Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blog is moving

I have moved this blog onto my own personal website so that I can simplify my life. If you are curious to follow this blog, please visit the blog on: I pray it blesses you day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


"If anything is not used it is rusted.

It is true of all parts of both soul and body that what is not properly exercised atrophies. If you do not exert your muscles they devour their own strength. If you do not put food into your stomach to digest, it will, so to speak, digest itself.

So also the mind that does not continually study and learn does not remain blank, but fills up with a vast mass of untruths which destroy it. Ignorance is the rust of the mind.

If is fully as hard on the system of have nothing to do as to be overworked; worse indeed to rust out than to wear out.

If you will not have faith, you shall have worry, which is soul-rust."

This essay struck the chord in me that loves to learn. It reinforced my desire to become a teacher. I think everyone hungers to learn. Sadly, some get it ruined somewhere along the way in certain areas, but really, learning is like eating. Our appetite keeps renewing itself. God made us that way so that we could spend our whole lives learning more about Him, studying him not only through the Bible, but through math, physics, and the like as well. I am glad that there is no end to what I can learn about God, so I have no rust to fear.


In all motion, there is rhythm. The wind comes in gusts, waters move in waves, the seasons rotate, night and day alternate, the lungs expand and contract, the blood circulates in beats, we wake and sleep and so on. It is the same with life's more intangible forces. Passion rises and falls, reforms advanced in periods, fashions come and go, and business teeters from prosperity to panic. It would save us a great deal of alarm if we bore this law in mind.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heaven Help the Poor!

I thought that this following excerpt from Frank Crane's "Heaven Help the Poor" seemed very applicable to today's society with economy being down, and people losing so much money. I feel sorry for those who, when they lose money, feel like they lose all. I feel sad for those who put their worth in how much money they have or make. I know I am guilty of this myself occasionally, and it's good to be reminded what true riches are.

"Heaven help the poor!
I do not mean the poor in money. For the greatest on this earth have been poor -- Socratees, Poe, Lincoln, Whitman, and Jesus, the poorest of all, who had not where to lay his head.

I mean poor in Resources.

For the only poverty that grinds, deadens, and kills is poverty of resources.

When sorrow comes the poor in resources have no wells of inner happiness from which to draw.

When their money is gone, they have no inner riches. When they drop from their station in Life, they know no human beings to turn to.

They are poor in discipline and their own selves fall upon them and devour them. They are poor in enthusiasms, and when their one little interest is gone they have no other.

They are poor in Passion, and to a love-hungry world have nothing to offer. They are poor in Thoughts, and as Robert Louis Stevenson says, do not have so much as two ideas to rub against each other while waiting for a train.

They are poor in Time, having smothered creative Leisure by the clutter of the unimportant.
They are poor in Beauty, having never learned to See it, let alone feed upon it.

These are the wretched ones of earth. they stand, shivering souls looking in through the window at the warmth of life; hungry souls begging of every passer-by the bread of praise which they cannot digest.

It's pitiful, too, to see poverty-stricken souls trying to buy real riches with money.

'Why do you spend money on tat which is not bread? and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen, listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.' (Isaiah 55:2)"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christianty (not Frank Crane - sorry)

Ok, I'm veering off into non-Frank Crane thoughts and writings. It's still not my own writing, it's writing based off of a sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll, who is another major thought-influence on my life. The following thoughts really hit me and struck a good chord, so I took diligent notes about it. In most cases, these are his words exactly, but other places have been edited with my own fixings here and there. Either way, it's really from God, because it blesses me so much. A lot of it is really fundamental Christianity, but I felt like it's a good thing to put at the beginning of a blog that is investigation different topics. I want to lay the right foundations. Be blessed to persevere!

In your life, God brings the message of Jesus to you, and that’s his way of inviting you into relationship with Him. He gives you information, which is used by God the Holy Spirit for your transformation. Regeneration is when you receive a new heart. God changes you in the essence of who you are. You change from the inside out. The Hold Spirit indwells the Christian to live a new life patterned after Jesus, connecting to the Living God forever. This means you get a new mind, you think differently, you get a new appetite, you want to read the Bible, you get new deep desires to hate sin, and love Jesus, a desire to preserve with Him into eternity.

