one tiny soapbox: July 2005
Home

Sunday, July 31

.clarity.

.to the 2 or 3 of you actually reading this blog: as stated previously, i welcome comments, suggestions and direct responses to items posted hereupon. however, please be aware that not all these comments, suggestions and direct responses will, in turn, be posted.

.also (and this may not matter so much): i think i see the need to drop my self-styled,
pseudo-poetic form of expression at times, and lapse into plain old "speech." why? well, I've seen already (from at least one of you 3 who visit) that anonymous responses can sometimes be written in an assumed style devised to match mine, resulting in an acquired cyber-persona through which things can be expressed that simply are not true. there's far too much of that happening on the Net; i won't allow it on this site.

.so, if it sometimes seems i've lost my "dialect," don't worry, it's intentional. (however, i'll probably never totally rid myself of the idioms of Historic Standard English...it's the language i inherited, and one i happen to like very much.)
Home

Tuesday, July 26

.dearest Mei:

.please forgive me, Mei, for i think your words have exposed my own presumption and inadequacy. it seems ~ by your own admission ~ you are searching for something that it is apparent i cannot do a great deal in helping you attain. perhaps this signifies my having reached the (very near) limits of my ability to offer you any substantial help. in future months and years, i may be better able to offer more succinctly diagnostic responses, but for now, i think that cannot be, at least to the extent you require.

.gently, i also remind you that this is, after all, a blog (and that others are welcome to offer their own responses to matters posted hereupon). i believe it very likely the help one in your frame of mind will most profit from is the one-to-one counsel of a Mature and Loving Pilgrim ~ with an unswerving and absolutely Biblio-centric perspective, ideally trained in Neuthetic counseling; a claim i cannot feign to make at this juncture, and would likely not be able to administer via computer if i could.

.humbly, i can only encourage you to "be being filled with the Spirit," for i'm convinced this is the surest path to fulfillment and mental stability prescribed in Scripture.

.since your reading of Scripture seems to be rewarded only with more questions, i strongly urge you to take some time and thoroughly review the links in the right-hand column, most of which are rich treasure-troves of Biblio-centric online literature written for the express purpose of helping to lift such a Fog. in light of potentially debilitating events in my own life, many of these resources have proven most encouraging to me and helpful in forming a clearer view of our Lord and what He offers in times of true need.
Home

From Mei...

Your hopes for my "understanding" are just that, hopes. However I don't remember asking for the "True Meaning of Life". I do recall that I typed being in seach of a "deeper" meaning or shall I say purpose for my life as it pertains to my current ministering. There is a burning inside of me that will not subside. A desire to learn Him more and share with others, the lessons He has taught me. I ask this question of you. Did you ask God for direction before answering the question, or did you type in your own thoughts on the situation I presented. (No need to respond to that, just a point to ponder.) You seem to be a pretty intellectual being and I "hope" that you will take a few moments to re-read my previous comments and again offer your thoughts.

The sheer delight of helping others is truly what motivates me to minister, however, what does that have to do with me feeling alone on this earth? It is in my rational that the two should go hand in hand. How hard it must be for one leader to follow and watch as others fall to the side. How lonely it must feel to be in a room full of unbelievers and believers alike, who choose, when and where they will serve and lift up God. I haven't seen any evidence in the Bible to support that leaders are not, at times alone. As a matter of fact, it is my belief that the Bible shows us leaders should take a crash course on being alone. Jesus, I believe showed us many times the importance of seperating ones self. I often find that it is when I am alone, that I hear God more clearly. However there are several instances in the Bible that one felt alone and inturn cried out to God and basically asked "Where are You?. (That is to say, did not "feel" Gods presence) Here's a thought, I have fallen to my knees, then to my face in front of thousand of people to worship my King, however I am ridiculed and made to feel lowly because of these actions. It is sometime in those moments I feel alone. I don't see why everyone in the room wouldn't bow down and worship Him the same as I. He is Glorious and Just. He is truly the reason why I sing. As a matter of fact, he is my song and before him I am humbled.

