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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Wednesday Prayer Encouragement -I-
Prayer is the breathing of the soul...I thought it might be, as much as I am able, good to make Wednesdays a day for posting on prayer, especially with regards to strengthening those who are weak in prayer.

We begin in what may seem an unlikely place, in 2 Samuel chapter 12 - the scene where King David's child - the one born of that adulterous union between himself and Bathsheba - is dying, and David's prayers do not change the fact the outcome of that fact:

"...15(b)And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. 16David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm." 19But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" They said, "He is dead." 20Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 21Then his servants said to him, "What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food." 22He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' 23But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." - 2 Samuel 12:15-23 [ESV]

David prayed his heart out. I haven't been to a prayer meeting where men prayed like this. I think it would be something, that's for sure. But God didn't give David his request did He? Was David insincere? No. Was David full of sin? He had long since repented of his wickedness and been fully pardoned. Why didn't God do what David asked?

Now, rather than answer that I am just going to leave it hanging because it may help to make the point I am making more clear.

You see the apostle Paul knew all about David's prayer. Paul knew that David was a man of profound faith, and that David had asked God to be merciful to an innocent child, and for reasons we aren't even going to play with God did not give David his request. Paul knew this.

Now remember in the book of Acts, when Paul tells the centurion not to sail out of Fair Havens on the isle of Crete? You see, they were in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, on the south side of Crete, but they wanted to sail to another Cretan port which was on the western tip of the island - but it was already late in the season, meaning the odds of encountering a storm were pretty good. But the centurion was more persuaded, you will recall, by the owner of the vessel and its pilot - so when the wind was blowing from the south (that is, it would push them into the island as opposed to away from it), they figured they could skirt the island of Crete and make for that port on the western tip - which would be far more suited for a ship of that size (276 passengers + cargo) to winter in. But they didn't get too far when a fierce north east wind came up. It is useless to try and row a boat that size into some rather large waves to try and row to shore - and it is crazy to try and sit there in the water and be battered by it - so they did what they could do - they opened the sails, and let the wind have its way with them.

This was no small storm that had hit them - in the course of weeks they were blown hundreds of kilometers to the east. Eventually it became clear to all of them that they were going to die. The storm was not letting up, and they had done all they could to keep the boat afloat. It seemed just a matter of time before the storm either capsized the boat or tore it apart. They hadn't eaten in many days, and when they thought they might be approaching land (at night) it looked to be the end for them. They cast out four anchors and prayed that they boat would hold together till daybreak.

The sailors new that the odds of getting a boat that size to shore were pretty slim. More than likely you would run aground on a reef, and the sea would tear your vessel apart underneath you. They tried to make a run for it in the ship's boat, but Paul had been praying...

21Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.' 25So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26But we must run aground on some island." - Acts 27:21-26 [ESV]

God has granted you all those who sail with you??

Paul was sailing with, if you recall - the sailors, the soldiers, and ... who else was it now - oh yeah, a bunch of prisoners who were (Like Paul) going to Rome to be tried. I don't doubt that some of these were more than petty thieves. Enemies of the state, murderers, dangerous conspirators - desperate men, most of whom were off to be tried by Nero, who wasn't exactly a nice guy I might add. The moral amongst those men must have started off low, and plummeted from there. Paul prayed that God would spare their lives.

I mentioned David at the beginning, because Paul would have known full well that no less than King David himself prayed that God would spare the life of an innocent, and God did not - and here Paul is lifting up the lives of -hundreds- of criminals... yet God granted Paul's request - not one of them would die in the drink - all would make it alive to shore.

Paul could well have looked to David's example and reasoned that there is -no way- that a righteous and good God is -ever- going to spare the lives of a bunch of criminals. Most of these men deserved to be punished, and many were not fit to live by the standards of the law - a standard I might add that Paul himself explains elsewhere is for our good. But Paul didn't look to the merit of these men as anything, he looked to Christ, praying in Christ that God would do what he was asking God to do - and he prayed, we expect, fervently and continually so.

