Archive for the ‘By Design’ Category

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There are lots of voices in my ear with many words attempting to convince my mind to go this way or that. But God… with patience, will reveal the right path that i am to take as i enter into His presence. It will become absolutely clear!

It’s said that if i want to lead an orchestra i’ll have to turn my back on the crowd. If i want to orchestrate heavens symphony i must be willing to turn my back on the earth. Sometimes God allows me, His disciple, to separate from the crowds. It is a place where i go into my own wilderness so i can find Gods voice. This in spite of the fact that i may be standing in the middle of crowd of people.

It takes courage to believe in my own music, the symphony i hear, and to be faithful to write it out accurately so that others can hear it.

When i am true to the one thing that i alone was created to do, i am able to reach into an inner strength, a “knowing in my gut” that i am doing the right thing, even when nobody in my circle understands.

Here’s what i know… –i am DESIGNED for PURPOSE and DRIVEN by PASSION.

Designed: made or done intentionally; intended; planned.

Purpose: the reason for which something exists or is done, made,

Driven: to send, expel, or otherwise cause to move by force or compulsion.

Passion: any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling,

If i’m driven by purpose without passion my work will be mediocre and never the best. If i’m driven by passion without purpose, i’m a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. If driven by both, i am a creative force in God’s creation which is waiting to cooperate with me.

Steve Jobs lamented that in most people’s vocabularies “design” means veneer. “It’s a word used for interior decorating”…the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. “But to me,” Jobs said, “nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”  He said, “To design something you really have to get it! Be passionately committed to thoroughly understand something. The design of the Mac was not in how it looked…it was how it worked.”

i have at times, been guilty of paying way more attention to how i looked instead of how i worked, more specifically how i responded to God, His word and His call. A hospital delivery room is ugly – but the baby is beautiful.

i am officially turning my back on the unresolved issues of my past. The music i am about to conduct will change everything in my future.

Cristina Marrero “Normal is over rated, and so is spelling.You want perfection? Go out and buy a spell check, but know this: Spellcheck won’t keep you warm at night or love you unconditionally. I will stick to being abnormal and a bad speller. Makes life more interesting. After all, what fun is there in being normal or perfect?”

By Design – Not Forgotten!

Posted: February 24, 2011 in By Design

To change one’s life: 
         1. Start immediately. 
         2. Do it flamboyantly. 
         3. No exceptions.

The Sinner Calls Out To The Lord   16:28-31

Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life. Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down, took him, brought him up [to the tribe of Dan], and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. Thus he had judged Israel twenty years.

Samson cried out to God and said, “God, remember me.” No God this is ed remember me! Who did the forgetting? This should read, ed remembered God and He answered. God is not capable of forgetting us. God didn’t go away. He was right there. He just wanted Sampson to remember Him. Regardless of  how bad the situation is, all he wants is for us to remember Him. i think that God is always speaking to me and reaching out to me so i don’t have to look for Him, i just need to listen and recognize Him. Your name is ed.” “Yes, Lord.” Then ed let me strengthen you, “Lord, please strengthen me.” God honors that in spite of the fact that my motives are mixed, because God is still going to be praised in the midst of my sin. Samson wants to be strengthened so he can avenge himself on the Philistines who gouged out his eyes, but God says, “No. I’ll strengthen you so that I can fulfill what I began in your life–to begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines–and in spite of your sin I’m still going to keep my plan right on schedule.” Then Samson says, “Let me die with the Philistines,” and God says, “Yes, I’m going to do that. I’m not going to bail you out anymore.”

That’s the way i am in my flesh. my flesh has to die before there can be life. We read that Samson died, but he did more in his death than he did in his life.  When i die to my sinful nature more is accomplished through my new nature than could ever be accomplished through my old nature. Samson died physically that day, but he didn’t die spiritually. According to Hebrews 11:32, God sees him as a man of faith. As i read this over and over, and i say, “Man of faith, man of faith. If that’s a man of faith I don’t know what a man of faith is.” But what we know here is that God judges a man based on his heart, not his activities. God took Samson, and because he is in the presence of God, all his sins are forgiven in the same way that all my sins are forgiven. The only thing God is going to see in me in eternity is my life perfect. i am made perfect in Christ.

