The Edge of Forever

The City on the Edge of Forever…

He stops himself from saving her.  She dies so that the world will return to the way it was.

I remember the sadness.  The heart hurts, aches.

Oh, I knew the pain was intense if I could feel it.  So I prayed for you.  I knew it was your pain because it was so familiar.  I almost shared the prayer with you but had to refrain.  The next night you told me of the pain you were suffering.  I did not need to know the details because they would not change the feelings.  I told you I would pray more and I did.

Is it always the same?

I was reading a book and continued to be awed by God’s grace.  I could not help myself.  Acknowledge and glorify the God who created the heaven and earth.  Joy beyond understanding.

I do not want to see you.  I do not want to feel your pain.  Yet it to is a gift from God.  I do not know if this sadness is my own.

Recently God gave me the word “creation”.  I kept trying to put the pieces together but my mind could not.  After reading a different book, more words came to mind.  Words that could be combined to create real ideas.  Ideas for advancement.  It is a beautiful thing to get this.

There is still more to read.  More to accomplish.  More to push forward on.

I would love to fall tonight.  Into the deep sadness.  I wonder if God would let me…

The End Of The World

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

A few years back my Sunday school class was going to study the end times.  I found out a few days in advance as we had not been warned but I did my best to study up on the subject.

We were regaled with tales of unicorns, butterflies, and rainbows.  It was a very poor showing and I knew next to nothing on the subject at the time.  I was told that Christians would not suffer during a tribulation because God doesn’t want His people to suffer.  This leads to the obvious question – then why do I suffer now.

I had printed out a document for the class showing the three major positions – premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism.  I thought it would be helpful but it was not used.  And rightly so with the topic that was presented.  This actually began a nice study for me as I sought to understand the three positions.  I grasped the first two but the third (amillennialism) was outside my reach.

A few months went by and I heard a teaching on the topic and became an amillennialist.  It was clearly the most logical understanding of scripture and end times I could see.  Again my knowledge is limited as I have only done minor research on the topic but I still believe this.

Fast forward to earlier this week when my sister suggested a book – Raptureless.  [She has not read the book so how she came to recommend it is a different story.]  I picked it up since I had just completed a book.  I was concerned as I started the book (the preface) but once the book began, the author started quick and I was soon convinced he was an amillennialist too.  Now as I pass the halfway point, I still believe this is his position even though he has not discussed it yet.

So many memories and scriptures have fallen into place as he walks through history (AD 30 to AD 70).  Very interesting book and I have since become a stronger amillennialist.  Not everyone can be a panmillennialist.

Free Will

I finished “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris yesterday.  It is a great book.  I got to a section yesterday where he talked about free will.  I clicked on the footnote and read the most amazing words I had seen all day (outside God’s Word).  The footnote is around 1.5 standard pages.  If it was shorter I would post it here.

I normally file books to the completed collection when I am done but I left this one open so I could read the afterward (at least I hope to read it).

This morning I was back in Daniel.  I read Daniel 1 and 2 yesterday.  I really enjoyed the prayer in Daniel 2.  I repeated it a few times this morning.  Yesterday after I read the footnote mentioned above, I got on my knees and thanked God for the joy of reading those words (many words).  Honestly, I was bubbling over with such excitement (I read the footnote twice!).  I wanted to share them with everyone but too few people would have an understanding of my reason for sharing so I refrained from sending them to anyone.  Take that in conjunction with the prayer in Daniel 2.  “O God of my fathers, I acknowledge and glorify you, for you have bestowed…”  God bestows many gifts to me (and you too).  For those gifts, I acknowledge and glorify Him.

I started another book this week.  “Do Over” by Jon Acuff.  I bought it Tuesday and had him sign it while at this business conference.  Good book so far.

The four main points – relationships, skills, character, and hustle – will be discussed in detail over the book.  I am reading about relationships now.  I have to work on relationships.  They cost a lot of energy.  I love people (mostly) but sometimes I do not want to spend that energy.  Selfishness, no doubt.

I think I will try to read “Freedom of the Will” by Jonathan Edwards again.  I have tried twice.  The first time I got pretty far.  The second time I did not.  I know I need to read it but like many books I need to read, I make excuses.  We shall see what the future holds for the books I read.

Time to read, pray, and think upon thoughts new and old.


Dependence is not easy for me in times of peace.  I find myself feeling less reliant on God, less desperate for Him.

Last night, I could have fallen.  His grace was sufficient.  As I went to sleep and when I awoke, I asked to be kept safe the rest of this weekend.  Even now I ask.