So the next time you come to intercessory prayer, remember that your prayer is not going to be answered according to your own sense of justice - but rather according to God's mercy. Have faith in your merciful God - don't turn and look at what you are praying to see if it worth praying about - man, if it falls to you, pray boldly - don't wait until you feel like you are asking something reasonable - or try and paint it in such a way in prayer that it is okay if God let's this one slide, since it is probably his will to let it slide anyway - man, that is poison. Pray with faith in the mercy of God, understanding that when you place your faith in the character of God rather than in your "ability to ask a thing with great fervor" - you are actually worshiping God in prayer...

Pray believing - not clenching your teeth, but believing that God is whom He presents Himself to be.

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posted by Daniel @ 8:47 AM   20 comment(s)
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Remember The Eighties?
Hairspray hair... on men?

Yeah, you remember... Gowan? MTV?

Oh, you remember...

I mention Gowan because as I was riding in this morning one of his songs was running through my head - A Criminal Mind. I was thinking how Gowan had almost nailed a description of the carnal mind, and so I thought I would post some of the lyrics (for the benefit of those who aren't old enough, or were to righteous in their younger years to have listened to Gowan.).

I will only change the word "criminal" to "carnal" and some of the pronouns from third to second person - you tell me if your "old man" had a voice whether or not he would feel comfortable singing this song:

The chorus:
A carnal mind
Is all I've ever known
you try to reform me
But I'm made of cold stone
A carnal mind
Is all I've ever had
Ask one who's known me
If I'm really so bad...

Some snippets:
...I stand accused before you
I have no tears to cry
And you will never break me
Till the day I die...

...I don't regret a single action
I'd do the same again...

...you really struggle daily
you struggle with me till the end
I have no guilt to haunt me
I feel no wrong intent...

...I'm made of cold stone...

That pretty much is the song of the old man, no? It can be somewhat haunting to listen to these lyrics with an enlightened understanding of why we sin. What Gowan is describing here, he attributes to the criminal mind, but it really is in all of us from the get go. It is the old man, the thing inside of us that hates God, loves itself, and only itself, and cannot be reformed by anything we do. It is cold and irredeemable, and I find it chilling to hear the defiance and rebellion of the old man so well articulated in a secular song.

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posted by Daniel @ 8:45 AM   4 comment(s)
Monday, July 23, 2007
ἡ ὁδός
For Susan.I was at a prayer meeting one morning - a men's breakfast for evangelicals in my area, and was struck as one fellow, in the context of the conversation, began to remark, "Well, it is just like the bible says,..." - which to me, is a very good beginning to any just about any statement you could make in a mixed company of Christians. Only he followed it up with, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!"

Now, I know what you are thinking - isn't that a Shakespearean quote? Well, no actually. This quote is adapted from a line in the play "The Mourning Bride" by William Congreve. The actual line reads,
"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned"
Congreve was a late 17th century (and early 18th century) author and playwright. Another famous quote of his is likewise often erroneously attributed to Shakespeare is a line from the same play,
"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast"

I mention that not to impress you with my ability to "Google" quotes and thereby present to the blogging community the facade of one who is quite artsy and well read - but rather, I mention it because it demonstrates how some of us, I would even suggest many of us, have some ideas or notions in our heads that we attribute to incorrect sources.

I take to task, for instance the words of Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence: "all men are created equal" - taken out of its context, we might imagine that this reflects a biblical truth, and some would even argue that, but the bible neither says it nor implies it. The bible certainly teaches that God is an impartial Judge, and shows no personal favoritism, but it does not suggest in any way that that all people are in every possible way equal.

I mentioned that this Sunday from the pulpit by way of illustrating how we as a culture have progressed into a sort of moral relativism that can blind us to seeing the righteousness of God.

My text was Matthew 19:16 - Matthew 20:16, which begins with the rich young ruler and ends with the parable of the workers in the vineyard. I wanted to illustrate this one truth - that God is righteous, and when we can't see God's righteousness it is because our own sense of righteousness has been corrupted by the world system.

