Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gold like glass?

I've always thought this description it was odd:

‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭18‬ ESV

"The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass."

But maybe the Romans understood the concept.  And if this kind of cup was used to detect purity – or warn of impurities that are present in what it contains – then the whole metaphor starts to get really interesting:

Just an idea; not going to start a new denomination over it.  :)

Against universalism

If I were the kind of person to grab random Old Testament verses to proof-text what I'd like to argue Christ's relationship to mankind means – can you tell I'm not that kind of person? – this would be a good one.  As long as nobody thinks to read into Malachi chapter 3 were God talks about his plan for reconciliation, and parks at the end of chapter 2 where he says he's not interested in people who advocate for "evil" people, it would be a challenging argument.

‭Malachi‬ ‭2‬:‭17‬ NIV

"You have wearied the Lord with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?""

See it at

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reconciliation vs. Condemnation

I have a hard time placing this verse in the context of a Phelps-like "ministry of condemnation"; I wonder what Fred would say if he were still alive? If you rest on Paul's writing in Romans that God has "given them over" then what purpose do these verses in Corinthians serve or to whom were they written?

‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭18-20‬ ESV

"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

See it at

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Do NOT pray peace?!?

It looks like nothing is safe or easy. A couple of years ago I encountered a teaching that said we can and should pray "peace" into the lives of people around us -- that it was an all-purpose Christian responses regardless of who they are or what they were doing. (The argument is that if they were doing something to earn God's disapproval, peace would come as they were Led away from that.)

Looks like I forgot about John:

10So then, if some come to you who do not bring this teaching, do not welcome them in your homes; do not even say, "Peace be with you." 11For anyone who wishes them peace becomes their partner in the evil things they do.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why call out women?

‭"The God women love" -- is this explanation from the Amplified the correct one?  It's an odd phrase...

Daniel‬ ‭11‬:‭37‬ AMP

"He shall not regard the gods of his fathers or Him [to Whom] women desire [to give birth–the Messiah] or any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all."

See it at

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Random quote

"Society is living in a collective delusion of confirmation-bias."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Like sheep...

Sheep are dumb, defenseless and driven by their own desires... And, I suspect, are often unaware of their status.

Sometimes they know they're in danger. Oftentimes they don't.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Great insight today from the Ray Edwards Podcast (#128: Self-Propelled Productivity [Podcast]):

Spiritual Foundations:

Here's a question I get from readers and listeners every now and then: "If God's will is always healing, why am I still sick?"

The short answer is I don't know. There are many explanations that sound good, and yet for every one there is a scripture that seems to disprove it. Think you don't have enough faith? Then what do you do with the man who didn't even believe Jesus could help his son… and then Jesus just healed the boy, despite the father's lack of faith? Think you have sin in your life that you have to get cleaned up first? Then what about the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, whom Jesus forgave and spared from physical death?

Then there are interesting passages like the one where Jesus prays for a blind man, and the man is not instantly healed. He reports to the Lord that he can "see men like trees," implying that he could see a little, but imperfectly. So what did the Lord do? He prayed again! If that formula is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. And I am not so arrogant as to assume I might not need to pray more than twice.

In short, this is an area of mystery. I believe we must be comfortable living with mystery. I know that God's promise is that he will heal every one of us. I also know that it seems that some of us (myself included) have not yet been healed. The danger lies in becoming bitter or angry with God, distorting or maligning his personality because he won't do what we want, or even presuming that we know what he should do and when. The danger on the other side lies in just deciding that God is not going to heal, and that contrary to his word, it must not be his will.

Here's the shocking truth: not everything that happens in this world is God's will. That may freak you out a little, but it's true, and I can prove it. The Bible says that God is not willing that any one should perish. But people perish every day. Therefore, it is clear that not everything that happens is God's will.

Since I am not able to answer this question with any authority, I return to my "short" answer: I don't have an opinion on this, and I can't be forced to express an opinion I don't possess.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What prophetess is Isaiah talking about?

‭Isaiah‬ ‭8‬:‭3‬ NIV

"Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said to me, "Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz."

See it at

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How old is the book of Job?

There's a reference to " water wears away stones" in Job 12:1-15:35; isn't that pretty advanced scientific knowledge for thousands of years ago, given that erosion of rock isn't readily observed?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A therapeutic gospel?

This episode mentions the concept of a "therapeutic gospel" as a remedy for those who have been hurt by the church.

Yes, that message is incomplete. But is it harmful?

The Phil Vischer Podcast (Episode 112: Kardashians, Comic-Con, and Charismatic Catholicism!)

Phil breaks down and says the word "Kardashian," girls at Comic-Con say "no touchy!" and an account of one woman's journey from Charismatic Catholicism to atheism to...?  It's another fun week on the Phil Vischer Podcast!

Frank Schaeffer, The Atheist Who Believes In God

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Matthew Principle revisited

Looks like Matthew 13 is a much better grounding of this concept than the Parable of the Talents is. But it's represented there in a much deeper fashion and I wonder if it's descriptive rather than prescriptive...?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Why Grace?