Thanks for the seeking for seekings sake advice, however that is not why I have come to your blog. Every great teacher, has been, at some point in life, a student. I have, however, at least come to the point where I am able to put away the sugar coated, carmel and whipped cream topped ideal I was raised with in reference to Who God Is and the "purpose" of ones life. This is where my search begins. Not for self discovery nor to lift up anything I've done in my life. All of which is smaller then a speck of dust.

Each page of biblical text I read leads to more questions. Again I say, the stuggles I deal with are not in the physical realm, but in the mental/spiritual.

Now again I pose this, My issue is learning to build my own mental stability so that I am better equipped to help others. I believe there is a process for this to take place. If you have re-read my first comment and hopefully you have, you will see that, that is the issue I presented to you.
Home

Thursday, July 21

¡a Sinner's song!

you, Oh King, delivered me from myself

you have snatched me up from the miry clay and degradation of my self-loving will

from the quagmire of human depravity, which is utter

you have delivered me from the quicksand of godlessness

from the death-clutches of it's downward spiral!

when i was fallen, when i was shamefully naked and base

you descended; you humiliated yourself by condescending to my lowly yet rightful place.

you came to purchase me in my banal nothingness,

you stooped low to retrieve me from my fittingly humble estate

you dredged the septic deep and culled me, the dross

you combed the barren places and scraped me up, the road kill

you plunged the depths of putrid waste and skimmed me, The Amheratz!

you traversed the span between Heaven and hell and hauled me in, the foul animal.

you, Great Master, deserve a praise that cannot be fully uttered, you deserve, Oh Sovereign, a gratitude that cannot be fully expressed!

oh, how i wish i could fully give you what is yours by right, could fully surrender to you what your inherent worthiness demands

how i wish i could even begin to lift up ~ in voice and in action ~ the full measure of worshipful thankfulness and appreciative praise that i will ever owe you.

and what i owe you ~ the height and depth and breadth of it, could not possibly be described in any volume of works, nor recorded in a universe of ledgers.

if i were to forsake all, then take ten thousand tongues and mouths and begin singing Your Praise, eternity times eternity times eternity would not nearly allow me enough time to meet my obligation of debt to you!

Home

Sunday, July 17

.ear tickle, anyone?

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."

~ Paul's 2nd Letter to Timotheus (ch. 4:3-4)

.just what is being desicribed here? well, in the extended context of our own time, he's describing those of us who crave the lying wonders of the "miracle-workers," "love-trumpeters" and "modern-day Prophets."

.with these, we must take extreme caution, lest we become fatally ensnared by those things they offer and for which our Dust so eagerly yearns...

be Watchful, and so be Well!
Home

Wednesday, July 13

.in response to Mei's comment:

.well, Mei, I’m 33, in process of being divorced by my wife, and have one young son. but, more importantly, i'm striving to be actively building up Fellow Pilgrims (Christians) in their “most Holy Faith” (Jude 1:20-21), by stimulating them to “love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24-25). in light of this all-important goal, i offer the following:

.you say you're a minister in your church's praise & worship and yet ‘in search of a deeper meaning’ for your life. this puzzles me. as you may know, a “minister” is someone who Serves or who attends to the Needs of others. what Needs does a minister of music seek to fulfill? is it to satiate the felt, emotional needs of the congregants? no; Pilgrims come together, not really to meet “felt” needs, but to build each other up in their knowledge of the Triune God. in the context of “worship”, this is typcially done by singing songs of rich and deep doctrinal significance. historically, Pilgrims have done this through the composing and singing of hymns, songs, and spiritual sings, brimming with Scriptural Truth. if this describes the “worship” at your church, Mei, than I would hope your understanding of the True Meaning of Life would already be quite extensive and need little improvement.