The warning, one more time: “If you do well, surely you will be accepted, but if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door and its desire is to master you, to consume you, to rule you. You must master it by depending on the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to keep you free from its power.”

“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

By Design – Clueless!

Posted: February 23, 2011 in By Design

Sin Is Crouching At The Door And Its Desire Is For You   16:18-20

When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hands. And she made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. The she began to afflict him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

This one sentence says so much, But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Born with a pre-call on his life and detailed directions as to how to live out his life, with the purpose of beginning the delivery of an entire nation, bailed out by God several times and He didn’t know that the Lord had departed from him. Seems to me he had everything i have searched for, but i can honestly say i know or maybe i perceive when God is with me and when He may not be. Could be my own guilt or condemnation that determines that in my mind?

Delilah was delighted! She, the weak one, had mastered the strong one. She had his hair shaved off, but his strength was not in his hair. His hair was a symbol of his dependence on the strength of God, so when his hair was shaved off his Nazirite vow and covenant were cut. Samson said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free,” but he didn’t know that the Lord had departed from him. When the Spirit of God moved him, there was no task, no matter how hard, he could not accomplish. But by his own resources he was as strong and as fearful as a loaf of bread.

His parents had warned him about the Philistine women, and God bailed him out. He set out on a road of personal vengeance and his own people captured him, but God bailed him out. He went into a harlot and almost was captured again, but God bailed him out. He went to Delilah and he had three chances to get out, but God did not bail him out because he said to Samson, “Excuse me, is that what you really want? Then you can have it.” That’s the wrath of God. Sometimes i get involved in sin and because there is no thunder and lightning, i think i have gotten away with something. God is just seeing what i really want. He bails me out for a period and then He doesn’t bail me out any more. He lets me have it.

God is a loving God and he will warn me through his Word, he will warn me through his Spirit, and he will warn me through friends. But if sin is what i want, i can have it. He is a loving God. He doesn’t produce puppets.

Sin Is Crouching At The Door   16:21-27 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes [those eyes that saw all those women. The first thing they go for is his eyes]; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains [right back to square one] and he was a grinder in the prison. However the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off. Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, [read this carefully] “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hands, Even the destroyer of our country, Who has slain many of us. ” It so happened when they were in high spirits [drunk as a hoot owl], that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars. Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there. [on the ground floor] And about 3,000 men and women were on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them.

The sin which was crouching at the door mastered Samson. The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; they bound him; they imprisoned him. All these are pictures of what happens when sin masters me. It blinds me, it binds me, it holds me captive and i can’t get free. Life is dead and boring. So the Philistines had a feast and they mocked my God, while they praised theirs. Is there any hope? Samson cries out to the Lord. Verses 28-31:

By Design – A Loaf of Bread!

Posted: February 21, 2011 in By Design

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” Albert Einstein

Now comes the third knock, with a little more pressure: Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair [look how close we’re getting now] with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web. And she fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.

Now he’s walking the razor’s edge. Why do i see how close to sin i can get? A small adjustment to the story and it’s not quite a lie yet it’s not the truth. Or how about  leaving out this detail or that which then leaves only a part of the story. I think i’m in charge, and i just keep getting closer and closer: “After all, God didn’t send any thunder and lightning when I was in Gaza. I got out of that one.”

Now the fourth knock, verse 15: Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.” And it came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death. [That’s the way his wife was, remember? She did the same thing. SIn has a way of getting to me. Finally she broke through. So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”

The “Love” word finally appears. She was right. How could he share his life with her? He was seeking to walk in fellowship with the Lord. What did he have in common with a prostitute?

