Loss Is Gain


19-December-2019 by crucifyd

Once a man was asked, “What did you gain by regularly praying to God?” The man replied, “Nothing…but let me tell you what I lost: Anger, ego, greed, depression, insecurity, and fear of death.” Sometimes, the answer to our prayers is not gaining but losing; which ultimately is the gain.

- Unknown -

Adventures In Missing The Point


13-October-2019 by crucifyd

If you think God won't give you more than you can handle...what do you do with this?
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

- 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 ESV

A Genius Of Our Time


05-October-2019 by crucifyd

Milton Friedman courtesy of the Hoover Institution



30-September-2019 by crucifyd

Hitlery's comment about President Trump:

The president is a corrupt human tornado.

- Hillary Clinton -
source: https://www.twitter.com/...

Michael Knowles' comment on Hitlery's comment about President Trump:

Ma’am, in case you forgot, you’re Hillary Clinton.

- Michael Knowlton -
source: https://www.twitter.com/...

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction...


28-September-2019 by crucifyd

Knowing Josh as I do, this is of course with tonque planted firmly in cheek...

It is a freeing feeling to know that my identity is no longer based on DNA, social norms, traditional values, who I was created to be, or just plain common sense. And since who I am is what I feel and feelings change, most days I am a white man. But sometimes stress, like the stress of applying for a government job, turns me into a black handicapped lesbian with a learning disability. You can't judge me. It's who I am. Accept me. I'll sue you if you don't accommodate me. Bake me a cake, damn it.

- Josh Walton -
source: https://www.facebook.com/...

Parent Of The Year Award


15-June-2019 by crucifyd

Hilarious post by Josh...

As a parent to a little human you do your level best to be clear in what you say. That didn't happen tonight. Carin came in to the kitchen in tears. Her horse, Babe, will be euthanized later this week and obviously it weighs heavy on her. After a long hug she turned to walk out of the kitchen and Ethan noticed her tears."Mommy, why you crying?" Of course Carins voice caught in her throat and I stepped in. "Mommy's horse is old and hurting and we need to make sure she doesn't suffer anymore." Instantly his lower lip quivered, and tears dropped from his eyes."Mommy, I'm so saaaaad!" We were touched and a little surprised at how he responded. We didn't think that he was that attached to Babe. He continued to cry, even wail, as I set the table. He kissed Carin over and over and hugged her. Finally we sat down to eat and with my throat barely letting the words escape I thanked God for the life that Babe had lived. For all the time that Carin had spent with her and for all the memories we had together. We began to eat but Ethan was undone. I gently told him to take a deep breath, drink some water, which he did. Barely able to compose himself he croaked out "Mommy, I'm going to miss you. I don't know why we have to put you downwwwnnn" The poor kid had been wailing for the last 10 minutes because he thought we were going to euthanize his mommy! Parent of the year award goes to someone else yet again. Gaaaahhhhhh!!

- Josh Walton -
source: https://www.facebook.com/...


A Protest Sign

25-May-2019 by crucifyd

If the 1st Amendment applies to Radio, TV and the Internet and the 4th Amendment covers Electronic Wiretapping and Video Surveillance, how can the 2nd Amendment only apply to 18th Century Firearms Technology?

- Unknown -



02-May-2019 by crucifyd

The IRS has returned a tax return to a man in New Jersey after he apparently answered one of the questions incorrectly.

In response to the question, "Do you have anyone dependent on you?" the man wrote "9.5 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crack heads, 3.4 million unemployable scroungers, 80,000 criminals in over 85 prisons plus 650 idiots in Washington.

The IRS stated that the answer he gave was unacceptable!

The man responded back, "Who did I leave out?"

- Unknown -
source: https://www.facebook.com/...


Don't Pretend

09-March-2019 by crucifyd

For some reason I was reading the Facebook Help page titled "What names are allowed on Facebook?". It made me think of a few years back when Facebook came out with their new and improved list of gender options. How may were there? 70ish I thought but upon a Google search it seems there were somewhere between 50 and 70? No matter. Whatever it is, it's a lot.

