In Nevada we've been on COVID-19 "Stay At Home" orders for over a month. Small business owners are beginning to speak up and tell us that they cannot survive much longer. Who knows when federal money will come through?

Among the fear-monger folks, any talk reopening brings the accusation, "so you want people to die!"

They pit the economy against the lives of the vulnerable, and perhaps they're right to an extent.

Pro-abortion folks are giddy at the thought that they can now accuse conservatives of being pro-death, when it comes to those vulnerable to COVID-19.

There's a big difference between an elective abortion and the vulnerable to COVID-19.

The difference

One is an active choice to end a human life. The other is a side effect of trying to heal life to be as normal as it will be.

We cannot think of this in terms of an elective abortion, because we're not choosing death. We must think of this in a Roman Catholic sort of way.

If a woman has uterine cancer and is pregnant, the cancer is at a place where the uterus needs to be removed in order for her to live:

If the progression of the cancer will not allow for that option, and the mother needs surgery immediately if she is going to live, you, as her doctor, have only two choices: You can allow both patients to die or you can save one and lose the other. The moral choice is to save the mother.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/abortion-and-double-effect

And the COVID-19 situation isn't even that dire! If the young mother has a different kind of cancer that can be treated and the indirect and unintended consequence *MAY* be the death of the child, it's still a moral choice to save the life of the mother.

Just so with COVID-19. The intent is to do everything that can be done to protect the lives of the vulnerable, while saving the life of the economy and the livelihoods of millions of people.

We have moved to a different state - we are now in Northern Nevada, in the high desert.

How different than Silicon Valley!  We went from ambulances and crowded traffic to coyotes and wild horses.

I never thought I'd live in a place where it snowed again, when I left Michigan...but the winters are really mild here.

We've been here nearly a year and a half.  Our closest neighbors are Slim (a dark bay retired rodeo horse), Pacman (a palomino cowboy horse in training) and Sprinkles (the goat)

Our closest human neighbors are a retired couple who have two horses.

We're the only people on the street who don't have livestock.

Our "pets" are wild quail.

We moved to this are, in large part, because of a really solid church.  I didn't want to ever move to a church that was not explicitly Reformed.  We walked into this church and they have five banners in the front with the Five Solas.

It's a "thinking church" and a "preaching church"

and the worship...it had been such a long time since I sang in a church where the congregation overwhelms the folks on the platform.  Being surrounded by the people of God, raising their voices together in praise and worship.

Lots of Townsend and Getty, Sovereign Grace...and hymns.  By number.  From a hymnal.

At first it was so emotional, I cried the whole time (in good tears)

Then, the old hymns...some of them I could only hear in my dad's voice...and I miss him so much.

So...that's life.

This resonated with me...so here it is...

Worship: Worship Seven Days a Week

But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.—Habakkuk 2:20

So I've got to tell you that if you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on....

We come into God's house and say, "The Lord is in His holy temple, let us all kneel before Him." Very nice. I think it's nice to start a service that way once in a while. But when any of you men enter your office Monday morning at 9 o'clock, if you can't walk into that office and say, "The Lord is in my office, let all the world be silent before Him," then you are not worshiping the Lord on Sunday. If you can't worship Him on Monday you didn't worship Him on Sunday. If you don't worship Him on Saturday you are not in very good shape to worship Him on Sunday. Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, 9,24.

"Lord, permeate my whole life with a spirit of worship—all week long, every day. Amen."

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This has been rattling around in my head for a while, and it’s time for me to put it all in one place...into words.  As of May 19, the song "Reckless Love" (by Cory Ashbury) is #1 on the Christian Music Song Chart.  This song is controversial (at best) and worshiping a false god (at worst, and is what I have become convicted of.)

Singing can be an important way of learning...and what we sing when we worship "sticks" - if you don't believe that, try saying the ABC's without singing.

Discerning the difference between right worship and wrong worship is as life-saving as discerning the difference between food and manure.

