Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trying to get Enoch to say his "R"s. After hearing "Geen Cab" three or four times as he's looking through his animal book.
"No Enoch, fRRRog, it's fRRRRog."
"Say fRRRRRR."
"Nope, Say RRRRRRRR"
"Okay Enoch, Foug it is."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Venus woke up about the same time as me,
and in her small fire i could feel
the chilly air charged with beginnings.

You've told me the same thing since I was born
The coat you gave me knows my skin
it's the only thing I've ever worn
since I've been born again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We're reading "Green" - the final book in Ted Dekker's "Circle" Trilogy(?). So far, so good. Also just finished listening to the Audio version of "Til We Have Faces". And about a fifth through N.T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope".

God willing I can finish a few more before school starts.
Regarding my last Blog.

It seems like when I come up against an apparent problem like the last one, or like a couple years ago with my questions about the apparent irreconcileability of the Gospel resurrection narratives, I have a problem. I tend to friek out a bit, and in my frieking out I transgress in a way that Job did not. I come very close to accusing God. I talked to Brandy about this, concerned because it doesn't seem right, and yet my upset-ness is the thing that drives me on for answers. And seeking and finding answers I am convinced is a good thing that pleases God.

Brandy said that the only thing that came to her mind was "Work out your Salvation in Fear and Trembling"; a passage from Philippians that I assumed I was familiar with. So I typed in "Fear Trembling" into the Biblegateway search engine, and the NT verses that came up all have to do with approaching God in one way or another (in one case approaching a servant of God). The Phil. verse in particular follows up this phrase with "Do everything without complaining or arguing"

So this, I believe, is my problem. I need to find a way to approach these things with fear and trembling, since in approaching them I approach God. Somehow I must maintain a strong desire for answers, but to avoid my flippant flirting with annoyance towards the LORD God almighty - who could squish me very righteously and easily, but has not yet.

So, I repent in dust and ashes and ask my God and Father to forgive me, and I ask for you, dear reader not to emulate my bad attitude of the past, and I ask finally for a more reverent heart to seek answers to future questions.


[Warning: This is a really long blog. Disclaimer: This is not an attempt to answer the question "why do the righteous suffer at all?". That question I believe can only be satisfactorily answered by the answer that Satisfied Job, seeing God's face. Explanation: throughout I use the words deliver, save, protect the plain sense scripture uses them most - physical deliverance, salvation, protection.]

Okay, what disturbed me most about Denise Amber Lee's story was that she had sincerely called out to God to protect her and he had not. The reason that bothered me most is because Scripture over and over again says that God's the defender of the orphan and widow, the helpless; Esp. Psalm 50 where God equates true worship as calling out to God in the day of trouble so He can rescue you and you can thank Him. Also it seemed to me in part false advertising that almost every story in the bible is about people asking God to save them in one way or another and then the follow up of God answering and saving them as if this is how it always goes- a misleading impression if, in fact, you can be a defenseless mother calling out to God as you're being dragged off, yet end up getting raped, shot and dumped in a ditch.

To this I found first of all that:

1. There are a lot of implied stories where God does not save the needy when they call on him, not even the needy righteous from torture, rape, and death.

Starting with Abel, who's blood cried out from the ground to God. Which implies he must have done some crying while his brother beat him to death - and yet God didn't see fit to intervene until Cain was walking off. But he did see fit to protect Cain from being killed.

Then Sodom and Gomorrah. Notice how frantic Lot is that the angels who he doesn't know are angels do NOT spend the night in the square. Could this be because they wouldn't have been the first defenseless travellers he'd seen that stopped to rest in the square only to be woken up by a city full of rapists who gang-raped and murdered them? It would seem so considering the LORD's aside to Abram, that the outcry against Sodom was very great and had reached him. Why had not God answered that outcry when it first went out, and prevented the rape and murder of those defenseless people?

In Exodus 2:23, it says "the people of Israel...cried out" it also says God heard and sent Moses, but how many of those who cried out died under the whip? How many mothers saw their children taken from them and chopped up or thrown into the nile to be eaten by the Egyptian's 'gods' (crocodiles) before God saw fit to send Moses?