.you say you know you’re heading in the right direction, and have no regrets about the current flow of your life, but that you ‘feel completely alone and lost on earth.’ this puzzles me. in part because an inherent benefit and crucial motivation of being a minister is the sheer delight taken from the very act of service. also, because our Lord told us He would never leave nor forsake His own. who more could we possibly need, besides the great assembling of other Pilgrims to help us keep reminded of His perpetual omni-presence?

.i also wonder if you might not be caught up in the all-to-common Pursuit of some ultimate, individualized life purpose that can only be “discovered” after extensive spiritual seeking.

.if so, then beware, Mei, and do not be mistaken; as stated previously in this blog, there’s only one singular Purpose for which we were Created, and that is to glorify The King whose very words brought us and everything else into existence. the Height and End of all “spirituality” is and ever will be a correct knowledge of and obedience to The King…there is no deeper nor greater meaning in life than this.

.take care not to become engaged in seeking for seeking’s sake. seeking “something better,” some second, third or fourth blessing seems the thing to do, these days, but it’s all an empty and disillusioning pursuit, a waste of time for the true Pilgrim.

.there is no more valid direction, no greater quest, no higher pursuit, no more lofty goal than to be actively engaged in the learning of The King’s Will, His Word ~ with a progressive obedience attending thereto. and you, being in a unique position of helping others come to know, embrace, and rejoice in these life-giving Truths, ought to find contentment and fulfillment in this.
Home

Mei said...

I am seeking wisdom. I found your blog. Maybe you can help to point me in the right direction. Before I share with you, I'd like to get more of a background on you if possible. I will however tell you a bit more about myself. I'm 30, married, with 3 children. I am a minister in the praise and worship "department" of my church. I am in search of a deeper meaning for my life. I know I am heading the right direction, that is to say that I am not feeling regrets about how my life is going at this point, but I do however feel completely alone and lost on earth. My mental battles are tremendous and numerous and it seems like the more "right" I do the more things go wrong. Not in the physical realm, but in the spiritual. I know, I know thats where all great battles are won or lost, that's not my issue. My issue is building my own mental stability so that I am better equipped to help others. Any thoughts?
Home

Sunday, July 10

.the meaning of it all. (or: 'why i'm blogging')

.for some time, i've had a love-hate relationship with the idea of writing. i've desired to start doing it for quite a while, but have wrestled with the whole "time-intensiveness" and "costliness" of it. well, now i have virtually no excuse. thanks to the internet and no-cost web log publishing, it's now possible for even me to do it. what's more important, however, is that i think i have a burden to "put forth" for the Benefit of others. the thought is both frightful and thrilling. anyway, on to today's propounding...

.a confluence of factors ~ both easy and hard to articulate ~ have compelled me to proclaim the answer to the age-old question, 'what, exactly, is the meaning of life?' the answer is actually extremely simple, though it is consistently spurned by the fallen natural mind. to introduce the answer, i'll offer the following:

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

~ Paul's Letter to the early Colossian Pilgrims (ch. 1:16-30)
~ ~ ~
Nothing maketh a death-bed so uneasy and hard, as a life spent in the service of sin and lust; nothing maketh a death-bed so soft and sweet, as a life spent in the service of God and Christ.

~ Matthew Mead (1629 - 1699)

.the purpose of all life, my friend ~ both immediately and ultimately ~ is the worship and exaltation of the preeminent, most high King of kings! consequently, to the Professing Pilgrim, I offer this challenge (you who are not Pilgrims will find a challenge here, as well):