How could he tell Delilah who he was? She would have laughed. It’s very embarrassing to be in sin and to be talking about Jesus Christ at the same time. It doesn’t compute. Samson was a Nazirite “By Design. He knew that he was called from the day of his birth to begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines “By Design”. He knew that his strength came from God, that his whole life was to be a walking demonstration of truth “By Design”. He knew that his hair was a sign of weakness but that out of weakness would come strength “By Design”. He knew that not to drink wine was to show that he could derive joy from the Spirit instead of wine “By Design”. He knew that not to go near a dead body was to show that he would never have to depend upon dead flesh for life “By Design.”

Proverbs 6:23-26, describes where Samson really ends up:

For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her catch you with her eyelids.
For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,

There he was, the judge of Israel, as a loaf of bread, hopelessly weak.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie

When a watch goes ill, it is not enough to move the hands; you must set the regulator.  When a man goes ill, it is not enough to alter his handiwork, you must regulate his heart.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

You would think Samson would be thankful that God bailed him out once again, but no. And as for me, well i am thankful for a time… the next time to be more precise. The next time for Samson wasn’t long: This time he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines [here they are again] came up to her, and said to her, “Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and how we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver. So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you.” PLEASEEEEEEEE, not again!

Sin makes no attempt to hide itself. It’s as bold as it can get. Samson opens the door and sin springs in again, this time with Delilah. It is not the power of sin that overwhelms me, but my own unwillingness to depend on the strength of the Lord to close the door of sin for me. Is  that right? It was not the power of sin that overwhelms me…, but my own unwillingness to depend on the strength of the Lord to close the door of sin for me. This takes the responsibility out of anyone elses hands and places it directly on me.

Delilah is able to open Samson’s physical door with a sexual relationship, but the enemy wants her to open his spiritual door in order to discover the secrets of his strength, and then kill him. Instead of force evil/sin uses deceit and a beautiful woman. Now it’s not entirely the enemies fault. Sampson and i are both given choice and the ability to say no. There is a series of four knocks on his spiritual door. Delilah got him physically (she got through the first door, she’s in the living room right now), and now she’s going to get into the inner secrets of his life. Look what happens, in four events.

The first knock is in verse 6: “Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you.”

She gives it away. “Hi, I’d like to bind you and then beat you to a pulp, so would you tell me what will make you weak so I can do that?”

And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” Then the lords of the Philistines [they’re standing right outside the window] brought up to her seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had men lying in wait in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the cords as a string of tow snaps when it touches fire. So his strength was not discovered.

Samson was playing with Delilah like a cat plays with a mouse. i can relate to this in this way. Jesus dealt with the enemy by speaking truth and when truth was not received by the enemy Jesus simply says, “Get behind me.” He didn’t toy with the enemy. If anyone could it would have been Jesus.

Now the second knock at his door: Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have deceived me and told me lies; now please tell me, how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes [he’s done that one before, remember?] which have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!”  For the men were lying in wait in the inner room. But he snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread.

Again, Samson leads Delilah on a wild goose chase. He’s actually enjoying this. And why not as his flesh is satisfied by Delilah.

In this, the late afternoon of my life, I wonder: am I casting a longer shadow or is my shadow casting a shorter me?  ~Robert Brault

By Design – See God I’m Good!

Posted: February 17, 2011 in By Design

You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough.  – William Blake

Just when i think i have it all worked out, the lion, so to speak, shows that he is crouching at my door just like Samson’s. Day after day he’s just waiting as if there’s nobody else he could wait for. For 20 years, waiting, waiting, waiting. All of a sudden, after all those years, that “lion” heard the door opening…  and got Samson with the prostitute! And the Philistines who never forget anything, where were they? They were right there. Only these are the sons of the fathers Samson killed. They had heard the story of how 20 years ago he had burned their fields and killed their fathers with the jawbone of a donkey and now they’re going to get him for that. They knew he was in town! And he thought he was just sneaking in, and that nobody saw him. But God says, “Little does he know.” The Philistines surround him and say, “We’re going to stay up all night and then we’re going to get him in the morning,” because the normal process was, go in to a hooker and then stay all night, have breakfast and go home.

