Mrs. Table?

French and many other continental European languages have a peculiarity that drives English speakers crazy—their nouns are either masculine or feminine. No one seems to be able to pronounce the simple little word “the” so everything is either la or le in French.

Maybe a long time ago, when the French and the English fought all the time, the cave-men French tried to come up with a fail-safe method to stop the cave-men English invaders.

“If we could invent a tank that spouted fire, and ran on tracks we could beat them,” volunteered little Pierre. “Have you been sneaking into the wine again, little Pierre?” said his father. “Nothing like that will ever exist.”

But one day some one must have come up with a fool-proof method to stop their enemies. “Let’s make all our words either masculine or feminine. That way when they yell horrible things at us, they will be confused and we’ll defeat them.

If that was what happened, it must have worked something like this: A big English soldier yells at the French lined up against them: “Rendez-vous petite espèce de vauriens! … ummm … attendez-vous un moment …” (“Give up you little good for nothings… wait a minute. ”)

“Hey, Richard, is “espèce” masculine or feminine?”

“You got me, I think it’s masculine.”

“Don’t be stupid, it feminine,” pipes up Rodney from the second row of soldiers!

“No, it’s masculine,” yell two or three others.

An while the English soldiers argue among themselves, the French mount a surprise attack and push them back to the English channel.

Now, I’m not sure that’s how the masculine and feminine article adjectives came to be. It’s a thought anyway. One thing I know is that they can drive you crazy if you’re not born here. “La foi means “faith”, le foie means liver, but the noun is pronounced the same way, so missionaries in France have been know to preach messages on the necessity of liver.

For a long time, I thought the gender of the adjective must have something to do with the object in question. In English, if an object is masculine it’s because it’s—well, it’s masculine. It’s a man. A woman’s a woman. So, I figured la table (the table) must have something feminine about it that made it la instead of le.

But then why, le camion–the truck—(lorry for our British readers), and la camionette—a van (lorryette for our British readers?)

One day, I had a revelation, though. On television I saw the host of a program ask a French person, “Do you think this word is masculine or feminine?” I don’t remember what the word was but if it had been me, I would have immediately considered whether that thing had more masculine or feminine characteristics.

You know what the French person did? He repeated the word and listened to it. He thought it sounded masculine or feminine. Suddenly, a light went on in my head. “It’s not considered masculine or feminine because of the characteristics of the thing, dummy! It’s because of the way the word sounds!”

Head slap to one’s own head!

I have bad news for language learners. A language isn’t just a series of noises that communicate ideas. Often it represents a way of looking at the world—a worldview. To really learn to communicate, you have to learn how a people think.

Another Way Of Seeing Things

That’s why some folks don’t always understand committed Christians. We see the world differently. Our worldview starts with God. Our heart has been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and we want to do what pleases Him.

Jesus is our King and we’re subjects in His kingdom. We want to promote what He wants promoted, do what He wants done, accomplish what gives Him joy.

Eugene Peterson captures this conflict of worldviews well in his translation of parts of 1 Corinthiens 2:

“The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: ‘No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it—what God has arranged for those who love him.’

“But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you … The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be know only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing …” (From 1 Cor. 2, the Message).

Simply put, you have to understand God to know how He works; When He renews you, your way of seeing the world changes radically. The world thinks you’re a bit strange just like I think French masculine and feminine articles are strange.

There’s probably a reason for them, but I’ll bet that even the French don’t know why it all started. It might be because few seem to be able to pronounce “th” which makes it difficult to say “the” all the time. I think they inherited their articles from the Latin language.

But the worldview of Christ? When you know Him, it all makes sense and if you don’t know Him, it all seems silly. Only … only, it’s the most important thing in the universe to know and understand Him.

Cry out to Him in prayer. Read His Word, the Bible. Those who seek, find.

They find le chemin. (=”The way.” And that’s masculine, thank you, but it’s for women too!)

Why Doesn’t God Show Himself ?

On the third day at daybreak, there were loud claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, a thick cloud covering the mountain, and an ear-piercing trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp shuddered in fear.

“Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God. They stood at attention at the base of the mountain.

“Mount Sinai was all smoke because GOD had come down on it as fire. Smoke poured from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shuddered in huge spasms. The trumpet blasts grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. GOD descended to the peak of Mount Sinai. GOD called Moses up to the peak and Moses climbed up.” (Exodus 19:16-20, The Message).