What an entire resignation wicked men make of themselves to their lusts! and shall we not do so to the Lord Christ? They give up themselves without reserve to the pleasures of sin; and shall we have our reserves in the service of God? They are altogether sinners; and shall not we be altogether saints? They run, and faint not, in the service of their lusts; and shall we faint and not run, in the service of Christ? Shall the servants of corruption have their ears bored to the door-posts of sin, in token of an entire and perpetual service; and shall we not give up ourselves to the Lord Christ, to be His for ever? Shall others make "a covenant with hell and death;" and shall we not "join ourselves to God in an everlasting covenant that cannot be forgotten?" Shall they make more pains to damn their souls, than we do to save ours? and make more speed to a place of vengeance, than we do to a crown of righteousness? Which do you judge best, to be saved everlastingly, or perish everlastingly? Which do you count the better master, God or the devil? Christ or your lusts? I know you will determine it on Christ's side. O then! when others serve their lusts with all their hearts, do you serve Christ with all your hearts. If the hearts of the sons of men be fully set in them to do evil, then much more let the hearts of the sons of God be fully set in them to do good.

~ Matthew Mead, The Almost Christian Exposed

.be fore-warned, with this blog, my intention is not to utter gripings, drivelings or milk-toast philosophizing. rather, i seek:

1) for Pilgrims, to help remind them of their rightful heritage, and;
2) for the rest, to provoke, if possible, the moment of their conversion...

~ be Watchful, and so be Well
Home

Tuesday, July 5

.my life 'til now...(short version)

.before July of 2004, i was a degenerate..those who know me may find that statement surprising (or, perhaps not); so, allow me to explain:

.from my early youth, i was raised in the “way of Holy Ghost.” as i grew older, i began to excel beyond most of my peers in the (rudimentary) knowledge of the Scriptural text. in our assembly, it was taught that a prayed prayer, accompanied by great conviction and an earnest commitment to holiness were essentially sufficient to obtain Salvation from sin. one made such a commitment to The King simply by accepting Him as “personal Savior.” to these, Faith is a power to be wielded by the faithful and believing to move The King’s hand, influencing the outcomes of circumstances to one’s own benefit and relief.

.it was also taught that one could “lose” one’s Salvation ~ or backslide ~ if a life of righteous behavior wasn’t rigorously maintained, so, periodically one was encouraged to renew one’s “commitment” to The King in order to make sure He didn’t catch one asleep or inactive in Faith…we were, in a word, ‘Arminian.’ strong emphasis was rightly placed upon maintaining an effort to grow in Scriptural knowledge, but the teaching of sound doctrine and application fell short.

.this church “orthodoxy” essentially asserted the following: get Saved (make a commitment to The King ~ because it’s the first priority ~ to ensure your entrance to Heaven; fire insurance). then at some point afterwards, come up to the next level (discipleship; where you actually strive to live in increasing obedience to The King's Commands). and along the way, be diligent in exercising your piece of sovereignty, as the disuse thereof may just jeopardize your position in the heavenlies.

.these concepts were essentially reiterated at my collegiate alma mater, where i was exposed to an assortment of wayward teachings, most of which taught pretty much the same thing about Salvation, namely that being Saved meant accepting The King’s “free” gift through making a commitment to live a new life. obedience to Scripture was mainly emphasized in abstract ways that seemed to say that as long as you spoke the language, knew what was right, and were working on the obedience thing, in whatever ways your personal convictions dictated (at least “struggling” with your sins), it was all good.

.fortunately, it was there that my confidence in the whole modern spirit-led movement quietly began to crumble. my brain was becoming over-saturated with countless un-Scriptural teachings, and I saw too many lives remain un-changed ~ including MY OWN. it was like becoming sick over an excess of sugar at a holiday desert party. i just got burnt out (though i couldn’t have articulated this fully, at the time).

.it was in spring of 2000, when a friend gave me a book by Hank Hanegraaff, that my disillusionment began finally to take shape, and became ultimately a quest for sound Scriptural exposition.

.up ‘til this point, i had experienced many emotional and mystical things i thought evidenced an early conversion, things somewhat common to professing Pilgrims born these last hundred years or so, like: remembering the time i responded to the alter call and “really meant it this time;” speaking in tongues; “dancing in the spirit;” a seemingly super-human ability to resist sexual temptations, etc., etc., etc.