But Samson woke up at midnight. (That’s not how it was supposed to worked.) He went whistling out to the gates of the city and looked around. All the Philistines are sound asleep and he says, “Aha, they never give up,” so he just picks up the city gates, made of iron, and the post to hold these two-story high iron gates, puts them on his back and walks 37 miles up to Mt. Hebron, up the mountain. Why did he do that, three reasons. One, he wanted to see if he still had his strength; two, he wanted to show the Philistines he still had his strength; or three, he felt so guilty he though he would do something good to make up for his sin. Ouch, i seem to do that. i seem to do real well for about three days after i sin. On Wednesday i ask God, “How am i doing?” God says, “What are you doing all that for? I forgave you when you asked me three days ago. What do you think this is, salvation by works? Samson was trying to help God forgive him. “See God, I’m good. I carried the gates all the way up the hill.” God says, “What am I gonna do now with a set of gates?”

If I am not pleased with myself, but should wish to be other than I am, why should I think highly of the influences which have made me what I am?  – John Lancaster Spalding

By Design – Messed Up?

Posted: February 16, 2011 in By Design

A kindergarten teacher was observing her students while they were drawing pictures, She occasionally walked around to see each child’s artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.” The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.” Without missing a beat or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”

i am just as quick to say basically the same thing, but then coming to realize that the picture that i have of God is not always who He actually is. In 2006 God told me to forget everything i knew about business, marketing, and church. He went on to say that i was to forget everything i thought i knew about Him as well. What i think God is or is not can be ohhhhhh so wrong.

I was talking about Sampson yesterday and i found myself asking, how he got to where he was. Was he “There?” Samson’s activity takes place during a time when God was punishing the Israelites, by giving them “into the hand of the Philistines”. An angel appears to Manoah, an Israelite and to his wife, who had been unable to conceive. The angel proclaims that the couple will soon have a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. The wife believed the angel, but her husband wasn’t present, at first, and wanted the heavenly messenger to return, asking that he himself could also receive instruction about the child that was going to be born.

Requirements were set up by the angel (abstain from wine or any fermented drink, do not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins, not even the seeds or skins. Next, was not to cut his hair for the length of the vow. Last, he was not to go near a dead body because that would make him ceremonially unclean. Even if a member of his immediate family died, he was not to go near the corpse.) that Manoah’s wife (as well as the child) were to abstain from. He was to be a “Nazirite” from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for a while could take a nazarite vow, which included things like the aforementioned as well as other stipulations. After the angel returned, Manoah soon prepared a sacrifice, but the Messenger would only allow it to be for God, touching his staff to it, miraculously engulfing it in flames. The angel then ascended up into the sky in the fire. This was such dramatic evidence as to the nature of the messenger, that Manoah feared for his life, as it has been said that no-one can live after seeing God; however, his wife soon convinced him that if God planned to slay them, he would never have revealed such things to them to begin with. In due time the son, Samson, is born; he is raised according to the provisions.

When he becomes a young adult, Samson leaves the hills of his people to see the cities of the Philistines. While there, Samson falls in love with a Philistine woman, overcoming the objections of his parents who do not know that “it is of the Lord”, he decides to marry. The intended marriage is actually part of God’s plan to strike at the Philistines. On the way to ask for the woman’s hand in marriage, Samson is attacked by a Lion and simply grabs it and rips it apart, as the spirit of God moves upon him, divinely empowering him. This so profoundly affects Samson that he just keeps it to himself as a secret. He continues on to the Philistine’s house, winning her hand in marriage. On his way to the wedding, Samson notices that bees have nested in the (DEAD) carcass of the lion and have made honey. He eats a handful of the honey and gives some to his parents. At the wedding-feast, Samson proposes that he tell a riddle to his thirty groomsmen (all Philistines); if they can solve it, he will give them thirty pieces of fine linen and garments. The riddle (“Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet”) is a veiled account of his second encounter with the lion (at which only he was present). The Philistines are infuriated by the riddle. The thirty groomsmen tell Samson’s new wife that they will burn her and her father’s household if she does not discover the answer to the riddle and tell it to them. At the urgent and tearful imploring of his bride, Samson tells her the solution, and she tells it to the thirty groomsmen.

