Friday Catblogging: The Huntress

Filed in PersonalTags: Cats, Pets, Photos

My domain has been invaded by insolent bell balls; my hunting instincts are heightened against this nascent threat:

huntress

Beware, evil bell-balls everywhere; the huntress is on the prowl!
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved

Hailstorm

Filed in PersonalTags: Missouri, Photos, Saint Louis

Yesterday the bi-state area got hit with a pretty good thunder/hail storm.

hailstorm 002

After a hailstorm, February 16, 2005
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

OYB February 17

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Leviticus 4-5
NT: Mark 2:13-28, Mark 3:1-6
Ps: Psalm 36
Pr: Proverbs 10:1-2

Today´s notable verse:

5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

Psalm 36:5-6 (NIV)

One of my favorite bands of all time is Third Day. While they were originally known for their rock/southern-rock style, they have some powerful worship - both in their recordings and in concert. Much of their worship songs come straight from Psalms such as this one. It's pretty amazing worshipping alone with psalms like these - and much more so, when thousands are all singing together in concert! As soon as I read these two verses, I heard the music in my mind; and the song will likely be stuck in my head all afternoon. (Not that I'm complaining!)

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you and Question of the Day - Psalm 36 verse 1 is a sobering verse - "Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God to restrain them." This reminds me of an old U2 lyric from their song Acrobat - "If you just close your eyes, you can feel the enemy." Have you ever felt sin whispering to you? Do you think that sin can indeed whisper to our hearts? Can it whisper from within our hearts? Do we need more that just fear of God to restrain us from sin? Has Jesus freed you from the whisper of sin within your heart?

The imagery of sin whispering to the heart reminds me of this passage:

13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

James 1:13-15 (NIV)

Yes, sin can "whisper to our hearts" - but only because we let it! When we allow the Holy Spirit within us to take control of our own inherent, evil desires, then those desires never have an opportunity to conceive or to give birth to temptation and sin. The evil desires exist within us, and Satan tempts us with/according to those desires. But when we "take captive every thought, and make it obedient to Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5), we short-circuit the entire process that leads to sin. When we choose not to "conform...to the patterns of this world", but rather allow ourselves, through the Spirit, to "be transformed, by the renewing of [our] minds" (Romans 12:2), we silence the whisper of sin in our hearts.

Mike’s One Year Bible Blog

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Mike's One Year Bible Blog has been added to the OYB blogroll. Welcome!

OYB February 16

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Leviticus 1-3
NT: Mark 1:29-45, Mark 2:1-28
Ps: Psalm 35:17-28
Pr: Proverbs 9:13-18

Today´s notable verses:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35 (NIV)

The Secret Place: here Jesus demonstrates for us the secret-place lifestyle. How much more focused and better grounded would we be if we followed this example?

My tongue will speak of your righteousness
and of your praises all day long.

Psalm 35:28 (NIV)

With respect to controlling the tongue, this verse reminds me of the holiness versus not-sinning mentality. Rather than focus on what he should avoid (the line between sin and righteousness), David pursues instead holiness: proclaiming God's righteousness and praises. If we pursue the same thing in how we use our own tongues, would we really even have to worry about "slips" of the tongue?

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - The image of the boy crying that I posted up in the Psalms section made me wonder this - are you comfortable crying before God? Have you ever cried before God? Do you think it's okay for us to cry before / to God? I just wonder if sometimes we hold back our emotions from God or try to prove to Him (and others?) that we really have it all together - when really we don't? Why do you think that we sometimes try to hide our emotions or hide things from God?

I am absolutely comfortable crying before God. I've probably cried more before Him than anyone else. Why would it not be okay for us to cry before God? One of the most foolish things we can do is to think that we can hide anything from God. He searches and knows our hearts. He reveals what is hidden. He wants us to reveal to Him the innermost parts of our thoughts and emotions.

Of course, I'm one of those people with no ability whatsoever to have a "poker face". I just can't put on a facade. To some, it would be a curse; to me, it's a blessing. People who know me know that what they see is what they get; what they see is who I am. While I reserve sharing certain intimate details with close friends with whom I have established deep levels of trust in the relationship, I never hide my emotions.

Corollary to that transparency is that, by personality and by choice, I am not driven by emotion - mine or others. Recognizing my emotions is an important part of analyzing them and their impact on a given circumstance or decision. In other words, being transparent with my emotions enables me not to allow them to control me; instead, I can recognize and understand what I am feeling, but choose to think and to act independent of those feelings.

Such separation is important when striving to live a life emulating Christ. (Remember Christ in Gethsemane: "Lord if you are willing, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will but yours be done." Christ's emotions compelled him NOT to go through with it, but He chose contrary to his emotions, instead choosing according to God's will.) And the first step in mastering our emotions - and our response to them - is transparency with respect to those emotions. We must be transparent to ourselves first, and we must be transparent to God and to others as well.

St. Louis RNC 2008?

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections, Missouri, Republicans, Saint Louis

Saint Louis was among 31 cities invited to bid for the 2008 Republican National Convention:

Cities that received requests for convention proposals are: Anaheim, Calif.; Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis, Mo.; and Tampa.

I think the Gateway City would be a great place for then convention. TexasRainmaker wants it in Houston; others think that idea is full of crap.

Inaugural Carnival of the GOP Bloggers

Filed in PoliticsTags: Carnivals, Republicans

Another Wednesday carnival, this one the Carnival of the GOP Bloggers.

Christian Carnival CVIX

Filed in ReligionTags: Carnivals, Christianity

Christian Carnival CVIX is up at Pursuing Holiness. This week's theme: Love.

My post "Say It Ain't So, Jim" was included under Love of Children.

OYB February 15

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Exodus 39-40
NT: Mark 1:1-28
Ps: Psalm 35:1-16
Pr: Proverbs 9:11-12

Today´s notable verse:

10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

Mark 1:10-11 (NIV)

Father, Son, and Spirit, uniquely manifest and present together - the Godhead, Three in One, the Trinity - beautifully portrayed at Christ's baptism.

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from you & Question of the Day - What are some things about the book of Exodus, which we are wrapping up today, or the Gospel of Matthew that we wrapped up yesterday, that stood out to you this year? What new thing did you learn about God and his people in Exodus this year? What new thing did you learn about Jesus and his teachings in Matthew this year?

I'd have to think about this one... both of these books are ones that I have studied extensively (in fact, memorized) in the past, so I'll have to go back over my thoughts posted on them, to see what new insight or revelation this study has brought.

Get Thee Outside!

Filed in PersonalTags: Missouri, Saint Louis

Taking my lunch break outside today:

60 degrees

Welcome to St. Louis: land of the continual indian-summer winter!