27 August 2008


LIfe in general.

Working in a brick factory is hard. My hands feel like someone implanted steel rods along each joint, trying to keep me from closing my hands. I'm working ten hour evenings until the weekend. 230-1230. But, I get a three day weekend.

It sure seems like God is opening two separate paths for me. The one is, I believe where my heart would be the most prone to following. To be a peacemaker. Probably spend the nest three months getting into shape. Join the army. Work on my Russian and maybe German. Get a degree in Psychology and maybe International Relations. It'd be one hell of a hard and harsh road. The second is what seems to be opening is business. It would be relatively easy to take my credits and take business classes and get a degree relatively easily. Within a year or two I could be using my word-craft to work on contracts or some such thing. I'm certain I could get a well paying job at the latter. The first is likely to be hard. I could likely be taking the martial arts classes I want within two years (Japanese Sword Training) with the later. The first would likely put such a thing on hold. I don't know what God wants of me.

I starting reading the Forgotten Trinity by Dr. James R. White. Awesome book. He states at the beginning of the book that it is not necessarily gauged as a apologetic book, though it does in one way or another serve that purpose. He states that his desire is to show people the love he has for the Trinity and to share that passion with those who wish to love God for who He is, not the way we would have him be. It's an amazing book so far. He begins by exploring the fact that God is otherly, or Holy. He proceeds in an exegesis of the prologue of John. Amazing.

My mother is nuts and my dad's getting old. Both make me sad.

I was hoping to get to Fl this weekend. That's not going to happen. That sucks.I miss my friends. And my books.

Sigh. Shall I surrender? Shall I live? Where, oh where, is my heart? Where, oh where, is my Father calling me?

12 August 2008

My Dilemme

So, my heart is full of the dilemma-ness. First, my path in life. Without question I am where God has placed me, a thousand miles north of most of the people I love. That's fine. But it feels like I am being tested in a way that really makes me question whether the path I feel called to is what God really wants for me, or if it is just me wanting to do what I want to do.

I moved home because I never properly honored my father. He is definitely trying to convince me to take classes on electric or something practical. I feel like if I start going down that path is will take me farther away from the path I think I'm supposed to be going down. So I am torn between obeying God in honoring my father, and pursuing something I'm not sure if it is God's will or not.


The second dilemma. Martial arts training. There's a school about 15 minutes from my house. That's great. The problem is that the way they go about reacting to a situation of physical confrontation is completely different from the year of Shotokan training I have. I love Shototkan. The feel fits me. This new school is more of a mish-mash of a few different styles. So the question is do I travel twice as far to find a good Shotokan school, or go to this place? This place is good. The teacher seems really well trained and knows what he is doing. In addition to this, my heart is on learning the Japanese sword. All of those classes are an hour away. So much frustration.

11 August 2008

A Man's Faith Pt. One

It is comfortable to let others lead. I think many situations need leadership. Scripture tells us that it is right,in various ways and commands,to submit to leadership. But what are the bounds of that submission?

A Christian cannot go so far as to give up there own vigorous pursuit of spiritual things. We can share each others burdens. This is a clear command of Scripture.

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves..." Romans 12:10-19

This is a beautiful part of what Christ brought. Christians are brothers in more than some nebulous spiritual way. Love it meant to work its way down into the crevasses of our everyday life. Material possession is mean to be nothing to a Christian. A deadened sense of materialism and a quickened sense of brotherly love are perfect companions. The only trouble is that a Christian can sometimes get wrapped not only in the pride of being a teacher or elder, but complimentarily in the position of a learner.

People are supposed to be learners, or disciples. Of this there is no doubt. But there is a chasm we often cross because it is more comfortable for us on the one side than the other. One side if fraught with danger, the other with safety. On the one side of the chasm there is the submission of one's spiritual life to a spiritual leader. A pastor, a discipler, and elder more experienced Christian is the perfect candidate for this position of exaltation. Yet, how unfair is that?