Before sunset on the seventh day they said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.” He flies into a rage and kills thirty Philistines for their garments, which he gives his thirty groomsmen. Still in a rage, he returns to his father’s house and his bride is given to the best man as his wife. Her father refuses to allow him to see her and wishes to give Samson the younger sister. Samson attached torches to the tails of three hundred foxes, leaving the panicked beasts to run through the fields of the Philistines, burning all in their wake. The Philistines find out why Samson burned their crops and they burn Samson’s wife and father-in-law to death. In revenge, Samson slaughters many more Philistines, smiting them “hip and thigh”.

Samson then takes refuge in a cave. An army of Philistines went up and demanded from 3000 men of Judah to deliver them Samson. With Samson’s consent, they tie him with two new ropes and are about to hand him over to the Philistines when he breaks free. Using the jawbone of a donkey, he slays one thousand Philistines. This is where i picked up yesterday, but what a mess and i understand so much more now knowing the beginning. Seems to me Sampson repeated the same things over and over and it always involved a woman that his flesh was drawn to.

Spiritually, i like  Samson lose sight of my calling from God and gave up my greatest gifts, to please my flesh which captures my affections. In the end it cost Sampson his physical sight, his freedom, his dignity, and eventually his life. No doubt, as he sat in prison, eyeless and zapped of strength, Samson felt like a failure. 

At the end of his life, blind and humbled, Samson finally realized his utter dependence upon God. Amazing grace! He once was blind, but now could see. No matter how far i’ve fallen away from God, no matter how big i’ve failed, it’s never too late to humble myself and turn to my dependence on God. Ultimately, through his sacrificial death, Samson turned his miserable mistakes into victory. Let Samson’s example persuade me to “Be” different.



When one door closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Continuing my thoughts from yesterday i read one verse up and one verse down and wouldn’t you know it, insight shows up. Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.  The verse begins with a conditional statement. For if… Webster’s says, if: (in case that, supposing that, on condition that, uncertain possibility, requirement, or stipulation). i have been united: (to join, combine, or incorporate, cause to adhere, to have a common opinion or attitude.) with Him in a death like this. And there it is, a death like this. i am not sure that i want to experience “a death like this” and thus the answer as to why i probably do not experience the joy of  life more abundant.

Remember Samson, a judge of Israel, he needed to hear these words and heed them. Certainly he knew them, for he had the law, he had the first five books of Moses, yet he allowed the sins of disobedience and deceit towards his parents, dissension at his wedding feast, and fits of rage and personal revenge against the Philistines to control him. He allowed all of those sins to spring on him and to bring him to a place where he was held captive by his own people, and it was only the grace of God that bailed him out. By that grace he walked with the Lord for 20 years as a judge of Israel, and the Israelites experienced peace, prosperity and power.

Sampson is not someone i have purposed to pattern my life after, nor have i desired the call on his life. Actually i have never really looked at his life as a whole, that Delilah thing…. well, i don’t know why, but it would appear that God desires for me to look at his life now. i can tell you right up front that while i do not desire to mirror his life… well it probably does more than i care to admit.

