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Posts Tagged ‘foolishness’

gloves

Preteen + preteen + peacemaker AKA tattletale + one year old = it’s spring but if we dare open our windows someone may call the law.  And I might need them to.

After much begging, pleading, and coercing from tomboy mom, I think my girls have finally chosen a sport they want to practice.  My girls – especially the older two – seem to have adopted a new way of life.  It is hard to describe, but if it had a name it might be called, “Four Girl Fight Club.”

Apparently they have come to believe that the only solution to their ridiculously difficult life is to fight with one another over everything.  Sometimes, the decibels are so high in this compound that it takes a conversation with a hard of hearing mom, a machine washing clothes, a screaming baby, a running lawn mower, a phone alarm ringing to remind me that today’s the last day to pay that bill before I have a 32 thousand dollar late fee, and the noise of a 25 year-old refrigerator to successfully ignore the bouts of unmitigated rage.

Oops.  Did I say ignore?  I mean avoid.  Er.  Um.  No.  I mean, I would never ignore or avoid my own children.  That’s ridiculous.  Clearly I’m busy with all the above mentioned, conveniently noisy tasks.  I would really prefer to be ringside.  Who doesn’t love a good fight, right?  That’s why, even being the free range parent that I am, I always make sure I rush in to see the good parts.  Anytime I am in the middle of 17 other things and I hear someone getting pummelled with pretend accusations, I run right in!

Yesterday was one of those days.

By the time I came to see what was the matter, one fighter was already crying and drawing an emo self-portrait complete with tears and monster sister hovering over her in the sketch, and the other was smugly smarting off about her rightness in the matter.

Now.  I always like to get the facts straight from both sides before I go trying to sub out for the referee, but, with all the commotion I didn’t hear that phone alarm and it just so happened that the ref’s paycheck was the bill I forgot to pay.  So, unfortunately, I had to jump right in quick before someone lost a tooth, or, in my case, their own flippin’ mind.

“What on the earth is going on in here, girls?!”

“Addie made an app and she made rules for the game she created but she isn’t following HER OWN RULES that SHE made!”

“That’s not true!  I made it so I am allowed to make the rules!!”

When I got down to the bottom of it all, it seems that my very technically inclined daughter made up a game and made a rule for her fellow gamers that she was not following herself.  This reality ignited the call to use every justice bone in my other daughter’s body.

“You can’t do that!!!  You can’t just change the rules for yourself!  You can’t just make other people follow them and not follow them yourself!”

“I made it!!!  I am the owner!  I can do whatever I want!”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” said the referee.

“Ok.  Let’s see here.  You are both right – in a way.  Addie is right that if she created it, as the administrator she is ABLE to do things in whatever fashion she chooses.  If she sets it up with an exception for herself, she can because she owns and created the game.  However, as a matter of good business and fairness, Mia is right.  No one likes leaders who expect others to follow the rules that they made but do not follow the rules themselves.  That’s why everyone gets mad at the government.  They have the authority to make the rules and laws because we have entrusted it to them – given it to them – but they are so unjust that they apply them to everyone but themselves.  They also change the rules whenever it is personally advantageous.  That is called injustice.  We do not want to be unjust to others.

So, I understand why everyone is upset but, while both of you are right, you are also both wrong. Think about your other two sisters, girls.  Maylee is upset.  Sonny is screaming.  You are scaring them.  I understand why you both feel justified, but the truth is that neither of you are.  Look how you’re treating each other.  This is not acceptable.

Next time, listen to each other.  Stop yelling over top of one another to get your ideas heard by the person you clearly disagree with.  Talk about it.  Don’t get upset when someone challenges your decisions.  Instead, answer them.  Know why you’re doing something and be able to explain it clearly when asked.  If you are the one asking, don’t be condescending.  When you have a different perspective, respect for the authority goes a long way – especially if you are older than they are.  Lastly, never forget to consider others who hear your disagreements.  Namely – your sisters.  But the windows are open for goodness sake! Everything we do affects other people.  Remember that.

And in that four girl fight club, I believe the Lord truly showed up with wisdom like unto Solomon’s for me.  My own heart was revealed as fighter number five and my own foolishness was found out.  Like the mechanic always says, they only know what you teach ’em.  God did none other than prove Himself faithful once again.