In Jeremiah 26, a prophet named Uriah it is said prophesied the same things Jeremiah did, and the king sought to kill him, so he ran away (I presume afraid, and as a godly man, also asking God to save him like Elijah did when Jezebel was after him) to Egypt, was hunted down and dragged back before the king, who most likely mocked him before he was hacked to death with an edged weapon and dumped into a mass grave. As for Jeremiah? It doesn't say the Lord saved him from the same fate, but rather that he was buddies with an official so he got a get out of jail free card. (I'm not saying that the Lord's hand wasn't in this, just that Scripture doesn't say it was)

Job said "Behold, I cry out 'Violence!' and am not answered; I cry for help, but there is no justice" and "I Cry to you for help, and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me"

Zechariah 14 says that just days before the Second coming of Christ the Jews in Jerusalem will be defeated, ransacked, and all of their women raped (By nations that the LORD says he will gather there). Then after they're raped the Lord Jesus comes back to save them.

In 1 Sam 22 all the men, women, children and infants in Nob were killed with a sword by Saul's man Doeg the Edomite because they had helped David, God's anointed. It was a priest's city, devoted to the worship of God. I'm sure all of them called out to God for protection. And yet, of all who called, only one escaped. David heard about it, and didn't blame God, but blamed himself, since he knew Doeg was in Nob when he came and would tell Saul that the priests had helped him. David also wrote Psalm 52 about Doeg-it's worth a read.) However, this is the same David that wrote "I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or his children begging bread." Richard Wurmbrand said he had seen the Righteous go insane under torture and their children eating out of the trash.

In 2nd Kings 15:16, Amos 1:13, 2 Kings 8:12, Israelite pregnant women are torn open by invaders. I have a hard time believing considering their heritage even as part of a backslidden country there was not a single one that called out to God for protection before they were torn open.

Habbakuk said: "O YHWH, how long shall I cry for help, and you shall not hear? Or I cry out to you 'Violence!' and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?" - He said this of the land of Judah before the Babylonian Captivity, regarding the way the wicked surrounded the righteous and destroyed them in his neighborhood. Apparently he was frustrated that God didn't prevent this in response to his prayers. Then God tells him that in response he's sending the Babylonians to sack Judah. How many at the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians called out to God and were not answered? Those women being raped and murdered, and their children smashed? The writer of Psalm 137 writes: "blessed shall he be who repays you (Babylon) with what you have done to us! Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!"

ALL THIS TO SAY - Scripture does give record, albeit in a roundabout sort of way all through that there are many who cry out and yet are still raped, ripped open, tortured, or killed. This answers my first question :"why does scripture maintain in story and promise that God always answers and saves physically and immediately?" The answer is, Scripture doesn't, if you look closely.

AN INTERESTING NOTE ON HABAKKUK: When God told him how He would answer his prayer for justice, Habakkuk reminded himself of the way God saved Israel at the red sea from their enemies, and said that He would remember this, asking God to revive this kind of thing and in the midst of the years make it known. God had already told him that all of Israel would be crushed by Babylon in hideous ways, and in the face of this he still reminded himself of God's actions at the Red Sea. Then, he didn't put a pious smile on his face at the thought of what would happen to his people, He says: "I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us." - in fact, I recommend reading the last chapter of Habakkuk with the "question" in mind.


Question #2: What then, about the apparent promises (Like Psalm 50)? And the stories? What's assuring about them if we have no guarantee that they have any bearing on reality? What of the GOD who cannot Lie?

For that, I turn to Hebrews.

In Hebrews 11, the "Hall of Faith", the first three quarters are those who saw the promise of deliverance in their life, those who "won" and were protected. The last bit, however, are those who were tortured, killed, harrassed and starved in faith. It says they were "commended for their faith" but that (note this) THEY DID NOT RECEIVE WHAT HAD BEEN PROMISED!.

