Friday, February 18, 2011

a Must Have translation for every household.

the 26 Translation

the Green Bible, an "Ecco-friendly" version of our scriptures

This will be a great bible for Santa Cruzians: the Green Bible.

I found a great compilation of quotes in this "unique" book in the Teachings on "Creation throughout the Ages" section, enjoy!

I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter….Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me.
                                                                                    (John of Damascus, On the Divine Images 1:16)

Wherever I turn my eyes, around on Earth or to the heavens
I see You in the field of stars
I see You in the yield of the land
In every breath and sound, a blade of grass, a simple flower,
An echo of Your holy Name.
(Abraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167)

All creatures of ou God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing….
O brother wind, air, clouds, and rain, by which all creature ye sustain…
O sister water, flowing clear, make music for thy Lord to hear….
Dear mother earth, who day by day unfoldest blessings on our day….
O praise ye! Alleluia!
Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Thou art in small things great, not small in any….For thou art infinite in one and all.
George Herbert (1593-1633), “Providence”

All created things are living in the hand of God. The senses see only the action of the creatures, but faith sees in everything the action of God.
Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul
Alexander Pope (1688-1744), An Essay on Man

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
George Washington Carver (ca. 1864-1943)


The Green Bible will equip and encourage people to see God’s vision for creation and help them engage in the work of healing and sustaining the environment.  This first Bible of its kind will include the following distinctive features:
  • Green-Letter Edition: Verses and passages that speak to God’s care for creation highlighted in green.
  • Contributions by Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, N. T. Wright, Desmond Tutu, and many others.
  • An introduction to reading the Bible and the Old and New Testaments through a “green” lens, including what Jesus had to say about the environment.
  • A green Bible index and personal study guide.
  • Recycled paper, using soy-based ink with a cotton/linen cover.

Boys: Created to remind every mother to let go and trust God!

by Lily Crowder

Boys: Created to remind every mother to let go and trust God!
 I know a dear friend with six boys! No girls! They are a tribe of vivacious, hungry, wild, tender, precious boys from the ages of thirteen down to one. Can you picture their home? The smells? The sights? The toilet? They are all disciplined polite, loving but non- the –less, boys.

As a mother of two boys, who are kinetic daredevils to the core, I am constantly holding my breath or closing my eyes at their latest stunt.  I heard one woman joke by saying, “ raising boys is like riding a roller-coaster upside down, backwards in the dark.” If you are a mother of a boy you can probably relate to that analogy, in one way or another. Even the mellow, tame male-child is full of wonderful unpredictability.

The amount of high surfaces my boys have jumped off of, sharp objects they have ran with, dirty things they have touched and then ate, I would have to say that it is a miracle that they are alive at the end of each day! I used to joke when my boys were toddlers by saying, “every day my main goal is to keep my boys alive.” It was a funny statement by true!

By the time my eldest son could crawl he could move faster than a Pink Floyd laser show, this way and that faster than lightning, I bet with all my running after him I was probably thinner then. In addition to his great speed on all fours was the fact that everything went into his mouth, he was always chewing on something random, I would cringe at the foreign mystery objects I would retrieve from his mouth. One day we discovered that his normal breathing pattern sounded like a squeak, rather than a smooth breath, he sounded like a squeaker toy! When we took him in to have him examined and x-rayed they found a small rock logged in his bronchial tube and centimeters away from blocking his windpipe! He had put the rock in his mouth and had somehow exasperated it into his bronchial tube, causing the mysterious squeaking sound. He had emergency surgery and we have now have the small rock in his baby book titled,  “the six thousand dollar rock.”

Our boys have become a reminder that even out of the womb, in their toddler years, through their adolescences and into their manhood, their safety and well being is out of our control.  In fact, every aspect of their lives is ultimately out of our control. I have observed my own mother and other mothers with their sons as they grow up, you can see the constant tension and release, as she has to let him go.  There is nothing worse than a mom who tries to micro-manage her son, she is meant to let him go and he is meant to be free.

“Lift up your eyes on high and see! Who has created these? He Who brings out their host by number and calls them all by name; through the greatness of His might and because He is strong in power, not one is missing or lacks anything.” ( Isaiah 40:26 AMP)

A mother is constantly in a state of remembering who is in control.