While I know that this page isn't speaking about gender, it struck me as quite hilarious when I read the following line...

Pretending to be anything or anyone isn't allowed.

- facebook -

OK Facebook. Lest you not get it, there are only two genders on your list that aren't pretend!

Here's a screenshot for when the page disappears in a couple years...


Playing With Knives: God The Dangerous

13-January-2019 by crucifyd

This article went around at church last June. When I first started reading it I thought it was pretty drab and boring but then when Jones started making the average reader uncomfortable, he totally turned me around and I thought it was awesome: it made me think and gave a fuller picture of God. Albeit inaccurate / insufficient, we are talking about God afterall.. Clearly we make God out to be much smaller than he actually is...while that is not a new thought, the way Jones described it all made me think about it in a different way. I rail against the "God is love" crowd of modern Christianity, not because He isn't, but because that is all they think he is...

It also made me realize that the Christianity of my youth, while not as bad, made God wimpy...afraid of everything.

Not sure if what I'm writing here makes sense, it might be a bit haphazard, just working it out a bit on the keyboard.

I think it would be good for lots of Christians. It would surely make some squirm, but then again, who said squirming is a bad thing?

Playing with Knives: God the Dangerous
by Douglas Jones

"A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated—I trembled."

But he didn't stop. After all, he had tricked this hated friend there with a smile. The friend's insults had become too much to bear; revenge was necessary. They had laughed together just moments before. He had even expressed worry over his drunken friend's health. Then he fastened him to the cellar wall, a short chain from the wall padlocked around his waist. More laughter, confusion. Then he stood back and started walling the friend in, brick by brick. The chained man wore a cone-shaped hat for carnival, dangling with eye-sized bells. When his piercing screams started, the man building the wall mimicked him louder until the friend went silent.

"But now there came from out of the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice." The friend asked if this was all a joke: "a very good joke indeed—an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it." But the final brick was in place, and the friend would die, chained behind the wall, deep in the cellar. Never to be found. The last thing heard from the friend was, "`For the love of God, Montrestor!' `Yes,' I said, `for the love of God.'"

The Lord said to Abraham, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering." Abraham split some wood and began traveling the next day. Three days later he saw the place. Abraham told his servants, "The lad and I will go and worship, and we will come back to you." So Abraham took wood, "fire in his hand," and a knife. "Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son." For the love of God.

We quickly have to separate this Abrahamic history from that famous Poe story above it, but that's not as easy as it looks. We could say Poe's narrator in "The Cask of Amontillado" clearly intends evil, whereas Yahweh doesn't. But nothing in the biblical text hints at that. The Lord doesn't offer Abraham any winks or qualifications. He doesn't tell Abraham (or the reader), look, this is a test—only a test. In fact, the situation for Poe's narrator seems a little more difficult to judge. It's unclear whether the "friend" Fortunato deserves this or not. Presumably he doesn't, but for all Poe tells us, Fortunato's insults might have been more than just words. He might easily be guilty of a capital offense against the narrator or a family member. We're not told that the narrator is in the wrong. It's left open.

The biblical text is less ambiguous and more frightening. Without qualification, the Lord commands Abraham to commit an obvious abomination, passing Isaac through fire. In Leviticus, the same Lord says, "you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God" (18:21; cf. 20:3). What has happened? It seems as if the character of God folded into some dark void. Has He given up on the promises? Has He given up on being God?

It's too easy to read the happy ending into the early part of Abraham's story. We now know the ending, so we domesticate the entire story, turning it into a rounded tale. We kill its horror. But actually to hear the original command would make most people suicidal. What hope is there if God Himself has become madness? It is an apocalyptic command. The core is exploding. The center has given way, the promises have split apart, God has decapitated Himself.