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God is leading.  God is leading his people very specifically.  He has delivered them from the the heavy hand of an unjust master and he has taken them into the wilderness.  With a cloud by day and a fire by night, God has been ever so faithful to get them where they need to be.  He further cares for them by speaking very clearly the way in which they must go to his prophet, Moses.  Now, they have come to a place where the wilderness is behind them, rocky treachery is beside them, and the Red Sea is in front of them.  Apart from God’s direct orders on where to go, the cloud, the fire, there would have been little reason to believe this could possibly be the right way.  It was long, it was foreign, and it did not make logical sense.

So, here Moses is instructed to encamp in front of the Red Sea.  God does not just tell Moses where to go.  He tells him why to go there.

For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. ~Exodus 14:3-4

God is about to take his people through the Red Sea.  He is about to show his power and sovereignty through both mercy and wrath.  As his people walk through the sea, their enemies will be destroyed, both at the very same time by the mighty hand of God.

So God says, “Hey, Moses!  Guess what?  Once I get you guys to a place where you have no where else to go, your enemies are coming for you.  I’m gonna make them as hardened and foolish in their pursuit as they have ever been.  Even more so!  Then, I’m gonna show them who I am.  But don’t worry!  I’m gonna get glory and they’re gonna know I am God once and for all .  Now, go this crazy, unexpected, entrapping way and stay there until they come for you.  Trust me.  This is for you and me and my glory.”

Talk about being used!  These people were about to be the very means by which their numerous, strong, relentless enemies were proven wrong once and for all.  They were the means by which God chose to get his glory.  That is so awesome!!! Still, when you’re up against a wall…well, a sea, with the most powerful army of the known world in pursuit,  it is hard not to freak out in fear.

It really shouldn’t have been that hard to trust God.  I mean, these punks had just watched a deliverer come for them.  They’d just seen ten disastrous plagues strike Egypt.  They just exited their homes freely and had just been handed all the gold and silver of Egypt.  They had been given their own personal cloud.  They’d been given their own personal fire.  They had a prophet telling them exactly where to go and what to do.  They were told beforehand that they would be pursued because God was hardening the hearts of their enemies.  So, seeing that army approach should not have been the least bit surprising.  Nor should it have been disheartening or terrifying in any way.  But, these are sheep and sheep are not that smart.

Still, God did exactly as he said he would do.  How gracious of him to tell Moses first so he might understand the purpose of this very peculiar path they were being led on.  They go and they camp out by the water…and…wait.

In the meantime, just like God said he would, Pharaoh got a hankering to follow.  His reason?  After all those painful plagues and even after losing his very own son, his reason is this:

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” ~Exodus 14:5

The enemy loses his best slaves when God’s people become free.  All Pharaoh cares about is himself.  Serve me!  Be a slave to me!  Fear me!  Obey me! Sound familiar?  All Satan cares about is our slavery to him.  The enemy loses his best slaves when God’s people become free. Matthew Henry says this: “Pharaoh’s pursuit of Israel, in which, while he gratifies his own malice and revenge, he is furthering the accomplishment of God’s counsels concerning him…thus what may be easily justified is easily condemned, by putting false colors upon it…it vexed him that Israel had their liberty, that he had lost the profit of their labors, and the pleasure of chastising them. It is meat and drink to proud persecutors to trample upon the saints of the Most High, and say to their souls, bow down that we may go over; and therefore it vexes them to have their hands tied. Note, the liberty of God’s people is a heavy grievance to their enemies.”

  Free or not, God’s people feel a lot like sitting ducks.  When Pharaoh’s army approaches they see them coming and the text says, “they feared greatly.”  They cried out to God.  They mock their own deliverance.  They question their personal, prepared his entire life for this very thing prophet, Moses.  They even wish to go back and be slaves.  This is all quite absurd, really.  These dudes had it all!  God could have done nothing more miraculous, nothing more tender, nothing more amazing than that which he was already doing for them.  Yet, they cower in blinding fear and disbelief.  Again, Henry notes, “As the Egyptians were angry with themselves for the best deed they ever did, so the Israelites were angry with God for the greatest kindness that was ever done them; so gross are the absurdities of unbelief.” 

