UNASHAMED (Romans 1:8-17)

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8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong– 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sister, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among the other Gentiles.

OBSERVATION #1: Mutual faith in the Gospel of Jesus should result in prayerful thanksgiving, encouragement, and evangelism.

–Paul uses the phrase, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ” to emphasize the point that Christ is the one and only mediator between us and God. Through Christ, God sends His love and forgiveness to us; through Christ, we send our thanks to God.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:8]

–The Roman Christians, at the Western world’s political power center, were highly visible. Fortunately, their reputation was excellent; their strong faith was making itself known around the world. When people talk about your congrigation or your denomination, what do they say? Are their comments accurate? Would you rather they noticed other features? What is the best way to get the public to recognize your faith?[Ibid]

–When you pray continually about a concern, don’t be surprised at how God answers. Paul prayed to visit Rome so he could teach the Christians there. When he finally arrived in Rome, it was as a prisoner (c.f. Acts 28:16). Paul prayed for a safe trip, and he did arrive safely–after getting arrested, slapped in the face, shipwrecked, and bitten by a poisonous snake. When we sincerely pray, God will answer–although in His timing and sometimes in ways we do not expect.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:9-10]

–A reading of the first few versus of Romans relates Paul’s ardent desire to visit Rome and the sovereign hand of God that had prevented him from getting there for quite some time. The combination of these two factors–Paul’s impassioned desire to go to Rome and God’s sovereign “no”–resulted in his sitting own to write this letter to the Romans. This letter is a powerful exposition of the Christian faith and has helped countless millions of believers across the centuries since Paul first penned it to the group of believers in Rome. Perhaps there are some “no’s” in our lives that God is planning to use greatly if we would just faithfully do what lies directly ahead of us instead of worrying about why we didn’t get our way.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:11-13]

–By the end of his third missionary journey, Paul had traveled through Syria, Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia. The churches in these areas were made up mostly of Gentile believers.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:13]

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. — Acts 2:42-47

–Recognizing the other believers as brothers and sisters in the family of God, the Christians in Jerusalem shared all they had so that all could benefit from God’s gifts. It is tempting–especially if we have material wealth–to cut ourselves off from one another, concerning ourselves with only our own interests, providing for and enjoying only our own little piece of the world. But as part of God’s spiritual family, it is our responsibility to help one another in every way possible. God’s family works best when its members work together.[Life Application Bible study notes, Acts 2:44]

–A healthy Christian community attracts people to Christ. The Jerusalem church’s zeal for worship and brotherly love was contagious. A healthy, loving church will grow in numbers. What are you doing to make your church the kind of plce that will attract others to Christ?[Life Application Bible study notes, Acts 2:47]

14I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

OBSERVATION #2: God’s power for salvation is veiled, in the seeming “weakness” of the Gospel.

–What was Paul’s obligation? Paul was referring to those of the Greek culture and those not of the Greek culture. “The wise and the foolish” refers to educated and uneducated people. After his experience with Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), Paul’s whole life was consumed with spreading the good news of salvation. Paul was obligated to Christ for being his Savior. He responded by proclaiming Christ’s salvation to all people–both Jews and gentiles, across all cultural, social, racial, and economic lines. We also are obligated to Christ because He took the punishment we deserve for our sins. Although we cannot repay Christ for all He has done, we can demonstrate our gratitude by showing His love to others.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:14]

–Paul was eager to preach the gospel. Is our Christian service done in a spirit of eagerness? Or do we serve out of habit, a feeling of obligation, or perhaps even with a feeling of reluctant duty (much like a child who has to take a bath)? When we fully understand what Christ has done for us and what He offers to others, we will be motivated to share the good news. Ask God to rekindle that fresh eager attitude that wants to obey Him and to tell others about Christ.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:15]

–Paul was not ashamed because his message was the gospel, the good news about Christ. It was a message of salvation, it had life-changing power, and it was for everyone. When you are tempted to be ashamed, remember what the gospel is all about. If you focus on God and on what God is doing in the world rather than on your own inadequacy, you won’t be ashamed or embarrassed.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:16]