I used our cultures "pursuit of equality" to illustrate the secular mindset - we began with such high ideals - even that all men were created by the same hand and therefore the politics of the new world would not cater to a class system that gives more rights to some and less to others depending upon their birth status, etc. etc. That is a wonderful ideal - and a good solid point - God made us all, so we ought not to exalt ourselves one against another. But the full thrust of that statement was truncated over time so that it no longer dealt with the inequality of political class systems, but was rather applied to individuals, which in itself is not bad thing - but it lost the idea of the class system, and began to mean only that all people are equal in pretty much every way possible.

Many schools continue today to enforce a "no fail" policy - why? Because we are all equal, it isn't right to demand some minimum requirement. The United Nations has for years been promoting the idea that spanking your children is child abuse - why? Because children are equal to us, and if spanking an adult is abuse, so too is spanking children. It doesn't take too many examples to show how corruption sets in after time. What begins as something good, becomes corrupted as the stink of the world system begins to taint it.

This is why we have moral relativism today. That is why my truth is true, and your truth is true even though we disagree - the only evil is to suggest that anyone is wrong - since we are all equally right.

Now, I mentioned these things on Sunday in the pulpit to illustrate how inclined we are to think of something as good and proper just because everyone else thinks it is good and proper - because perhaps long ago, the root that gave birth to that branch may have been a much better thing - and the sentiment attached to the root seems to linger in the branch - which was to say that as we read that portion of scripture, I wanted us to read it in perfect freedom from that worldly taint - to see God's righteousness and marvel, rather than to stand in judgment of it.

So I explained just the last part of the parable of the workers in the vineyard - the pay out, where the householder calls his servants to pay the laborers and starting with the ones who showed up at the end of the day - and progressing to the ones who had been there all day - he had his servants pay them all the same wage, yet the ones who had worked all day supposed they would receive more because they had worked more - and in doing so betrayed themselves as having misunderstood the generosity of the householder.

You see, I explained, they weren't being paid that day because they had worked. They were being paid because that morning the householder went out into the square and elected to choose them. They were being paid right now because that householder gone out that morning and hand picked them to come and work for him. The wages that were being paid to them did not find their origin in their own labor as they imagined, but rather it was ultimately dependent upon the choice of the householder. They didn't see it because they couldn't take their eyes off their own merit - they could not rightly comprehend that it was by grace and only by grace that they received employment - and that it was this same grace that had put them there in front of the money table at the end of the day. It had been the householders prerogative to provide employment for them, not his duty - the same prerogative that he exercised in hiring the others. The wage each one received was received first and foremost because the householder was a man given to grace - their labor was not what had merited their selection, because they were selected before they had embarked upon the labor - not because of their merit, but because of his choice of them. Each one therefore received the same wage - a wage that wasn't dependent upon merit, but upon grace - and since it was by grace, it was not according to their labor that they were paid, but according to the generosity of the householder.

Yes, we can talk about how this parable pictures the Gentile inclusion in the Jewish church, it certainly does picture that - but our focus was on the righteousness of God - the grace of God, the choice that was made without our merit - really, our focus was the God exalting gospel - the truth that God's grace in all things is not extended to us as a matter of merit, but as a living testimony to the beauty and grace of our Living God. We were gathered together to bring God glory, and that was the way it was going to be done - by looking at why Christ told this parable: to explain what He meant when He said that the last would be first, and the first would be last, and in doing so to exalt the name of God on earth.

Recall that Peter had seen that the rich young ruler refused to give up all and follow Christ, and so Peter said hey - we did give up everything and follow you - what are we going to get for it? A little impertinent I suppose, but Christ didn't rebuke him, instead he answered him that in the regeneration (that is, not in this lifetime but after Christ is enthroned) everyone who followed Christ thus would receive a reward - but that those who were first (presumably in this life - such as the rich young ruler) would be last, and those who were last (such as those who gave up all) would be first - in the regeneration.

