave him what was probably a disappointment. Forgiveness. And yet, this forgiveness is all he really needed. Only by being forgiven can we get into heaven.
And yet, Jesus didn't stop at forgiveness, as he so easily could have. He continued to bless the man, going beyond what he needed by giving him exactly what he asked for. In this same way God blesses us every day! We may not get what we want right when we want it, but when we ask for things, God still hears our prayers and works all to our good. He has already met our greatest need on the cross, and continues to meet our needs everyday through the holy spirit. What we want will come in time. We have to learn to want the right things as we grow in sanctification, anyway (half our problem is that we don't ask for enough!!). And even more importantly, we have to learn to have patience, for someday all afflictions that trouble us will be gone, all needs and wants will be gone, and there will only be the presence of God...
"awake! awake in the company of men given something to say
give me a servant's heart and a tongue to obey
awake! come wind
awake! come thought
tired head, take up your mat,
take your mat and walk"
-As Cities Burn
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Written around 2:00-
Wow! I just got out of my elevator devotions today, and it was incredible.
At the bible study today, we talked about spending time with God versus studying Him. I wrote a bit, but didn't really join in, but I liked the discussion that went on...my thinking is that both are extremely important (we were all pretty agreed on that...) and that one should sort of flow out of the other. As we study God, we should be provoked to want to spend more time with Him, and as we spend time with God, then we should want to study and know more about Him!
Written around 4:00-
Sorry for the disjointed thoughts...I logged off in the middle of a blog (something I actually do frequently) to go to creative writing but then...I just didn't feel like going, because the last class was really boring...so I wound up talking to Vannah for a little while and then I tried to go to class and played in the snow a bit, then I actually went to class a little late and we talked about some boring poems for awhile and class let out. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I did enjoy it. Our creative writing class is a rather eccentric group of people. I guess that should make perfect sense, since writers tend to be pretty odd. I'm no exception! But the discussions today were still a little boring, but I stayed after and had a pretty good discussion with the teacher. I'll have to post In the Dirt pretty soon. He said it would work for me to hand it in for the first assignment. I'm not sure how long it's going to run, though...
Whoa, I am totally off topic!!
Back to the bible study, I was really provoked to look at the shape of my devotions, and whart I actually DO in my quiet times. I never really thought about it much before, but they're totally focused on study, and what I can learn, not spending time with God, and just being still.
Ha, I'm never still...I have a hard time sometimes just focusing on my reading, but today I was chilling in my elevator, and I was about to whip out my bible, when instead I decided to do things a little differently. I put "Carried Me" my favorite recorded worship song on repeat on my eyepod and just rested my head against the side of the elevator. At first my head was a total whirlwind, and I didn't really now what I expected to happen, but I just started praying, and before I knew it, all these thoughts that totally didn't seem like me just started spilling out. "God teach me your ways, and help me to follow your path, I want your thoughts to be my thoughts, your ways to be mine..." one of my favorite Blindside lyrics "I want my heart to break for the things that make your heart break" kept coming to mind.
I'm totally not doing the experience justice. I was filled with a desire to be what God wanted from me. Words are just too cheap to totally describe it. I think I could use the word totally a few more times in this blog. All these concerns I had, God answered to all of them, and I suddenly realized he's had so, so much he's been wanting to say to me, but I've been busying myself too much to hear it...too busy reading, to busy with school and work, and whatever, and all it took was five minutes clearing my head to sweep it all away and make my path clear. I want to go back to it, and never leave, oh man...
It's funny, I was worried about someone walking in on me in the elevator (it's happened before), but God told me no one would walk in today, and I had faith that he would keep his promise and nobody would interupt. Nobody did, but if they had, they would have probably been a little freaked out, walking in on a college student sitting on the floor underneath the handrail, hand in the air.
After a few minutes of just sort of communing with God, I really, really wanted to read my bible and read with a passion I'd not had before. That's the tie in, I guess...I didn't really have any purpose when I started writing this blog, but I just realized that what I wrote during study wound up being my experience. But not of my own volition, of course. If I were left to my own devices, I would just be reading whatever new story comes along. There's usually a bit of resistance to my studying. I do my devotions regularly, but it's sort of a wrestling match, me versus my flesh, until today. Studying is important, but without spending time with God, it just becomes a drudgery. In the same way, spending time with God can't sink in and form a foundation without the Word backing it up...