I have been reading “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris.  I am almost 50% done.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  It does not match up to “The God Delusion” but thus far it is the second most mentally stimulating book I have read in the past two or three years.

We know, for instance, that no human being creates his own genes or his early life experiences, and yet most of us believe that these factors determine his character throughout life. It seems true enough to say that the men and women on death row either have bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas, or bad luck. Which of these quantities are they responsible for?  –The End of Faith

Here I read that although Sam Harris is an atheist, he is also a Calvinist.  Yes, that amuses me greatly even though it is not true.  Which of those qualities are we responsible for?  Why were you born here and billions of others were born into different circumstances?  Luck and chance?  I’ll go with grace but you can have luck and chance if you like.

Each morning as I read more of his book, I am amazed at the patterns I can extrapolate from his words.  They are beautiful and well organized.  Quite brilliant if you ask me.

Given the magnitude of the real problems that confront us—terrorism, nuclear proliferation, the spread of infectious disease, failing infrastructure, lack of adequate funds for education and health care, etc.—our war on sin is so outrageously unwise as to almost defy rational comment.  –The End of Faith

I could not agree more, our war on sin is outrageous.  Christians want to legislate their morality.  I suppose we all want to legislate our own morality.  It is rare to find a rational discourse on a topic such as this, if the media is to be believed.  I can hear at least one person’s voice in my mind now (not your’s Lisa).

Are we a Christian nation?  Many say we are.  I am not so sure we ever were.  I am not sure we should be.

Where will the war of ideas be won?

Profound Shame

I just love words so much.

If it is really true that it is hard for us, as adult Christians, to comprehend even a chapter of the Old Testament in sequence, then this can only fill us with profound shame; what kind of testimony is that to our knowledge of the Scriptures and all our previous reading of them?  –Life Together by Bonhoeffer

I love large portions of the Old Testament.  Deuteronomy is my personal favorite in the Old Testament but Jeremiah is a close second.  The Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes are all so good.  There are portions I do not enjoy as much – the end of Exodus with the details for the tabernacle is worse than Leviticus for me – but I know there is a reason for them.  Sadly many Christians do not even try to comprehend even a chapter of the Old Testament.  There are not many people to show them the beauty that is there.

Saturday I got an email about a budget and had to reply with questions.  I knew the questions and answers could not “really” be asked and answered in an email so I stated that at the beginning.  I was very careful with my word selection.  I am almost always careful with words (and sadly defeated when I am not).  So it was a good exchange.  This led to a meeting yesterday which was quite informative and allowed me to understand the reason for some of the line items in the budget.

I enjoy budgets.  It is like business and Monopoly.  My favorite game you know?  I played for the first time when I was eight.  I wrote about it here.  That post was so worth reading again.  Marxist or Keynesian, ahh the memory.  A good one given that was when I was reading “The God Delusion”.  Nearly two years ago and the book still impresses me.  I wish I could find another of Dawkins’ books that I knew would impress me in the same manner.

Monday.  No rain but that’s OK, I suppose.

Life Together

Finally finished a couple of books this morning – “Praying with Paul” and “The Magic of Reality”.  I enjoyed the first but not the second.

“The Magic of Reality” by Richard Dawkins was poor compared to his “The God Delusion”.  I was just so disappointed in the book because I loved his other book.  I want to try another one of his books but none of them grabbed my interest as I reviewed them so I moved on.  I am sure I will return to Dawkins later.

First, I looked at some lists of books I have.  Then I looked at books I own but have not read.  This brought me to “Communion of Saints” by Bonhoeffer.  I started it but did not get far.  I decided to look for another book of his since I so enjoyed “The Cost of Discipleship” and came upon “Life Together”.  Downloaded the sample and knew it was the book by the third paragraph so I bought it.

It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. –Life Together by Bonhoeffer

I already have several highlights from the book.  This one was along the lines of part of what I wrote Wednesday.  It does not seem to be a long book.  I might finish it today if I focus.

Soul Intimacy

Started a new book two days back.  No I didn’t finish a book, just added on.  To my shame, I know.

In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it improvement in the other areas mentioned: purity, integrity, a willingness to sacrifice, evangelistic faithfulness, better study of Scripture, improved private and corporate worship, better relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, a heart for the lost, and much more. But if we seek these things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we may be running after God’s blessings or pursuing God’s power without running after him. We are worse than shallow lovers who want the advantages of having a spouse without wanting soul intimacy—worse, I say, because God is more than any wife, any husband: he is perfect in his love, and he has made us for himself, and our goals and joys are rightly found in him.

Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D. A. Carson

The passage is good.  I highlighted it but the two words “soul intimacy” just had me.  I wonder how many people actually understand this.  How do I get this soul intimacy with God?  I realize this is a short post.  There is much for me to think upon here.

Where I Sent You As Exiles

Yesterday did not turn out as bad as I had felt it might.  The morning was rough.  I lost control a few times.  Regained myself before working hours began.  I almost lost it during the noon counseling session with a couple but was able to recover before they noticed.  I tried to pray that afternoon but I think I fell asleep for 30 minutes.  Last night’s session wasn’t too bad.

I read a bit more of the “Don’t Follow Your Heart” book last night and this morning.  It has been very good for me.  Throw in Psalm 55 – Cast your burden on God, Trust in the Lord.  I asked myself if this is really a lack of trust.  It does not feel like it.  I feel like I trust Him with everything.  One thing I read in the book was about Job – the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  It was a good.  It also talked about God takes away both sinful and righteous affections of our hearts.

I am looking forward to lunch today.  I get to give a book to the possible atheist/agnostic.  I have been waiting for God to provide an opportunity.  It is not a heavy book.  I think it is probably the perfect book for this situation.  I am thankful for the ability to read and remember books that could benefit people.  I am thankful to be able to afford to give books away and that God may even use them to draw people to Him.

Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the LORD for it. For as it prospers you will prosper.  –Jeremiah 29:7

This morning in Jeremiah, I read about the exiles.  I remember how we are exiles too.  I would say this really works well for our needs now.  We still find wives for our sons and husbands for our daughters.  We still work so that where we are prospers.  So that people flourish (yes, I really love that word).

I have two note cards I made a few weeks back.  One says “How can I help you flourish?” and the other says “Who can I help flourish?”.  I do not answer that as often as I should.  I went through most (all?) of my note cards from the past few years yesterday.  That was interesting.  I pulled out two as reminders.

Today, I do not want to lie to myself to achieve joy and peace in my spirit.

Way Out, Way In

I have been thinking today.  At first I named the post “What is permanent?” with the first line being “What is temporary?” but as I wrote, I had to change it.  I actually just deleted that entire post and started over.

Yesterday and this morning the depression was bad.  I do not recall it ever being that bad.  I’d rank it an 8 or 9 out of 10.  It has subsided.  I’m probably down to a 4 or 5 – which might be my “normal” state.

As I was pondering things, I decided that my way out was the way in.  This it not really something I wanted to think.  There is some truth to that statement but there is also some falsehood to it as well.  It is a trap, I suppose.  One I find myself in quite regularly.

I read more of the book “Don’t Follow Your Heart” at some point this morning.  I really liked chapter 9 but I cannot really reference the entire chapter so I selected the following:

No, we pray for greater faith, love, holiness, wisdom, discernment, experience of God’s grace, boldness, joy in God, and less satisfaction with worldly things.

I really just want to talk about God’s grace but I also want to talk about each one.  This has caused my mind to become locked on the topic.  *sigh*

It is Sunday.  Tomorrow a new week begins.  Maybe it will rain.

Future Joy

I mentioned that I was reading a book called “Don’t Follow Your Heart”.  It has had many good things.

Jesus’s eyes were on his future joy – the joy set before him.  He got through the cross by focusing not on the cross but on the promised joy that would result from it.  That’s where God wants your eyes: on the future joy he has promised you.

Future joy.  It is difficult to grasp a hold of future joy when you do not consider much past the current moment and the current weight crushing your chest.  The pain is much.  I cried myself to sleep.  What we call sleep.  Yet the work did not cease through the pain yesterday.

Is it false to encourage people when you yourself are far beyond compare?  One.  Two.  Meeting.  Lunch (with people).  Three.  Four.  Five.  Six.  Dinner (yes with people).  Seven (which may or may not be counted).   This morning God already placed people on mind for lifting up.  Will they even know the desperation of my own soul?  They need not be concerned with anything but bringing glory to God in their lives.

Life turns inward for the depressed so we must turn our focus outward for escape.  Outward and inward – is there really a difference?  I reviewed some articles this morning on depression.  Repent of sin – what sin is this?  Don’t neglect the disciplines – what discipline am I neglecting?  One after another they tell me things that just do not help.

Steeped in His Word, in prayer, in ministry to people, in fellowship (as best I can).  Desperate for relief.  A few days it was not too heavy but yesterday was not one of those days.  Crushed beyond my own capabilities.  Reliant on God alone.  Alone with God and God alone.  He is the one I can trust.  No one else will be there.  Alone.

It is a dark morning.  Jesus got through the cross by focusing on the promised joy.  Our hope is in Jesus.