Perhaps Poe's narrator is morally insane, but God clearly is. And both use deception. Poe tricks Fortunato down into the cellar on the ruse of using his expertise to evaluate some wine. As they travel deeper and deeper into the earth, the narrator feigns worry about the potassium nitre polluting the air; it's making Fortunato cough more and more. "`Come,' I said, with decision, `we will go back; your health is precious. . . . You will be ill, and I cannot be responsible.'" All while planning to murder him. Yahweh isn't straight either. To say that Yahweh was perfectly explanatory would mean that he actually planned to have Abraham burn Isaac. But now we can see how the ending of the story heightens its horror. The whole thing is a staged play. Yahweh wants Abraham to work through a fiction. He could have been plain and avoided fiction. He could have just reasoned politely and respectably with Abraham, perhaps laying out a hypothetical ethical dilemma for Abraham to judge. But no, that's some safe god. Yahweh wants the play to run on.

The narrator of "The Cask of Amontilllado" appears unjustified, appears to plan evil; we're not sure. Jehovah God, on the other hand, commands a clear abomination. No explanation is given. Poe's narrator entices his victim with lies. Jehovah pretends to want Abraham to carry through with a wicked execution, and even keeps the game going up until the very last moment. He could have explained everything at the base of the mountain. Fortunato hopes his murderer is joking, but that's not true; Jehovah is "playing," though Abraham doesn't or needn't ask. Poe's narrator gives us the detail of setting in place the final, terrible brick. Jehovah allows Abraham to go so far as to lift the knife in the air.

We normally count a story as a horror story if it involves two things: threat and impurity. Serious threats alone would just be an adventure or war or cop story. Horror needs impurity. Monsters are impure; sometimes they are animal-human blends, sometimes walking dead, with flesh dropping off—unclean threats.

"The Cask of Amontillado" threatens death from the start, and though the threatener doesn't have the impurity of a rotting monster or a witch, the setting is beset with the impurity of death. He leads the friend down into the earth, a deathly image itself. The air is notably polluted, and the narrator has to clear some human bones for Fortunato to pass into the final chamber. When the wall is completed, he replaces the bones. More convincing to Fortunato, though, is to witness the horrific transformation of a friend into a murderer, and not just a swift murderer, but one killing by slow, dark decay. Threat and impurity.

God's surface dealings with Abraham involve both, too. The threat is obvious: Isaac is about to be killed. And it's a threat that involves a violation of the code of Leviticus—child sacrifice— an abomination about which the Lord says, "I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people" because he has "defile[d] My sanctuary" (Lev. 20:3).

The Lord leads Abraham in the deepest and most dangerous form of horror play. He plays with impure knives. He is playing with innocent Abraham. What kind of a God does this? What kind of twisted mind traffics in fake abominations? "Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked?" (Eccl. 7:13).

Abraham vs Job

Perhaps this dangerousness of God could be somehow explained away if it were limited to this one worrisome event. At least then it might not seem characteristic. But that's not what we find. Instead, through Scripture we find a constant theme of dangerousness, unpredictability, and wildness. At the same time, Yahweh shows us his orderliness, predictability, calmness, and a righteous arm. This just compounds the glory; it makes Him more fascinating.

In our pietism, though, we tend to insist that God is primarily Nice. Period. God is Nice and Nicer and Nicest. The chief end of God is to be Nice. I believe in God the Nice. Maker of Niceness. In heaven, we'll all be Nice. Pilate wasn't Nice. He was mean, and "mean people suck." This whole modern Christian litany is so tedious and tiny. Of course, other people—equally foolish—think the solution is to be rude and mean. Yeah, God isn't nice; He's rude. But Yahweh is neither Nice or Rude: He is dangerous and unpredictable. He is Trinity. He is Fire, and fire is hard to contain. Sometimes all the advanced firefighting technology gets overcome in a canyon by a storm of flames. Sometimes people freeze next to a tiny flame. Fire's edges won't stand still; its borders aren't easily traced. "Our God is a consuming fire." God's command for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac came right from the center of flame. As H. A. Williams notes, "Whatever God wants in our relationship with Him, it certainly isn't respectability."