This leads to conversion. This is your response to the changes that God has created in you. Notice that up until now, God does everything (as you let Him). God works all things in you, and then with God, you work all these things out. This means spirit-enabled faith and repentance from the new heart. Those are the marks of a Christian: faith and repentance. Here’s what happens: the Holy Spirit comes in, you have faith, you love Jesus and trust him; then repentance, you hate sin because you love Jesus. All of a sudden, you want your life to change and you want to be like Jesus. Just like a newborn baby hunger and cries, a new Christian has faith and repentance.

Accompanying this is justification. This has to do with your legal standing before God. The doctrine of justification is, in many regards, the dividing issue between Protestant and Catholic. How can someone who is a sinner by nature and choice stand before a Holy and righteous God (the Holiness of God is mentioned more times than any other attribute in scripture), and be declared just and righteous as a guilty, condemnable person? How can God remain just and declare us to be justified? The answer is what’s called the doctrine of justification. Jesus, on the cross, accomplished something you could call the Great Exchange, where all my sin went to Jesus, he suffered and died in my place, paying the penalty of death for my sin. Additionally, he gifted to me his righteousness. So, now I can stand in front of God righteous and justified. (This is amazing!) Not because of how I lived, but because of how HE lived. Not because of what I have done, but because of what HE has done. Not because of the perfect sinless life I have lived, but because of the perfect sinless life HE lived. He takes my sin; he gives me His righteousness.

This is mind bending. Religion tells you what you do for God. The Gospel tells you what God has done for you in Christ. He gives you his righteousness.

If you who are living to impress God, the good news is you can stop. And you can enjoy the righteousness of Christ, and live by the power of the Holy Spirit, not so that God will accept you, but because in Christ, he already does. The pressure’s off.

Again, notice that out of all of this “religious” blabber, only one thing is actually done by us (choosing to let God have his way in us). God does everything else. This is contrary to our thinking. Our thinking is always saying: we must save ourselves. We must try harder, do better, be moral, be religious, and the answer from the Bible is: no, God needs to save you. God needs to save me. We don’t save ourselves. God has a plan for us. It started before we were born, it’s happening now in our life, it will culminate in eternity future.

People will say “Jesus saves” and that is true, but when you look at it, it is simply mind blowing and has much more depth than those two words can convey.

Adoption. It is not that it’s just you and Jesus forever. You become part of a family. You have brothers and sisters in Christ. You are not alone. The church is called God’s “beloved.” It means God can’t love us anymore, can’t love us any less. It is fatherly, parental love. For many, people come from broken homes, etc, people think “am I enslaved to my family?” God provides a new family through the church. This doesn’t mean that your biological family becomes any less valuable in your life, but it explains why sometimes people feel closer to people who are also part of the family of Christians.

The longer you are a Christian, the more you realize how messed up you truly are. The more you learn your Bible, the more you get to know Jesus, the more you examine yourself in light of the character of God, the more you realize you are in far worse shape than you ever anticipated. And you need far more work than you would have ever feared. And you are far more loved than you ever dreamed. God does love you, he does save you, God still does forgive you, and he’s still working on you because there’s still a lot of work to be done. That’s sanctification. It means you are asking: “God, what are you trying to teach me? What can I learn?” Everything becomes a teachable opportunity to learn about God, and others, and yourself, and what God has to change in you to make you more Christlike, more like Jesus.

For those who truly are Christians, there is a learning that takes place throughout the totality of their life. God uses their experiences to sanctify them and make them more like Jesus. This includes perseverance. The true Christian continues to walk with Jesus. Of course, this doesn’t mean perfectly. It doesn’t mean we never stumble, never fall, never sin. It means, when we do, we inevitably come back to Jesus, back to repentance because of our faith. Jesus is not angry at you, he hasn’t stopped loving you, he gladly waits for you to come to him. We persevere because God perseveres with us. The book of Peter talks all about this perseverance up until the last day, which is the best day (the day of our death). It’s living by faith, which is trusting what the Bible says, until you enjoy sight, seeing Jesus.

We will rise from the death, just as Jesus rose from the dead, To a new heaven and new earth (talk about reincarnation!). And what a place! There will be no more death, no abuse, no hurt, no tears, no sin, no destruction, no fears, no mourning, no weeping, nothing but joy for God’s beloved. It’s a living hope, because Jesus conquered death we can follow him in death.

If you understand salvation, you won’t quit in the middle! You won’t stop reading your Bible, you won’t stop praying, you won’t stop repenting. Why? Because of the cosmic plan God is unfolding! You can feel God’s work in your life, and there’s nothing in you that wants to waste that.