To lay one's spiritual growth on another human being is a lazy thing to do indeed. Yes, children need to be led and nurtured. Yes, there is a place and a gift of teachers within a body of believers. Concurrent with this, and a grand balance indeed , is what I now present to you.

"They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matt 23:5-12

I am deeply grateful to God for the books of A.W. Tozer. In the introduction to one of his books he spoke of himself as a sign. He said that he was not the standard, but wished only to be a sign along the way pointing to God. I have begun through many trials to see the compulsion God puts in His children to seek Him. We can drench His fire in apathy and sooth our itching ears with as many teachers as we'd like. But until we see those God graces us with as teachers as signposts instead of pinnacles of spiritual success we may just be bound to only drinking the milk of their relationship with God, instead of being moved by the Fire that forged worlds.

07 August 2008


Instead of declaring God as Lord, and the Bible as His word, some Christian gatherings try and put social pressure and make salvation a thing to just 'be accepted'.

Watch this video and tell me if this looks eerily similar to Christian youth confessions.

05 August 2008

Today is a day.

So here I am. I am sitting in Starbucks writing on a blog no one is probably going to read. I am all right with that. I think I'm doing this more for me than anyone else. So there.

My life is kind of mediocre right now. I almost feel like I am in a purgatory right now. Even though I don't believe in purgatory.

I'm working 230-1030 this week. Next week I'm working 1030-630am. Ewh! But it may allow me to get out and see my Beller a few hours earlier. So that would be nice.

03 August 2008


" If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he can not imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

C.S. Lewis

From Chivalry by Leon Gautier

I. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
II. Thou shalt defend the Church.
III. Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
IV. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
V. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
VI. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
VII. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
VIII. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
IX. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
X. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

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Friday, December 07, 2007


Yesterday I was walking through the mall. I was searching for this little celtic nativity scene I saw in the card shop last year. So I meandor in. Look everywhere. It's nowhere to be found. I have this absent look on my face. I can feel it. The lady behind the counter sees it too and asks me if I need any help. I tell her. She's says, "I know what you're talking about. Yeah. We didn't get that one in this year." So my quaint idea of this adition to the alter in my room was gone.

Walking out, I see the 'long-haired hippie'. We talk for a while. He was looking at something for his boy for Christmas. So I left. Then it happened.

I was caught. One of those island people in the mall caught me. I was struck by her unmistakably Hebrew accent. Also, I've always been a sucker for dark, straight black hair. She had both; the proverbial one-two punch. Proper mall knowledge dictates that if you value time and wallet that you avoid these people. The siding and gutter people are easy enough. "I don't own a house," and suddenly you are the least important person in the world. This time it was different.

"I'm sure you have an important lady in your life."

"No," was all I could say. All I could think of was relationship girls. Understandable in the face of ethnic beauty.

"A mom? Sister?" Oh year. I'd kinda forgotten about them. Dang it. I looked as a dumb ox. She knew it. She sunk her fangs in. She asked for my had. Hers was soft; undoubtably from her countless dealings with the special lotion imported from Israel. She struggles to say Pennsylvania, just as I now struggle to spell it. It was to die for. Literally. If I'd died at that moment it would have not been devoid of a smile.

She can see me looking away. I'm doing it because I'm weak right now. "I can see your uncomfortable." No. I'm too comfortable to be comfortable.

The block she gives me is apparently a sander. She goes to town on my thumb. I'm putty in the soft yet assertive hands. My thumbnail, twenty-four hours later, is remarkedly shiny. It was made so in a matter of seconds. I know I need to go at this point. So I agree to buy one. She's taken aback that I'm ready even though I haven't seen her whole presentation, but she concedes.

As she begins to tap on the touch screen register, a sure reason to notice I'm probably being heavily over charged, she whispers. She says it's Chanukkah, and they being a Jewish company, have a deal. My only thought, crap. Buy two more and get two others free. I grimace on the inside. I can say no to this. She whispers even softer, "Tell you what. Buy one more, and I'll give you another free. I'm whispering so he," motioning to I believe her older brother, "doesn't hear." So I ask how much. Eighty dollars. Here I am spending 80$ on hand lotion and nail files.