I'm organized this into these sections:

  • Reckless Leaven - how much falsehood is "too much" when we're singing about a sovereign and holy God?
  • Reckless Theology - Can God be divorced from His love?
  • Reckless History - are all of these examples in the song "reckless?"
  • Reckless "Bibling" - do we dare use a word to describe God that God uses to describe evil?
  • Reckless Portrayal of God - If God's love is reckless, then God is not sovereign.

 

1. Reckless leaven

I had somebody say (not address me *directly* but a sort of side swipe) that it was sad that people “get hung up on” that one word (reckless.)

How much dog s&#t does it take in a batch of brownies to make the whole batch inedible?

Or (using a Bible metaphor) How much leaven does it take to leaven the whole lump?

This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. ~~Galatians 5:8-9

The Bible also says to

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV)

- closely means...pay attention to the little things - because even one word can lead you to false worship.

Getting "hung up" on one word is the difference between "close watch" and "sloppy."

2. Reckless Theology

Below are the words of the writer of “Reckless Love.”

"When I used the phrase, 'the reckless love of God,' when we say it, we're not saying that God Himself is reckless, He's not crazy. We are, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. But what I mean is this: He's utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His own actions with regard to His own safety, comfort and well-being. He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself on the line, He simply puts Himself out there on the off-chance that you and I might look back at Him and give Him that love in return." - Cory Asbury.

 

Definition of reckless (merriam-webster)
1: marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences

Question:  Can a perfect and holy God lack caution?  Can a righteous God be irresponsible?  Is God careless - of consequences or anything else?

If your answer is “no” - then this one word indicates a wrong-headed idea of the nature of God.

2. Can we divorce God from His attributes?

God is love.  To call His love reckless is to call *HIM* reckless, since it is impossible to separate God from His attributes.

Could I say, “it’s not me that reckless, it’s only my driving?”  or...”it’s not me that’s reckless, only my drug use?”

If your answer is no, then if God’s love is reckless...God is reckless.

3. Reckless History

Let’s imagine that you are alone in the house and have a 1 year old and a 3 year old that are playing in the back yard.  The 3-year-old wanders off.  Would it be “reckless” to leave the one at home go look for the other?   Yes.

But...if you had a sister in the house to watch over the one, while you go look for the other...not reckless.  Ask yourself...on the night of Christ’s birth...did the angels appear to one shepherd, or more than one?

If your answer is “more than one,” then the word “reckless” does not apply to "leave the ninety-nine".

4. Reckless "Bibling"

Does the Bible use the word “reckless?”  How?

(ESV)

Proverbs 14:16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.

Luke 13:15 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.

2 Timothy 5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

(CEV)

2 Peter 2:10 The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don’t think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven.

(NIV)

1 Peter 4:4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.

Even Bible translators understand that to be “reckless” is not a good thing.

HOW DARE WE DESCRIBE GOD WITH A WORD THAT GOD USES TO DESCRIBE EVIL?

5. Reckless Portrayal of God

Let’s look at the song-writer’s explanation (perhaps the most important piece.)  This takes a bit of “connect the dots” but they’re important dots, in order to get what is being said about the nature of God.

Specifically: He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself on the line, He simply puts Himself out there on the off-chance that you and I might look back at Him and give Him that love in return."

Question 1: Does an omniscient (all-knowing) God “wonder” (to think or speculate curiously)  about anything?

Can  the God who can number the hairs on my head fail to *know* without any doubt...what He will gain or lose by anything?

If your answer is no...then you do not worship the god of Reckless Love.

Question 2: What does “off-chance” mean?

If I were to ask any person reading “I’m writing this on the off-chance that somebody will read this with an open mind”...

Off-chance = hoping that something may be possible, although it is not likely:

This meaning is vital to understanding Ashbury's god.

  • the god of Reckless Love, died on the cross - on the off-chance that somebody *might* look back and return his love.
  • This  god of Reckless Love does not know the future.
  • The god of Reckless Love does not *hold* the future.
  • This god of Reckless Love hopes that some will come to salvation, but does not hold it likely.