Then Christ immediately tells this parable, and I think it was to underscore the error that Peter was making when he basically asked Christ, hey, what do we get for all the work we are doing? what do we get for our efforts? For giving up all? - the answer was, you will receive, not because of your labor, but because you are chosen - an answer that, when rightly understood, defeats the wage mentality, and puts one back on the path of genuine worship in the Spirit.

Listen: The one thing that is going to make you impotent as a Christian is a pious form of navel gazing. What do you have that you didn't receive? Let's extend that thought - what will you do for Christ in the future that will not have been given you by Him to do? Oh - brother, sister, please don't stop there, there is one more step: when are you going to stop thinking that Jesus has no interest in you or the things that you do? There is a road set before you, just for you even today - a road that has long been waiting for your feet to walk on it. A road that can only be walked upon by those who are willing to say - "God has put me here!" - and can never by found by all who would try to walk it otherwise - but if you know your father has placed the road beneath your feet - brother, sister, walk.

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posted by Daniel @ 11:27 AM   22 comment(s)
Monday, July 16, 2007
Susan tagged me the other day with a five random questions meme, her questions are as follows:

1. If you could own your own business, what would it be?
2. What was the best job you ever had?
3. What was the best book other than the Bible you have read?
4. If you could interview anyone other than Jesus – alive or dead – who would you interview?
5. What are your views on eschatology? No? Okay, how’s about if you had time and resources to write a book on any area of theology, what would it be?

I like memes, so I am glad she tagged me (Thanks Susan.)

Here are my answers, given off the cuff as my time is limited, which is to say that given more than the time it takes to type this out (which is pretty quick for me), I might have done better, or had less typos...

1. If you could own your own business, what would it be?

Um, ... "Google" or possibly "Oracle".

Seriously though, I presume the question is meant more along the lines of "what type of business" and presumes that you don't want to own some pre-existing business - that is, what sort of business would you start up if it were somehow feasible for you to do so?

I have thought about this more than most people I suppose.

Whatever it was it would have to be a way of making a profit without [1] ripping anyone off, [2] taking up too much of my time, or [3] catering to the corrupt world system.

Something service oriented and honest, but low key so that I am not so tied to the business that I haven't the time for my family and my church. A Christian book store owner maybe, or perhaps owning a four season retreat/camp/resort or something like that.

2. What was the best job you ever had?

The most pleasant (paying) job I have ever had, that is, the most satisfying, was teaching in the adult education program at a local community college. I taught "Java". I enjoy teaching immensely. Financially speaking however, teaching is not as lucrative as other things. My current job is far more lucrative, but less rewarding.

I think pastoring would be the best job in the world however. I know the hours are long, the pay is poor, and the responsibility is unparalleled, but I can't see myself happy in much else to tell you the truth.

3. What was the best book other than the Bible you have read?

Hmm. Best for what? When it comes to tying knots, my old scout manual was pretty decent, if I am trying to make a homemade curry dish, some cookbooks are better than others, if I am learning how to program a computer in the latest paradigm, again, some books are better than others.

I am a book "learner" - that is, I get more out of reading a book about a thing than I do sitting in a lecture, or a series of lectures. (Did I mention that I was a rather horrible student at school?) So when it comes to instructional materials, I prefer well written, and thorough works as opposed to superficial "managerial level" works. When it comes to style, I like biographies, as far as fiction goes, I like epic stories with detailed characters who are believable, with a story line that isn't fluffy, predictable, or jarring for the sake of being different. I can read a cliched plot if the characters are worth it, and the story is good.

Which is to say, I couldn't pick just one.

4. If you could interview anyone other than Jesus – alive or dead – who would you interview?

The apostle Paul, hands down.

I didn't even have to think about that one.

But if I were restricted such that I could not interview any of the writers from, or persons described in scripture, that would be a much more difficult question. There is no modern personality that would interest me. Perhaps I would interview George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards or Charles Spurgeon? Frankly, there is quite a long list of people I should like to sit down and interview, though many would be people in scripture - Pontius Pilate, The Governor Felix, Claudius Lysias, the men who were with Paul on the road to Damascus, Caiaphas, Ananias, I would pretty much interview everyone in the new testament.. ;-)

5. What are your views on eschatology? No? Okay, how’s about if you had time and resources to write a book on any area of theology, what would it be?