Before I leave she gives me the rest of her presentation. Shows me how to clean the block and such.

I finally gain my freedom, but at what cost?

Watching Girls Gone Wild

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why I watch GirlsGoneWild

So, there I was. Four O'clock in the morning. I am awakened by the arrival of a text message. In the course of all thoughts that early in the morning, it is an oddity to awaken. Rolling back over the retrieve a now lost dream state is one of the most tempting actions in the experience of life. Something in me sparked my days energy in that moment. So there I was, driven to no longer sleep. There I was.

So, what are the courses of action that may be embarked upon? Continued respite? Bathroom? Snack? Tv? I choose T.v. A certain network consisting of an appropriate level of cartoons is always appealing. Late at night they show the stuff they don't want to show children. Abstract and sometime loose morals can be communicated on these shows. It is sometimes best that they are not on during the hours young people are supposed to be asleep.

So I make my way into the study. T.v. turns on as I finish a reply on my phone. Astro boy is on. What a wonderfully simplistic cartoon created some time ago. Contrary to my normal state of mind, the show is not appealing to me. So I surf. What is on but man's favourite form of debauchery; Girls Gone Wild.

It is at this point I would suggest any guy who ever sees this program throw a brick through his television at the first sign of the temptation to watch. The commercials are tantamount to pornography in and of themselves.

So, I pause. This would be the second time I paused. I was quickly convicted and ran to change the channel. I found a show on MSNBC where they were interviewing murders. The sickest of the sick of mankind. It rang in my heart of deja vu. And it wasn't just that I've seen the infomercial before. I realized something. The same human cravings gone amiss that cause one to murder are of the same ilk as that which causes one to participate in the fleshly parties.

A lack for a truer and transcendant law guides one into seeing only what may feel good. Into craving something that would either take away certain hurt. The hurt created by seeing the world for other than it is, and seeing history and future for other than they are. Without salvation, one may as well eat and drink and be merry. They have said in there heart, "There is no God"

I mentioned that I'd seen it previously. Then also was there a a counterbalance to the commercial. It was an add to send money to starving children in Africa. Opposite offers. I wonder which stirred the heart more of others who were up that early being fed by the cable lines.

02 August 2008

My Purpose/Reason

My Purpose and my Reason wrestled with

June 10, 2008, 10:56 PM

I fluttered about so much looking for my reason, my purpose. Now it seems I've found what that reason is. I wrestled with God for years asking and pleading for that reason. The path before me is wrought with loneliness and resistance. I have stepped out in faith and find myself stripped of all my comforts. God was so good to gift me with an environment I needed. He gave me friends and teachers I did no deserve. He gave me disciples I could not be who ought to have been for. I am unworthy to have had all that He blessed me with. So then why am I so sad about the path before me? Why must it hurt so much to be away from those I love?

If life is meant to be pain free, then my logical step is to move back to Florida. But life is not about seeking the path of least resistance. Life is not meant to be absent of pain. The essence of life cannot be defined by those who are near you, for if such were so then I would be a thousand miles away from my essence. The closer I am to taking the steps I must take the more it hurts.

My relationship with my father has been mended beyond what I could have hoped for. My father wants, as he always has, what is best for me. I am stressed between the desire to not be selfish and being faithful to what the calling is that has been brought before me. My father has been providing for me and helping me look for work, and for that I am overtaken with unspoken gratitude. It seems, though, that the path he would have for me would take me further away from my immediate path. It seems he would be happy with me getting a job I would probably be discouraged with so long as it would provide a good pay and have stability. These things are wise and smart in and of themselves. Had I no seeable direction and end, I would have no problem submitting myself to these things. But there is much that God has directed me towards. It feels impossible to ask him to believe this. It must seem to him these are the petulant musings of someone who has yet to grow up.

