Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zechariah 2:1 – 14

My cup runneth over alludes to a measured, allotted amount and for the children of God their cup had long been half-full and topped off with the bitter results of their sins.

God had stretched out a measuring line against the sinful nature of Israel and had delivered an exacting punishment against that destructive nature. But, as with any loving father that wrath of punishment could not be sustained for long.

While the measuring line of judgment for sin had been exact, Zechariah saw a vision of a different measuring line being drawn out. This line was restoration – a call to the children to come home, the open arms of a father calling a child from a time of punishment and isolation, drawing them close and protecting them from their own rebelliousness.

There are elements of God’s nature I could never have imagined before becoming a father. I couldn’t imagine how much it would hurt to have to dole out discipline for transgressions, nor the joy of forgiveness afterward. I couldn’t have imagined wanting to give so much and never feeling like my gifts could measure up to the love I felt.

When God revealed his plan of restoration it was a call to his children to return to a New Jerusalem, filled up, shaken down and spilling over with humanity and provision. The messenger of that vision spoke with excitement at drawing out this immeasurable line over Jerusalem, calling all nations to be adopted into this family of God, and to partake of this outpouring of inheritance.

This messenger not only spoke of the coming restoration for the children of God but he also spoke of their position in the Kingdom – as the apple of God’s eye – a position at the focal point of God’s Love. For all of the wonders in the Universe, we are unexplainably, exclusively the center of God’s Love. May we cherish the Grace and Love of God as it pours out upon us and overflows.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking for Judgement and only finding Love

"It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out."
Proverbs 25:2 English Standard Version

For too long, I settled for looking at scripture and thinking I could never comprehend what it all really meant. I wanted to know, I wanted to read with passion for the word and prayed for understanding. I took pride in having read through the Bible three times from cover to cover, but felt like I was getting nothing more than a better grasp of names and places.

I tried out new versions of scripture, moving from the Old King James to the New King James to NIV and then the NASB, but didn't feel as if I had gained any more than just a more readable version. We've all been chastised to live a better life by preachers who say our English versions are nothing compared to the Hebrew and Greek and that scared me to think there were even more ways of going to Hell and finally figured I should start looking into that to make sure I was doing everything I was suppose to do.

I picked up a copy of the Tanauk, the Old Testament in its original Hebrew with a Jewish perspective on the literal translation; along with a literal translation of the New Testament from the Greek, but there on the pages I discovered something I would never have thought possible. I discovered a veil had been draped over my eyes by ever translation I had ever read before. I discovered words which were mistranslated to reach a certain conclusion far from the intent of God. I discovered something so frightening I could hardly believe what I was reading ... God is in control, God has a plan, God is absolute love and the Cross changed everything. I thought I was going to discover more heinous punishments for more subtle sins, but instead I discovered just how powerful the figure of Christ on the cross really was, and is, and is to come.

The Song of Songs tells of God the pursuer and his desire to be pursued. God doesn't just want us to follow the words and live the life, he wants us to find him in every thing. There is a reward in understanding what God is about and it doesn't have anything to do with following the 10 Commandments or going to church on Sunday - its about having a relationship with God. God is seductive and longs for us to reach out and discover him. It begins with becoming intimate with His word.

Are you ready to have your religious paradigm challenged? Try this on for size: Everywhere your Bible says "forever and ever" as in eternity, it actually says "eon to eon" as in a time span; everywhere your Bible says "Hell" its actually saying Gehenna - a valley near Jerusalem, Sheol - the grave, Hades - the grave, or Tartarus - a place of punishment for angels. Better yet, since I'm sure we all agree God is in control, and God has a plan, and God will win a dicisive victory at the end of this age, and since God obviously knit us together in our mother's womb, and since Ephesians says something about God knowing and planning our lives, as well as the cross since before the beginning of time, how can we reconcile a belief in free will? Especially when there is less basis for it in scripture than there is for Hell. At least the translators took the time to mistranslate stuff to fabricate Hell.

If you're not up for doing the leg work on it, don't worry, the writings to follow will give you all the proof you need that God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More photos from "American Highlander" photoshoot

These are the last few photos from what will hopefully become the next album cover for The Rogues' "American Highlander" CD which will be coming out in a few months.

I always appreciate the time I get to spend with Deak. I feel lucky that Liam is getting to grow up with such strong men around him. I feel lucky to be in the company of such great American Heroes. They are warfighters and peacemakers alike, but their common good is they would lay down there lives for those they love, for those they are bound to by borders or fraternity, and even for those who have the priveledge of walking in their shadows.

To my firefighters - Shaun and Lance, to my soldiers - Deak and Carl, to my cops - Deck, Cal, Sarah, Cease and so many more, as well as all of my Marine Corps; I am thankful to have walked in your company.

Possible backdrop for "American Highlander"

Possible backdrop for "American Highlander"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hanging with a Boozefighter

Theological Damage Control

So, there we were, minding our own business, trying hard to be good Christians, but knowing we all sin, but God loves us anyway; sitting in a class to join our church; loving one another and patting ourselves on the back for having the intelligence to have accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour, when from across the table, the chaplain's wife said the most fateful thing I had ever heard, "... hell is not real."

Suddenly, my theology callapsed.

Over the course of the next few weeks, our house church relocated to the chaplain's house and suddenly things began to reform. I re-read Ephesians with new eyes, I began to discover the downfall of the early Bible translators who translated from the Latin instead of the Hebrew and Greek; we learned that all those times the KJV says 'forever and ever', it really should have said ' from eon to eon (that's time not eternity); we discovered prior to its creation by the Catholic church, there was no concept of Hell - and how early translators translated three different words into that one-most-four-letter-of-words; we discovered God had a plan and we were in it and how perfect God's love really is ... Maybe I should start explaining all of this ... and I'm sorry if I broke you're theology, but trust me, it'll feel better when we put it back together.