Therefore, in light of all this, you are waiting for the conclusion, the climax of salvation, the joy, the reward, the completion. As Jesus died to put your sin to death, so you can be at peace, be in joy in your relationships, relationship with God, relationships with others, relationship with yourself. Persevere because God is not done with you. You are not done learning. Continue. You still have a lot to learn.

One aspect of the Christian perseverance is to persevere in learning. Now, learning requires humility, the acknowledgement that you don’t know everything, I can’t solve everything, and I need instruction. I need to be preached at, I need read books, I need God’s people to speak into my life, I need to prayerfully read the Bible. I need to receive the following statement in love: “You are not as smart as you think you are. Your education is not as good as you think it is. You discernment’s not as discerning as you have assessed and surmised. You’re not as spiritual as you think you are. You are in fact blind to your own blind spots. Some of the things you read, you shouldn’t read. Some of the things you believe, you shouldn’t believe. Some of the people you esteem, you shouldn’t esteem. Some of the counsel that you have acted upon is foolishness. Rather than defending yourself, talk about how intelligent you are and judging everyone and everything else, humility says, ‘teach me.’ I have things to learn.” And this doesn’t change until death.

Peter is good example of being still humble, still teachable, even as a writer of part of the Bible. He is learning from Paul, who wrote more books of the New Testament that anyone else. He is learning from the same Bible we are, and he agree that some things that Paul wrote, i.e. some of the Bible, is just plain hard to understand! 2 Peter 3:16 “Some of his[Paul’s] comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do other parts of Scripture[Bible]—and the result is disaster for them.”

Let me tell about Paul’s letters and some initial thoughts from people doing their Bible reading:

Headcovering? What? I do not know what to do with that.

Speaking in tongues? Casting out Demons? These are gifts? Doesn’t sound like one.

Only a man can be an elder. Seriously?

The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is head of the church and he should lovingly, humbly, sacrificially lead his family.

Wives should submit to their husbands. Are you serious? There must be a footnote with an exception for the guy I got.

Homosexuality is wrong. Seriously?

If we have sex before marriage, that’s fornication. That’s wrong? Are you serious? God really has things to say about my sex life?

Anyone who worships a spirit other than Jesus, worships a demon.

Not all religions go to heaven, only Jesus saves. What about my nice, good friends who are all good people?

Christians read the Bible in general, then talk about Paul specifically. All topics debated in Christianity come from Paul’s letters. Some things are going to be hard to understand. Predestination, love before time, speaking in tongues, gender roles. What you should do is not rush to a position. What you should do is study. Read books, read commentaries, listen to different pastor’s preaching’s on the topics. Be a student. Work hard to try and answer your questions to arrive at Biblical, thoughtful, prayerful conclusions. Some things will take time. There are some questions I’ve been working on for 15 years.

You grow in holiness, you learn more about Jesus in the process, and some things fall into place. Give yourself permission not to just take a side and argue for it. Be thoughtful and careful. Realize that there are some things you will never come to a hard and fast conclusion on in this life. One of the things Paul says is that it’s like looking through a fogged window. One day, when we met Jesus, we will fully know. (1 Corinthians 13). Some of the things we thought we knew we’ll realize we’ve been wrong about. All of this process is part of growing to be more like Jesus. It’s all well and good.

Here’s what’s not okay: taking what Scripture says and twisting it to fit a conclusion that we have come to out of our own desires of what we want to believe. To say something that God never said. To mean something that God never meant. People do this all the time. They do so because they think they are enlightened and free, above the “religious nuts.” What God says is that they are ignorant and unstable. You could say, “yea, I read a book that explains away what the Bible says. “ They’re ignorant. It’s not that they are dumb, it’s that they are hard-hearted. It has less to do with the mind, and more to do with the will. It’s not that they don’t understand what the Bible says, it’s that they don’t like what the Bible says. So, they want to change what the Bible says so that they can do whatever it is that they want to do.

Paul calls this the “suppression of truth because of the unrighteousness of the deeds.” It means they are doing something sinful, you read the Bible and it says it’s a sin, so the choice is to change or change the Bible. And rather than change, they want to change the Bible. They do so in the name of being enlightened, and evolved beyond the Bible. It’s hubris. It’s what C.S. Lewis calls “chronological snobbery.” Be careful that you don’t begin with a sinful desire, and then go in pursuit of someone who will try to make the Bible legitimize who you are and what you’re doing rather than calling you to repentance. Then, you are not rooted in the firmness of Scripture. You are tossed about like a ship with the sail set and pulled in whichever way culture or your flesh or lies or temptations or trends go, you blow. You’re unstable.