What must Moses have been thinking?  Like how dense are you people, right?  Can you not see God working here?  Do you not see that cloud?  The fire? Hello.  Anybody in there?   But Moses knows just what to say.  Here is peace in the storm of irrational fear, blasphemous anxiety, and ungodly unbelief:

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ~Exodus 14:13-14

Be silent.  Be silent!!!  Irrational fear, be silent!  Blasphemous anxiety, be silent!   Ungodly unbelief, be silent!  Those things do not come from God.  They come from Satan.  We must command them silent if we expect God’s deliverance.

When God is leading our lives, we will doubtless go to places we never could have imagined and take detours we never would have expected.  All the while, God faithfully gives us all the information we truly need.  Usually it is simply this: This is for my glory.  You are the very means I am using to make myself known.  Be it in mercy or in wrath, I will be known as the One, True God.  So, Go.  Wait.  Trust.  I am fighting for you.  Silence your fear, stand firm, and watch as I walk you through the impossible.

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After laying a foundation for justification by faith, Paul jumps into full swing regarding the errors his counterparts had made in believing otherwise.  I call this Paul’s “Don’t Be Stupid” speech.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? ~Galatians 3:1-6

In a day wherein Jesus was calling men to lay down their lives as he so willingly, humbly, and publicly did, some self-indulgent leaders were propagating just the opposite.

“Be like us!” they demanded with a heavy hand and a hard heart.  But what, truly, were they like?

Remember Paul when he was Saul?  Yeah.  They were men who loved violence.  They loved to stand by watching and approving of explicit brutality between men.  Think Jesus; Stephen.  They also loved position and authority coupled with blatant unconcern and disinterest in those they sought only to use, abuse, dominate, and rule over.  Simply put, you wouldn’t catch these guys visiting the sick or calling the downtrodden, unless, of course, it somehow benefited them.

 Little wonder why Paul indicts those who would fall for their manipulative schemes as “foolish” and “bewitched.”  One would have to be under a kind of evil delusion or deadly deception to exalt the very men whose skewed views sought to shame them with petty power plays and unaccepted principles.  Their system was nothing but a sepulcher full of godless religion; a ghetto of gangster glorification; a graveyard of worldly gain built upon greed.

Therefore, Paul was not name-calling the Galatians in his reproof.  He did, however have a serious need to draw their attention to what he was about to say.  He was merely raising his voice via parchment and pen in an effort to convey the extreme severity of the message to follow.

That message was this: Religious works are not the prerequisite of salvation – faith is.  He asks the Galatians a few no-brainers to get them there.  Notice, while his opponents were questioning and casting doubt upon these peoples’ faith and calling, Paul does just the opposite.  He appeals to their consciences by reminding them of the many evidences they had of the gift of true faith in their hearts.

Paul’s like, “Hey guys!  Aren’t you the ones who saw Jesus die on the cross?  Didn’t you receive his Holy Spirit when you believed in his resurrection?  Haven’t you suffered and endured much hardship for his sake – because you believed for better?  Were these things a result of your own law-keeping?  Do you really think you can add to what God has so completely done for you?  Do you know how absurd that is?  You’d have to be an utter fool to let some unspiritual guru come along and tell you it’s not about faith; that you do not belong to God.  You are righteous because you believe, not because you worked well enough to earn his love.  You are his.  You are justified.  You are my brothers and sisters.  Don’t you ever doubt it because of what some guys with britches too big for their own bad theology say.  In fact, you are the very sons of Abraham if you possess faith.”

Paul takes an Old Testament promise and prophesy written exclusively to the Jews and applies it directly to the New Testament Gentile believers.  Now that’s some serious inclusion if I’ve ever seen it.   When it comes to biblical interpretation, it doesn’t get much clearer than that.  So much for the Jewish pride parade.  Surprise, guys!  God has a vast people in mind for election.  Contrary to popular belief, it ain’t just for the elite religious athletes who happen to be born with the better bloodline.  

Therefore, Paul exhorts the Gentiles to repent of their Jewish-rule-keeper-instilled doubt and deception.  He wants them to learn to rejoice in their freely-given faith.  He shows them that they are indeed qualified to be the blessed children of God himself.

That’s a far cry from forcing flawless performance and denying integrated inclusion to those with different associations and unorthodox backgrounds isn’t it?  I can admire a man who loves his learners enough to remind them who they really are.  I guess Jesus isn’t into elitism or exclusivity when it comes to his grace.  Everyone is equally welcome at his table.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPa9TrFGHAQ

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Once there was a little girl.  She was a little shy, often quiet, and mostly all alone.  

