Sunday, May 29, 2016

Divine Masterpieces

No two blades of grass are the same.  No two butterflies, no two rocks, no two people, no two grains of sand are exactly the same.  Is there anything more astounding and apparent than that God, the Creator enjoys individuality?  What a glory!  What a hallmark and display of His character and abilities.  So, so much real, intricate, profound diversity!

And how obscene and ridiculous that a man or woman thinks it is in their purview to create or, worse yet, MANDATE "diversity".  As usual, the fallen, sin-racked megalomaniacal creature only ends up contriving through violence a banal and tedious, superficial commonality. 

Let God alone.  See what He has wrought.  Throughout the whole universe, from the microscopic to the vast, true variety is already everywhere!  And redounds to His glory.

Knowing this . . . we can witness and appreciate especially how every single soul is a spectacular work of matchless construction.  Oh what an extraordinary value you are!  You, with all your particulars are like a miracle even if nothing else existed--but all the more that you share existence with such a multiplicity of forms, functions, beauty, complexity all Divinely wrought. . . .

Every moment is a treasure-land of riches--every breath, every glance, every thought, deed and word is absolutely unique and produced ultimately by the hand of God.  Even in our ghastliness we are a wonder to behold.

And though we barely ever acknowledge or remember it--what a marvelous work we are, made in God's own "image"--yet God sustains us despite our forgetfulness, showering us with graces and blessings and existential riches, each one beyond measure, if we only had the eyes too see it.

So much is taken for granted.  But having only a sleight comprehension of the glory abounding in, by, through, all around us . . . we may still find the way to look upon God's creation and all His creatures, so that, rather than marginalize, disparage, condemn, we learn to appreciate and love in a foundational way His scattered and extensive masterpieces.

Every insect, every flower, each cloud, all the animals . . . the sky, the oceans, the mountain tops blaze with His extraordinary attention to detail and uniqueness--while furthermore, every single living soul that was, is, or will be represents a gem of His handiwork.  How dare we mistreat or demean or devalue a single individual.  There is a time and place for everything and a season for all, so that within our small frame of reference it may be necessary to oppose or correct or call out that which offends the character and image of God . . . but within the deeper level of our being, a tangible and effective love and awe and gratitude for all that He has made or allowed or decreed to be, ought be our core operating stance.  Meaning, we can disagree, fight, defend and even attack where such is appropriate and Godly, but we should and can maintain at the same time a deep reverence for God's purposes, where nothing and no one is a MISTAKE.  Every single person is integral and of value within the grand scheme of the Creator of the universe--of all beings, things and creatures.  YOU are integral!  There is really no insignificance to any part of it, from small to huge.  Nothing or no one is an accident or not meant to be.  All that exists bears the imprimatur of the Divine--the only One Who is not caused or created.  Nothing and no one is a waste.

Oh that we can bear a sense of this surrounding majesty throughout our days and moments here, knowing that God is not faraway or only negligibly involved.  He is everywhere.  His holy, glorious gilding runs through all; and wonder of wonders, we each are a part the masterpiece, indispensable and valued, regardless of how it appears to the dead or unconscious.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Surmises & Expectations

 A couple days ago I got the chance to do another show with Zeph.  It was a great, high spirited time (no "low-energy Jebs here!).

http://zephdaniel.podbean.com/e/better-pov-plus-bro-t-musical-journey/

We didn't get to the usual analysis and prognostication re upcoming events and I do have some thoughts on that, watching things develop.

I'm wondering now, if indeed, it is going to continue to go like I predicted it would waaaay back in the middle of George W Bush's reign.  He was still fairly popular at the time I first wrote that . . . I expected he would limp out of office, much maligned and unpopular . . . and that he would be followed by a hard left wing leader, a Marxist type.  I then said that there would be lots of civil unrest and possible terror attacks . . . which would then cause the people to deeply regret having elected him and then there would be an equally hard swing to the right--that the people would be crying out for a "strong man"; and that, unfortunately it wouldn't be the communist president, but instead the "right wing" leader who would establish martial law.  