The need for us to acknowledge God’s Soveirngty and Grace over our children and the Holy Spirits ability to lead you as you parent becomes the most essential ingredient in every season of our children’s lives and in our calling as parents.  It is with an expectation that their creator only has the best in mind for His creation that we find rest as parents.  I don’t hand my kids over to God (who were never mine to begin with) and think, “well, I hope it works out!”  I am confident that the same Love that worked for me will work for them. His love overcame all of my parent’s mistakes and shortcomings raising me, as well as all my mistakes and shortcomings raising my children.  I can pray for wisdom and guidance in every step of my parenting, and it is good to do so, but all confidence is ultimately resting on His hand in our lives. We may be compelled as parents to love, protect, instruct, encourage and nurture our children.  But there is a hand’s down agreement that the end result in every area of their lives is reliant on the Grace and sovereignty of God. 

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.  (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

winter photo journaling, in no particular order

I love Jonas' sense of style.  He loves to put on this cool hat and his fingerless-gloves ( he requested for Christmas ) when we go downtown.  He is his own person and I love who he is.
 Nova has a style of her own as well, she always has flare and never ventures down-town without a purse packed to the brim with crumpled up dollars, lip balm, some toys, jewelery and on this occasion you can see her brush attached at the top by a hook.  When I asked why her brush was attached at the top of her purse by a hook she said, "you never know when you will need to brush your hair when you go out."  Nova is her own person as well. 
Pictured here our the "86 stairs" leading up to Depot Hill above the Capitola Village.  I grew up down the street from these stairs and enjoyed running them to stay in shape, they are a butt killer and I hope to visit them more often this year for optimal lifting results.

Ezekiel looses his long locks, he feels so proud of his new hair-cut. 
gorgeous plum tree in bloom in our front yard.

Visiting the snow in Bear Valley. 
Board games become a favorite family-time activity during the winter months.  Something about playing a board-game together brings out our character types.  After a long game of Monopoly I have discovered that by far the most competitive of the Crowder's is John  and Maile ( they are usually the most intense and focused in the group).  John takes more risks in his winning strategy and Maile is a bit more cautious, but they are in it to win it!
Jonas loves to win but not at the expense of others.  He is very encouraging to his loosing opponents and never laughs at their misfortune.  He is pretty focused though and will surprise us with either missing the the plot completely or hitting it right on target.  His mellow personality is quit hard to read and he has the best poker face.
Nova is more concerned with the relational bonding of the group rather than winning the game, sometimes she just wants to assist you as a team-mate but then feels bad about being partial to one family member, so she will rotate between mom, then Dad, them Maile and Jonas helping us and supplying us with water and snacks.  

Ezekiel, well he is still little for a lot of the games and he is an "all-or-nothing" type of guy so he finds a game on the i-phone to play or visits the game to "distract" once and a while.  He loves it when we play Charades though and his acting skills are amazing and send us rolling!  He is by far the most theatrical and witty Crowder.

Now for Mom.  Well I am a bit "spacey" by nature so getting me to focus for long periods of time is a challenge.  I am constantly hearing the kids say " mom, focus, it is your turn!"  I have never been competitive so I am cool with not winning usually but if I push through my "ADD" tendencies I can beat the best of them:)

We have had amazing January weather this year.  It even got up to 75* one weekend.  Here we are at the Hook in Pleasure point during a minus tide enjoying the sea anemones, star fish and unusually numerous army of hermit crabs ( one of the many aspects that make growing up in Santa Cruz so awesome .)  I have great memories of tide-polling as a little girl, sticking my fingers into the center of a sea anemone and as it sucks it in or putting a bit of pressure on them so the squirt you.  It is Science at it's finest!
Jonas and Maile learned to snow-board and I road the mountain for the first time in 10 years.  The kids loved it and learned fast and I felt like I had never stopped, it was second nature. One of my favorite sports.

