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Romans 9:17-29

Romans 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 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?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

Why would God harden someone’s heart? Ultimately it is for His glory. It is hard to fathom from a “God is loving & good perspective” (and He is indeed, by the way) that God would use some for dishonor and others for honor. I guess the perspective that makes this hard is that in which we believe that we actually deserve His mercy and favor. As the pastor put it, the situation is not that we are going toward God and He is only allowing certain ones access, but rather that we are running from God and He is saving us in spite of ourselves. When we consider that we start out as lumps of clay (gooey, nasty dirt), who are we to question Him who molds us.

Isaiah 55:For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

Still, even with the perspective of being clay, it is hard to understand how God works and that is okay. When I consider being the clay, I am reminded of the song “Bring the Rain” which speaks to how sometimes God uses trials in even his vessels of honor for his glory. And from that I am reminded again of Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain (Mercy Me, Bring the Rain)

Verse links:

Romans 9:11-13

11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

As I (and many at church) contemplate and struggle with the concept of election by God, there are several facets to this. As the pastor pointed out, a lot of our consternation with this and God’s sovereignty is perspective. He pointed out that we often feel like we choose God, and from a certain perspective (ours) this is true. Also, we feel like we deserve the salvation He has to offer. We don’t, and in so many ways, we run from God. It is Him who grabs us up and saves us from our running from Him, from His point of view. So, we balance God’s sovereignty with our free will, and now my mind gets boggled.

Personally, I resolve this boggling of the mind, whether theologically correct or not, I don’t know, through my thinking that God is indeed powerful and affects change as He wills, but He also chooses to let us make up our own mind and let thinks happen as we will. Ultimately, he is in control in His choosing to yield because He is omniscient and already knows the end of the matter, but we just because he knows the end doesn’t mean He has us by the strings each moment, but rather that He wants us to love Him and worship Him freely and by His merit.

Another thought on these verses is that Jacob and Esau were chosen before they had merit. God can use us in spite of ourselves and our merits. He doesn’t ask for the brightest and best, but rather he asks for obedience. And many times he uses us in spite of our disobedience.

Wow! What deep concepts we have when we think about the complexity of our relationship with God and His relationship with all of creation.

Managing Money

I was reading about how the borrower is slave to the lender in Proverbs 22:7. It makes me thankful to be debt free.  When you are in debt, the loaner has such power over you, and it stinks. I hear stories of people stuck in a house or it is going into foreclosure and it saddens me that they did not grasp this idea for them self prior to getting where they are.  Godly wisdom is Tue best wisdom, though it is not always so easy to apply. In the end it pays great dividends, though.

Thanksgiving 2012

I am so very thankful for my family. Just a bit over 3 years ago, I did not even know Cassie. Today we just celebrated Gracie’s first birthday.

I met Cassie on September 12, 2009 at the Regal Cinema in West Town Mall. She was sitting on a bench, probably texting when I saw her across the atrium. We first ‘met’ on a couple weeks prior. After contemplating for about a week or so, she finally decided it was okay to give me her phone number. I believe it was the first time that we spoke that I asked her out, and then we planned via email.

After dating for about 6 months (very nice months) Cassie started pointing out the song with the lyric “If you like it then you should’ve put a ring on it”. I had been considering proposing at some point in the near future, though our idea of when was a bit different. Also, I was still contemplating the idea of asking such a life-significant question. Cassie and I had some differences that at the time felt hard to reconcile.

I did overcome my fear (obviously) and after the “WinterJam” concert on March 6, 2010 I leaned over and said “I’ve got something to ask you…Will you marry me”? It was not super-duper romantic, but she did say yes.  It was the beginning of a grand journey. About 6 months later, she walked the isle and 2 years and some change later, we’re still in love.

So, I thank God for my family and the blessedness of these past 3 years. These have been some of the best years of my life.