I can now see how this might just be what happens.  If Trump does get elected . . . there will be civil protest, chaos, disruption like never before, I expect.  I can then well imagine that he does something like suspend the Constitution and forcefully try to restore law and order.

The only thing is, when I "look" ahead . . . I just don't see him there.  So I toggle back and forth between the other possibility I keep sensing (or perhaps just dreading) . . . where, something big, unexpected happens before the coming election, and some type of other arrangement is made.  A state of emergency pre-empts the election. . . .

In any case, I continue to expect that tptb will not allow a popular revolt against the tyrannical globalist status quo.  They will burn the whole thing down before they will see a genuine "democratic" revolution by the fed up, awakening masses. . . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How Rare, Walking The Walk

"It is the misfortune of kings that they scarcely ever do the good they have a mind to do; and through surprise, and the insinuations of flatterers, they often do the mischief they never intended."  --Fenelon

This is true, not just of kings, but of everyone.  This is always happening.  We have the best of intentions and yet, somehow find ourselves doing the thing we feared.  Just as Paul described.  Action is so important.  Again, it is easy to be a believer in the abstract, in theory, purely intellectually.  But putting belief, which is contrary to self and fallen nature, into ACTION . . . into relationship . . . is another thing altogether.  It is rarely done.  Talk is cheap.  Talking the talk is easy.  Walking The Walk is rare, priceless, a glory (to God) to behold.

But there is always an upside.  Failing so miserably and constantly . . . as we do . . . who would pursue that standard of perfection (as we are called to do) . . . provides the parallel constant opportunity to recognize one's inadequacies and be ever more grateful for the mercies of the Lord.  How merciful, gracious He is . . . "that He saved a wretch like me"!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Liftoff

Oy, it's been hectic--so much going on that I've got to attend to to get things off the ground.  I'm excited about one thing which I will give you dear folk here the inside scoop on.  I haven't released the info publicly yet as far as details . . . but my band got it's first gig and it's exactly where I wanted to play for our first show out . . . at Velour Music Gallery, the big music hot spot in Provo where I sang with Jackson that night on Jan. 11.  We will be playing on June 30th, which happens to be my wife's birthday as well (I'm thinking of singing Happy Birthday to her Bowie-style, lol she would hate that--the spotlight on her at the club haha)....

So, it's "liftoff" for Major Tom and the Moonboys!  I can use and value your prayers for all aspects as this venture ensues.

God bless and thank you.
bro,T

Friday, May 20, 2016

As It Is

Matt Slick came down to SLC to debate Shawn McCraney again, this time over a number of issues but especially the Trinity.  Watching the to and fro again it strikes me how . . . really it must be the Spirit that makes it so you can see the Truth.  Otherwise you are just left to your own subjective opinions and ideas, whims.  The foundation to everything is starting out UNDER God's sovereignty.  How does HE say it is in the first place?  What did He establish in His Word?  Whether I like it or not intellectually or emotionally . . . it is the way it is and it is only up to me to submit or not.  And even THAT is in His control.
But where Shawn and so many others go off the rails is that they start, not with God as sovereign, but with themselves as the judge.

He can't imagine a God, ie., that would eternally punish people.  Or that God chooses who He will for salvation--it's not up to the creature.  It doesn't seem "fair", "loving" . . . according to SHAWN'S sentiments.  If it doesn't fit Shawn's subjective opinion then he sets about finding a way to reinterpret it and concocting theories so that it does.

Once you do that, you are totally un-moored from objective Truth and now just operating in pure speculation, fantasy, hopes, fears, dreams.  You make a God in your own image and worship that.

Which is a disaster.  It is the source of ear-tickling preachers, teachers, promoters.  You become a "guru" and collect like-minded followers who also don't like God as He Is.  And all go over the cliff together.  So ominous, so dangerous. 

