21st Century, Awe, Current Events, History, Intercession, Israel, Jesus, justice, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

No B. S. please!

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My title is not a reference to bovine droppings, but fill-in-the-blank Bible Study workbooks!

My wife made it a goal to teach our daughters the Word during this shut-down. A noble and worthy goal. Several of her friends wanted to study the same materials together, and they picked a series by Beth Moore.

Though I bristle at her women-o-centric presentation, I love Beth Moore and am glad that she’s out there. She clearly loves the Bible, the Christ of the Bible, and wants to help women know Him. Maybe I’m a rebel, but I just cringe at fill-in-the-blank anything!

That said, I’m doing her Bible study, but taking the rabbit trails I need to in order to reach revelation. Maybe I have a slow brain, and I need to look at a questions from multiple angles before I have an opinion? Her readings are centered on Genesis 1:26-2:17 and Genesis 3:1-9 and ask the questions: “Where are you?” and “Where is G-d?”

My process of reading scripture, if I have one, is to invite the Holy Spirit to help me learn what He wants today, and read until something “pops”. That’s it. My internal questions most days sound more like, “Hey Dad, what are You up to today? Can I come along?”

So, back on track, the first thing that bounced in this reading was Genesis 2:5.

“Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,” *

What did this say to me? That we, humans, planted everything on the face of the earth. I had never noticed that we were made to be planters, horticulturalists, or farmers before today. (Sort of an irony that our Maker and our faith is so scorned on Earth Day when He put us here to make things grow, isn’t it?)

So I kept reading dutifully, blah, blah, blah, the whole text through 3:9. Nothing. Crickets. Then I re-read Genesis 2:16-17 and got bounced again on the noggin by the Counselor.

“And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” **

Two more coins dropped, and two questions popped into my mind; “What does the Lord mean by “eat freely”? and “What’s so bad about knowledge of good and evil?”

Pondering the first question, I am led to believe that the Master loves sharing! He wants us to explore; climb every mountain and ford every stream. He generously gave us a universe filled with the answer “Yes!”

Yet, within His universe of freedoms there we find one “no”; “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” It seems completely illogical at first glance that learning about good and bad, this and that, lightness and darkness could be, (gulp) deadly?

But thankfully, today G-d took me down a different rabbit trail to contemplate the sin before the “original sin”. What was it about Satan’s thinking and heart that ejected him, such a beautiful and awe-inspiring creature, from the presence of the Eternal One forever? What is another word that encapsulates and crystalizes “knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil”? Surely, the King of the Universe does not withhold or resent our learning, contemplation, and exploration of everything, so what is it?

Let’s focus on what He said, rather than on the Serpent’s hissing? ”

“for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17b

G-d is the great “I Am”. He is the Only One Eternally Present. Therefore, He is the Only One worthy of the name Elohei Mishpat; G-d of Justice! He told us plainly, “You can’t eat this food of judgment or you will die.”

Not to be vain, but for the sake of argument, let’s cross check G-d, ok? Satan begins the cycle of sin in Isaiah 14:14 with a heart of judgment.

“I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” BSB ***

Look again, friends and what do you see; “I will” and “I will”! Satan’s original original sin is judging: a. That he is capable of knowing good and evil. b. That his assessment’s are more just than G-d.

But he is just the author of the cycle of judgment and counter-judgment. His ejection was the belief that he could rightly divide good and evil APART from the Omniscient One. His logical theorems, postulates, and arguments always fail. Forgive my wordiness, but indulge me an example or two?

  1. To perfectly assess and judge good and evil, one must have perfect and total knowledge.
  2. To have perfect and total knowledge, one must be eternal.
  3. To be eternal, one must not be a creature or creation.
  4. Therefore, a creature or creation is not eternal, and by definition cannot possess perfect and total knowledge.

Another attempt?

  1. Satan falsely judged Elohei Mishpat based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
  2. Satan’s judgement of G-d based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil broke relationship with G-d. (This is important. G-d did not leave him. He left the Presence of G-d.)
  3. Satan’s exit of the Presence of G-d began his practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.
  4. Satan’s practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil entered the human race through Adam and Eve’s abandonment of Justice.
  5. Therefore, the practice of the cycle of judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil is Satanic, and excludes us from the Presence of G-d.
  6. Exclusion from the Presence of G-d is willfully practicing the cycle of Death through judgment and counter-judgment based on creaturely, incomplete knowledge of good and evil.

All this long-windedness to say that all forms of human separation started with a rejection of our Kind Judge. In turn, we have accepted the mores of the Enemy, a cruel judge whose false assessments are also based on false information. He is truly the Author of Prejudice! He pre-judged G-d and abandoned the Truth. He strives to teach humanity pre-judgement and the abandonment that any truth exists.