–Why did the message go to the Jews first? They had been God’s special people for more than 2,000 years, ever since God chose Abraham and promised great blessings to his descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). God did not choose the Jews because they deserved to be chosen (Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 9:4-6) but because He wasnted to show His love and mercy to them, and through them His Messiah would come into the world. God chose them, not to play favorites, but so that they would tell the world about His plan of salvation. For centuries, the Jews had been learning about God by obeying His laws, keeping His festivals, and living according to His moral principles. Often they would forget God’s promises and laws; often they would have to be disciplined; but still they had a precious heritage of belief in the one true God. Of all the people on earth, the Jews should have been the most ready to welcome the Messiah and to understand His mission and message–and some of them did. Of course, the disciples and the great apostle Paul were faithful Jews who recognized in Jesus God’s most precious gift to the human race.[Ibid]

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. — 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

–Paul summarizes Isaiah 29:14 to emphasize a point Jesus often made: God’s way of thinking is not like the world’s way (normal human wisdom). And God offers eternal life, which the world can never give. We can sped a lifetime accumulating human wisdom and yet never learn how to have a personal relationship with God. We must come to the crucified and risen Christ to receive eternal life and the joy of a personal relationship with our Savior.[Life Application Bible study notes, 1 Corinthians 1:19]

–Many Jews considered the good news of Jesus Christ to be foolish, because they thought the Messiah would be a conquering king accompanied by signs and miracles. Jesus had not restored David’s throne as they expected. Besides, He was executed as a criminal, and how could a criminal be a savior. Greeks, too, considered the gospel foolish: They did not believe in a bodily resurrection, they did not see in Jesus the powerful characteristics of their mythological gods, and they thought no reputable person would be crucified. To them, death was defeat, not victory. The good news of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to many. Our society worships power, influence, and wealth. Jesus came as a humble, poor servant, and He offers His kingdom to those who have faith, not to those who do all kinds of good deeds to try to earn salvation. This looks foolish to the world, but Christ is the power of God, the only way we can be saved. Knowing Christ personally is the greatest wisdom anyone can have.[Life Application Bible study notes, 1 Corinthians 1:22-24]

–The message of Christ’s death for sins sounds foolish to those who don’t believe Death seems to be the end of the road, the ultimate weakness. But Jesus did not stay dead. His resurrection demonstrated His power even over death. And He will save us from eternal death and give us everlasting life if we trust Him as Savior and Lord. This sounds so simple that many people won’t accept it. They try other ways to obtain eternal life (being good, being wise, etc.). But all their attempts are futile. The “foolish” people who simply accept Christ’s offer are actually the wisest of all, because they alone will live eternally with God.[Life Application Bible study notes, 1 Corinthians 1:25]

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. — 2 Corinthians 4:3

–The gospel is open and revealed to everyone, except to those who refuse to believe. Satan is “the god of this age.” His work is to deceive, and he has blinded those who don’t believe in Christ. The allure of money, power, and pleasure blinds people to the light of Christ’s gospel. Those who reject Christ and prefer their own pursuits have unknowingly made Satan their god.[Life Application Bible study notes, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4]

17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

OBSERVATION: Faith is the means by which we receive eternal life.

–The gospel shows us both how righteous God is in His plan for us to be saved, and also how we may be made fit for eternal life. By trusting Christ, our relationship with God is made right. “From first to last,” God declares us to be righteous by faith and faith alone. Paul then quotes from Habakkuk 2:4 to show that as we trust God, we are saved; we have life both now and forever.[Life Application Bible study notes, Romans 1:17]

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — John 1:12

–All who welcome Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Christ, this new birth changes us from the inside out–rearranging our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes you physically alive and places you in your parents’ family. Being born of God makes you spiritually alive and puts you in God’s family. Have you asked Christ to make you a new person? This fresh start in life is available to all who believe in Christ.[Life Application Bible study notes, John 1:12-13]

