Daily Archives: November 3, 2014

UCLA prays

UCLA football prays

Picture from fansided. I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

What impressed me most about UCLA’s 17-7 victory over University of Arizona was not Jordan Payton’s 70-yard touchdown reception. Jordan is a member of my church, the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica, and attended Lighthouse Church School.

What impressed me most was how not only Jordan prayed in endzone but several UCLA players. Such a display of unafraid devotion to God receives only mocking attention from the media. It’s not that God favors one team against another, as the jeers suggest. But there are young men willing to proclaim their love of God, superior over love of football, in front of thousands. They pray to do their best. Of course, they want to win and maybe even pray to win, but if their faith is deep enough, they know that ultimately the only victory is making it into Heaven.

JordanPrays

Jordan Payton prays before games. (This picture is not from the Arizona game. It came from Jordan Payton’s facebook page.

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Faith: Being relentless

relentlessNot giving up is faith.

The greatest gift: forgiveness

forgivenessGod gives gifts to men.

What’s startling about this statement is that kings GET gifts from their subjects.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! — Matt. 7:11 NIV.

The greatest gift you could ever receives is NOT a Lamborghini. Nor is it a date with Brittany Spears. Nor is it a trip to Tahiti.

It is forgiveness.

God’s forgiveness is available only for the asking.

Unfortunately, many are too busy arguing that there is no need to ask for forgiveness.

With broken stones, broken hearts

broken stones altarGod asked the ancients to build Him an altar with broken stones.

To us, He asks us to build one with broken hearts.

Batter my heart, three-personed God

batter my heart, three personed GodJohn Donne cries in anguish about his inability to please God. Concurring with Paul’s flesh-vs.-spirit war described in Romans 6-8, the metaphysical poet says that God has been too gentle in dealing with him.

Something more drastic is needed “knocking, breathing, shining and seeking to mend.” Donne says nothing less than a violent overthrow can help him, beset by sin. In witty oxymoron, he says, “I’ll never be able to stand unless you knock me down.”

Despite the war talk, the poem is about love. It is a holy sonnet. “Dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,” he says. But such love is troubled by a triangle. I “am betroth’d unto your enemy,” and only a divorce can resolve.

The poem is chock-full of conceits, startling — even disturbing — paradoxes. But it ends with the most striking. For Donne to be free, God must imprison him. For Donne to be (spiritually) chaste, God must ravish him (insinuation: rape). So violence, love, unfaithfulness and longing for faithfulness are all tied into one.

This is the human condition. Temptation lays hold of even the best of us. Serving God, then, is desiring to do so and praying for God’s help. Here’s the whole sonnet:

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.