To Moses He was fire. To Ezekiel He wore the symbols of ox, eagle, lion. To Jonah He was a man-eating fish. To Balaam He spoke through donkey lips. Yahweh boasts in animals, especially wild ones. "For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine" (Ps. 50:10,11).

The Lord seems to especially loves His horses: "Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword. He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, `Aha!' He smells the battle from afar" (Job 39:19-25). He loves it that they refuse to stop at the trumpet. What kind of God says that?

Yahweh reveals His dangerousness in hawks and eagles too. They are His artwork, revealing more of His style: "Does the hawk fly by your wisdom. . . . Does the eagle mount up at your command and make its nest on high? On the rocks it dwells and resides, on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; its eyes observe from afar. Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is." (Job 39:26_30). The NIV gives, "His young ones feast on blood." But why the detail about blood? Do we really need that? Can't we just talk about porcelain doves? No, God is gloriously dangerous and noble like an eagle. Solomon recognized that "the way of an eagle in the air" is just "too wonderful" (Prov. 30:18,19).

Yahweh reveals Himself in a cheetah kill. Oh, those nice, soft, delicate antelopes. It would be nice to pet them. They should be protected. "Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions?" (Job 38:39). God can. He's on the run and right in the middle of the lion kill. He boasts in giving them food. He satisfies lions.

Does that mean God hates deer? He's made them just for food? Of course not. He boasts in them too. "Can you mark when the deer gives birth? Can you number the months that they fulfill? Or do you know the time when they bear young? They bow down, they bring forth their young, they deliver their offspring. Their young ones are healthy, they grow strong with grain; They depart and do not return to them" (Job 39:2-4). He loves them and sometimes loves to feed them to lions. That's the God of Abraham. And that's the God Job didn't fully embrace.

For all the legitimate praise Job deserves (James 5:11), he was a pietist. His counselors were even worse pietists, the mechanistic variety. Doubly obnoxious. His wife was worse. She was a sentimentalist: "curse God and die." She resented the life given to them. Job stood at the center of a huge play, just like Abraham did. The Lord could have been straight with Job, but instead He took the crooked, dangerous path again. He didn't tell Job he was an actor in a play within a play. Job should have realized on his own. Death began to rain down on Job. The Lord took Job down into the wine cellar, chained him in, and started piling block upon block. To his credit, Job didn't respond like his wife, but he also didn't respond like Abraham. Job was righteous, but not mature. He "feared God and shunned evil," but that's not enough. He didn't know the God who plays with knives.

We often read the closing chapters of Job as a massive intellectual power play. We think of it as God pulling rank on Job. You, Job, are nothing, and I am huge and sovereign and Egyptian. Do not raise any questions against me. But that doesn't fit with Yahweh's actual answers. Why would God argue that storks are kind and ostriches stupid to prove His sovereignty? We're actually told that Job had mastered his catechism on sovereignty; he "feared God." Job did lack understanding, but he didn't have to be convinced that the Lord knew more and was intellectually superior. That was a given.

But pietists like Job resist the dangerousness of God. They don't love His style. They merely "shun evil." That's the lazy trait of pietists everywhere. It's a good trait, but only a first step. You have to love the lion kill, too. You have to love eagles feasting on blood and horses running for war. That's God's style also. Job could never have passed Abraham's test.

The Lord's complaint against Job is not that Job didn't respect authority; Job did. It was more of a gross failure of friendship. Job claimed to be a friend of God, but he wasn't. He didn't really know the character of Yahweh. He wasn't familiar with God's style. Job knew from a distance. He knew God as a catechism answer. I'm sure Job could quickly recite that "God is a Spirit, in and of Himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present. . . ."