She never really liked to play ordinary games.

 She’d sit alone in Sunday school and recess every day.

 Sometimes the kids made fun of her; sometimes they talked too much.

 It didn’t matter much to her,  She’d just use her big green eyes to sit alone and such.  

She’d sit instead and study the picture of Jesus and his sheep.  

She’d always find a way to hide behind her hair or even fall asleep.  

The girl grew and learned about that man.  

She began to memorize his words because she liked the sound of them.

 In her alone-ness the little one wanted just a kiss.  

She wanted to be perfect and leave a life like this.  

She’d go to to his house alone and wonder.

 She’d talk to him for hours and ask him why she wondered.  

She loved his altar; it was her favorite place.

But the little girl was foolish, only just a child.

Nothing less than folly was bound in her heart of wild.

She often sinned against that friend,

and sadly, she extended,

her hands to the familiarity she found

in the fear her world lended.

The child walked alone.

Every day she saw her foolishness more and more and more.

How on earth could she not know to knock upon His door?

She knew she must, 

She prayed and prayed,

Three things to God she did daily say:

“Daddy, give me wisdom!  I know I am a fool!

Daddy, give me insight!  I know I am a fool!

Daddy, convict me!  Convict me!  Convict me!  Convict me, Daddy!

Please, Daddy, convict me of my sin!

I know I am a fool!

Please, stop me, Daddy!  Help me!

I’m a fool!”

Still, she wanted to be perfect.  But she knew she was a fool.

She feared the foolishness she could not forego,

and she graciously greeted the foe she friended,

to fear she said, “Hello!”

The more she feared, the less she prayed.

The less she prayed, the more she feared; 

the less she hoped.

Then that loving Jesus she’d thought she’d always keep,

he changed, he did, in her mind he changed

and no longer held the sheep. 

The picture was quite different now.

Instead, he held a rod,

and also now, a scowl.

Could it be the girl did see

a man who was not he?

She doubted that man could love a fool,

and surely such was she.

She was right,

that man could not,

but Jesus was not he.

He was her false accuser, see, 

and she was so deceived,

she let him fool her even more

and Jesus she let be.

No, she would not trust that Jesus man no more,

no, nor his friends she would let in,

they’d just ridicule her like before.

She had forgotten she was a fool,

and fear became her god and tool.

Grace!  

That Shepherd did not let her go,

he would not be replaced.  

He destroyed that idol god

and placed his image on her face.

The little child heard her old friend,

surprised that he had come.

She listened very closely as

he answered prayers she’d left undone.

In just two words her Daddy came

and called her back to war,

“Fear not!” his voiced commanded her

with compassion in his tone.  

“You are mine and you will not walk alone.

Fear not, my child, I will provide.

I do not need nor do I want 

what you cannot supply.”

All at once she ran to him –

she saw him as he was!

She sat back down to study him

and sheep were all around.

“Jesus, please,” she said once more, 

“I lack three things for sure,

Lord, give me wisdom,

give me insight, 

and convict me to the core.”

He honored little Lori’s prayer. 

She could not ask for more.

That Shepherd Jesus gave her all she asked

when she knocked upon his door.

Fear not, my friends, he is alive!  

No need to hide or run.  

That Shepherd man I know so well 

will finish what’s begun. 

Hear him, church, 

I think he’s here.

Surely, he has come.

He will not kill, steal, or destroy,

but my Jesus is not done.

Fear not, my friends, for he is here.

He is working, finding faith, and soon,

getting ready to appear.

Thank him, praise him, honor him,

and find him in your fear.

There is no God like Jesus, friends,

he like a Shepherd holds

even we, the foolish sheep,

oh, so, very dear.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. ~1 Peter 3:5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlO4CN8-LRU

 

 

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From birth, Samson was marked out to be holy to the Lord.  Heralded by none other than an angel of the Lord, he was nothing less than a miracle given to his barren mother – destined to be the hope of Israel (Judges 13:5.)