And what is so evident watching this over and over, not just from Shawn but from all who operate thus, is that it is so obvious that a person simply CAN NOT see the Truth of things UNLESS the Spirit reveals it.  Once He does reveal it, then all there is to do is humbly submit and perhaps say, "Ok, I don't understand or necessarily like it . . . but that's just the way it is.  I can spin off into self-referential fantasies of how I WISH it were . . . but instead I will humble myself and surrender my own preferences to the ONLY preferences that matter--God's."

And truly, this is where the Truth, rather than being oppressive . . . sets you free.  No longer are you there vying and arguing with Reality, with God, always at odds.  Now you are in His will and, since HE ALONE is totally free, you share in His freedom.  He is at the wheel.  He is in charge.  You are merely an adoring, awe-struck, grateful servant.
Praise God.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Crowns Of Glory

“The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.  --Francis Schaeffer

So often it is all too easy to keep spiritual truths only in the intellect and not put them into practical use.  It's easy to love and serve people in the abstract.  Especially people you like.  The challenge, of course, is loving, serving, respecting (that all are created in the image of God and are HIS creatures), people who are not so naturally lovable--who are opposed to you, who are different from you, abrasive, tactless, ignorant.  THAT is the real challenge . . . and where the rubber meets the road (rather than floating in theoretical space).

This does not mean pacifism or accepting sin, let alone celebrating it.  No, it is not so simple as to either flat out reject and abandon or throw in with. . . . The nuances of loving our neighbors as ourselves are sticky, often tedious, strenuous, burdensome. . . .  But this is where the real work lies--where crowns of glory derive from. . . .

Saturday, May 14, 2016

NOT a "cut above"!

I am so tired of the critical spirit..  Of carping and harping and gnawing negativity.  [Of course, here I must be critical and negative for a moment to make my point, but trust me, it's but for a moment and with no smugness].

But I find in my advancing age, I am (thank God) becoming one of those generally "loving" people.  I don't have a need to nag, criticize, put down, complain about . . . other people.  I still catch myself sometimes subconsciously feeling superior to another because they are "lost" or caught up in some ignorance and sin.  But I am quick and ruthless to put it down, recalling that THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD would I be.  I remind myself often that if I can see the Truth and know Christ is the only way to God, it is not because I'm smarter or better or more spiritual.  It is only because God has, in His sovereignty, deigned to retrieve me and open my eyes.  NOTHING I am or have done has warranted any benefit or entitlement or rank above another.

And when I look . . . I see others made in the image of God; God's creatures who He has made, for His perfect purposes and made to be as they are because they fit exactly into His good, holy, intricate, creative, glorifying plan.

I don't want to be a source of negativity and complaint to someone.  I want to be an encouragement. I take no pleasure in belittling, haranguing, putting down, eviscerating, correcting, condescending to, lambasting . . . especially as part of some secret, holier than thou combine, judging others, feeling grander than others. . . .

Instead, the Lord has imbued me with an increasing sense of empathy, compassion, tolerance, gentleness, peace-making, love, respect . . . toward others, because I don't see them as something alien or beneath God's creation, but as a part of who all He has made, fulfilling His majestic purposes.  Who am I that would stand outside of His creation, judging, attacking, criticizing, condescending, berating, back-biting, undermining. . . . Blech!  What foolishness and a repugnant state of being. . . .

This does not mean, of course, I throw in with the heathen, God-hating horde.  There is evil--plenty of it--active in the world.  There ARE enemies of God and His people.  There are ubiquitous agendas attempting to erase God and the Lord's disciples from the earth and I am forever at odds with them.

But there is a subtle difference, when approaching the issues in the world, between being in a place where, like God you "rain on the just and the unjust" and "love your enemies" "returning good for evil" . . . VERSUS operating from a self-righteous platform where you think YOU are smarter, better, holier--a cut above . . . based on some innate personal quality of your own which you take credit for.
And so, you are ever critical and putting others down as if YOU are the judge and sovereign of the universe, responsible for your "obvious" superiority.