This is my "happy-place"  When I can break away from life for an hour I love to come to the Henry Cowell Redwoods, which is 3 short minutes from our house in Felton. I run on the trails and pray and always experience rejuvenation and a clear head, I could spend hours there.  I am so grateful to be living in this area again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Case for Divine Complacency. Fully Satisfied in the Finished Work

A Case for Divine Complacency
Fully Satisfied in the Finished Work
The word “complacency” gets quite the bad rap in the church today. But I would encourage you to kick back, recline at the table and enjoy the feast as we consider the complete satisfaction Christ has provided to the believer.
Old puritan preachers and many classic revivalists were strong proponents of divine contentment – when you read the words of Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards and others, the term complacency was used often. It was considered a virtue.
Edwards wrote, “Since I came to this town [Northampton], I have often had sweet complacency in God in views of his glorious perfections, and the excellency of Jesus Christ. God has appeared to me, a glorious and lovely being chiefly on account of his holiness. The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most lovely of all his attributes.”[i]

R.C. Sproul points to Edwards’ use of the word complacency in its basic Oxford Dictionary definition as, “the fact or state of being pleased with a thing or person; tranquil pleasure or satisfaction in something or some one.” Adds Sproul, “I labor the earlier English usage of the word complacency because it is used in a crucial manner in the language of historic, orthodox theology.” Sproul writes:

If we take note of Edwards’ language, his choice of words to describe his enraptured delight in the glory of God, we observe his accent on the sweetness, loveliness, and excellence of God. He reports of enjoying a “sweet complacency” in God. What does he mean? Is not the term complacency a word we use to describe a certain smugness, a resting on one’s laurels, a sort of lazy inertia that attends a superficial sort of satisfaction? Perhaps. But here we see a vivid example of how words sometimes change their import over time.

What Edwards meant by a “sweet complacency” had nothing to do with a contemporary dose of smugness. Rather, it had to do with a sense of pleasure. This “pleasure” is not to be understood in a crass hedonistic, or sensual, sense but rather a delight in that which is supremely pleasing to the soul.[ii]

The Key to Contentment

Holy complacency is all about being satisfied in the divine pleasures of God.

They will be intoxicated with the fatness of your house, and you will give them drink from the wadi of your delights, because with you is life's fountain; in your light we shall see light (Ps. 36:8, Septuagint).

In writing to the Philippian church, Paul urges them to be anxious about nothing (Phil. 4:6) and presents himself as an example of a man who has learned to be content in times of plenty and in seasons of external lack (Phil. 4:11-13). How did Paul muster up this contentment?

Traditional religionists will strive for the annihilation of desire. But that is both gnostic and existential – okay for a buddhist but not a Christian. Paul did not learn to desire “less,” so he could be content with less. In fact, the apostle’s appetites were hot and furious – not lessened. But fulfillment to those desires came neither through worldly ambition nor his own religious efforts.

Paul had learned to be fully satisfied on the fatty ashes of Christ’s sacrifice.

I will satisfy fully the life of the priests with abundance, and My people will be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord (Jer. 31:14).

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You choose and cause to come near, that he may dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple (Ps. 65:4, AMP).

Paul found everything he had ever wanted in the person of Christ – the source of his bliss and fulfillment. Those in Christ truly lack nothing. He had been plugged into an eternal wellspring of grace.

Maybe this satisfaction – this divine complacency – sounds good to you on paper. But how do we tangibly feast on this abundant grace in our daily lives? By faith. That is, simply by trusting. The flavor of faith is not striving, contending or “pressing in” for something. The flavor of faith is rest. It is to trust in what someone else has already accomplished for us. His work was enough to satisfy you perfectly.

Christ has now become our eternal Sabbath Rest.

Satisfied with the Sin Problem

Staunch legalists, strivers and will-power advocates get itchy when you speak too often of grace. They are hell-bent on ridding the church of the wrong type of complacency. Their fear is that you will promote the ever-taboo notion of greasy grace. But I’ll be the first to say that grace is far greasier than anyone would have suspected! Slippery, buttery and dripping with ease and fatness – no one could exaggerate how free and glorious is this grace. Grace is not cheap – it cost Jesus everything.

Your own everything couldn’t afford it.

However, if we are speaking in terms of “license to sin,” that is where the misconception about grace lies. Grace is not simply a “hiding” away of sin – or even a mere forgiveness of your sinfulness.  Grace is not just a cover up – as if God the great Santa Clause in the sky is covering his eyes from your wrongdoings – acting as if they don’t exist. He’s not choosing to put you on the “nice” list when you deserve the “naughty” list. Grace does not hide God’s eyes from your sinfulness. That’s what we’ve been taught – but the true gospel is far better.