For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9

–When someone gives you a gift, do you say, “That’s very nice–now how much do I owe you?” No, the appropriate response to a gift is, “Thank you.” Yet how often Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God. Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts, we should respond with gratitude, praise, and joy.[Life Application Bible study notes, Ephesians 2:8-9]

–We become Christians through God’s unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness, and not merely to please ourselves. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are not saved merely for our own benefit but to serve Christ and build up the church.[Life Application Bible study notes, Ephesians 2:8-10]

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, — Titus 3:5-6

–Paul summarizes what Christ does for us when He saves us. We move from a life full of sin to one where we are led by God’s Holy Spirit. All our sins, not merely some, are washed away. Washing refers to the water of baptism, which is a sign of salvation. In becoming a Christian, the believer acknowledges Christ as Lord and recognizes Christ’s saving work. We gain eternal life with all it’s treasures. We have renewal by the Holy Spirit, and He continually renews our hearts. None of this occurs because we earned or deserved it; it is all God’s gift.[Life Application Bible study notes, Titus 3:4-8]

–All three persons of the Trinity are mentioned in these verses because all three participate in the work of salvation. Based upon the redemptive work of His Son, the Father forgives us and sends the Holy Spirit to wash away our sins and continually renew us.[Life Application Bible study notes, Titus 3:4-6]

APPLICATION: Embrace an attitude of confidence about the Gospel’s power and share it without shame.

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12 STEPS FOR THE RECOVERING PHARISEE

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1) We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.

2) Have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.

3) Realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it.

4) Have decided that we don’t want to get what we deserve after all, and we don’t want anyone else to either.

5) Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.

6) Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.

7) Embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.

8) Are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.

9) Are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider others better than ourselves.

10) Embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.

11) Choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.

12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than everyone else.

[source]

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Good Friday Brain Droppings, 2020 Edition

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If Jesus’ demise is construed merely as a death — even as a painful, tortured death — the crucial point will be lost. Crucifixion was specifically designed to be the ultimate insult to personal dignity, the last word in humiliating and dehumanizing treatment. Degradation was the whole point.

Crucifixion as a means of execution in the Roman Empire had as its express purpose the elimination of victims from consideration as members of the human race. It cannot be said too strongly: that was its function. It was meant to indicate to all who might be toying with subversive ideas that crucified persons were not of the same species as either the executioners or the spectators and were therefore not only expendable but also deserving of ritualized extermination. Therefore, the mocking and jeering that accompanied crucifixion were not only allowed, they were part of the spectacle and were programmed into it. In a sense, crucifixion was a form of entertainment. Everyone understood that the specific role of the passersby was to exacerbate the dehumanization and degradation of the person who had been thus designated to be a spectacle. Crucifixion was cleverly designed — we might say diabolically designed — to be an almost theatrical enactment of the sadistic and inhumane impulses that lie within human beings. According to the Christian gospel, the Son of God voluntarily and purposefully absorbed all of that, drawing it into himself.

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Confession: I [HEART] SCIENCE

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i heart scienceIt’s no big secret that, as a young boy growing up, my parents raised me not only in the Christian faith, but also to have a love of science and intellectual pursuits. I was probably one of the few 7-year-olds that had an ongoing subscription to Discover Magazine. Even after embracing my Christian faith and pursuing further intellectual studies in the Scriptures and theology, I still maintained a strong interest in science and scientific thought, and never succumbed to the whole “fear of science” that many of my fellow believers seem to subscribe to. Even during my brief stint in a church that actively encouraged avoiding critical thinking, I never thought that my interest in science and logic was anathema to my faith.