Some reading this will say that God is mean. This is Peter weeping as he writes this! Being blown and tossed about, not being firmly rooted, creates destruction. Have you seen a husband who doesn’t obey the Scriptures? He destroys his wife. Have you seen a wife who doesn’t obey the Scriptures? She destroys her husband. Have you seen parents who don’t obey the Scriptures? They destroy their children. You see Christians who don’t obey the Scriptures; they destroy the church. You see individuals who don’t obey the Scriptures; they destroy their lives. It’s just carnage. It is devastating. And for anyone to think they will be the exception to the rule is ignorant and unstable.

God is good. God has good intentions. God gives good counsel. God gives good wisdom and insight. Don’t be like your first parents whom Satan came to and said, “well, that’s God’s perspective. What is yours? Surely you can think for yourself. Can you take what God said, add to it, subtract from it, edit it, make adjustment, and make it better? Use his insights as a beginning, then live as your own god, and rise above God, and his foolishness and simplicity. You’re your own person, and you have your own desires and ideas, and your own needs and feelings. You can’t trust God. Trust yourself!” All of the people who followed the temptation of that reasoning have destroyed their lives.

Peter said: not only do I write the Bible, I’ve read it. And yea, there’s some hard stuff, but that’s no excuse to twist it or to live rebelliously to your own destruction. I pray that you would have the humility to not give way to chronological snobbery, that you would not elevate any books over the Book, that you would not have iching ears, waiting for a false prophet to just tell you what you want to hear.

These are hard words intended to create soft people. We live in a day where there are too many soft words, and many of us have become hard people. There are men who do not want to lead their families, there are children who do not want to obey their parents, there are many who intend to have sex outside of marriage, and all these people think they are very smart and enlightened, highly evolved, and God is very distant and archaic, and yet they are ignorant and unstable. The Bible warns against destruction because the Bible is from God, who loves us.

God from eternity past to eternity future is nothing but parentally loving and good. To rebel against him is suicidal. So persevere, because God is not done teaching you. Humility, Repentance, Teachability are essential.

Peter’s last words: “I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends, so you can watch out and not be carried away by the errors of wicked people. I don’t want you to lose your own secure footing. But grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be all glory and honor, both now and forevermore. Amen.”

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Great Cosmic GRE

All bold quotes are excerpts from Dr. Frank Crane's essay "Personal Influence":

"Of all the forces that drive human beings, the greatest is personal influence.
By personal influence, I mean the driving force that goes out from you, simply by virtue of what you are. It has nothing to do with what you do or say or try, except as these things express what you are."

So, I had a bunch of thoughts about what makes a person what they are. There was a lot of thinking that I had to do on the matter, and all those words were part of the process, but as I listen in to God more and more, today I am at the point of believing that who we are consists of what we worship. That's it, plain and simple.

Idleness The Mother of Progress

All bold excerpts are from Dr. Frank Crane's "Idleness the Mother of Progress":

I thought that this title was especially fitting for my current state of life. I hope that progress can be made in my idleness! I think many can relate, as many are unemployed in this economy and I hope that this blog will lighten up someone's day who is unemployed and has some spare time laying around.

"Idleness is the mother of progress. So long as men were busy they had no time to think of bettering their condition.
Idleness is the mother of art. It was when men had leisure from the chase that they decorated the handles of their hunting knives and the walls of their cave-dwellings.
We talk of all men's right to work. There is a deeper right than that. It is the right to idleness."

Ah! What a refreshing thought! There is indeed a season for all things.

"The value of what we put upon the page of life depends upon the width of the margin."

How many employers could profit from this idea! Think of all the corners that are cut trying to reach deadlines, and how many people who say, "oh well, we just don't have the time, this'll have to do."
The margin of my life is very large at the moment, but I am still affected by the fast pace of work from my seasons of business. It is in my blood to hurry up and finish this blog, make it something that'll be decent enough to post, and move on to the next one. (However, this seems to contradict the claim that I am a perfectionist, and I'm not sure what to respond to that thought. Moving on...)