Herein is the source of tension in my life. I fear, as I always have, letting my father down. I feel like I am. If I had stayed in Florida and, perhaps, joined the Army Reserve, I could be closer to the path I'm called to. I know I have to be here now. I know that I am supposed to learn what it means to honor my mother and my father. Above all I know I am to honor God. If I am not honoring my parents I know that I cannot honor God. The line there was so much clearer when I was a thousand miles away. At least, in my ignorance it seemed such.

I have failed so much and so many people. It feels so inevitable that I am going to fail. At least my failure was clear when I was in Ocala. I'd failed as a missionary. I was told by a pastor that I, "probably ought to be married before I ever go back onto the field." I'm not married. I loved a woman for two years ending solely in friendship. In God's preparing my heart to come up here my mind separated my heart from certain friendships I once found sweet as honey. People I should have been a more perfect example for I failed in embracing my selfishness. I should have been a better employee: more astute, quicker, more precise, and so much more.

I do not speak out of regret. These things are sad and needful of repentance. So from here on out I can see that I can learn from that sloth and those slovenly attitudes. Those things are fine. But the question is if these things are the pattern by which my life has progressed, hasn't that set for what is going to happen? I do not ask this out of a lack of faith. Perhaps it is a lack of faith. If I had more faith, wouldn't I see the coming struggle as a gift? Would I not see this pain as a gift and not question my Master's assertion? A.W. Tozer said, "Faith never asks questions once it has been established that God has spoken." so I do pray that God would give me both determination and peace with where I am headed.

Romans 9:20-21 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay…?"

I Stopped Reading My Bible; Simplicity Two

WISRMB Pt 1 Simplicity 2

Simplicity, Part Two

Have you ever looked at the simplicity of what God lays out in His word. All scripture hangs on what? It hangs on loving God with all of our heart mind and strength. Secondly, loving our neighbors. How complicated is that? So much has been vomited into the consciousness of people by well intentioned, and amazing ill-perceiving, psychoanalysts that it is any wonder people do not go around constantly thinking only of making themselves happy and fulfilling the 'needs' ignorant thinkers conceived.

Consider the ten commandments. It begins with not taking the name of the LORD (I AM) in vain. Almost anything in life can be taken in vain. People laugh at abuse, or divorce, or murder, or anything. These things can be a therapeutic tool in accepting reality. But God sets our identification of Him as separate from these things. It is common today for people to assume free entrance into God's presence because of grace. This is the proper perspective, that entrance into God's presence is gained by grace. The proper approach to God's throne is never in pride. Making light of a tragedy is a persons way of rising above a situation. On par with that, making light of God is raising one self above the Almighty. So careful should the tongue of the believer.

Keeping even just this small meditation in mind throughout the day would be enough to make a man be careful in all of his steps. We riddle ourselves with complex studies of types and pictures of spiritual truths when we have not spent time contemplating on the holiness of God and the humility it breeds. So quick to make outlines and catchy phrases that we often miss the remarkably simple and profound truth unraveled in pondering on these brief declarations of God.

Of course this is not to say that we ought never to endeavor to know more of the bible. This is not to say that we ought to check out minds at the door of Christianity. Quite the contrary. So many Christians are unable to answer because the foundation of their faith is a scattering of dogmatic ideas handed to them by, often well meaning, preacher or teachers. Far too few Christians sit down at the throne of God and ask the simple question, "Lord, how can I never take your name in with worthlessness?"

Perhaps there is a need to set the bible down. Perhaps there is a need to set it down and turn to the God who is supposed to be the greatest interpreter of that book. Perhaps it is time, and not by a somber public declaration, to ask God what He means by what He says. Perhaps it is time for the believer to seek more of God's face and less of the dust of those who have seen Him. For if one does believe that God is present. If one does believe that God is all powerful. If one does believe that God is both just and good, then the only natural progression is towards the hard road of sanctification. While sanctification is God's doing alone, it is our contrite and broken heart that can allow God to bring us through more trials and refine us even further with harsher fires and come out with a more pure faith.

