Saturday, December 31, 2005

Seasonal Thoughts [60+]

Christmas was good, and busy, and another learning experience. I haven't done a great job at relaxing this break, and not because I had no time to do it, but because I stayed up late almost every night. It takes 30 levels in WoW to realize that I need to ease up a little bit, and re-evalute what I am spending my time doing. I'm glad God is faithful, because a lot of the time I am not. So I am going to take a break from WoW until Jan 9th, when classes start again, and I can appropriately allocate time to it. I don't want to just drop it like before, because that doesn't teach me how to moderate my time. I am looking forward to the fact that Heather is in town from Jan till June for most of the week. We had a great day yesterday, and it was much needed. We went out to get dinner, and decided instead to go to Loblaws and get the chicken deal that I swore I would never do when I got older (its a family thing...). We watched a movie and read the word, and had a chance to actually relax together, which was pretty cool. I don't think I quite realized until last night how satisfying it is to simply talk, and share back and forth. A wonderful blessing. Gratz to Heather's sister Sarah. I still owe you a dunk in the snow Sar.

There are going to be a lot of tired people in church tomorrow :)

Keep studying folks!


Saturday, December 17, 2005


Matthew 9:29
And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" (NASB)

So I randomly flipped to this passage when I am supposed to be working on my paper. Today has been a little bit disfunctional for me, seeing as my family is getting together more frequently, and I crave that time over paper time. In any case, it has been a rough day spiritual. A rollercoaster I might say. But what you are reading is not contentually analyzed (as that word just proved). Instead it is the thoughts which popped out of my head when I opened (seemingly at random) to this verse. Lets see what happens.

For some brief context, this is a "legion" of demons embodying a man (or two) in the country of the Gadarenes. These are the demons of whom it is spoken: "They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way." (v28b).

But here is what struck me about what they said. They asked Jesus if He was there to torment them? My brain did a double take (which sort of hurt), and then I was like: "What is this? Jesus tormenting someone?

So I looked up the word torment in the original, and this is what I found, care of blueletterbible.

Basanidzo Strongs (928)

1) to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal

2) to question by applying torture

3) to torture

4) to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment

5) to be harassed, distressed

a) of those who at sea are struggling with a head wind

Here are where my thoughts went next. The most tormenting thing that could be done to anyone is for the presence of God to be removed from them. That in essence, is what the Lake of Fire is. But the ramifications of that are not very clear in my mind because I don't understand what it is like to not have that presence. This passage demonstrates how terrified the demons were of Jesus, and they were his enemies! This is also the fate of everyone who does not make much of Jesus. It is the fate of those who would rather be satisfied with worldly things, than with the glory of Christ, and how beautiful and awesome He is.

But to be honest, I don't feel very fond affection for Jesus. In my head I understand a small bit of who He is, and I understand a little of what He has done. But my heart isn't crying out with the longing and desire that I read of in the Bible in the lives of devoted men and women therein. Like Hannah, who desired with everything in her heart to be blessed of God. Or David, or Paul... The list goes on. Also, I don't see in my life the devotion and comittment to loving and glorifying God that I find in men of the past. Men like Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, David Brainerd, David Martin-Lloyd Jones, etc. I realize the puritans are a bit of a hot plate right now, but if you examine what they wrote, it blows your mind! These people have an appreciation of the magnitude of God's word, especially in verses like this one, which demonstrates God's holiness, justice, and wrath. He will torment people in the Lake of Fire. Torment them. And if that doesn't rip all the callouses off of my rough heart then I'm not sure what will.

I suppose in another sense of the word Jesus torments us as well. In the first definition, it talks about testing metals for purity. And right now that feels like a slap in the face. Today has been a test, and I have failed. God is tormenting me in that sense of the word, but for what purpose?


Am I faithful? When I sin, do I come back to Christ a ruined man because of what sin means to God? This is torment. My soul feels tormented about my sin, because I hate what it shows about me. That I can't do it. I cannot be righteous. Until that hits you, you will never appreciate Christ. Its not just in the head. I'm slowly starting to learn that. I know what I should do from a mental perspective, but what my heart truly desires to do is displayed in my actions. And that torments me. It burns the soul to feel the heart grow cold with callouses.

But oh how beautiful Christ becomes to the eyes. How marvelous is his righteousness when I realize that God sees Jesus' life when he looks at me. I don't have to feed the poor, or help my neighbour, or go to church, or wash feet, or any of those things. But I should want to, purely out of a love of Jesus. Do I really love Jesus? I say it alot. Do I love Jesus? It should show. Sin should be putrid to me. A vile raping of God's character in my heart and mind. But is that how I view it? Perhaps it is time for another analysis of how I view sin.

Philippians 4:8 -

Whatever is good, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about such things...

I'm still here, and my heart is a little bit warmer than before.
-the bard



busy is a word overused.
especially when family is around
to talk, distract,

time will smile that knowing smile
and the cokes will pile
upon my desk.

Don't wait for me, I'll be a little while;
Because Its a lonely road:
Deep in the heart of Africa,
and cold as ice.

I'll sit quietly by, but my mind has gone
to work it out.

The shining guardian waits ominously,
and time smiles that knowing smile.
I'll be dead soon enough.

-the bard 17/12/05