Insofar as we believe the Author of Prejudice and the Abandoner of G-d, we enter into his dominion of eternal co-dependency. We must kill and covet. We must reject love to protect ego. We must constantly remain in “fight or flight” mode because “our will must be done”! Our value is up for grabs because it is not rooted in Elohei Mishpat. We have self-rejected staying in the present through the grace and truth of I Am, and walk backwards over the cliffs of injustice. And that, dear friends, is the B as in B, S as in S of the Enemy of All Humanity!

Or…

We heal history because our Messiah believes in doing so!

We overlook and overcome lies and temptations to enact our “street justice” on our enemies.

We practice the Presence of G-d by remaining present to our lives through forgiveness and an acceptance of being a chosen and dearly-loved member of His family.

We remember, record, and bring our offense to the Only One who can take it.

We release the prisoners of the Enemy because we, too, know the horrors of “my will be done”!

We correctly accept that Justice is His, and He will fairly judge all when the game is over because He is the Christ of Post-justice not Prejudice!

 

*https://biblehub.com/genesis/2-5.htm

** https://biblehub.com/genesis/2-16.htm

*** https://biblehub.com/isaiah/14-14.htm

 

 

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Awe, Faith, music, Uncategorized

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Wordwise Hymns submitted an article that really stirred me up today. Though mostly about hymns and John Newton, the author questions our sense of wonder of G-d at the end of his article. Where is the passion of the Church in its songs? Why don’t we invite our heart (and maybe brains?) to Church or Synagogue? Below, I took a stab at one idea that may limit us. What do you think limits passion towards G-d?

 

HOW TO USE THIS BLOG 1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day. 2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the […]

via Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder — Wordwise Hymns

“I believe the wonder of the modern expression of the Church is quenched through decades of passivity, or maybe a failure of curiosity.
My spiritual heritage ranges from observant to belligerent, from the first pagan Swedish converts of Ansgar to atheistic Swedish socialists, from Polish Catholics to Polish Orthodox Jews to atheistic Jews. All this inheritance from Europe was then crunched and compacted into smaller boxes of American Protestantism: Episcopal, various Lutheran synods, Baptist Fundamentalism, Assemblies of G-d, the Vineyard (Non-denominations), Messianic Jewry.
I am surely not condemning the Church that I know and love, but am aware of how effective our common enemy is at lulling us to sleep.
Many of us only know Church history as told to us through secular scholars. We don’t know the backstory of the hymns or their authors. How many of them suffered for the privilege to worship G-d in Spirit and Truth?
We have disconnected from the Old Testament, in some cases, almost entirely. We don’t connect with its’ Feasts and Holidays so we are limited in relating to the founders of the Church and our Savior.
Surely, He loves us whether we read the newspaper or Herodotus, but it seems plain to me that one who remembers only 75 years of the Lord’s faithfulness may experience less passion than those who draw on the memories of Israel and the Church over the past 5775 years. May we be ever curious and ACTIVELY meditate on our King of Kings, and his unmerited favor shown through the stories of the faithful throughout history!” PTH

Do you ever wonder about G-d?

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20th Century, Awe, Emergency, Environment, Fires, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Logging, Minnesota, omnipresent history, railroad

Minnesota Forest Fires 1918

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October 12, 1918

“A forest fire on the railroad line between Duluth and Hibbing kills 435 people and burns 38 communities. The blaze destroys Cloquet, Carlton, Moose Lake, and several other towns before reaching the outskirts of Duluth three days later.” *

The ramifications from this tornado of fire were immense. About 250,000 acres were burned out or completely deforested. (391 sq. miles) The loss of property was valued at approx. $73 million in 1918 dollars, or about $1,160,000,000 in 2017 dollars. It was the worst natural disaster in Minnesota history in terms of damage done to life and property on a single day.***

“Even this tragic demonstration of the need for more funds for fire protection made little impression. However, one important law was passed, namely the burning permit law. Previous to its passage, anyone could start a fire wherever and whenever he felt so inclined.” (Forestry in Minnesota, St. Paul,MN. 1971)**

Lord, we mourn this loss of life today. We are saddened for the great diminution of public and private property. We are sorrowful for our contribution to the wasting of Your trees and wildlife! Have mercy!

Fire is one of Your greatest gifts to humanity, and to cold places like Minnesota. It’s truly one of our simplest joys whether sitting by a campfire or reading a great book next to fireplace on a winter night. We love fire at the proper distance, and within boundaries.