Mind-boggling, isn't it? But why didn't they receive what had been promised? In their case I assume part of their promise was protection and health, salvation and safety, since "In Christ all promises are Yes and Amen" and these things are among the things promised to those people of faith. Yet as already stated, they didn't receive what had been promised. It says rather that "God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." You might say "Something better?!? what could be better than God keeping his promise?!" But it seems that God considers that it's better that he keeps his promise later, at the resurrection of our bodies. (Made perfect is used throughout scripture of our state at the Resurrection, the "Regeneration of All Things" - when the righteous rise out of their graves to everlasting life and the wicked rise to everlasting destruction).

Also in Hebrews5:7-9, it sounds like Jesus' loud cries and tears during his life on earth were to God to save him from death, but his prayer was heard and answered retroactively in His resurrection, not by the prevention of His death.

So it seems that God considers all his promises to be retroactively answered at the resurrection, when we will receive indestructible physical bodies to house our purified souls in a union that fully reflects God.

With this theme the last verse of Psalm 17 makes sense of Psalm 50 in a way, in that David says he will be satisfied (in the context of a prayer of deliverance from the wicked) at the resurrection, awaking in God's likeness (NKJV translation) or awaking to see God's face (NIV, ESV)

ALSO - In 2 Timothy 2:13 (which I've never noticed before is In the context of hardship and suffering) it says: "If we are faithless, he remains faithful" implying that even if we're terrified and can't see or feel God with us as we're being brutalized or killed, God doesn't desert us.


Third Issue. This one I didn't think about so much when I read Denise's story, but as I read scripture it kept on coming to the foreground.
Apparently, God holds us - Especially those of us in positions of authority - responsible to answer the cries of the helpless for protection and justice.It's not like God couldn't do it, but when the innocent are slaughtered, God blames the men in authority who should have prevented it. THIS Theme is all over the Psalms and Prophets, so I won't weary you with quotes.

As I read in Richard Wurmbrand's "If that were Christ, Would you Give Him Your Blanket" David wrote that he had never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread, however Wurmbrand said that was because there was a David on the throne who brought the kingdom of God to bear on the country's ills. Wurmbrand said he had seen the righteous tortured to death and screaming in agony, and seen their children eating out of the trash. He also pointed out that the idea that God won't allow his witness to die out in an area from persecution is false, as Islam conquered north africa and the near east, slaughtered and forced conversion of christians there, and thus christianity was wiped out of its former stronghold for a thousand years. - These things Wurmbrand, and scripture, call THOSE IN AUTHORITY, and CHRISTIANS to account for, as things preventable had those men who's responsibility it was had done their job correctly. In Denise Amber Lee's story there was a similar vein, the 911 dispatcher was suspended for negligence and some of the witnesses didn't do anything.

An example of this theme from the Lord Jesus Himself - The parable of the good samaritan doesn't say that the man on the way to Jericho was saved by God, but by a man, and in doing so, the man pleased God. It didn't say or indicate that God was going to supernaturally rescue the victim had the samaritan not passed by. And Jesus told this parable during a very unique time in history when the Son of God was on earth healing all who came to him. He told the scribe to go and do as the Samaritan in the story had done, indicating that even with Jesus on earth the defenseless still needed people to love them as themselves and deliver them from the wicked.

I have been critical of "Social Justice" causes before now, but not so much anymore. I just don't believe they can be empowered by God and sufficient apart from true faith in Jesus Christ.


AS A FINAL NOTE, for those of you who have read this far.

The Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus says nothing of the great faith of Lazarus, but only that in his life he had bad things, and therefore was admitted into paradise. I hope this is the case with those who had no great chance to develop a relationship with God, but who were the victims of the wicked during their life on earth.

All this would not make me less crushed if anything like what happened to Denise happened to anyone I know, but at least I know there is a future, and I know that God isn't deceiving us with scripture.

I consider myself corrected, may God have mercy on me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I have read & thought over scripture and I think I have an answer that at least helps me regarding my previous blog. I'll post it soon.

In the meantime though, here are some pictures from my 20 mile (round trip) hike into the Olympic Nat'l Rainforest. My blisters are healing nicely, thanks for asking.