James 5:16b

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

– James 5:16b (ESV)

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

– James 5:16b (NIV)

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

– James 5:16b (NASB)

πολὺ ἰσχÏ?ει δέησις δικαίου á¼?νεÏ?γουμένη

– James 5:16b (New Testament Greek)

I’d like to understand this verse better. I hope to study it and write on it over the next few days.

I also hope to practice it better.

Some mindless spam protection

I have upgraded to Bloo build 8. One new feature in this build is the SimpleHumanCheck spam filter. It’s mindless and probably really irritating, but I’m putting it out there as a stopgap because I’m being inundated with spam.

If you leave a comment, you will be asked a question only a human being (in theory) can answer. This is probably pretty easy to crack if some spammer wants to do so, but since I can change the questions around (heh heh) I can stay a step ahead of them.

Note my overconfident air . . . pride goes before the fall, of course. So I’ll probably get swamped.

More intelligent spam filtering is coming.

G’night all!

The Hand Song

I was listening to my shuffle mix on the bus today when The Hand Song by Nickel Creek came on. Out of the blue I found myself getting all misty-eyed. Sheesh.

Then walking to the office it came on again. Hmm. *ahem*. Whew. Boy, the dust sure is bad today. Got *ahem* something in my *sniff* eye.

*sigh* – I’m such a sap . . .

He still remembers that night as child

On his mother’s knee

She held him close and she opened her bible

And quietly started to read

And seeing a picture of Jesus he cried out

“Momma, he’s got some scars just like me.”

And he knew it was love

It was one he could understand

He was showing his love

And that’s how he hurt his hands


Singing in the shadow of His wings

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

when I remember you upon my bed,

and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,

and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

My soul clings to you;

your right hand upholds me.

– Psalm 63 5-8 (ESV)

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food”

We here in the affluent West can’t really understand that statement, I don’t think. The thought of “fat and rich food” causes me to glance, ashamedly, at my bulging waistline.

But to David, a man accustomed to long stretches out in the wilderness who knew the feel of a taut belly, my guess is that the image here is of a famished hunger, long held off but finally sated at a board laden with good food. Only here he speaks of his soul, dining on the riches of God.

This passage speaks of safety and joy. It is the joy of a dinner with that friend of all friends – and doesn’t our laughter ring loudest then? It is the safety that is found under the wings of the most Holy, the sweet communion at the day’s end, meditating on God’s goodness as sleep overtakes us.

And it is the safety of the Father’s hand; a hand that we cling to tightly like a child. Even warriors like David understood this – surely better than we can. He had been in the wilderness, had known the feeling of being hunted; had heard the clang of his enemy’s armor, close behind, and the sound of his enemy’s horses. Yet, at the worst of times he knew the strong hand of the Father holding him, and the awesome shadow of the Father’s wings. There was safety.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:1-4


Think about these things

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

People can come back. Even those who have strayed far from God. They can.

God is in control. He is. He can do anything. Anything.

Pray for the ones you know who are far away, or who are struggling. Let them know you are praying for them (and, of course, really pray). It’s both very easy, and very hard. It’s warfare.

Let them know you miss them.

Leave the ninety-nine and go find the one. Sometimes the one is just waiting to be rescued.

Don’t ever lose hope. Never. Love always hopes.

We don’t see everything that’s really happening. We don’t see what springs into action when we pray. How could we?

We only see a very small percentage of reality. By design. But God sees it all.

Our patience is very thin. His is as wide and deep as the ocean. His purposes will be accomplished through the ages and the wheeling of the galaxies. If he has chosen to start a work in someone, he is faithful to complete it, though we might not be able to see it.

When we are discouraged, we can think of him, our great encourager – the one who fills us with courage. He is the commendable, excellent, praiseworthy one. Love hopes all things and believes all things, not because love is gullible, but because love hopes in the One who makes all things possible. There is no other One who we can turn to with that assurance.

So keep praying and keep hoping. And fill your mind with what is true, and just, and honorable, and praiseworthy, and excellent.

That’s my intention.

Rejoice!

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.

– Philippians 3:1a (ESV)

It’s a straightforward statement. Aside from the humor I see in the fact that Paul says “Finally” here and then launches into another topic – he revisits “finally” in chapter 4, verse 8 (man, I love Paul! :-) – I find this to be a profound sentence.

Notice what he doesn’t say: “I hope you have joy in the Lord.” Or “May God bless you so that you have joy” (though God certainly does that).

He says, simply, “rejoice”. It’s a command.

In the midst of all our luxury and plenty, freedom and opportunity, we certainly can complain, can’t we? We’re experts at it.

And yet the command is to rejoice, not complain! A complaint carries with it a sense of misplaced privilege, and an entirely unmerited claim to entitlement. A complaint is the astonishment of a selfish soul when it discovers that it isn’t, in fact, God.

Joy, on the other hand, is the delighted response – a choice, mind you – of the heart when the fact of one’s own unworthiness is uncovered, when the smallness of who we are compared to the Lord is made clear to our minds, and we realize the utter grace with which each breath is drawn. We are not destroyed! In fact, if we know Christ, we are beloved children of the King of the Universe, adopted and redeemed.

It’s when we place that in towering perspective against our own small and petty trials, claims, and conceits that complaints die away and joy takes root.

Joy is a practice. And when life comes crashing down, and our world crumbles around us, it’s a choice we can still make, if we have trained our hearts to sing its song.

When my world crumbles, may I respond with joy, beyoond the comprehension of a world that slouches in darkness.

New Theme: Paper Towel

I just created a new theme called “Paper Towel”. It’s now the default.

This was the first ever Bloo theme (that I know of) created on the fly from within Bloo. The ability to create themes on the fly is one of the major enhancements in the latest version of Bloo (alpha build 7).

It’s still confusing to do, though, and the docs are non-existent. So I think I’ve scared off the other alpha testers from trying their hand at theme-creation.

Plus I found a few bugs that have to be gotten around for now. And fixed soon. *sigh*

But, all that being said, I kind of dig this latest theme. Hope it’s ok on your eyes as well.

Philippians 3:12-16

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

– Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV)

Focus . . .

You can almost hear the strong footfalls.

Pressing on . . .

The labored and yet full breaths being drawn and then exhaled, almost like laughter; the sturdy beat of the heart . . .

I will be teaching this passage this Sunday in the GAP class. I haven’t really started studying it, but upon this most recent reading I am struck by the immediacy of the language, by the beautiful mix of humility and confidence (yes, they can go together!), by the life that pushes through the dead page.

I’m hit with the athletic flow of the words, with the fluid strength of the theme espoused by Paul. I’m intrigued and emboldened by the future and the past that is encased in this passage, as in this single statement:

“I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

I press on, because Christ has made me his own. I have not obtained perfection, but yet I hold true to what I have attained. God has won the victory, and I run, joyfully and with strength and confidence derived only from the one from whom those heavenly characteristics, in their purest forms, flow.

And if you don’t feel this way (as I often don’t) you just haven’t grasped the truth yet.

Yet.

“and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.”

There’s really no question in the matter anymore. God has done it all. You have attained the victory that Christ won for you.

Now.

Run!