Eschatologically speaking, I believe that both the world that we presently live in and even the heavens themselves will be dissolved, being on fire, and pass away with a great noise; I believe the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up - melted with fervent heat -on that last day- the day of judgment.

The rest is pretty much up in the air for now (hehe... that is an eschatological joke you see...). Seriously, I see problems in pretty much every eschatological system out there, and what I have seen in scripture doesn't line up perfectly with anyone else's belief system. I should like to draft it all out some day, but regard other pursuits as being more edifying for both myself and the church at the moment.

If I had the time and resources to write on any area of theology I would chose two areas: the first would be the atonement. I do not think the substitutionary atonement model is as precise as it could be, or should be, and I feel that a right understanding of the atonement is a boon to any walk with Christ. The second would be on the hypostatic union, as again, I believe that many people say that Christ was 100% human, but in practice they really mean that genetically speaking the flesh that housed the divine intellect was 100% human, but the intellect itself was 100% divine, making the flesh a "shell" for the divine rather than making Christ actually human.

I would tag others, but I expect they will get tagged soon enough.


posted by Daniel @ 12:22 PM   17 comment(s)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Very Busy...
Sorry, with the resigning of our pastor, and trying to catch up at work on various projects, I have been very busy lately, and when that happens, the blog is the first casualty.

I hope to be back in the swing sometime next week.


posted by Daniel @ 10:40 AM   1 comment(s)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
The Heart of Unrepentance..
At the core of the unpenitent heart is this one thought - "I will not have you to rule over me!"

Consider the believer who comes to know that looking at pornography feeds his lust and is a wicked offense against God. He sees this because [1] his conscience is informed by the word of God, and [2] because the indwelling Holy Spirit convicts him of sin. Notwithstanding, since he was addicted to porn prior to his salvation, the addiction continues after his salvation - only he feels very, very, bad about it.

Now let us say that this man one day, driven by remorse over his sin, determines that he will no longer look at porn, and from that day on he removes everything in his life that would trigger the temptation - the computer is cleaned of all bad images, the internet is either disconnected or he puts his computer into a public room in the house and makes sure that he is never alone there - he even begins to guard his own thoughts so that whenever a lustful though enters his mind he forces himself to think of something else until the temptation goes away.

Many would say that this man has repented.

He has certainly put himself on morally higher ground. He has recognized his sin, and responded to it by producing in himself morally superior habits. Some understand repentance as being an entirely practical exercise - you simply stop your bad habits, and replace them with better habits and voila! you have repented.

But in Acts 20:21 we read that Paul preached "repentance towards God".

I point out that phrase because it helps us to make a distinction between turning to God and suppressing a sinful habit. A man can suppress a sinful habit without ever turning to God in doing so. He can be motivated by a desire not to offend God, and begin a regimented attack on all the sin in his life, and do so without ever surrendering to God. In fact, he does that -get this now- instead of surrendering to God. He is willing to give up some sin for a season, but he is not willing to surrender Himself to God.

There is no victory over sin in a heart that obeys that spirit of rebellion (small "s") that scripture calls the "old man".

It is entirely possible and I suspect even common for Christians to deal with sin not according to the gospel of grace, that is, not by surrendering themselves to God, but rather by staunching the outward expression of sin as much as is humanly possible without surrendering to God.

Don't think for one second that doing what is right equates to repentance. Repentance produces what is right, but doing what is right does not produce repentance. I have used this illustration before, but it fits here. The young girl who is told to sit and defiantly refuses until threatened then begrudgingly plops herself down in a show of outward obedience betrays her heart when in open rebellion she remarks - "I may be sitting on my bottom, but I am standing in my heart!" - that "heart" illustrates what obedience without surrender looks like - it is not repentance, it is a rebellious servility that was coerced by fear of retribution.