It doesn't convert or entice the lost when you are lording over them, sniping and harping.  "This is the fruit of your Jesus?" they think.  Whereas, longsuffering, gentleness, love . . . really does win the day in the end.  Doing good to those that offend, abuse and use.  But, then again, it is only by God's gift and power that you can operate from such a place.  Again, no credit or sense of superiority can taken in just another, more subtle form of self-righteousness.  Broken, humble, grateful, giving God all the glory . . . is the way. . . .


Friday, May 13, 2016

More of God's Beauty

One more thing on these guys (Haugen and Towner) . . . what they just posted from the West Indies Four Seasons... I could do without the particular soundtrack they used . . . but it's amazing what can be done so quickly with a good drone camera.  Some more beautiful footage of God's beautiful creation...

http://ink361.com/app/users/ig-1732097168/haugencreative/photos/ig-1249238093008070323_1732097168

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jijivisha

Jijivisha means 'desire to live' Usually, it's a person who loves life and always has intense emotions going on within. He or she can go to any lengths to protect their loved ones and is very forgiving at heart.  "He has an amazing jijivisha (he has an amazing desire to live.)

I like this concept.  I can relate to it--especially lately. . . .

Jijivisha is also a stunning new short film created by Trevor Haugen & Jordan Towner.  Jordon was in my son Jackson's band Westward The Tide not too long ago.  He moved on to devote full time to his video-making profession, and oh my, these two young fellows out of Provo have done an impressive job.
On a wing and a prayer, they and their wives--no other crew--winged it over to the Far East and got some of the most incredible video footage I've seen in a while.   I think they are set to do some big, great visually creative work. . . . This "little" film is already garnering rave reviews.  The technology available is mind-blowing--what a couple of young fellow can do with it, wow.  I also just love seeing people being creative and daring in this ever so often dark, dreary, confused, destructive broader culture.

Here is the trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egjKTf4xg_4

And here is some fun and interesting behind-the-scene stuff their wive's took of the adventure.  Nice work guys!  This is God's world and I love to see all the different cultures and peoples He has made.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GzknPgOAvQ

Sunday, May 8, 2016

That He Is Who He Is. . . .

“He is ETERNAL, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change.
He is IMMUTABLE, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.
He is OMNISCIENT, which means that He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all spirit, all relationships, all events. He has no past and He has no future.
He IS, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.”  --Tozer

At the base of it all . . . I am ever astounded when I stop and think on God.  I cannot grasp it, the full reality of His Being--the I AM THAT I AM, yet there it is--there HE is.  He is that He is!  I am ever in awe that at the foundation of all things, of all that is . . . there is a living Being, a Personality . . . and then further, that God, the un-caused cause . . . is a Trinity.  There is relationship there, between "Father", "Son", "Holy Spirit"--three distinct Persons, yet all one essence, one God.

To my mortal mind it would seem that God could have been any type of thing or Being.  A force, an energy, some other abstract fundamental reality. . . . But that it turns out He is a personal Being, comprised of three distinct Persons . . . and that He is Good . . . and Love . . . well, it is all so profound, awe-some, awe-filling to my mind.

I can, even with my mortal mind, somewhat grasp how it is that the angels worship Him continually, so great is His majesty, beauty, power, profundity. . . .

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gratitude For Divine Preservation

Along the lines of my last post . . . I also, in a sense, don't think that anybody really changes much.  It is hard to describe how I see this because I'm not saying that people don't change.  We do . . . but it seems to me that it is more like . . . that it just happens.  I don't see that WE do anything to change ourselves, ie., for the better.  Mostly, my thought is . . . that we remain pretty much the same person we always were, but our circumstances change.  Often, when we assume or assert that we are "better" people than we use to be (ie., because of being more "Godly", more "regenerate")) . . . I'm not so sure that we actually are.  I think it is more like that God PRESERVES us more is all--protects us more . . . and keeps us out of situations where we would fall on our face just as swiftly as we did when we were "foolish".  If the right conditions are there, we would be just as dishonest, lustful, cowardly . . . or whatever else makes up our particular sin weak-spots--as we ever might have been . . . when we were silly, immature teenagers or self-centered, know-it-all, 20-something yr. olds. . . .