Grace actually eradicates sinfulness itself. It’s not a cover up – instead it’s an absolute removal of your old heart. Grace is not a freedom to sin, but it is freedom from sin. On the cross, your sinfulness itself was destroyed in His death. Your old sinful self was co-crucified together with Christ. Grace mystically transformed your identity from a sinner to a saint. There’s no mixture left.

Grace does not merely “cut you slack” while leaving you with indwelling sinfulness. Grace fully nailed that “indwelling sinfulness” to the tree – your entire old corrupt nature was abolished as a free gift (Rom. 6, Gal. 2:20).

What I am saying is that there is nothing left for you to do, but simply be who you are – that perfect new you who is one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). Now your chief end is to glorify God simply by enjoying Him forever. As John Piper often says, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.”

Does Grace Produce Apathy?

Keeping these things in mind, we must depart from the ridiculous, but sadly common misconception that grace breeds sinfulness. This was the same faulty argument that Paul addressed concerning his Judaizing opponents in Galatians 2. For the Jews to admit their need for grace was an admission of the inadequacy of the law to justify them. The law, being found insufficient, was therefore abandoned as a justifying agency. To invalidate the law - did this mean that Christ therefore was a promoter of sin?

If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! (Gal. 2:17, NIV)

Let me explain this tricky verse from the top. Paul is not suggesting that “we” believers must continually seek justification – nor is he saying here that believers are still sinners.  He is speaking of those who are still bound in religion, who have not yet found the complacent satisfaction of their perfection in Christ. Bible translator Kenneth Wuest opens up this verse:

The Christian Jews, in seeking to be justified in Christ, were shown to be sinners just like and in the same class as the Gentiles. When they sought justification in Christ and thus by grace, it was an admission on their part that there is no justification by works, that the seeker is not justified, and is therefore a sinner. The attempt to be justified in Christ awakens the consciousness of sin, and compels the Jew to put himself on the plane of the Gentile. The Jew who calls the Gentile a sinner, in seeking to be justified by faith, is forced to admit that he is a sinner also. He has found that the law has failed him as a justifying agency.

Paul repudiates the false assumption of the Judaizers who charged that Christ is the promoter and encourager of sin in that He causes the Jew to abandon the law as a justifying agency, and in doing so, puts himself on the common plane of a Gentile whom he calls a sinner and a dog. The Judaizers argued that in view of the fact that violation of the law is sin, therefore, abandonment of the law in an effort to be justified in Christ is also sin. Thus Christ is the promoter of sin.[iii]

It is the law that increases sin. Does grace cause sin? Absolutely not! Paul writes, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Rom. 5:20).

I don’t want to overcomplicate this. But I had to lay some groundwork for a very simple idea. Grace does not amplify the drive to sin – religion does that. And more specifically, grace does not incite the one specific sin it is most often blamed for – the sin of apathy.

Grace does not cause apathy – religion does.

Retiring from Self Effort

Let me put this in simple terms now. Someone will say: If you preach grace, people are going to get lazy.

True grace does not produce laziness, but it does breed divine complacency!

The common mindset is that everyone will clock out if we aren’t motivating them with fear, guilt and religion. This is the sick perversion that has masqueraded as Christianity far too long. It is bondage – the spirit of antichrist at work in the pulpit and is diametrically opposed to the gospel.

True grace does not promote apathy or “self-complacency.” It is not freedom to be apathetic – grace is freedom from apathy. Paul had a fiery ambition that drove him preaching all over the Mediterranean from Jerusalem to northern Greece – until there was no place left for him to preach (Rom. 15:23). He was an Energizer bunny! But Paul was not motivated by anything less than the enjoyment of God and the fire of love that burned in his bones. He said, “woe to me if I don’t preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16) He felt a glorious compulsion – an inward fulfillment and delight from spreading this good news. He couldn’t stop himself – he was possessed by the love of God which “compelled” him. The grace apostle achieved far more than the rest.

Paul’s compulsion to serve did not originate from a slavish need to “help God out.” He co-labored only in a sense that he was a "container" of God. The branch passively drinks the sap of the vine and effortlessly bears fruit as a result of it's union. This is more than simple semantics. Instead of Christ with Paul – it was Christ as Paul.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).