As glorious as that summary is, it tells us nothing about God's character. It gives us no direction how to read the command to sacrifice Isaac. We learn the outside framework of God but not the sort of character He is. All it gives are generalities (important though they are). Imagine if you had to marry someone knowing only this abstract bit of information. It would be similar to saying, the person you are to marry is male or female, really nice, just, fair, kind, mortal, mammal, human, and breathes. Normally, we demand more information than this. It lacks character. But Scripture constantly gives us stories that reveal the personality of God. The horror story from Abraham does that. God's answers to Job tell us much about what Job didn't know. He didn't know that God makes straight things crooked. He didn't love how God satisfies hungry lions. Job didn't maturely love the God of Abraham.

Annie Dillard's Tameness

In some of her writings, Annie Dillard provides great pictures of the dangerousness of God. Her "an Expedition to the Pole" ranks as one of the best pieces of prose out there, ever. It weaves the story of a visit to the Arctic with a simple modern worship service, with much more going on. The Arctic history and danger clash wonderfully with the too-easy worship. The tension between the two scenes increases until she says, "On the whole I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return."

Here God is dangerous, wild, and unpredictable. He is dynamite and a kidnapper. That's the God of Abraham.

Something changes, though. Perhaps too much Emerson tames Ms. Dillard at times. In her writing about confronting evil, she seems to leave behind her dynamite God in favor of someone Nicer. Most recently, in For the Time Being, she insists, "God is no more blinding people with glaucoma, or testing them with diabetes, or purifying them with spinal pain, . . . or to kill by AIDS or kidney failure, heart disease, childhood leukemia or sudden infant death syndrome—than he is pitching lightning bolts at pedestrians, or setting fires." Why wouldn't a dangerous God do these things? She elsewhere infers, "the semipotent God has one hand tied behind his back." Such cleanliness and ease this sort of response provides! All the drama is drained out of life. To the usually breathtaking question, "If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?" (Amos 3:6) we're only allowed to whisper a resolute, pietistic "no."

In Holy the Firm, Dillard writes of a horrific accident in which a young girl, Julie, has a ball of ignited fuel vapor melt her face. "Can you scream without lips?"

Has God a hand in this? Then it is a good hand. But has He a hand at all? Or is He a holy fire burning self-contained for power's sake alone? Then He knows Himself blissfully as flame consuming, as all brilliance and beauty and power, and the rest of us can go hang.

A few pages later, reflecting on Christ's answer that the man born blind was to make God's work manifest, she adds,

"The works of God made manifest? Do we really need more victims to remind us that we're all victims? . . . Do we need blind men stumbling about, and little flamefaced children, to remind us what God can—and will—do?"

This is the voice of the prodigal's older brother. This is the voice of the lion tamer. "Use food treats which are highly palatable and not part of the animal's regular diet." Like so many moderns, Dillard can't escape the obsession with power. It's a tell-tale sign one is thinking like a brute monotheist. She speaks with the unitarian assumption that God is ultimately simple and serene, no inner tension, no playing with knives.

The fact that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit does not remove the mystery or anguish of evil, but it certainly foreshadows it. We should be ready. Tension is at the heart of the Trinity. Different pressures are at play. Within the Triune Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit love one another, and indwell one another in perfect harmony. They are a fugue—a complex, interwoven melody. But fugues involve tension and dissonance to work well. Bach the Trinitarian was a master of dissonance.

The unitarian assumes any difference or dissonance is bad. The Trinity assumes difference is a glory. A fugue does not glide through time with one tone. A fugue involves holy tension, like the Trinity. That is a natural part of the character of God.

When that Triune and holy tension manifests itself in a fallen world, in a play the Trinity itself provoked, then we see the dangerousness of God in flamefaced children. Then we see the dangerous mercy of God in the death of Job's family. "The fire of God fell from heaven . . . and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you."