In Judges, chapter 16, Samson has been walking with the Lord for 20 years (he’s now 39 or 40 years old), he has been choosing the right way to live, he has been depending on the Spirit of God to give him wisdom and judgment. But once again, sin is crouching at his door; its desire is to master him, but he must master it or it will consume him. So here he is, 40 years old, unmarried, a judge of Israel, a man who has helped bring peace and prosperity through the power of the Lord to Israel, and where does he go? To Gaza, one of the five major cities of the Philistines, about 35 miles from his home town. As he’s going down south to the Mediterranean coast, he has time to make a choice. You can hear the Lord saying, “Where are you going, Samson?” “I’m just going down the road, Lord.” “I know, but what are you thinking of doing down the road? That’s not part of our territory.” “I’m just gonna check in on the enemy, Lord.” “What kind of enemy?” “Anything I see; anybody I see. I’ll just check the fortresses. I’ll check to see if they’re still afraid of me. I’ll just walk around the city. I don’t mean any harm, Lord.”  i have conversations just like that. But sin, a hooker is crouching at his door.

In the freedom of his spirit, Samson is allowed to go to Gaza, but he has the Holy Spirit within him so no matter where he goes he doesn’t have to have sin crash in on him. He has power available. He can be in the world but not of the world because of the indwelling Holy Spirit. He doesn’t have to worry, because, “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)  But he forgets that. He sees a hooker and goes in to her.

This particular episode which took place 20 years later in Samson’s life, reveals that the old nature, that sinful nature that is supposed to be dead because of Jesus Christ, never gets better.  It is the same old nature.  I do things at times that are exactly the same as what I did when I was 14 years old. And I say, “i can’t believe i did that! When I was 14 I did that.” The same old, same old; nothing changes. When I was 17, the same old problems arose because I allowed them to crash through my door. Samson probably thought, because he was walking with the Lord, “Lord, why don’t you stay up with the tribe of Benjamin. I’ll take care of this one.”

The title is somewhat decieving. i am not convinced nor even close to believing that Sampson experienced a death like this as described in Romans 6. Even though i am made in His image and likeness i must depend on the provision of grace which is the Holy Spirit within me. How sad the possibility of this quote being truth for anyone. But without God all that would be left is the big scary unknown. God is not unknown and He is not scary and  as for big that doesn’t begin to describe Him.

“People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.” Chuck Palahniuk

 

By Design – Thief or I AM

Posted: February 14, 2011 in By Design

“Never solve a problem from its original perspective. Charles Thompson

Jesus said in John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

This is another piece of the puzzle to being made by design. Jesus came that ed may have and enjoy life… and… have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). i like the sound of that, but, so many things to consider. i say the following with all humility. The casual observer would probably think my spiritual life is anything but lacking. i assure you they couldn’t be more wrong. Just ask my wife. By outward appearances my spiritual life is pretty much together but inward it’s sometimes a mess. This all goes back to my very first posts where i shared that my outward collapses take place because my inward experiences cannot sustain them. Yet those posts and right up to today all lead to one single concept, that i am made “By Design” in the image and likeness of I AM.

It’s when i read a verse like John 10:10 that things get… complicated? i am fully aware that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. So why do i leave things out for him to do just that? Why don’t i lock up my valuables and protect them? When i leave my car i lock the doors. When i go away on vacation i lock the house. And more recently when i leave Onething i lock my file cabinet and my desk drawers. By virtue that i lock those things i am declaring that there is something of value that i need to protect. i don’t want anyone taking what belongs to me. But the enemy… well that seems to be a different story.

my soul… my mind, my will, my emotions, my words, my actions, my integrity, my humility, my beliefs, are all left out in the open for the enemy to come and steal them or kill them and even destroy them. In the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4), we read that Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer, and that there came a day when they made an offering to the Lord. Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain’s was rejected. The reason why is not important at this moment, but as Cain sat there, angry and depressed, God appeared to him and said, “Why are you angry and depressed? For if you do well you will not be so.” He then gave Cain a warning, saying, “If you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door; and its desire is to master you, but you must master it.” Cain didn’t listen to the Lord. The sin of anger mastered him, and he killed his brother.

i am not on the verge of killing anyone (today at least) but there is no comfort in that. Sin is sin! i know the truth and i am quite capable of discerning sin. i’m not boasting about that because that incriminates me. Grace provides me with the Holy Spirit, who gives me the power to master sin. When i sin now it’s because i want to, not because i have to. i am fully aware that power is available to close the door to sin in my physical life, in my emotional life, in my intellectual life and in my spiritual life. There is enough power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to hold the door shut against sin, so that sin will not pounce on me, it will not consume me, it will not master me, it will not reign supreme.