I Stopped Reading My Bible; Simplicity One

Why I Stopped Reading My Bible Pt. 1 Simplicity 1

Why I stopped reading my Bible; Part One- Simplicity

The bible teaching I spiritually grew with exercised a very penetrating typology and exposition of the bible. I am overwhelmingly thankful to God for gracing me with teaching who loved His word so much. As I've spent time reflecting and interacting with God on a personal level, I've come to realize something simple that I did not grab onto in the midst of almost dizzying roves through scripture. Simplicity was the farthest thing from my perception of what true spirituality is.

A mind set to seek, and desirous to see, only complex thing will miss essential substances of what God has for us. A desire for growth is healthy, but a child who seeks to run before learning to crawl is absurd. A man may be familiar with the path ahead, but he may not know what it takes to walk that path. Moreover, until he has walked that path he is severely ill-equipped to guide others on the path.

Knowing how to cross reference bible verses, memorizing, and knowing the articulation of your churches doctrinal interpretations does not a mature Christian make. Until a man has set his heart on knowing God (notice I did not say the bible), his spiritual growth shall not progress. Of course spiritual growth absolutely cannot progress without God's word. Tozer called people who worshiped the text of scripture as Textualists. They fail to see, or recognize, there is a God behind those words. Concurrently, he said that it would take an act of the Holy Spirit equal to the inspiration of the text to get you to truly understand what is written. A heart set with religious pretext, even spiritual pride, cannot see the face of his Maker.

Eventually God must set aside a man's assumption that just because he is reading the bible that he is obeying God. A man cannot achieve humility on his own. Until a man has a reason to be humble, he will not be. Only a Spirit-defined alteration of the heart can help one to understand in a life changing and significant way the reality of the Almighty Creator God in relation to us, His fallen creation.

This is the first reason I had to set down my bible. In humility I can now approach God's word not only in a greater recognition of why I am reading this, but also I can receive from God so much better of an understanding because that wicked flesh has been cut out.

Also, with this I am called to recognize that I am by no means the pinnacle of the Christian experience. I cannot understand certain spiritual things because certain habits and carnal conceptions cloud my sight. But God has been faithful above and beyond to grow me only at the pace that was possible. As Moses did not get to see God's face for it would have been his end, God has removed from me only so much as I am able to handle. In this, I strive to be worthy of the suffering He has guided me through by spending my morning acknowledging Him as Creator. To seek more suffering I must seek the sharp edge of His testimonies everyday. I only pray I am not embarrassed at how little I have suffered not only for the name of my Lord as the Martyrs have, but moreover in the tradition of those who died daily for the sake of the name of their holy God and Redeemer. In memory of those who took up their crosses daily and lived, I must live. No longer can I allow either life-apathy, or dissatisfaction with the portion my Savior has given me, to stop me from living both wounded in my fleshly state from His fire, and also from living in joy according to the spirit quickened in me by His love.

01 August 2008

Comparable Ethics; Rape

Comparative Ethics; Rape

The following is the start of a book I would like to write on ethics. The title is Comparative Ethics. That name going to have to change because Comparative Ethics is technically something else, and yet it correctly describes what I am attempting to do here. We shall have to see.

Why Comparable Ethics?

There is a standard laid down by the progenitor of Christianity that morality does not simply begin and end with what it does to either the society, but moreover that is an extension of the heart, or inward man, of the perpetrator. While it is not necessarily the role of government to regulate or legislate the heart of man, the form of ethics undertaken in the author's Comparable Ethics is meant to follow in the tradition of looking at the heart to determine morality, not establish morality based upon secular pragmatism or utilitarianism.

Rape or Coaxed Sex

Which is worse: rape, or deceit that leads to consensual sex? Let us look at a different situation that involves comparable intent and consequences. This is being written about because in the society in which the author lives seems to place the worse guilt on the rapist.

Say there is an elderly woman and money is a scarce thing. She is living from check to check from the government and has no family to help provide for her. She has no ready way to work or help provide for herself. Would it be worse, then, to steal from this woman by force, or to coerce her to freely give up her money?