But Samson had a problem.  He wasn’t holy.  Nothing we are told about his life was characterized by integrity, honesty, or purity.  No.  Samson had his own plans on how to conquer the Philistines.  He didn’t think he needed God’s strict laws.  I mean, they were so oppressive.  And, after all, he had God’s favor.  No need to listen to a God who chose him to be such a special person, right?  Clearly, God already liked Samson a lot so no biggie if he didn’t listen to those silly suggestions from Big Daddy, huh?

Samson did not listen to wisdom, even though he was quite blessed to be given it (Judges 14:3.)  He was secretive, self-absorbed, and impure according to the vow to which God had called him (Judges 14:6-7, 9, 16:1.)  He had great pride and a vicious temper.

Again and again…and again, Samson broke his covenant with God.  The man had no interest in self-control or self-denial.  He indulges in that which he sees as pleasing and right and, not surprisingly, it always turns out wrong for him.

Samson loved what he was born to hate.  His selfishness allowed him to be deceived by the very people God had chosen him to conquer and destroy.

Samson didn’t have to be blind and imprisoned; he chose to be blind and imprisoned.  No, he didn’t gouge his own eyes or lock himself up.  Nevertheless, every single time he chose to trust in himself and disregard the promises he was responsible for making good on, he was storing up wrath and judgement from his holy God.

Still, God was patient; Samson remained strong and continued to win.  Until…

 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her,“Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” ~Judges 16:4-6

A beautiful woman who loved money and did not love God presented herself in an effort to cash in on his lust and disobedience, trading it for personal gain.  The text says Samson loved her.  Samson loved a woman who was void of God and whose only motivation was money; whose only goal was to deceive and destroy him.  Of course, this was nothing new for Samson.  He had done as much his entire life.  Samson did not realize who she was working for.  He didn’t think about the fact that the same men whose dirty, bloody hands were employing her were also plotting his torture and death.  No.  Samson made that woman – the one he should have loathed – his god.

In the end, God has his way with this blind fool anyway.  He was sent to save God’s people and he ended up desperately needing saved himself.  God eventually accomplished both.  How very tragic that a man so blessed with favor could not see past himself far enough to do God’s will when his eyes were still open.

 Our world is full of money-worshiping, God-hating, lust-inciting Delilahs. (Such were some of us.)  Every magazine, movie, commercial, and billboard breeds their beckoning.  Our young men are being groomed and encouraged to either remain or become fools.  Secrecy, self-absorption, impurity, pride, and anger will blind and imprison them for the rest of their lives.   Spiritually strong men must search for and save the strongest Samsons of our day.  Spiritually strong women must seek and save dirtiest Delilahs as well.  We must become a church who knows how to speak grace, truth, and warning into the lives of the sexually impure.  Yes.  This may well be the biggest issue within and without the church in our generation.

Our God is patient.  His wisdom calls now, but it will not call forever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEgP4pmUlKE

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ImageDavid is riding out to battle with the Philistines.  They are in pursuit of Israel, who is still being led by none other than David’s worst enemy, King Saul.  When Saul sees them, he is terrified. His fear drives him to his knees but God is silent.  What’s a terrified unbeliever to do?  Saul seeks the services of a fortune-telling witch.

Note, pulling God down off the shelf in times of great need or trouble is not wise.  If we’ll refuse to know him daily, he’ll refuse to know us transiently.  The Great I Am will not be molded or reduced into a genie or a good luck charm for men’s convenience.  Someone should have informed Saul of these things.

Oh, right, they did.  Saul knew the sinfulness of necromancy.  So much so that he himself had excommunicated all such people from the entire land of Israel.  The penalty?  Death.  What Saul was willing to execute others for, he found himself involved with.  Saul knew the wickedness found in pursing this evil rather than God.  (Coincidentally, when we are pursuing evil it is always instead of pursuing God.)  Saul simply refused to listen to even his own scarce wisdom.  Here’s what he did instead: (more…)

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ImageDavid has just (respectfully) asked Saul why he is chasing him.  He has just asked what his fault is and proven that he is innocent and blameless, again.  Because Saul has no charge and no excuse, he outwardly repents.

Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” 22 And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24 Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place. ~1 Samuel 26:21-25

The self-control exhibited by not harming his enemy and the wisdom he had both in indicting Abner and speaking to Saul worked together to convict and humble this hell-bent king.  How do we know?  Saul says this: “I have sinned… I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” (more…)

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