Disasters like this remind us of our limitations. We are self-determining humanists in theory, but live in a reality beyond our control. Have mercy on both our vanity and frailty when we are powerless!

Will You forgive the blame passed out in this event? The judgment of rail interests to the forest interests to the farmer to the State to the Federal Government to You? We offer You our pain and excuses from this event; will You take them up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? 

Will You give wisdom to burn with permission, and minimize foolish use of fire? Will You cause us to be a merciful people in times of natural disaster? Will You make a rescuing people to those trapped in the blaze? You are our help in times of trouble!

We hear Your words spoken through Isaiah today:

“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” Isaiah 47:10-11 NIV

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** https://www.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2015/other/155128.pdf

***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloquet_fire

 

 

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20th Century, Awe, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, zoo

Longfellow Gardens Opens 1906

Robert (Fish) Jones

1906

“City dwellers flock to the newly opened Longfellow Gardens Zoo near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis to see the animals and the zoo’s colorful keeper, Robert “Fish” Jones. Dressed in his trademark Prince Albert coat and stovepipe hat, Jones is often accompanied around the park by his troupe of performing sea lions.” * 

“The zoo continued to prosper, although complaints from neighbors about noise and smell were perpetual. In 1930, Jones died. His family tried to keep his zoo open, but failed and the zoo had to be closed down. Many of the animals were sold or given the Como Zoo in St. Paul.” **

Why are we so inspired by zoos? Even the best of zoos are limited replications of  natural habitat. What is it about looking a fellow creature in the eyes, watching the way it moves, or catching its scent that is so perpetually thrilling? Is it simply that we are afforded an audience with one of Your masterpieces?

Why is it that even observation of creative acts impact us so? We read excellent literature, and we are there in spite of a dim reading light! We see a great film, and are transfixed by the story so much that we forget our annoyance at the sticky floor. We view a majestic piece of art, and are taken in past the limitation of the frame, the space, and the white noise!

While this may be true, will You forgive our human propensities to miss the meetings You ordained for Minnesotans past, present, or future? We want to experience Your nirvana, but despise the travail of travel to observe it! It does not register what a priceless experience it is to look on a wild animal when it comes at virtually no cost!

Elohim, Strong Creator, thank You for the gift of our fellow creatures! Thank You for putting the vision for Longfellow Gardens into the heart of businessman Robert Jones! Thank You also for his passion and commitment to see it through to fruition! May this state forever cherish a chance to interact with (Your) nature!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**Benidt, Bruce Weir (1984). The Library Book. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center. ISBN 0-9613716-0-9.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfellow_Zoological_Gardens

*** Photo and 1907 newspaper article that encapsulates the spirit of Mr. Jones.       http://circusnospin.blogspot.com/2010_11_18_archive.html

 

 

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19th Century, Art, Awe, Culture, History, Intercession, Minnesota

First Public Art Gallery in Northwest 1879

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1879

“Lumberman Thomas B. Walker attaches an art gallery to his house and opens it to the people of Minneapolis the first public art gallery in the Northwest.

He later deeds his collection and a building to house it to the city, thus laying the groundwork for the famous Walker Art Center.” *

Thank You, Lord, that You created beauty for all to enjoy! Additonally, You have gifted the human race with senses to perceive and receive the exquisite aesthetics of Your Creativity! Thanks for the receptivity to resplendence that Thomas B. Walker practiced throughout his life.

Again, thank You for giving him a generous heart to share his collection with the state of Minnesota. I’m still surprised to learn that the present Walker Art Center was started by a lumberman!?  In this era of our North Star past, most “self-made men” were astonishingly practical and concrete-thinkers. It is a pleasure to find Mr. Walker the exception to the prejudices of Minneapolitans!

Like my own my false assessments of him, our collective normalcy bias would not allow a “doer” the grace to also be an observer. It’s curious that Walker’s generosity seemed to be blocked or otherwise doomed to failure from his contemporaries; precisely those he intended to bless. The city of Minneapolis even refused the gift of his art, and donated land to build a public gallery?! **

Lord, will You soothe the pain of this rejection past, and make opportunities to give publicly smoother and easier in the present and the future? You’ve given authority to city and county government, but forgive our leaders their short sighted choices, and failures of pride. We, too often, have loved things, and used people. Have mercy!

Will You forgive the false assessments made of artists, and artistic movements in Minnesota through the years. Lord, I invite You to re-open the Walker. Holy Spirit will You reside there and make it a praise to You? Will You lead our minds higher and to more reality through visual art?

**You can quickly read a few more of Walker’s rejections at the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._B._Walker

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