Daddyhood, month 8

Gracie is such a wonderful baby. I enjoy so much watching her grow, she is growing so fast. It amazes me to see how fast she learns something that is truly new to her.  When I go to learn something, I can so easily throw it on the back-burner, but not so with Gracie.  Gracie works and works at whatever it is that she is learning.  With certain things (crawling) she does get frustrated and tires of it for a time, but in general, she keeps trying till she gets it.

We just started her 9th month and she is learning to crawl.  She has the strength and mechanics, now if she can just put them together.  She has started saying word-sounds like ‘ba ba ba ba ba’, ‘ma ma ma ma’, and ‘da da da da’.  When she wants mommy, she starts up the ma ma ma ma, though I don’t thing she directly correlates it just yet. She has started being okay with others holding her. Mamaw (my mother) and aunt Amy are able to spend some one on one time with her, though she hardly ever lets papaw hold her.  Grand momma and Grand daddy have been closer to her, so she’s never had much problem going to them. My folks are accustomed to being the close grandparents as they were with my niece and nephew, so it is a little hard for them. But, as Gracie gets older, she’ll understand better who they are.

At church, we have started (trying) leaving Gracie in the nursery.  The first couple times, she did not really know what was up, and she was okay for half the service at a time.  Now that she is more aware, she will not have it at all.  There is a great lady in the nursery who is willing to work with her.  She took her for a  walk and let her cry it out somewhat a couple weeks ago. Gracie pitched a pretty good fit that day, but she is okay. Many say the way over that hill is to let her cry it out, which in the context of someone comforting her, I think is probably okay. We are still struggling when is she old enough to just cry until she can comfort herself. At times we have to let her cry and it just has to be okay, for sure, but we do not want to let her cry out of neglect on our  part.

Parenting makes us privileged spectators, challenged stewards, and frazzled managers of God’s wonderful creation.

David Crockett Birthplace State Park

Daddiehood, week 14

Being a daddy is a wonderful challenge.  Gracie has not been wanting much to do with me lately.  She is so close to her mom that she is not comfortable, particularly in the evenings, with anyone else. I understand that it is just a phase, but it is difficult at times.  The real difficulty is that Cassie wants a break, but it is very unpleasant for me to give her one.

A new year!

We are now upon 2012!  I think back over the past couple years, and boy what a 2 years those have been.

  • September 12, 2009 – Met Cassie for our first date
  • September 4, 2010 – Married Cassie
  • November 21, 2011 – had our first child, Gracie

These years have been so blessed, with some of the most notable events of my life.

Not long after marrying Cassie, we started trying to have a baby.  Perhaps we were a bit impatient?  We both knew we wanted children and that we are not getting younger. Obviously there some things that are now more difficult for us to do now, but having children is more important. It is without regret that we now dive into this chapter of our life.

End of Love89

This week, we, a large body of people, found out that our home on the radio dial is turning over to a national broadcast. Love89 started 18 years ago, when I was in high school or somewhere thereabout.  It became a local station with local personalities a few years later. I started listening to it my sophomore year of high school, then later in college, it became my constant companion on the radio, in my car. The radio personalities on Love89 have been like an extension of my family for so many years. Today, they are saying fairwell on the air.  It is a time of joy and morning.  The joy is from knowing that things will change, and that God will be in the middle of it.  The morning is we don’t really know how God is going to work it.

In the middle of it all, we know that God is good, God loves us and you, and He will do immeasurably more and more wonderful things than we can even imagine.

Praise be to God!


Cassie has given me a hard time when I try to explain how to make things in the kitchen. So, here is my recipe for cornbread.


  • Some cornmeal, preferably Three-Rivers (food city brand seems to have replaced it)
  • A little bit of sugar – optional
  • Stir the dry ingredient
  • An egg or two – optional – it makes it cake-y
  • Add milk till it is the consistency of that it should be.
  • Grease cast-iron skillet with shortening and/or oil.
  • Cook it in skillet on about 450F for till done. Best when medium brown and crispy.