God does not need your efforts to help prop Him up. Though you serve and do things for the kingdom in this life, yet it is no longer you, but Christ laboring through you “according to the working of his mighty power” (Eph. 1:19). You are living in a state of active retirement. The you is retired, and now the Christ has replaced you. You are simply a vessel, a temple – a container that holds this mighty God.

I consider myself as having died and now I’m enjoying a new existence which is simply Jesus using my body (Gal. 2:20, Distilled Bible).

Even Christ’s continued work through your life is to announce the gospel – that is, the good news that His work has been finished since the foundation of the world. Your entire life proclaims an already completed victory!

Jesus actually meant it when He said, “It is finished.” He didn’t just mean it’s finished for that day. “Wow ... been really tough at the office boys – I’m gonna knock off early and call it a day. Be back again at 9 a.m. to start this all over again!”

The finished work of the cross is such an offense, because it invalidates every other human attempt at spirituality. Though we labor to proclaim the cross, we do not labor to repeat it as religion does. We do not labor to strive toward our own holiness, sanctification or redemption. Just believe it’s yours. Nor do we strive to enter into more of His fullness. For by our union with Christ we are already full of the Godhead (Col. 2:10).

A Better Kind of Complacency

There’s a massive difference between the pleasant satisfaction of divine complacency and the numbing paralysis of lukewarm nominalism. We’ve all seen churches that are dead cold – no excitement, no zealous fervor for the Lord. Their joy and expectancy are sucked dry. They slumber.

The problem of apathy is real, and many John the Baptist types try to address it. It is no wonder that so many – who catch the fire of the Spirit – want to shake and rock the church back to attention. To rouse her from her narcoticized sleep.

And so what do these zealous trumpets do? Unfortunately, they try to get mother church off the couch and right onto the treadmill. They bark at her. They shout at her. They come at her with the whip of the law. To their credit, these voices do have zeal, but it is a zeal “without knowledge” of grace as Paul says in Romans 10 – zeal for self-effort. Pharisees are very zealous. The answer to apathy is not zeal for the law. Instead, we need a zealous appreciation that Christ has finished the job. John the Baptist was great, but there has been a change in covenant.

Grace does not beat the church awake. Grace woos her with the extravagant love of Christ poured out on the cross. Entices her with the fragrant myrrh of His sufferings for her on the cross. It allures her with the promise of divine pleasures that supersede the lesser comforts of this world. Invites her to drink and to be drunk on love (Song. 5:1).

Hunger Versus Satisfaction

In the face of overwhelming apathetic disinterest in the church, many charismatic zealots feel justified in whipping people up into a striving frenzy:

“We’ve gotta get hungry! We’ve gotta get desperate! We’ve gotta cry out for more! We’ve gotta press in for revival!”

There is an inward striving, an internal hernia-popping to push themselves into something they already have.  Religion always gets you to work for something that’s already yours.

In fear of growing lukewarm – they say we must constantly stay hungry for God. Intimacy with God becomes a striving work. Such a person tries to remain in a state of dissatisfaction at their current “level” of spirituality. As if by forcing themselves to be unhappy, they will be pleasing to God. Meanwhile, that old virtue of divine contentment in Christ’s fullness gets thrown out the window. It is actually rooted in a lack of faith.

I’m not pressing in anymore. I’ve been pressed into.

I’m not contending anymore. I’ve been contended for.

I’m not a God chaser anymore. I’ve been chased down, roped and hogtied. Bagged and tagged!

So many fast; they pray; they push; they pull. They attempt to get what they’ve already got. But their own efforts have alienated them from grace.

I’m not hungry anymore. I am fully satisfied.

Hunger is the state of the prodigal in the pig slop. Sonship is satisfied on Christ – the Father’s the Fatted Calf.

You may ask – but doesn’t God want us to hunger for more and more of Him? Doesn’t He want us to hunger and thirst after righteousness?

First of all, you are already righteous in Him. But notice the rest of that verse ... He says that those who hunger will be fully satisfied.

Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! (Matt. 5:6, AMP)

Our satisfaction speaks of trusting and drinking from all that He has done. The flavor of faith is not thirst ... the flavor of faith is complete satisfaction. Knowing that we sit at the King’s table. This is what Abraham, the father of faith, was commended for. He was, “Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised” (Rom. 4:21, AMP).