The God of Abraham does not pen Hallmark cards. He is not a corporate risk manager. He is not a cruise director aiming to make our trip as pleasant and comfortable as possible. He is here to overturn tables and create people who can run alongside Him. "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?" (Jer. 12:5). He wants a people like horses, people whose necks are "clothed with thunder," "mock at fear," and do not stop at the sound of the trumpet. It's not about power; it's about character and tension and Trinity. In the midst of this intricate play of history, tension is normal. Trials and evil are normal. How dare we be surprised by evil? How dare we wish it away, pining for the nursery? That is not the world of the God of Abraham. Williams, again, observes, "Conflict . . . is absolutely necessary if our relationship with God is to grow into maturity. And unless this absolute necessity is recognized, we shall misunderstand what is happening to us and be weighed down by an appalling load of guilt; or we shall press the conflict so that it can find only a sneaking and perverted expression below the level of consciousness while we apparently remain God's good little boys, futile and ineffective half-people."

Yahweh yearns for "godly seed," and for Him that means He wants people who are people like Him, people who are holy, merciful, unpredictable, and dangerous.

Abraham's Response

Abraham reveals the best answer to Yahweh's command to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham understood the character of personality of God better than we or Job do. Good friends know what the other is thinking, how the other behaves, when he is playing.

We must remember what Abraham had been through up to that point. He had obeyed God's call out of Ur, fought a war against kidnappers, struggled with Pharaoh, watched Sodom explode, and been circumcised. God's crookedness wasn't new to Abraham. Abraham reveals much about his relationship with Yahweh when he laughed at Him. In Genesis 17, God informs Abraham that Sarai will give birth to a son. "Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, `Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?'"

Think about this response. Can you imagine God speaking to you audibly? Then can you imagine falling on your face and laughing at God? Abraham is not even so much laughing in joy here, as he is laughing about the bizarreness of being very old and having a child. He is laughing at God's highly counterintuitive plan here. Only a friend could do this. It's not disrespectful or irreverent laughter. It is the laughter of a friend who knows and loves. It is this same Abraham who carries Isaac up to be sacrificed.

And yet, almost always, we see Abraham portrayed in the sacrifice episode as distraught, grief-stricken, and faithless. One commentator says that this was a "heart-rending trial" and another says that "the words `take now thy son, thy only son Isaac' gripped Abraham's heart." Another says that "Abraham anguished" over the loss of his son. I once watched an actor portray an account of Abraham in which the actor wept and wept over the command to kill his son.

Kierkegaard's reading also seems to miss the point in a large way. Even if you dig out of Kiekegaard's gross individualism, he still muzzles the personality of God in this passage. You can only leap into absurdity if God's character is a void.

But the text doesn't give any of these responses. Why do we accept them? We are little unitarian Jobs. Abraham was truly tested; the text says that. But we have no hint of anguish or weeping. Why couldn't Abraham's faith be pictured as victorious and bold? He might have gone whistling up the mountain without a hint of anguish, because He knew the character of God. The character of God overflows any void.

We get clearer commentary from the book of Hebrews. Abraham wasn't anguishing; he was confident. He told his servant he and his Isaac would return in a bit. Hebrews 11:17-19 says that "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, `In Isaac your seed shall be called,' concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense."

Abraham inferred resurrection. Not an expected move. But he wasn't dealing with a pasty God. With a dangerous God, faith most often means thinking counterintuitively. "Let God be true, though every man a liar." Being a friend of God means assuming that surfaces aren't the whole story; it means assuming the truth is often the opposite of where everything appears to be heading. "You have put all things in subjection under his feet, but . . ." Abraham was trained in counterintuition. He already knew that Yahweh played with knives. Knew that God liked crooked things and eagles. He assumed that God was dangerous enough that He could have Abraham execute Isaac and then raise him from the dead. For Abraham, the command to sacrifice Isaac was only a horror story on the surface. He saw through it. He knew that God was holy, compassionate, and dangerous.