Some ways of understanding Christianity do not see the scientific studies as an integral aspect of the faith. Many forms of Pietism, for example, hold that the Christian’s sole responsibility is to focus on a personal devotional life rather than to become preoccupied with intellectual issues. Others would suggest that Christianity is primarily a religion of salvation and that a concern with offering an explanation of our world does not feature prominently (if it features at all) in the New Testament. I remember, ten years ago, being told in one of those Evangelical Christian chat rooms, “The only important thing is winnin’ souls, so stop wastin’ time with all this intellectual mumbo-jumbo.” I still run into this sentiment today.

While I agree that Christianity does indeed encourage a “discipleship of the heart”, there is also an obligation to develop a “discipleship of the mind”, something that many other fellow believers either are ignorant of, or outright ignore. In Matthew 22, Jesus replied to a question posed by one of the Pharisees about which is the greatest commandment in the Law with, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (v.37). This view was certainly held by C.S. Lewis, whose personal journey from atheism to Christianity resulted from his judgement that Christianity offered a better vision of reality. Sir John Polkinghorne, Cambridge quantum physicist turned theologian, is another Christian thinker who believes meta-questions that arise from our scientific experience and understanding can point us beyond what science by itself can presume to speak about:

Religion — or rather theology — is, I think, the great integrating discipline. It takes the insights of science — doesn’t tell science what to think — but it takes science’s insights and understandings, it takes the insights of morality, takes the insights of aesthetics, the study of beauty. The wonderful order or pattern of the world that science discovers and rejoices in is a reflection, indeed, of the mind of the creator, whose will and purpose lie behind the world. Our moral intuitions, our intimations of God’s good and perfect will, our experiences of beauty, I believe, are sharing in the joy of the creator, the creation. You can soon see the gross inadequacy of thinking that science can tell you everything that you could possibly know.*

Mind you, I’m not an academic; my exploration of both science and theology is purely from a layman’s perspective. But, I have come to a place now that I don’t see my faith and science to be opposition to each other. If anything, I can see how they both can be very complimentary, in both my spiritual and intellectual growth. It has become, not a war between Christianity and Science, and more a dialogue between the two. Take that as you will.

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[*=”Sir John Polkinghorne on Science and Theology”, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, May 8, 1998]

And now a perspective from the Phoenix Preacher:

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We in the church are faced with both the greatest crisis and greatest opportunity of my lifetime. We have the opportunity to demonstrate to a culture that has rejected us what the love of God looks like in action. We can drop our temporal political and denominational differences and represent Christ in our homes and in our circles of influence. We can work together to share the Gospel and alleviate suffering.Maybe…maybe…this pandemic isn’t a leftist plot to take down Trump, but a God ordained opportunity to build us up in one, holy, faith…maybe…they will know us by our love…I’m praying…

phoenixpreacher.com, “Things I Think”, March 16, 2020

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What Does A Faithful Christian Response To The Corona Virus Crisis Look Like?

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plague doctorUse medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence or has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire which instead of consuming wood and straw devours life and body?

You ought to think this way: “Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.

If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.

If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God. – Martin Luther

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March 11, 2020: BRAIN DROPPINGS

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“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. (1 Kings 18:18-21)

When the Israelites elected to worship Baal, they didn’t do so with evil intent. On the contrary, they bargained that Baal would save lives because Baal was believed to have the power to bring about prosperity and fertility. Fealty to Baal was a kind of backup plan in case God didn’t work quickly enough, or satisfactory enough.

The Israelites thought they could have their Baal and their Yahweh, too. The Israelites’ assimilation of pagan beliefs and practices while placing too little faith in God’s provision and plan spurs the question: When does our faith in politics overtake our faith in God?