If we do actually change for the better, I suspect it is only in very, very tiny ways--not much of substance, though it may appear like a radical change; but only because God is preserving us from sullying ourselves by keeping certain people and/or situations or temptations far enough away that we don't instantly fall into them. . . . It is easy to delude ourselves that "my, aren't I doing well these days, keeping out of sin!"  When it is but God keeping it away from us. . . .

At the same time, it does seem true that we do not seek out sin in the way we once did, and this is a change, it would seem.  Then again, I'm not sure that any such difference in us is really very substantive.  Again, I would say that it is just God putting a hedge around our generally fallen proclivities so that the dastardly drive to sin that we have within is not constantly percolating as it once might have been.  It is still there, dormant, but the Lord has "sealed" it in effect.  It doesn't take long, if one DOES slip up (ie., God pulls back the hedge a bit) for a rare, stumbling sin, if repeated, to soon and once again become habitual and a real problem.

All I can say is that we are far more dependent on God--and ought be desperately grateful to Him, for all that He preserves us from . . . which we would otherwise fall into with gusto, according to our fallen natures.  Until the End, when we shall at last be safe, I tend to believe this is how it is for the whole of this mortal, corrupt life, in this world, at this time. . . .

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Ever-Clearing Vehicle

More and more, finding oneself acceding to the Way of the Spirit, the Way of Truth it becomes less and less about thinking what others "ought" to be doing, how the "should" be, how the world "ought" to be, what so-and-so "should" be doing . . . and instead is more about reveling in what is, was and will be.  The Word of God is not so much a dictate on rules to follow, "shoulds" and "ought to's" . . . but a record--a glorious revelation of what God is, what He has done, what He does and what He will do.
Paradoxically, when you out of "changing the world" business, the result is you become much more effective and integral to ACTUALLY "changing the world" instead of just thinking about it, theorizing, complaining, demanding, expecting. . . . When all your time is spent looking at and deriding, nagging about the state of things, you stay removed from ACTUALLY effecting the positive influence you are THEORETICALLY stipulating.  It is a complete shift of the way you engage with the world and reality.

Once you are increasingly out of the way, you become an ever-clearing vehicle/vessel for the Spirit's movements in and through the flesh.  As followers of The Master . . . we are not anti-reality.  We are not retiring, monastic ascetics hiding from the world.  We, like The Teacher, are right there in the world, His hands, His mouth, His feet, His heart and mind, shining Light wherever we go--blazing Truth and Godly love into a dark, robotic, dying gloom. . . .

Monday, May 2, 2016

Forsake Not The Spiritual Laboratory

"God does not do collectives?"  Uh . . . ever heard of the "Chosen PEOPLE"? 

"For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. "The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt"  --Deut. 7:6-8

I could provide numerous verses to show that God works collectively as well as individually.

God created nations.  (Gen. 10:1-11:26) 

But the point is kind of moot.  Jason didn't and does not say that God saves "Presbyterians" only.  That is not at all the point of the video. 

While I am not a "member" of a church currently I do agree with God that it is important not to  "neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."  --Heb. 10:25

Being a follower of Christ is not wholly an individual affair.  We are to "doers" not just "hearers".  "But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves."  --James 1:22  And sitting alone with your Bible under the tree does not provide much opportunity to put your belief into action.  It is when we are in relationships that we are tested and our professions challenged in action, not just in word.  We are to love God with all our hearts AND also one another.  Living alone, acting alone, retreated from others . . . is not what Jesus taught--this is what the Eastern religions teach. 

We are not to live in the abstract, but in the real world, in interaction, where our beliefs and faith can be put to use, honed, developed.  The visible "church" is a special, set apart gathering for this--a "spiritual laboratory", if you will, where we learn to love one another, bear each others' burdens, strengthen and encourage and check. . . .


Brother Thomas ©2015

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