This same idea is picked up by Paul in Romans 6, where he says: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

By Design even after the fall in Eden, a new life… that i may enjoy, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Walt Emerson

By Design – Literall and Figurative

Posted: February 11, 2011 in By Design

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” Ann Landers

 Tilling and tending can be applied both literally and figuratively. Adam and Eve have to remove the thorns and thistles that sprout in their fields if they are to cultivate their crops successfully (Gen. 3:18). For me today, many of the dilemmas, thorns and thistles that i face are of my own making. This applies to care of the earth as well as care of my relationships. The damage i have done to both have lasting consequences for generations. i must tend to these problems and repair the damage done as best i can, lest i end up disobeying God’s command to care for the earth and my relationships.

Tending also refers to the repair of social injustices and the restoration of fundamental fairness to society when it is lacking. When God punished but did not destroy Adam and Eve, he was modeling the compassion and justice that i should have incorporated into my life. i have a duty to use reasonable methods to pull the weeds of social injustice where ever they exist.  i have been given the capability to till and tend the earth on an individual level, so too has He given me the aptitude to cooperate and make use of my skills to develop and repair the entire earth.

i somehow get the idea that God was most concerned about the relationship change between man, woman and Himself. i remember the first time my daughter was disobedient and that disobedience turned into rebellion. Reminds me of James 1:12 – 15 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. Adam, Eve and myself way to often are not patient and i fail to stand up under the temptation and as a result i do not receive the victor’s crown of life. i settle for less than my potential. Sometimes i find others to blame and once in a while i blame God Himself.

13Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).

i have seen this in me many times. i am tempted to respond to someone or something according to my own desire and then it grows and becomes more than i ever intended it to be.

15Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.

Obviously it has not resulted in a physical death for me but i think much like Adam and Eve it’s a spiritual death, a relationship death and many things have become more difficult for me as a result of those times of death. It appears to me that my words that out of a revelation of relationship with the Father will come a correct response are correct. So when i find myself sitting outside the garden or while my crops are being over run with thorns and thistles i must realize that there was obviously no revelation of my relationship with Him and thus there was not a correct response.

It is by design that i have authority. It is by design that i have dominion. my design is not a visitation but a habitation of that image and likeness. i imagine that words like these that follow would come from a walk with the Father in the garden.

I dreamed I was taking a walk with my Lord,
The One I’d been longing to see,
The same caring Saviour whose bride I’d become,
Who’d suffered and died just for me.

We walked hand in hand by the smooth, crystal shore
Through daisy-filled meadows in bloom,
I glanced at His profile, so chiseled and fair,
How tender the face of my groom!

We stood by the water, his hand gripping mine,
I felt I’d been floating on air.
I turned his hand over with palm facing up,
And asked, “Is my name written there?”

So, guiding my finger, He came to a spot
That was shaped like the point of a nail.
The skin all around it was perfect and clear
But this spot was thicker and pale.

I ran my forefinger across what had been
A very deep hole in His palm.
I instantly knew I was touching The Scar
Though I tried to remain very calm.

“The names of all those who have trusted in Me
Are found ‘neath this scar in My hand.
My blood that was spilled there has covered their names
In a way that you can’t understand.

“The spike that was driven had left a deep hole
That grieved my dear Father above.
God placed the saints’ names in that raw, tender place
Then applied a scar tissue of love.”

I lifted His palm to my quivering lips
And I kissed the scar covering my name.
I knew from the tears that spilled down from my face 
That I never would be quite the same.

“If it was necessary to tolerate in other people everything that one permits oneself, life would be unbearable.” Georges Courteline