No wonder Abraham was a friend of God. He wasn't embarrassed by Him. He loved His dangerousness. That's how you become a friend of Jehovah.

Danger on the Cross

Of course, we can't grasp the full dangerousness of God until we see the completion of Abraham's sacrifice. It finds its completion not just in the ram substituted for Isaac. The entire story is a tunnel to the future. By itself it is incomplete.

Scripture gives us many famous parallels. Both Isaac and Christ were only sons, and both were born by miracle births. Both were taken to Mount Moriah, the northern edge of the temple Mount, Golgotha. Both Isaac and Christ had wood placed on their backs. Both had a three-day trial followed by a resurrection.

But at Mt. Moriah in Christ's time, the players are not Abraham and Isaac, but God the Father and God the Son. Christ, not just the perfect Lamb, but also a dangerous animal—the Lion of the tribe of Judah. And in Christ's time, the story gets even more horrific. The apostles even missed it. This time no one stops Abraham's knife, and the Father sacrifices the Son. It was the holiest danger imaginable. Selfless. Noble. Unpredictable.

Most of us look in Abraham's direction and long. Job's response is easier. I certainly couldn't play Abraham in front of a flamefaced child. We're all heads-down, counting mint and anise and cummin, while the Trinity puts on this amazing opera of history. Oh, to have the instincts of Abraham. To be quick enough to recognize the dangerousness of God in the face of evil and respond in awe: "Dammit. You're going to raise him from the dead, aren't you?"

This is the mind of Christ. This is the God of Abraham so fascinating and overflowing with life. But T.S. Eliot. "Human kind cannot bear very much reality."

- Douglas Jones -
source: http://www.credenda.org/...


A. W. Tozer Quotes

11-January-2019 by crucifyd

From the Tozer sermon titled "Refiner's Fire", posted 14 October 2018. I came across this shortly after my Dad passed away. Apropos for the time.

Slowly you will discover God's love in your suffering. Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing. You will learn from yourself what all the schools in the world could not teach you--the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure. You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death and, what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life. And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth's trifles and filling your heart with longing for the peace of heaven. What I write here is in no way original. This has been discovered anew by each generation of Christian seekers and is almost a clich of the deeper life. Yet it needs to be said to this generation of believers often and with emphasis, for the type of Christianity now in vogue does not include anything as serious and as difficult as this. The quest of the modern Christian is likely to be for peace of mind and spiritual joy, with a good degree of material prosperity thrown in as an external proof of the divine favor. Some will understand this, however, even if the number is relatively small, and they will constitute the hard core of practicing saints so badly needed at this serious hour if New Testament Christianity is to survive to the next generation.

Sermon: Refiner's Fire

- A. W. Tozer -
source: https://www.facebook.com/...

From the Tozer sermon titled "Salvation's Price", posted on 3 November 2018.

Too many Christian leaders, acting like enthusiastic promoters, are teaching that the essence of faith is this: "Come to Jesus-it will cost you nothing!" The price has all been paid - "it will cost you nothing!" Brethren, that is a dangerous half-truth. There is always a price connected with salvation and with discipleship. God's grace is free, no doubt about that. No one in the wide world can make any human payment towards the plan of salvation or the forgiveness of sins. I take issue on Bible grounds with the statement that "everyone in the world has faith - all you have to do is turn your faith loose." That is truly a misconception of what the Bible teaches about men and God and faith. Actually, faith is a rare and wonderful plant that lives and grows only in the penitent soul. The teaching that every one has faith is simply a form of humanism in the guise of Christianity. I warn you that any faith that belongs to everybody is not the faith that saves. It is not that faith which is a gift of God to the broken and contrite heart!

Sermon: Salvation's Price

- A. W. Tozer -
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From the Tozer sermon titled "Spiritual Fervor of Frenzied Activity", posted on 1 Decemer 2018.

