To Fish, Get Wet

Meesh shares a wonderful story about her son’s analogy of bath water and sin. The story quickly brought to mind a memory of when my daughter Nicole was only about 4. We were fishing along side a small lake near where I work. As I was casting, I noticed Nicole was scrunched down and intensely interested in something going on at the edge of the water. After about 5 minutes of gazing into the shallow water she stands up and walks over to me saying, “Daddy, I have a plan to catch those fish but it means I get wet!”

The Lord wants to make us “fishers of men”. To do His kind of fishing we must get wet!

OT MySQL

We are finishing a Sunday School series on 2 Kings and I am still so confused with names of the Kings and their families; actually, most of the people of the Old Testament. In addition to the linguistical calisthenics one must go through in attempting correct pronunciation, there is the jumble that Jewish history becomes to me because I am unable to get my head around these names. Well, this morning at work I began to look at it a bit differently. When dealing with involved and complicated databases, I typically alias some of the more complicated tables within my SQL select statements so I am not stumbling over my inability to correctly recall what the DBA determined was suitable table names. This would allow me to know King Jehoshaphat as kj1 and King Jehoram as kj2 while King Zerubbabel would simply be kz1. This maintains the integrity of the database as the DBA intended, but allows me access to the data all the same. While the DBA personally knows King Jeroboam, I would be able to learn the necessary details from:


select kj3.*
from JEROBOAM kj3
where kj3.DEEDS = ‘Evil in the eyes of the Lord.’;

Humor me, it’s Monday!

OK, It’s a Stretch

Jer 18:3,4 (NIV) So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. (4) But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

I don’t typically like to see scripture “modernized” as a means to make a point because this often drains out much of the beauty and poignancy that the period relevant surroundings, customs and culture may bring to the message. Well, here is a case where I must excuse myself as I do exactly that.

The above verse was part of my reading this morning and I thoroughly enjoy the message it speaks. This evening I was tweaking and massaging different aspects of this blog and as I was trying different color schemes I frequently refreshed the page. At one point I was quite shocked at the result. I murmered to myself, “this certainly won’t serve its purpose”. I immediately changed that which caused this unpleasant result and continued to mold and shape it. I don’t know that I will consider it complete any time soon, but it gives me great pleasure to take it into my hands and draw it up tall then work it out making it smoother and more pleasant to look at while also keeping in focus it’s intended use.

If we will just offer ourselves as moist, plyable clay in the hands of the Potter, He will shape us into useful vessels instead of dry, brittle and ineffective shards.

I’m Adopted… Cool!

I am not certain why, but I can not stop thinking on this verse:

Rom 8:15 (NASB) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

It speaks to me from so many different angles. It speaks of my relationship to the Lord in the sense that it is not a result of my physical birth. It speaks of the intentional actions of my Father in adopting me. He owes me nothing and I deserve even less, but He loves me. It is the message of the spirit of adoption in contrast to that of slavery and fear that really strikes me.

The feeling of affection, love, and confidence which pertains to children; not the servile, trembling spirit of slaves, but the temper and affectionate regard of sons. Adoption is the taking and treating a stranger as one’s own child. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible — Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

And unlike the fear within slavery that demands obedience, it is our realization that we are now under His protection and care and we are to express to Him the feelings due a Father.

No Fear

In a recent blog entry Meesh writes about the fear of rejection when sharing Christ with others. Read Meesh’s perspective on the matter then watch fear not. It fits nicely with her message and the scriptures she quotes.

William Fay, in his book “Sharing Jesus without Fear”, advises us to lead unbelievers to scripture — have them read the verses and ask “what does this say to you?”– then listen. He writes we are to “Stay out of God’s way and watch Him work. Your responsibility is to listen.” Mr. Fay also writes about the joy of looking into the eyes of a person in whom the Holy Spirit is at work and seeing the moment their heart melts.

I have heard many times that it is not us that people reject, but Jesus. The problem is that when we are working under the premise that we are to win someone to Christ, then when we do not win, well… we must have lost. I find this very discouraging. But, when I go to the Instruction Manual and read 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, I find it very encouraging.

1Co 2:3-5 (NIV) I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. (4) My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, (5) so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

May we first ask “Lord, show me where you are at work today?”, then join Him there.

The Hokey Pokey

Seated, lift your right foot off the floor and begin making clockwise circles. As you continue making the clockwise circles with your right foot, draw the number 6 in the air with your right hand. What happened? For most people their right foot changes direction. As for me, I also keep knocking my shin into my desk.

The point being demonstrated here is that when one part of the body is doing one thing and another part of the body is off in a different direction, neither is quite effective… hmmm.

Hour of Trial

Cindy provided some additional background information regarding James Mongomery in her comment this morning. I spent some time researching James Montgomery and came across some other poems of his. I especially enjoyed this one:

In the Hour of Trial

— James Montgomery

In the hour of trial, Jesus, plead for me,
Lest by base denial I depart from Thee.
When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.

With forbidden pleasures would this vain world charm,
Or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane,
Or, in darker semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.

Should Thy mercy send me sorrow, toil and woe,
Or should pain attend me on my path below,
Grant that I may never fail Thy hand to see;
Grant that I may ever cast my care on Thee.

When my last hour cometh, fraught with strife and pain,
When my dust returneth to the dust again,
On Thy truth relying, through that mortal strife,
Jesus, take me, dying, to eternal life.

And then there is this single line from his poem “At Home in Heaven” that I find simply powerful:

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent,
A day’s march nearer home.

With that, good night!

Servant, Well Done!

Cindy over at notes in the key of life shared her feeling and thoughts during her father’s last days here on Earth. He passed away Wednesday. The following is a poem that her mother chose for the funeral program that has really touched me this evening:

Servant of God, Well Done

— James Montgomery

Rest from thy loved employ;
The battle is fought, the vict’ry won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.

The voice at midnight came
He started up to hear
A mortal arrow pierced his frame,
He fell–but felt no fear.

The pains of death are past,
Labor and sorrow cease;
And life’s long warfare closed at last,
His soul is found in peace.

Soldier of Christ, well done!-
Begin thy new employ;
And while eternal ages run,
Rest in they Savior’s joy.”

Amen!

Dad’s Workshop

Spent most of the afternoon in the southbound lanes of I95. My apologies if I passed any of you and didn’t wave. On the longer trips I tend to enter the zone. This is especially so if I find a good radio station. Every so often I tune in American University’s bluegrass programming in the afternoon. I wasn’t in the area at the proper time today, oh well.

Had a great time in PA, took the kids to Hershey Park, ate an awesome banana split, conquered a hornets nest and spent some time “reflecting” in my Dad’s workshop. My Dad passed away 4 years ago this November. My Mom routinely reminds my Brother and I that we can have anything of my Dad’s that we want. So far neither of us have taken anything. I’m not sure why.

Carla has shared her feelings regarding her Mother’s recent passing over on ahtelluwat:Real Conversations with God. I love the advice her husband Matt gives her about not being in a hurry to get rid of her Mom’s stuff. My Mom has cleaned out closets and donated clothing, but my Dad’s workshop is unaltered. Each visit to PA I find myself spending some time just walking around the shop and looking at things. Often my Brother is there as well and we talk about stuff; nothing very deep. My Dad was not very deep. He was a machinist by trade, anal by nature and hardworking by upbringing. He loved his family, enjoyed his tractors and hated intrusive blue jays. That was my Dad.

One thought though; if my Brother and I were to divide up those things we would no longer have my Dad’s workshop…