The believer who puts away the porn because way down deep inside he is secretly afraid that by viewing porn he is proving that he was never saved in the first place - and so in order to be free from the fear of damnation he puts aways sin, but does so without really surrendering himself to God - this one hasn't repented, he is doing penance because deep down he is convinced that doing so will appease God. He is catastrophically wrong.

Any "righteousness" that springs from a heart that is motivated to appease God in order to secure for themselves God's favor or pardon - such a "righteousness" is not righteous at all, it is in fact unclean. Such a righteousness is polluted by the flesh, it is counterfeit, an external facade - it is, in biblical terms "=the= world religion" it is Babylon, it is attempting to be like God (righteous) without surrendering to God. It is in no way harmonious with the gospel of grace, but has at its core a concealed, "dressed up as righteousness" rebellion against God.

I repeat - genuine surrender produces genuine repentance and not vice versa. The problem with sin is not the sin, it is the self that is unwilling to surrender to God. The sin is just the outflowing of that rebellion. The real culprit is the old man - and that is why Christ took the old man to the cross with Him - to render him powerless - a reality that while true immediately of every believer, is only experienced when the believer is surrendered, that is, when the believer is "in Christ".

When scripture instructs the believer to walk by the Spirit as the means by which we overcome the lusts of the flesh it isn't some empty slogan - it is life from death. You can battle with sin until the cows come home and you will never get on top of it if you don't surrender yourself to God.

If you are a genuine Christian you know what genuine surrender looks like because that is how you became a Christian - you surrendered yourself to God.

But if you find that sin is your master, then know this: at some point you stopped surrendering - and it was at that point that sin got a foot hold in you again.

What are you to do? Stop trying to perfect yourself in the flesh Christian! Do it spiritually, do it the way you received Christ - by surrendering to him the whole of you. Surrender again, surrender continually - give your very life and all that is in it to God - a living sacrifice - stop cherishing that secret rebellion in your heart! it is killing you, do you understand this? It is killing you, killing your time, killing your inheritance, killing you!

The part of you that wants to rebel was (past tense) crucified in Christ in order that you may now (present tense) no longer obey it. It will call the same old shots, tempt the same old temptations, but only when you are not surrendered to God will these be any problem for you. Being in Christ is being surrendered. Being in the Spirit is being surrendered. Being surrendered is being willing in every moment to do what God asks because God asks. It is the opposite of rebellion - a slippery thing to describe, but easy enough to know, for we know it both by its absence, and by a conscience that knows it is utterly right with God.

I am convinced of these things. Are you?

If these things seem strange to you, talk them out with someone who has been in Christ for a long time - study scripture, see if these things are so. It is not noble to accept these things because some guy on the internet wrote them. Nor is it noble to reject these things because some guy on the internet says they are so. What -is- noble is to examine scripture and see if what I am saying is found there or not. We need to understand repentance if we are going to avoid wasting days, weeks, and years pretending to repent but never overcoming sin's power in our life.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:54 AM   15 comment(s)
Pray For My Pastor...
Our senior Pastor resigned yesterday. It was a very difficult decision for him, but we in the leadership who have been walking with him through the events that have shaped this resignation support his decision.

I have asked some of you privately for prayer in this matter, and I thank you for your prayers, but as the resignation is now a public matter, I ask you who are reading this if you can pray for Wendell, for his family, and for his personal affairs. The Lord is working even in this.

Our Leadership must now put together a pastoral search team, and begin the arduous process of calling another pastor, and in the interim, the all-volunteer leadership will have a whole lot more ministry than normal. ;-)

So pray also for the leadership during the interim. We do not want just anyone in the pulpit - we want the man God would have as our Shepherd in the pulpit - and there must be some discernment and trust in order for that to happen.


posted by Daniel @ 9:23 AM  
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Nasty little blood suckers!I have come to understand this about myself, I don't really like camping.