Not the quantity of zeal matters to God, but the quality. The significant question is not how zealous is the Christian but why is he zealous and to what does his zeal lead? To the church at Laodicea our Lord said, "Be zealous, therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:19, KJV). The zeal that leads to penitence, restitution and amendment of life is surely dear to God. The ardor that drives a man to his knees in intercession for others was found in men like Moses, Daniel and Ezra; but there is a kind of zeal that gives to the world such misshapen religious examples as Joseph Smith and Mary Baker Eddy.

That many Christians in our day are lukewarm and somnolent will not be denied by anyone with an anointed eye, but the cure is not to stir them up to a frenzy of activity. That would be but to take them out of one error and into another. What we need is a zealous hunger for God, an avid thirst after righteousness, a pain-filled longing to be Christlike and holy. We need a zeal that is loving, self-effacing and lowly. No other kind will do.

That pure love for God and men which expresses itself in a burning desire to advance God's glory and leads to poured-out devotion to the temporal and eternal welfare of our fellow men is certainly approved of God; but the nervous, squirrel-cage activity of self-centered and ambitious religious leaders is just as certainly offensive to Him and will prove at last to have been injurious to the souls of countless millions of human beings.

Sermon: Spiritual Fervor of Frenzied Activity

- A. W. Tozer -
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From the Tozer sermon titled "Submitting to Christ's Lordship", posted on 8 Decemer 2018.

No one has any right to believe that he is indeed a Christian unless he is humbly seeking to obey the teachings of the One whom he calls Lord. Christ once asked a question (Luke 6:46) that can have no satisfying answer, "Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,? and do not do what I say?" Right here we do well to anticipate and reply to an objection that will likely arise in the minds of some readers. It goes like this: "We are saved by accepting Christ, not by keeping His commandments. Christ kept the law for us, died for us and rose again for our justification, and so delivered us from all necessity to keep commandments. Is it not possible, then, to become a Christian by simple faith altogether apart from obedience?"

Many honest persons argue in this way, but their honesty cannot save their argument from being erroneous. Theirs is the teaching that has in the last fifty years emasculated the evangelical message and lowered the moral standards of the Church until they are almost indistinguishable from those of the world. It results from a misunderstanding of grace and a narrow and one-sided view of the gospel, and its power to mislead lies in the element of truth it contains. It is arrived at by laying correct premises and then drawing false conclusions from them.

Sermon: Submitting to Christ's Lordship

- A. W. Tozer -
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And this one from the sermon titled "The Great Deceiver", posted 6 January 2019. Not sure of the exact date but Tozer passed away in 1963. The more things change the more they stay the same.

The Devil is a master strategist. He varies his attacks as skillfully as an experienced general and always has one more trick to use against the one who imagines he is well experienced in the holy war. By two radically opposite things the devil seeks to destroy us-by our sins and by our virtues. First, he tempts us to sin. This might be called his conventional device. It worked against Adam and Eve and still works after the passing of the centuries. By means of it millions each year are, as Paul said, drowned in destruction and perdition. One would think the human race would learn to resist the blandishments of its sworn enemy, and it probably would except that there is an enemy within the gate-the fallen heart is secretly on the side of the devil. It is, however, Satans wiliest stratagem to use our virtues against us, and this he often does with astonishing success. By means of temptation to sin he strikes at our personal lives; by working through our virtues he gets at the whole community of believers and unfits it for its own defense. A parallel to Satans technique may be seen in the activities of certain subversive political groups who use the Constitution of the United States as a shield while they work to destroy that Constitution. By unctuous pleading for the right of free speech they seek to destroy all freedom of speech. By talking piously about government by law they push our country toward the place where there will be government by dictatorship and all laws will mean what a ruling clique of base, cynical men want them to mean. So diabolical is this method that one can only conclude that those who use it learned it from their father the devil, whose they are and whom they serve.

Sermon: The Great Deceiver

- A. W. Tozer -
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