I told you recently about a question that gnawed at me because it seemed to make such good sense: “If the only way to really know God is through His Son Jesus and it’s a question of eternal life or eternal punishment, why doesn’t God make Himself more evident, reveal Himself in an undeniable way?”

That sounds logical and just, doesn’t it? No one should be judged when he really didn’t have a chance. But is it really reasonable? Somewhere it seems I read of an atheist who commented that the thing that would prove him wrong was simply one verifiable miracle.

But would he believe afterwards? Wouldn’t he just say that the miracle resulted from some natural, scientific process that we don’t understand yet? Truth is, if someone decides he’s not going to believe, all the proofs in the world won’t convince him.

Look at the story which begins this article. The people of Israel had a revelation of the power of God, unprecedented in history—plagues falling upon their enemies, a great sea opening before them, and undrinkable waters healed.

Here they see a physical manifestation of God that no other people had experienced. They trembled.

Yet a few weeks later, with God’s manifestation still on the mountain before them, they unleashed an orgy of idolatry and partying that even shocked the pagan tribes around them.

They saw but it didn’t do a lot of good, did it?

Later, Jesus Christ did a miracle which stunned another group of people. A man who had been dead, walked out of his grave. For some it was a tipping point, “That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him.”

Others saw the very same thing, though, and would you please explain their reaction to me? “But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.” (John 11:45-48, The Message)

They decided to kill Jesus after that particular manifestation of the reality of God.

God reveals Himself constantly. The problem is not that God doesn’t reveal Himself, it’s a matter of opening our eyes to see that revelation. Every honest-hearted person has the potential to do that.

God reveals Himself in nature’s beauty and mystery (Psalms 19:1-3).

God reveals Himself though my brother in Christ (Col. 1:27; 1 Corinthians 12:27).

God has revealed Himself to man in a way that’s understood by His creatures but they want to continue in their sins and so suppress this revelation (Rom. 1:18-20, NIV).

God reveals Himself through His everlasting Word.

God reveals Himself through His Son, Jesus (2 Cor. 5:18, 19).

He asks us to open our eyes and believe and this revelation becomes even more dazzling. He reveals Himself first to our hearts and our senses follow suit. But that’s the prerequisite—you’ve got to believe what He’s showed you and He’ll show you even more.

“…now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30, 31). “…We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved…” Acts 15:11.

Perhaps those who loudly decry the absence of revelation of God, should put away their sins and turn towards God, so that they can see. It’s not a five-senses kind of revelation but a much deeper sense that God has placed within each of us, because it’s not His will that anyone perish.
We have to respond though. We have to respond.
Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t that God isn’t revealing Himself clearly enough. The problem may be that we don’t what to see what He’s revealing. Let’s open our spiritual eyes and unstop our spiritual ears.
There’s plenty to see!
The Bible wasn’t meant to be read. The Bible was meant to be meditated. Reading without meditating is like eating without digesting.—Mark Batterson

If It Had Been A Snake It Would Have Bitten You

I’ve been “awareness-challenged” most of my life. For instance, mama would send me to look for something and I would look everywhere without finding it when finally she would point it out to me—right under my nose.

“If it had been a snake it would have bitten you,” she would opine. “Thanks mama. I needed that encouragement.”

With age, things seem to get worse. I notice buildings going up as we travel somewhere but my wife assures me that workers have been working on it for months and I just haven’t noticed it.

I still look for things that are right in front of me and it seems that since I’ve begun to wear glasses all the time, I’m even less aware.

“If it had been a snake it would have bitten you!” Thanks dear, I needed that.

My theory is that when you’re concentrating so hard on solving the great problems of the world, it’s hard to pay attention to minor details of life around you. Or something …

Sometimes though, I wonder if there aren’t a lot of “awareness-challenged” people around me. These folks say that they see no evidence for God.


For those who are aware, it’s really no challenge to see God. Heaven and earth declare His existence! Lord Kelvin, a noted British scientist asserted, “If you study science deep enough and long enough it will force you to believe in God.”

Of course if you don’t want to believe, all you have to do is squeeze your eyes shut and clamp your hands over your ears. Atheist Richard Dawkins says in his book, The Blind Watchmaker, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

Huh? I think mama would say, “If it had been a snake it would have bitten you, Mr. Dawkins.”

A blind man cried out to Jesus one day as the Lord passed near him,

“Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”

They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.

Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”

In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road. (Mark 10:49, 50, The Message)

The blind man didn’t say to Him, “I know it seems like you’re here Jesus but this is just a natural process set in action by forces unleashed–we’re not sure yet how–billions of years ago and blah, blah, blah.”

He just wanted to see and He believed that Jesus could do something about it. So many people think, “If it’s all true about God and His Son Jesus, why didn’t God reveal himself more clearly?”

Could it be that God has revealed Himself very clearly in the creation, in His Word, by His Spirit and in His Son Jesus? Maybe instead of praying, “Lord, reveal yourself!” We ought to pray, “Lord, open my eyes so that I can see! I’m ‘awareness-challenged’”

That’s what this man did. And those blind eyes opened and he saw–and followed Jesus with his whole heart!

Are questions, doubts, and anxiety blurring your vision? Cry out to Jesus so that you can see the truth—right in front of you.

If it was a snake it would bite you.


Change does not come until someone gets mad. Those trying to bring change will make mad those who do not want change.

~Myles Monroe~

Why Doesn’t Jesus Reveal Himself More Clearly?

Someone in pastor Erwin MacManess’ church posed a powerful question. It went something like this: “If our eternal destiny rests on believing on Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, why doesn’t He reveal Himself more clearly?”
It’s not a dumb question. Hell is a horrible place and we want to avoid it at all costs. If believing in Jesus is the key to heaven why doesn’t He let Himself be seen more easily?

I mean, why doesn’t He do a PowerPoint presentation of Himself on the side of Mount Kilimanjaro or an appearance on the Jay Leno show?

He could at least show up on the CBS evening news and let Katie Couric interview Him. Then everyone would believe. Right?

My favorite comic strip character, Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs) often goes into flights of fantasy and sees himself as a spaceman or a time traveler or whatever. Sometimes I’m a bit like him. Come with me a minute …

The king proudly surveyed the little group in front of him. The harried housewife, the distracted businessman, the fun-seeking teenager, the rickety grandfather, and the attentive child waited.

A giant door stood just behind the monarch. “I’ve invited you all here for a reason,” he said, adjusting the gold crown which had slipped forward a bit on his forehead. “I wanted to show you all something that very few people ever see.”

He hesitated, looking to see what effect his statement made on them. The businessman glanced at his watch; the housewife looked off into the distance somewhere over the king’s shoulder; the teenager seemed to be having a problem hearing him because his ipod was turned up too loud; the grandpa just kind of groaned and fished in his pocket seeking a box of pills.

The child stared at the sovereign in eager anticipation.

The king seemed disappointed that the others weren’t more excited. He went to the giant door, unlocked it, and with some difficulty pushed the heavy oaken door open.

Beyond it lay incredible riches. “Come look!” the eager monarch invited. “Excuse me, Mr. King,” the housewife piped up. “I’ve gotta run. My kids get out of school in an hour then I’ve got to run them to ballet practice, and I’ve got some important shopping to do. Catch you another time, okay?” With that she left.

“Me too,” seconded the businessman. “Hey, I’m sure whatever is beyond that door must be great but I’ve got so much paper work, I’ve got to get at it. Otherwise, I’ll be at the office until midnight. My wife is already on my back because I don’t spend enough time with her and the kids.”

The teenager didn’t say anything. He just ambled away, eyes closed, singing to himself. Occasionally, he did a little dance and jumped in the air like a clumsy Michael Jackson. The pappy didn’t seem that interested either. He was preoccupied trying to pry the childproof cap off his pill bottle.

Tears appeared in the corners of the king’s eyes.

But one person stayed. The little girl walked forward hesitantly, her braided black hair shining in the light pouring through the opening of the door. “Can I look?” she asked with desire.

“You sure can! Come!” The great man took her brown hand and advanced to the doorway. The youngster cried with delight. “Oh! But I’ve never seen anything like this.” Her eyes widened as she beheld treasures sparking in an eternal sunshine. Everywhere, heaps of coins lay piled like golden hills. She saw trees made of diamonds and paths paved with rubies. Nearby, a crystal stream gurgled happily towards a far off lake.

All around treasures beyond description waited. “And best of all, it’s yours,” the king smiled. “All yours.”

“This is Calvin to Hobbs. Hang on old buddy because we’re gonna land.”
Question. In the little reverie above, was the problem that the king didn’t reveal his riches, or was the problem that the people didn’t care to see what he was showing?