(by the way, this idea that God cannot/does not/will not know the future is a belief called "open theism" - "Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God. They are potential–yet to be realized but not yet actual." ~~Clark Pinnock)

If God's love is reckless, then God cannot be sovereign.

Does God know the future, including who will turn to Him?

If your answer is yes, then you do not worship Ashbury's god.

The next point is an “internal debate” between Reformed Theology and others.

The God I worship does not *need* to “wonder” about *ANYTHING.*

He does not “wonder” if anybody will love Him back...because He sovereignty elects those who will.

  • It is God who opens the eyes of our hearts.  
  • God who wills us to believe.
  • The God I worship knows the future, holds the future, *makes* the future.

Scripture convicts me...as well as my conscience and the song-writer's own words...that for me to sing “Reckless Love” is to worship a false god.  Here I stand.

 

 

 

I've rolled this around in my brain for a couple of weeks...and today I'm putting it in writing.  How and why do we give?

Our church spent the month of December looking at "The Advent Conspiracy" and something was said that I need to respond to.  I'm putting this in my own words and expanding on it.

What can we give God?

...that He has not already given us?  Answer - nothing.  God has given us creation, we have our life, we have our time, we have our talent, and we have our treasure.

In him we live and move and have our being ~ Acts 17:28\

God, in His infinite mercy, gave us His Son, Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~~ John 3:16

We recognize that there is nothing that we can give God.  When we see this, we begin to see the pattern.  What He has given to us, we pass on to others.

God blesses us, so we bless others.

We receive from God our blessings and we open our hands to let those good gifts bless others.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ~~ Hebrews 13:16

give with open hands and open hearts

It should be in our nature to give...because that's God's nature.  When giving to others becomes part of our "new creature" - then giving becomes an act of worship.

The more we give, the more freely we give, the more giving becomes our nature.

When giving is truly an act of worship - we give with a smile on our face, and joy in our hearts.\

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.~~James 1:17

 

 

I can only shake my head at this article, and grieve - not only that this woman has gone through this trauma (rape) but also that this is the route she's gone in order to...I'm not sure what she'll gain from this thinking.

Here's the article, "Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me."

Now the rest of us are stuck trying to be both a virgin and a mother at the same time.

"lunes linkage" is a collection of links, articles, etc. (anything) I've found interesting and might want to come back to.

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What Christianity Alone Offers Transgender Persons

The article is good and worth reading, but this line stuck out at me:

Creation isn’t right. The physical world has been “subjected to futility,” to frustration. It doesn’t work properly. It’s out of joint. It has been subjected to this frustration by God. The Bible’s wider narrative explains this. God cursed the ground as a judgment on human sin (Gen. 3:17). In other words, the world isn’t right as both a consequence and a demonstration of the fact that we’re not right.

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Campfire Blanket Scarf

Campfire Blanket Scarf - lunes linkage

Or maybe just a blanket 😉

This will be a good choice when I have spun all the alpaca fiber into yarn.

This piece will be easy and fast to knit, and it is just the sort of thing I like to curl up in when it's chilly, either indoors or out.

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California Could Learn From Puerto Rico Raising Minimum Wage

According to National Review, the impact on American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands was devastating. After only three of the ten scheduled minimum-wage increases after 2006, American Samoa’s overall employment dropped 30 percent — a 58 percent crash in for the critically important tuna-canning industry. Real GDP fell by 10 percent.

But that was much better than their Northern Mariana Islands neighbors, where employment had plunged by 35 percent, and real per capita GDP off by 23 percent.

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That's all for now (Tuesday)

I slipped up - at some point I changed the header pick and never told about it.

Two-and a half years ago, on our honeymoon, we took a walk in a slot canyon somewhere in Utah.  We walked along the stream, mostly looking up at the amazing artwork that God created.

I looked down and saw this rock.Layers

I 'm a geology nut, and this rock, layers upon layers.

Layers, lifting up, slanted toward the next, layers on top, covering and protecting.

How old are these rocks?  God knows...and scientists think they do.