It would be the opinion of the author that the latter must be the worse of the situation. While either the basic robber, or the fraud artist is but using his given skills as a thieve, the fraud artist is in fact taking more than the robber.

It is agreeable that the basic robber did violate a universal moral that stealing is wrong. It also is agreeable that he did violate the norms of most civilized cultures and countries. There is a level of personal-ness that resides in the intent of the fraud artist. There was an intention to coerce the victim in voluntarily surrendering her possessions. Not only was the woman relieved of her possessions, but the relationship in which the artist entered there was a violation of that trust.

When rape is looked at there is a pattern which falls after that of the thief and victim. Both sex and will are sacred. Will is sacred in that when it is violated for another's gain (whether it be for the pride, sensual-lust, or ego-lust of the perpetrator). The perpetrator can either be an individual, a group, or a society. Rape is a violation of the will in that it forces the woman to submit to an act she would not have otherwise partook in. It is the worse because it is a violation of something sacred.

Coercion, then, is equally the violation of that sacredness, of that will, of the universal moral, and the cultural norm. In addition to this, there is the violation of the personal issue of trust. It could be said that rape is also very personal in that it affects the victim in innumerable personal avenues, it is the intention of this work to make a reflection upon the heart of the perpetrator.

The purpose of this comparative look at rape and coerced sex is not meant to minimize the violent act of rape. In the heart of the perpetrator of fraud-method rape (the term used from here out in reference to one who coerced sex), the rapists could be equated in their effect. But the fraud-method rapist took deliberate deception as his tool to acquire the sensation he desired. It is common in violent rapists to want more than the simple sensation of an orgasm. The need for domination, or a sensation of power, can be seen. The need for affirmation of masculinity, or identity, can also be seen. These things could also be found, it is the position of the author and not necessarily of any other sources at this time, in the fraud-method rapist.

These things do no negate a woman's responsibility to guard both her heart and her chastity. More so, these things should inspire a woman to a higher personal standard in both to whom she gave her heart, and to whom she would give her body. Concurrently, these things should cause a man to take delicate care in how he approaches both the heart and body of not only the woman he does, or would, love, but also towards a general respect towards any woman. Of course, these things written are not meant to purposefully say, by directness or insinuation, that the converse could not be true. It is possible for a man to be taken advantage of. Such a thing is just less likely. (June 2 2008)

The Temptation of VWMII

Temptation is one heck of a thing. Being tempted is not sinful, but past sin and sin nature opens up the mind and flesh to temptation. Both thinking temptation is sin, and being tempted has nothing to do with one's spiritual immaturity. One cannot alleviate himself of his own responsibilities found at the source of his temptations; such is cowardice or ignorance.

I spent a few months living in Simferopol Ukraine. It was a most rewarding experience in ways that could only be hinted at in a work as short as this one will be. Anyone who has their debts paid off, and is not relying on another for his sustenance should, without doubt, spend some time in another country spreading Christ's word. Such a fire ought never be ran from.

In shops with ice cream and cakes one can find the most elaborately design cakes. They were, quite literally, breathtaking. I must say here that I did find some of the most delicious pastries in Ukraine. The cakes were, decidedly, a different story. Though they were baked works of art, tasting them was like eating sugar covered cardboard. I'm sure some Ukrainians would beg to differ, but such was my experience. Though the surface of what was offered was to be admired, the actual experience of indulging the eating process was less than desirable.

Conversely, as I was preparing years later to move to my hometown in Pennsylvania, a very good lady friend baked me a cake. While it did not appear as those neatly prepared show pieces I tasted in a foreign country, it was delectable. The mere memory of it makes my mouth fill with saliva. It is sad to have left a friend who could cook such a thing!

The King James bible calls the woman of the seventh chapter of Proverbs the 'Strange Woman'. This is a classic look at the heart of the one who gives himself over to a whore. But I believe there is a deeper application that can be gleened from this selection.

"Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words. For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.

And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.
She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, "I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home."

With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death."

There is so much more to get out of this than advice in avoiding ladies of the night. Notice first where the sense-lacking young man was going. He made his way to the place of temptation. It was his choice in that hour dark, when good eyes would not be likely to see him going the way of the prostitute. There is a heart/mind set that leads to a weakness towards certain sins. Choices to walk a thin line beside sin can make one far more prone to find sin acceptable. When sin is acceptable, then the buffer separating one from transgression become weaker and weaker. Lot found his daily activity in the gates of a sinful and blasphemous city. When commanded by God to leave, he was, to say the least, reluctant.

Paul wrote to, "Abstain from every form of evil." Another aspect of this slope towards sin is the lessening of some forms of sin in repulsion of others. We become prideful because we are not homosexual, yet commit adultery with every woman walking down the street in our heart. Disgust at the wickedness of another is natural. But when we become prideful, we become as the Pharisees. We are thanking God He has not made us such as they, instead of beating our own chest at the wickedness we see in our own hearts.

Have you ever noticed how when God chooses a prophet it is not usually someone who feels it is his place to go? Isaiah stated that he and all of his kind were filthy. Moses asked God to send someone else who could talk straight. Jonah ran (granted, for not necessarily humble reasons). Philippians says that Christ took upon himself the form of a servant and did not hold unto the glory He deserved in heaven. The prideful fell when called by God: Samson. Saul, Aaron's sons. This can be a sobering thought for those who think they are God's gift to mankind.

Notice the words of the forbidden woman are not, "hey. You want sex?" She is subtle. She is complimentary. She makes it seem like she was waiting for him. She esteems in him the feeling that he is special for what she has done. She puffs him up. She gets his ego going. She puts the finest of twists on the bed of sin she has put before him. One must always beware of flattery. The artificial building up of one's image of himself serves no other purpose than selfishness. A man will say how beautiful a woman is if he wants to get into her pants. Of course this sequence can and does go both ways.

The chapter ends with the admonition that her ways are death. The tongue of a flatterer will lead to destruction. This is the same in any area of life. Take for example, a church. If a church is loud. If a church is full of flattery. If a church is willing to put the best face on sinful activity. If the preacher is a smooth talker. If a parishioner is persuaded by a worldly 'sense' rather than the authority of God's word. There is a good chance that this church is strange, or forbidden, towards true spiritual worship. When a body is not earnestly seeking God's will and face, but instead acting as drunkards in emotion and selfish in experience then this church is probably not glorifying God.

This is the way of the world; to offer the best artificial perspective of sin, to boost the pride of the sinner, and to receive gifts of pleasure and material gain for itself. When this enters the intimacy meant for a husband and wife it is a crying shame. When this enters the life of an unmarried it is a mockery to God's promise of sufficiency. When this enters the church, the church ceases to be an entity glorifying God. When this enters the world, the world dies.

The Christian ought to seek to never flatter. The Christian should never lie about the seriousness of sin, though surely mercy, love, and kindness should reign in his heart towards those who fail and those who know not the grace of God. The Christian ought to always seek the purity of the body of Christ, not allowing loud fools to proclaim their foolishness and ignorance.

I've been tempted by these things: my pride, my need for love, and my need for material possession. I've been weak in not seeing my worth in God, and not in the eyes of the woman I feel for at a given time. I've been weak in looking passed my desire for love and all that goes with it. I've been weak in wanting nothing material but what I need to survive. The Lord has been faithful and just to clean me time and time again by fire and by grace. It is by no small means I can say that I have been tempted far beyond my means of resistance, and that God has always provided a way of escape. Though I have not always succeeded, which in my flesh I am always small, the Lord has proven the power of His Spirit by keeping me from what I would, by my old nature, have been. The sin of my life has not killed me, though it ought to have time and time again. I live as a testament to God's mercy and His grace. Every moment is a gift I pray to see myself less and less in, and God so the much more in.