I’ve come to the conclusion that God is continually revealing Himself in His Son Jesus—He’s screaming His truth—and most people aren’t interested in seeing.

Every wonder why Jesus made silly statements like, “He who has ears, let him hear,”? It’s not a matter of God revealing Himself—He does it constantly. It’s a matter of having a heart that cares enough to look, ears that are attuned to him so they can listen.

Not hearing is a horrible thing but so many do it willfully. Why? Because hearing and seeing crimps their style.

“But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
“So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!” (Roman 1: 18-25, The Message).

The question isn’t, “Why doesn’t God reveal Himself more clearly?’ but more accurately, “What don’t men respond to the treasure revealed right in front of their eyes?”
I used to pray often, “Lord, manifest Yourself to me more and more.” Now, I’m praying, “Lord, open my eyes so that I can see more of the revelation that’s already there, in front of my eyes.”



The podcast at the end of this article is entitled: “He Knows Me!”

I think I found a place in the Bible where the Lord was grouchy—not sinfully grouchy mind you, because He was perfect and faultless—but necessarily grouchy. Like I am sometimes.

I’m not even sure that grouchy is the right word. I’ll let you judge.

Jesus had had a long tough day of teaching and He was pooped. So He breathed heavily in a deep sleep in the back of the boat while His evangelistic band crossed the lake. A small flotilla of boats accompanied them.

Suddenly hard punching winds and frantic clouds announced the coming of a dangerous storm. Former fishermen among them used all their skills to ride the bucking waves and tempest. It didn’t look good, though, and they were nearly swamped.

We can measure how much Jesus invested in His ministry by considering the fact that He was so tired that He didn’t even wake up. He had probably been up early praying again. He dreamed on sweetly while His disciples rowed, bailed, yelled and prayed for their lives. He prayed so He slept through storms. They slept through prayer meetings so they were scared to death during the storm.
Does it ever seem that the Lord does you that way? You’re scared to death and paddling like crazy and He seems to be off somewhere taking a little siesta.

Finally, things got so bad that they woke Him up. Probably had to shake Him quite a while.

“”Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”” (Mark 4:38, The Message).

Little sarcastic there, huh?

So the Lord woke up, shook the cobwebs out of his head, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and looked around. The disciples expected His eyes to widen and fear to invade His features.

But He simply got up, told the wind to quit howling and the water to settle down–and they did it!

Notice, He didn’t have time to fast and pray three days. He didn’t call the prayer chain of the church, or even cite 53 versets from the Bible. He moved from a deep sleep to effective ministry because He lived in readiness. He didn’t have to “work Himself up,” or clear the frogs out of His voice. He just did what needed to be done.

Then two strange things happened. If the disciples were scared before, this new development left them even more shaken.

“They were in absolute awe, staggered. ‘Who is this, anyway?’ they asked. ‘Wind and sea at his beck and call!’” (Mark 4:41, The Message).

Fear of the storm’s wrath was nothing in comparison with the fear that accompanied the dawning realization that this Jesus was more of a mystery than they supposed. They thought they had Him figured out, but this! Whoa!

God is more than we imagine He is. He’s not just our “Good Buddy Up There” or our “Heavenly Ace in the Hole” when things go wrong. He’s Almighty, Eternal God who deserves our love and our healthy fear.

The second strange thing goes back to the grouchy idea. He got onto them. He didn’t mince words,

“Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” (verse 40, The Message).

I don’t know if that’s grouchiness or just the truth with the polite edges filed off.

If I didn’t know they were on the wrong side of the thing I would be tempted to be with the disciples on this one. I mean Lord, they were having “near death” experiences. Thunder crashed; wind howled and struggled to push their boat over; waves leaped over the sides trying to fill their little vessel.

Lord, what did you expect them to do?

Believe! Trust Him! We can forget it in the terror of the moment, but the fellow sleeping in the stern was the Son of the Living God. There was no way that boat was going down unless it was in the will of the Father. The Lord didn’t worry about it. He doesn’t want us to either.

Some of you feel like you are in this boat today. “Another thimbleful of water and I’m fish food,” you think. Are you remembering to trust Him? The disciples asked each other, “”Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”

Remember Who He is and how much He loves you. When He says (grouchy or not), “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (NIV) respond by saying, “Lord, I trust You! I cry out to You and I know You’re not going to let me sink. You’re my unsinkable ship!”

If the Lord is in your boat, you’ll make it to the harbour.