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MARCH 10, 2020: A Bit Of Goodness Tucked Out Of Sight…

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orb web spiderHuman beings are creatures made for joy. Against all evidence, we tell ourselves that grief and loneliness and despair are tragedies, unwelcome variations from the pleasure and calm and safety that in the right way of the world would form the firm ground of our being. In the fairy tale we tell ourselves, darkness holds nothing resembling a gift. What we feel always contains its own truth, but it is not the only truth, and darkness almost always harbors some bit of goodness tucked out of sight, waiting for an unexpected light to shine, to reveal it in its deepest hiding place. – Margaret Renkl, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss

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Confessions Of A Depressed Christian: Psalm 42

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As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (vs.1-2)

…and normally we all stop at the end of verse 2, there. Because, as bite-sized verses go, this one looks great as a bumper sticker, or on a tee-shirt, or put in with whatever inspirational “quiet-time” picture you’re posting to Insta-Twit-Face. It is seen as someone engaged in a passionate worship session. Indeed, one of the first worship songs I learned to play on guitar years and years ago for the youth group cribbed the first verse as its focus.

But, there’s more to this Psalm than just that. There’s this immediate passage:

My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (v.3)

…that tends to kicks the expectations of those seeking only life-affirming, positive happy thoughts from the Psalms right in the Olsteens.

This is a lament. Well, technically, this is listed as a maskil, which–after doing a quick Google search to make me sound all smart and stuff–I’m told is a Hebrew term that may mean a “contemplative poem” in this context, but scholars (i.e.–people who are way smarter than I am) aren’t entirely sure.

What I do know is that, this particular Psalm was written by the sons of Korah, descendants of the Levite that attempted a coup against Moses in Numbers chapter 16. These “sons of Korah” are a testament to GOD’s ongoing and powerful grace and mercy in not holding it against Korah’s sin against his decedents, as they remained faithful to GOD and served in His temple. But, that’s besides the point of this rambling article I started.

Let’s read the rest of the Psalm:
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (vs.4-11)

I can only imagine what was the writer of this Psalm was experiencing emotionally as he was penning these words. Personally, I can identify greatly with his words of anguish as he longs to seek the Lord, thirsty as we are of water, only to find feelings of abandonment, dark loneliness, suffering from what Martin Luther called “the dark night of the soul,” while his enemies and critics constantly mock him for continuing to seek after GOD, Who from their perspective, has completely abandoned him.

Some days…okay, some entire months it seems that the depression I suffer is soul-crushing, and I am alone in the pitch darkness. But, like this particular Psalmist, my lament always ends, despite all the hopelessness, the self-loathing, the pain of living, the suffocating darkness, with the admonition to “put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Not because it magically fixes everything I’m going through (far from it); instead, it’s really the only thing I can do.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul…

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Obligatory Pious-Sounding Lent Post, 2020 Edition

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Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. The beginning of what we devout types refer to as Lent, the six week period leading up to Easter. Basically, a time of fasting and abstinence from something that’s considered important to them. Sometimes it’s something obvious, like chocolate, or television, or even avoiding the internet somehow. Nowadays, swearing off the internet for 40 days is equal to, if not worse than, swearing off sex for a perpetual horn-dog. I wouldn’t know anything about that later part.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” That’s a question that I’ve come across with less frequency than back when I was in primary and high school. But it does pop up every year. I’ve never really participated in the abstinence part of Lent growing up, despite growing up in a Methodist-based family. Later, after I began my ongoing post-Evangelical wilderness wanderings, my answer would be, “I gave up Lent for Lent.” Ha ha, funny. Pause for laughter. Such wit.

Personally, this year I believe it would be beneficial for me to instead use the time to study the Scriptures, expand my knowledge through books and studies, instead of “giving something up.” I’m doing this all the time; I just want to focus more on this during the Lenten period, rather than distract myself with other pursuits. That’s not to say that I won’t take the time to take in a movie or actually do something to enjoy life. I’m not pious, you know.

For others, to give up something during this time of reflection on the ministry of Jesus, His road leading up to the cross, His death and resurrection, would be beneficial. For me, what I detailed is what I’m going to be focusing on mainly during the next 39 days. Everything I’ve already scheduled to be posted won’t be changed–I’d hate to disrupt the ongoing 366 Days Of Metal thing–but I’ll definitely get back to things after Easter Sunday. Cheers, all, and don’t overdo it on the Cadbury Eggs…

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