Religious people know that money, material things and the work of their hands don't bring contentment. But they do think that their striving to please God and follow the rules will bring satisfaction. They’re looking to add something onto the cross for extra brownie points. They don’t see that they are still basing their hope of satisfaction on self.

Are you fully satisfied in what He has done? Or are you still praying “More Lord?”

A Language of Unbelief

There is a prevailing language of unbelief in the charismatic church today. A barrage of terminology and ideas that lock people into a never-ending search for God. The point of conversion was not your initiation rite into a lifelong chase after an elusive, fleeting deity. We are not called to be God-chasers, always begging for a little bit more like Oliver Twist. I am no longer even “seeking after God.” He has found me. He and I are in unio mystica.

The New Covenant is a finding covenant. An arrival. An enjoyment of the Promise Land that we have already entered. Isnʼt your claim to Christianity the very boast that you are no longer looking for answers, but that you have found Him? Christianity is the only religion that can scandalously boast that we are no longer seeking, but have confidently laid hold of God. It seems such an arrogant boast! I have all of God! I have arrived! This is the stumbling block of the ages.

Seeking is a pre-Christ action.

One would say, “But doesnʼt He reward those who earnestly seek Him?” That is Hebrews 11:6. Read the beginning of the verse, “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” God is impressed with faith. Believe that you are in union with Him by the finished work of the cross.

The Lord once spoke to an anonymous mystic, asking her this, “If I am the air you breathe, if you are in Me and I am in you, why are you looking for Me?” She said, “At once I felt so close to God that I could never describe it. …”[iv]

Never again fall for the catch phrase of today prompting you to “get hungry” for God. How can I do that, when I’ve been feasting on the Lamb? The admission of hunger is an admission of lack. A hungry child is a sign of bad parenting. It is an assertion that Christ’s sacrifice was not a good enough meal for you. Do you need something more than His cross? Let the cross be the only thing that mesmerizes you. Stop begging for things He’s already given. Stop asking from an Old Covenant perspective. He has already poured out all that Heaven has to offer.

There’s no more need to beg Him to “open the Heavens.” He already did that. He checked that one right off the prayer list when the veil of His flesh was torn and all of Heaven opened with it. If you stop asking for that – and actually believe it exists for you – you will experience that open Heaven every day of your life. A fully supernatural lifestyle.

Are you tired of a performance-based, emotional rollercoaster spirituality? Thinking God is happy with you one day and upset with you the next? Trust in His finished work, not your own efforts. Rest in the knowledge that you are permanently plugged into Heaven, whether you know it or not, feel it or not. He is continually smiling at you. You are basking in permaglory thanks to His work. Don’t doubt just because you’re not experiencing it. It is by first believing that we experience. Manifestations follow faith.

As for me, I will continue beholding Your face in righteousness (rightness, justice, and right standing with You); I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You] (Ps. 17:15, AMP).

There is an infinitely sweet satisfaction in beholding His face. And how does the believer do this? Because the veil of sinfulness has been removed. We can see Him clearly in the person of Christ. He told of this day long ago through the prophet, “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit ... ” (Ezek. 39:29).

My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips (Ps. 63:5).

And so we come to the real root of the issue. Renowned 17th century theologian Jeremy Taylor once quipped, “God threatens terrible things if we will not be happy.” God demands joy. God demands that we be satisfied. God demands that we be fat and complacent on the very thing that He is fat and complacent upon. Again, Sproul says:
God’s love of complacency is the special delight and pleasure He takes first of all in His only-begotten Son. It is Christ who is the beloved of the Father, supremely; He is the Son in whom the Father is “well pleased.”
By adoption in Christ, every believer shares in this divine love of complacency. It is the love enjoyed by Jacob, but not by Esau. This love is reserved for the redeemed in whom God delights — not because there is anything inherently lovely or delightful in us — but we are so united to Christ, the Father’s Beloved, that the love the Father has for the Son spills over onto us. God’s love for us is pleasing and sweet to Himself — and to us. ...

[i] George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University, 2003), 112.

[ii] R.C. Sproul, Abundant Love (Article from Tabletalk Magazine).

[iii] Kenneth Wuest, Wuest Word Studies in the Greek New Testament (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980).

[iv] Fr. Juan Arintero, The Song of Songs: A Mystical Exposition (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1974, 1992), 403.