Many of my friends look back to their childhood with fond memories of family camping experiences. My father wasn't the sort to take us all camping, there were five kids each a year apart in age - I guess it was too much of a hassle or something, but I don't really have any memories of camping as a child. Later, as a young adult, I did go camping, but as I was not walking with the Lord at the time, the camping was just the excuse we used to become intoxicated and party, party, party. We could have been under a bridge for all we knew - we weren't camping, we were just getting drunk together outdoors.

So it is that I have no real camping experiences to draw upon to compare this weekend to, but I will say this - whatever camping "is" - apparently it involves offering up your body as a living meal to the insect life of a far away forest. You see, we don't really have black flies in Winnipeg, and so when the kids suddenly began bleeding in several places from their heads, it was quite a puzzle. My mother-in-law at first didn't know what it was - the dried blood had turned black and became granular as she tried to examine it. She thought it might be some sort of louse or something, and wanted to take the first child that showed the symptoms into the nearest town, to the hospital. Then the others began to show the same mysterious "symptoms" - bleeding from small, surface wounds on their scalps and the backs of their necks. I thought it might be deer flies or some sort of insect, as in my limited "outdoorsy" experience (I used to work in the bush cutting cords of lumber on a land clearing project) many insects are attracted to the hairy places - and the common thread running through these outbreaks was that they were all around the hairline. So I suggested that before they took the kids to a hospital, perhaps they should talk to a park authority and see if this wasn't some kind of local bug.

Turns out it was just the humble black fly. Like a miniature housefly, but a little blood sucker whose bite often goes unnoticed, but bleeds freely. To be sure, the mosquitoes were more of a problem than the black flies - constantly biting me around my ankles. I have been scratching like a mad man for the last couple of days.

My point however is that camping is not the relaxing, family thing I thought it might be. My wife, who works in our home as not only the best housewife in the world, but also as a homeschooler and attentive mother of four, looks forward to these "family" times because she gets to be away from "work" - which means that, for one weekend at least, the kids are everyone else's responsibility. Well, not entirely, but you know what I mean right? Daddy, in order to be a good and caring husband, must use this opportunity to love as Christ loved - that is, using the opportunity to provide a much needed rest for his bride. I failed more than I succeeded, to be sure - but the stress was pretty high, let me tell you - bleeding kids everywhere, snack food meals, and everyone trying to be outdoorsy, not to mention the driving rain... Did I mention the rain?

One of the main reasons I don't like camping is because it involves sleeping on the hard, cold, earth, and almost always during the rainy season in a leaky tent. Now, to be sure, our in-laws provided a wonderful 25 $USD seven man tent for us to sleep in, I am not kidding - this was by far the best seven man tent on the market in that price range, and frankly, I would have bought a few had I seen them in the store for that price. The first night, or the "non-raining" night, as I have come to call it in my discussions on the matter, the tent was quite a wonder - it kept most of the bugs out, and none of the frost. My wife was sleeping in the heated trailer with her parents, and I was out there shivering to death with three of my children. We started in separate areas, but as the cold continued to chill us, we began to huddle together for warmth - but these little bodies were not giving me much heat - in fact, they were like little heat vacuums, sucking up my heat in order to stay alive. I gladly gave myself over to this process, well, maybe more begrudgingly than gladly, but afterwards, when the body count was zero, I was quite pleased with my sacrifice.

I digress.

The sleeping was not really restful - more like a few hundred cat naps tied together and separated by frightful moments of either right-next-to-your-ear thunder, or a cacophony of right-outside-your-tent avian choruses, which to be fair, were only cacaphonous because of their volume, proximity, and because of the hour - given any other situation the harmony in such a multitude of birds would have been profoundly beautiful.

Oh - the nigh-all junkfood diet? I put on at least a half a pound.

Anyway - I am back now, but busy, busy, busy. A couple of days off and I must catch up for a week! I have zillions of emails to reply to, and several projects that need my attention - not to mention our business meeting this evening, which I must somehow prepare for.

See you in the funny pages.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:24 AM   4 comment(s)
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