Grace makes us right with God so we can purse holiness without fear of being destroyed for being inadequate. The purpose of grace and salvation is to pursue holiness and oneness with Him, not for our own self-gratification.

What did Jesus mean?

Dan Miller just quoted Malcolm Gladwell and the "Matthew Effect":

But what if the alternative interpretation is correct and Jesus was actually calling out an unfair and oppressive financial system?

If so, it's a shame that we honor it in His name today...

Tough call.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Strange stories

1 Chron 19:1-21:30 is a weird passage. Lots of potential for study there. That is all.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Something just struck me about the concept of accountability: I think it's very difficult for anyone – Christians included – to hold each other accountable to not doing something. Accountability to do something is much easier, because you can partner up and do it together – exercise, prayer, eating broccoli, etc.

But accountability to not do something – typically something sinful, but perhaps something innocuous like "not over eating" – is much harder because you can't partner up to "not do something."

Does that make sense? And, if so, how do we fix that?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Does God use sin?

I had an interesting conversation with my daughter today. She asked what three things I world change if I could go back in time. That led to a really interesting conversation about the fact that our past shapes what we are today.

So, I could have done things differently, but I'm not sure if I could have done "better," and doing different things would have made me a different person than I am today.

(For instance, I wish I had made the choice to use push sticks when I was woodworking with a router in 1997, but perhaps my fingertip loss has led me to be more cautious or to teach good lessons today. Can't change it; there's no use lamenting it.)

Anyway, I realize that there was one thing I could declare authoritatively: God would never give us a "better" alternative that comes about as result of personal sin.


Yes, all sorts of good things come about as a result of sin – either our own personal sins that lead to growth, or sins against us that we've overcome.  Sin is never God's "Plan A." When sin is involved, we can always say, "That was bad. That shouldn't have happened. He shouldn't have done that. I shouldn't have done that."

Put another way, God can and will and does work through mankind's sinful choices. But He would rather not.

So, don't sin. (But you will.) And if you've sinned (you have) repent and accept the paid debt for that sin. 

Now, move forward. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Who led Apollos?

Was Apollos fervent in "spirit" as in "zeal and enthusiasm," or was he fervent in "The Spirit"? If it's the latter, it's another example of God's engaging and using people whose theology is far from perfect...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Baptism to empower sanctification?

Listening to Peter's speech in Acts 2, it sounds as though baptism was a first step prior to the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

It's pretty common doctrine to say that baptism is not required for salvation. And it's pretty common doctrine it to say that sanctification is not possible with out being empowered by the Holy Spirit. So, is sanctification not possible without baptism?

The broader question is whether Peter is being descriptive of local circumstances or prescriptive for future Christians.

Friday, May 30, 2014

How salvation works

Evangelism without discipleship is cruel... but it isn't lethal. Don't confuse justification with sanctification; justification requires obedience to the call (which requires choice) but doesn't require obedience to the walk. The walk is sanctification which comes as the result of the justification. Discipleship serves to build sanctification; it doesn't justify us or anyone around us.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Unchanging by Chris Tomlin medley

The chorus is a 100% match to "I'm Pleasing To You" -- what a perfect mashup-in-the-making!

Chris Tomlin
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soul Ties?

I need to read up on this concept from John Eldridge.  My gut reaction is that I'm not sure whether if this is simple common sense, or needs to have a spiritualized particular prayer attached to it.

"Learn how to break free from all unhealthy soul ties."

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Life vs. Soul vs. ?

Some versions translate life as soul here. That changes the meaning and implications, doesn't it?

Deuteronomy 12:23 ESV

"Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh."

See it at<>:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is hell annihilation? Life 2.0 #5 - Amazing Love

This particular podcast episode has the best description of the biblical basis for hell as annihilation as I've ever encountered:

Life 2.0 with Bruxy Cavey

Friday, March 14, 2014

An interesting prediction...

Question: didn't the statement of these "false witnesses" actually come true with the destruction of the Temple and the rise of "Christianity" as separate from Judaism?

Acts 6:13, 14 ESV

"and they set up false witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.""

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Does God always keep His promises?

Does Numbers 14 basically say, "I know I promised this land to you, but now I'm not going to give it to you?"

Yes, of course the Israelites eventually inherited it as "a people," but there seems to be a backing off of a commitment here...?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Foolish promises

If you are enough of a Bible geek you know the story of the Old Testament character who made a foolish promise to sacrifice first thing that came out of his house as an offering to the Lord.

Then his daughter ran out to greet him.

Some commentators have approached that by saying that she was simply going to be dedicated as a Temple Virgin.

But in today's reading, this passage from Leviticus sure seems to imply that she would need to be killed...?


Lev 27:14- Num 1:54, Mark 11:1-26, Ps 46:1-11, Pr 10:23