For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

– Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

This is the ESV passage of the day today, and I find it extremely refreshing in its straightforward bluntness.

Here the Lord is saying “you and me, we don’t think alike”. But he goes farther. Not only are our thoughts different, he posits an analogy for us: God’s way of thinking is higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth.

How high above the earth are the heavens? The people this was originally written for might have had a figure for the distance between terra-firma and the big dome of the sky. I know that today, if we have a similar figure, it’s astronomical.

This passage lines up so completely with what I’ve observed, especially over the last few years. In teaching, I’ve gone from telling people such niceties as “our thoughts are sometimes faulty” and “strive to think Godly thoughts” to just telling them what I consider to be the truth, though it’s not as polite:

“You and I are crazy”.

I’ve been observing the thought processes of those around me and my own self as well and I’ve begun noticing a profound streak of insanity. We know what’s good for us, but we don’t do it. We think we see clearly, even when walking in a fog. Most of us consider ourselves experts at the motivations and intentions of those around us, but if there’s one thing I’ve noticed in the human condition lately, it’s how completely awful we are at discerning what other people think. Get involved in a dispute between two people and prepare to be amazed by how thoroughly they misinterpret the other.

And, most frighteningly, we often misinterpret God’s motives and character in his dealings with us. We experience his love, his discipline, his correction, and just the circumstances of life and assign the most outlandish and evil motivation to our loving Father. It’s childish and low.

The fallen human mind, even in those who are being sanctified, has an intense capacity for self-deception. The more I live, the more I see this. And it is only in filling our minds with the truth of God’s word and a healthy (and sometimes brutal) dose of humility that we begin to see clearly. And, thanks be to God, scripture promises that one day we will truly see as we are seen, and know as we are known. The darkened glass will lighten, the fog will lift. We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

In the meantime, let us seek the Lord. For it is at his side, with his word as a lamp for our feet, that our steps become firm and our path more clear. Humbled in his presence, there is pardon for the wicked. That’s the love of God. And that’s a thought that’s higher and grander than anything we can imagine.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

call upon him while he is near;

let the wicked forsake his way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:6-7

Explanation . . .

. . . because I know at least 1/3 of my regular readers (my mom) cares why I’ve seemingly gained 4 pounds since my last South Beach report in the navbar.

Actually, I have a very good explanation for this. We just bought a new scale and it weighs four pounds heavier, based on side by side comparisons to our old clunker.

Satisfied? Ok, bye now.

. . .

Oh, wait, you’re not going away. Now I suppose you want to know how I succeeded in losing absolutely no weight in the last two weeks.

Well, it’s like this. I went to Junior High camp last week (hence no weigh-in on Monday), where I needed lots of energy and had very little control over the menu. So, basically, I carbed up all week. And – no doubt – in my exertions there I converted much flabby flab into solid muscle, which, I’m told, weighs more than fat.

As far as you know . . .


“Kids’ needs are rarely ‘convenient.’ What they require in order to succeed rarely comes cheaply.

To raise them well will require daily sacrifice of many kinds, which has the wonderful spiritual effect of helping mold us into the character of Jesus Christ himself. God invites us to grow beyond ourselves and to stop acting as though our dreams begin and end with us. Once we have children, we cannot act and dream as though we had remained childless.”

– Gary Thomas

[as seen today on Thinklings]


I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

– Ephesians 4:1-6

And here we are, worrying about what Joe thinks . . .

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

– Proverbs 9:10

I’ve been thinking about fear lately.

I once gave a presentation at work, which entailed me speaking in front of several hundred people, spread over four sessions. As we were preparing for the first session, one of my co-workers asked me why I wasn’t nervous.

The fact is, I was nervous. But just a little, and not enough to show. But here’s what I told her:

“I am a parent. I know what fear is. And this isn’t it.”

I said it with a smile, and she, being a parent herself, laughed in recognition. But what I said, though it was entirely spontaneous, was the only answer to give, after seventeen years of being a parent. Because a big part of being a parent means experiencing worry and fear.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I have never been what I consider a brave person. I’m not a daredevil, I’ve never really enjoyed putting myself or those I love in dangerous situations. But I am beginning to appreciate fear.

For starters, fear is not necessarily a bad thing. This depends, of course, upon what the object of our fear is, but I am beginning to appreciate fear for its character-building attributes. Fear drives me to pray; it drives me to my knees. And I find, upon rising, that I am somewhat toughened by the experience of facing my fears, handing them to my Father, and receiving, in return, resolution, strength, and, at times, a single-minded and almost ferocious determination to persevere.

I find upon rising that I am braver, and that is a strange thing to experience for one like me who has never considered himself particularly brave.

Now, how this will translate to true bravery when the real test comes – and I don’t feel that I’ve yet been truly tested – only time will tell. But I feel God building me up, brick by brick, for that day, and I pray that I will withstand the fires that must surely come.

I daily observe, in the lives of other people and in my own life as well, actions and words driven by fear of what others might think, with hardly a thought given to the fear of God. And yet his word makes it clear that we are to fear him, and him alone. And, yes, of course, the fear of God is best described as an awe-filled reverence. Yet I believe there are times when stark terror is an appropriate response too! Our God is mighty, and jealous, and determined, and glorious, and beyond all we can comprehend. He laid the very foundation of the earth “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy”. He is the commander of the heavenly host, before which men fall dumb to the ground, and yet he stayed the attack of his grieving legions when the Incarnate Son suffered on the cross, for his fierce love of us and of his own glory.

And he has promised to build this same character in me: the bravery and determination and love of Christ that gave his own life as an offering of praise to the Father.

All of creation, from the smallest particle to the grandest galaxy, declares his glory! And here we are, worrying about what Joe thinks, and giving not a thought to the one we should truly fear.

I want to fear God. And in the working out of that fear, I want him to build into me the bravery of Jesus, to give my life for others as an offering to the Father.

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

– Proverbs 14:26

New version of Bloo and fun with Themes

I’ve upgraded the blog to a newer release candidate 2 of the first full production version of Bloo.

There are a number of cool things in this one, not the least of which is a newly revamped Theme Selector – check it out in the navbar and have fun changing your own personal view of this blog to any of a number of my favorite themes.

Man, I’m punchy.

Watch me for the changes . . .