"The curse of America is its deification of labor. Our little gods are the men who are ceaselessly forthputting.
Most of all we deify capital, which never rests, but goes on producing day and night.
We are so occupied in getting ready to live that we have lost the art of living."

Woa. That's a powerful claim. "We are so occupied in getting ready to live that we have lost the art of living." I had to repeat it to let it sink a little deeper. Is it really true? Who is it true of? How much of it applies to me? It's easy to make claims of everyone out there in society, but it quite another to ask to what degree they are true of yourself.
I think that I go through seasons of getting ready to live. I am constantly thinking about having kids in the future, and many times I find myself reasoning, "We need to do this before we have kids, we need to do that before we have kids." I find myself wanting to prepare, and prepare for a career that will carry me till retirement. It's like I want to come to a place where the job is secure, and the kids are on the way, and then I will live. But what is the point of all my days till then? If they are only but preparation, what if kids never come and I never have a career? Have I failed? My conclusion is no. I have realized that while I must prepare to live, I cannot forget to live. It is in the balance of the two that I find my life.

"With us a man is a fool if he sets about to enjoy himself before he has laid up a fortune. We count the woman happy when she has married money, and the child accursed when he has no inheritance.
Every morning we arise from our beds and charge bloodthirsty into the struggle. We all do it, millionaires and paupers. 'Rich and poor alike, you know nothing of the joys of leisure.'
There ought to be two leisure classes, yea three: all children under twenty-one, all women, and all men [and women] over sixty.
The work of the world could easily be done by males between the ages of twenty-one and sixty. There would be plenty of work for every man to keep him from want, and plenty of leisure for every man to preserve in him a living soul."

What a balance there must be for leisure to be a noble endeavor and not an evil one! I like the idea of spreading out the work. Do people really need to work as hard as they do? I think that I am not working now because I have realized the answer is no. In some ways, it is hard to find work because I am an honest, very honest, open-book person. They can see right through to the fact that I value my leisure time, and they view that as a threat. I think many work places are terrified of people who enjoy leisure, because they fear the overspill to laziness. They are attracted to the workaholic, eager-to-please, over-the-top, I'll-come-into-work-at-any-hour, you-name-it-I'll-do-it, hard worker. Because this is what the work places hire, this is what people in society turn into in order to get work. Work places need not be so scared of the man [or woman] who enjoys his leisure. For the best worker is a balanced soul, one who works hard, and then is able to drop work and rest.

Being a woman, I especially like these last thoughts shared by Dr. Frank Crane. While in this generation, some may point to him as anti-feminist, I embrace him as the epitome of a person fighting for my feminist rights. The right to choose to work, but not to have to work, is the best place for women. Women want to be viewed as equals in the work world, and granted that is a good thing. However, I also want men to fight for my right not to work.

"If I were czar of the world, no woman would work except as she might elect for her amusement; no child should do aught but play.
Among savages the women do all the work. In the coming civilization they shall do none. The progress of the race is the progress of the female from toil to leisure.
Every woman is a possible mother. She should be the real aristocracy, the real Upper class, to give culture and beauty to life.
As for man, little by little, he also would lift himself from the killing grind of monotonous exertion. for he would make Steam and Electricity, and other giants not yet discovered, do the dirty work."

I'm always impressed at how much I underestimate thinkers of the time period of Dr. Crane! This was written at the turn of the 20th century, and yet he hit the nail on the head with "giants not yet discovered" that would do the work that men used to do. He just assumed that we would discover new technology-- yet I think he would nevertheless be blown away if he were alive today. We have so much technology now that does so much work for society. One computer can do the work of what several workers used to do. The ironic thing is that rather than decreasing a man's work load, it can put him out of a job altogether, which is not a healthy thing for society. There are more leisure jobs in this century, more travel agents, and more entertainers, more cruise lines, etc, than 100 years ago, however, those jobs are the first to go in a down economy. Sometimes I feel we need to view leisure activities as much of a need as we do buying food, not for any benefit of my own want, but for the want of society to keep men of all jobs employed. (I do want to qualify this statement with a fact that I believe only in supporting leisure activities that uplift the moral fibers of society.)

"To bring all this to pass, you do not need to devise any cunning scheme of government, nor join any party or specious ism. You need only do one thing.
And that is establish justice.
The end of fraud and wrong is fevered toil. The end of justice is the superior product of skill and genius, and their mother, leisure."