.however, never had i demonstrated a genuine fear of The King and a sincere reverence of His Holy Writ. this crucial realization didn’t really dawn on me until a couple life-altering events occurred.

.first, my best friend abandoned me ~ that is: my wife left me. The significance of 6+ years together (and the fruit of a beautiful baby boy) all were thrown to the wind, because she convinced herself her marriage to me was one huge mistake.

.second, and just on the heels of that great tremor, came the Big Quake: a long-time friend loaned me a two part sermon series by fundamentalist preacher, John MacArthur, titled, ‘Salvation Survey.’ i listened to it, and for the first time in my entire life, i began to honestly and thoroughly examine myself, to take a good hard look inward and check the state of my soul ~ and the responsibility i bore for the state of my life.

.the scales fell, and i discovered that, despite having smartly worn the Pilgrim’s label all my adult life, there was a sheer and glaring absence of an actual hunger for and obedience to The Only True and Worthy King, the Triune God.

.it was at that point i knew ~ with total conviction ~ i needed once for all to confess and repent of my utter rebelliousness. subsequently, through a time of humbling and tearful prayer, in which i came to full terms with the thoroughness of my depraved human nature, i threw myself at The King’s mercy and begged His forgiveness. it was the only thing i could do.

.fortunately, my contrition was rewarded. though i deserve no credit for it, whatsoever.

.you see, before coming to The King, though i hardly realized it, i was pretty self-assured (read: PRIDEFUL) by my so-called Scriptural knowledge, and i fairly well lived out what i knew ~ or so i thought (like the rich young ruler). i looked down on others, comparing their apparent lack of righteousness to my own behavior and taking comfort in the contrasts, like the arrogant Pharisee who, glancing over at the tax collector praying nearby, thought himself more righteous than he. i knew that in most “theological” discussions, i could blow many folks away with my authentic Scriptural insight, sheer intellect and command of Standard English ~ and my ability to bluff well.

.but i had come to realize that i lacked any genuine desire to allow The Eternal Truths to penetrate my heart, expose my motives, and destroy my sin-laced thought patterns (which are many).

.it was these patterns of thought that proved my un-willingness to obey The King’s Will ~ as revealed in Scripture; His will for me to live a life of continual Spiritual and Truthful worship reflected in all i think, say, and do…His Will for me to be the true Leader and Provider in my home by not resisting or slacking in my responsibilities as husband and father…in a nutshell, His Will for me to OBEY. Period.

.now i am so very thankful that, through the aid of the Great Counselor, i have gladly been stripped of my own pride, self-righteousness and self-centeredness, and dressed in The King’s own Righteousness, with all the Riches that entails! and, with the deepest humility i can actually say ~ after all these years of just thinking i was a Pilgrim, Saved from the sting of death and the eternal pains of hell, as many do suppose of themselves ~ at long last i now have a Saving Faith in the Lord Christ Jesus, that I Love God and hate sin, and have an assurance of Salvation and Eternal Life, the price of which was completely paid by his Sacrifice, but which most assuredly comes to us only at a great cost.

.thanks to The Counselor’s illuminating work coupled with the teaching of sound, orthodox doctrine graciously afforded at the local assembly of Pilgrims, i’ve come to realize that a hunger to fully know the way of The King and desire to serve him with OBEDIENCE to His Written Revelation are indications of a heart truly regenerate.

.i’ve also learned that being a Pilgrim is not something we are just from the neck up; that is, in speech and theory, only. rather, it’s evidenced both by what we say and by how we respond to what The King has said.

~ ~ ~

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

~ the apostle Paul's Letter to the early Roman Pilgrims (ch. 1:16-32)

~ ~ ~

I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being Saved recognize this message as the very power of God. As the Scriptures say: ‘I will destroy human wisdom and DISCARD their most brilliant ideas.’

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never find Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe.

God's way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it's all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This "foolish" plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.”

~ Paul's 1st Letter to the early Corinthian Pilgrims (ch. 1:18-25)

ibcw © 2005-10