John Crowder is an internationally recognized author, speaker and advocate of supernatural Christianity. He is on the forefront of a fresh renewal movement marked by ecstatic joy, miracles and recovering the foundational preaching of the cross of grace. John’s books include Mystical Union, The Ecstasy of Loving God, Seven Spirits Burning and The New Mystics. Visit his ministry online at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great perspective on keeping up with a house with little ones.

Kids Live Here

Two Ways to Look at a Mess
I have been thinking lately about housework and we women who avoid it, let it pile up, feel stressed about it, look for shortcuts to handle it, and ignore it until we find ourselves shouting at it and all around it, and I have all too often come to this conclusion:
We are a bunch of whiny babies.
Whiny babies can be loosely defined as — persons who refuse to accept reality quietly.
By refusing to accept housework, we are refusing to accept reality. Scientifically verifiable reality.
Every mother knows that keeping house is a never-ending, never-won battle against the invisible forces of disorder. In fact, I would argue that a house containing small children is the clearest example you could ever hope to find of the scientific principle of entropy.
Entropy is the single thing I learned in physics that still sticks with me after all these years. It’s the second law of thermodynamics: Systems tend to go from a state of order to a state of maximum disorder.
Take my house. Despite continual cleaning, the kids’ bedroom closets erupt daily in a sea of dirty sweat socks, unpeeled baseballs, lumps of petrified Play-Doh, abandoned crochet projects, and fuzzy, giggling Elmos. The ability of my kitchen counters to gather and grow paper airplanes, houseplants, granola bar crumbles, telephone directories, and Spaghettio-ed melamine bowls never ceases to amaze me. And once a week, when I give my bathroom a thorough going-over, I am always astounded by the fact that, despite daily maintenance, the mirror once again is spattered with soap, the sink and shower stall once again are coated with calcium, and the toilet once again … well, use your imagination.
Better than any physicist, a mother knows that if she doesn’t work constantly at returning things to a state of order, her house will always end in a state of maximum disorder. She knows that an irresistible attractive force unites a freshly bathed toddler with the nearest mud puddle. She knows that finishing the laundry sets off an inevitable chain reaction that leads to one child vomiting in his sheets while another falls prey to a vicious attack of the ketchup bottle. She alone appreciates the fact that having the house look approximately the same in the evening as it did in the morning is a major accomplishment.
But Modern Man (and that includes Modern Mom) has a hard time accepting some aspects of reality. We refuse to accept household entropy. And we are looking for some way to not have to clean it up. Or we are unhappy because we feel like nobody should be expecting us to clean it up.
I have to wonder if it’s a generational thing.
Housework has never been fun, but I don’t think our mothers or grandmothers whined the way some of us do. They accepted reality.
An older mom helped me face facts when she told me that once her kids were grown and moved out she was thrilled to finally clean her house thoroughly and have it stay clean. But when she was done, she looked at it and wondered: What’s it for now? The house was no longer being used like it was, and she realized how much the messes don’t matter.
So, after dinner tonight, I faced reality and refused to blink.
I wiped a mystery puddle from the stairs. I found a completed fractions worksheet in the bathtub. I discovered a gutted bathroom cabinet and a half dozen or so freshly washed towels strewn across a muddy paw-printed floor. I found hundreds of eensy-weensy, teeny-weeny bits of paper scattered on the dining room floor and the offending pair of scissors on a nearby chair nestled beneath an abandoned pair of sweaty socks.
Family life is a decidedly messy business. Sometimes the messes do threaten to overwhelm me. But that’s only when I look at Reality the wrong way.
After throwing towels into the hamper and sweeping up scraps of paper tonight, I washed Daniel’s fat face. I dipped his baby toes into the sink and he splashed. I wrapped him in a towel, changed him into pajamas, and smooched his neck to make him laugh.
When I carried him upstairs for bed, I found … piles and piles of picture books that had been removed from the bookcases in his bedroom and left on the floor. Cracker crumbs and a dripping sippy cup lay on the small rug beside his bed.
On a bad day, I might happen upon a scene like this one and think it says that I am a bad housekeeper. Or that my life is spinning out of control.
But tonight the books and cracker crumbs didn’t say those things to me. They said only this: Children live here.
They live here, read here, play here, eat here, and sleep here. Small children call this living, breathing place their home. And thank God for that.

SNL mom jeans