Press On, Lord

Press On, Lord

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.”  –Psalm 52:8

 If you are reading this, then you know that I like to write.  It’s my way of cleaning out my thought closet.  I push notions in there and they start to pile up; in time, those ideas need to be sifted, sorted, and stored.  That’s where the writing proves helpful.  It’s my way of boxing up those crumpled concepts so that they stack up more easily in my mind.  The trouble is that sometimes I don’t know where to begin.  Left brain?  Right brain?  In-between brain?  Unaccessed brain?  As in most organizational endeavors, knowing where to begin is the hardest part!  And, as you well know, things get messier before they get maintain-ier.

So, here is my messier.  I want to be a grape, but I am discovering that I am an olive.  I know, it’s a deep thought…or an unfathomly shallow one; either way, it’s difficult to measure.  Perhaps I should clarify:  I would prefer to be splattered rather than pressed.  Splattering is what happens when you want grape juice:  grape…hammer…splatter…juice.  Pressing is what happens when you want olive oil:  olive…pressy thing…oozing…oil.  Any questions?  Oh…okay…I guess that wasn’t as clear as I thought.  To put it another way, I like things that bring quick results.  I would rather “hammer down” than “press on”.  I realize I’ve extremely oversimplified the juice making process, but if I were given the choice between making grape juice or making olive oil, I’d opt for the juice (and the juice maker) hands down.  Granted, juice making could be a lot messier (especially if I used the hammer method), but it would also be a lot quicker.  That’s why, in my fruity analogy, I would rather be a grape.  I’d rather have things happen quickly, even if it’s messy, than slowly…grindingly…methodically…pressingly.  But I think, in God’s analogy, I am an olive.  I think He’s after oil and not juice.

This awareness came to me several weeks ago.  I have been trying to be consistent with my writing this summer and, on top of cataloging thoughts into small containers for this blog, I have also been wrestling with (being pressed by?) the desire to organize my thoughts into a bigger container for a book.  There, I said it.  Well, I wrote it, and that’s a start. (Not the book…just the notion to write one!)  As I’ve struggled with the how and when, and inwardly wanted everything to fall into place, the image of the grape and the olive gradually emerged.  The more I tried to set and keep a schedule, the more unraveled my days became; the more I pushed, the more life pressed.  That’s when I told God I wished I was a grape so that He could just whack me once and splatter out all that was in me.  Granted, it would be messy…and difficult to read…but it would be done; I would have been poured out, well…kind of poured…kind of plastered, and my thoughts would have been squished out.  God, however, removed the picture of the grape and replaced it with the picture of an olive.  Then, He put that olive in a press and slowly turned the handle, that moved the rollers, that pressed the olive, that released the oil, that filled the vial…that rested securely within His hand.  Such was my grape/olive revelation.  I desire fast; God demands slow.

As I contemplate this imagery and the truthfulness that lies within it, I’m becoming more resolved to life as an olive: to life in the slow but steady lane.  After all, when I think of the usefulness of olive oil in the Bible, how can I contend with its symbolism?  It was measured out with flour for the making of bread, mixed in with grain for the presenting of an offering, and meted over chosen heads for the anointing of kings.  And where did Jesus spend His last night on earth?  At the foot of the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, whose name means “oil press”.  Surely, with such comparisons as these, I can embrace the parallelism between my life and the life of an olive.

So, here is how I’ll allow the press to have its way with me.  I’ll take the ideas I have for a book and little by little, drop by drop, allow them to spill out here.  Perhaps in measuring them out on a weekly (I hope) basis, I’ll not only move one step closer to fulfilling my goal, but I’ll permit the press to work for me and not just on me.  Maybe, just maybe, if I submit to its force, something of use will emerge from my fingers; something that can be poured out as an offering and poured over as an anointing.

With this, then, as the preamble for the book I hope to compile, let me now pour out the product of the first press:  the title and the synopsis.

The Synopsis of The Law of Opposites

Though the fortitude to write a book is a recent emergence, the foundation for a book was laid years ago.  Twelve-ish years ago, to be semi-exact.  That’s when I was sitting in my Sunday school class and the topic of discussion was the presence of trials and sorrows in our lives.  After a time of sharing thoughts, I offered my illustration of why I believed God allowed suffering.  I shared the analogy of a tree being planted; the taller the desired height, the deeper the required hole.  If one wanted the glorious shade of a prolific tree, then one would have to ensure an appropriate sized hole was dug.  As we apply this analogy to our lives, then we are the tree, our height is our growth toward God and our depth is our being rooted in God.  But, in order for our roots to push down, a hole needs to be dug…which means things need to be broken up and hauled away.  This is not a painless process and it’s at this point that many a believer asks, “Why, Lord?  Why the difficulties?  Why the struggles?  Why the loss?”  But if we can just remember the picture of the tree, then we’ll remember the purpose of the dig:  for a deeper hole, for a stronger root system, for a taller trunk, for broader branches.  If we want to rise to grow to great heights, then we must first succumb to the digging of great depths.

 It was upon the pondering of this analogy that the idea for The Law of Opposites emerged.  The deeper the hole, the taller the tree; the two moved proportionally opposite to one another.  If one wants to know how deep the roots of a tree go, then look at the height of its branches; as far as one stretches upward so the other reaches downward.  Isn’t that just like God to work on (and from) both ends at the same time?  Isn’t it in His nature to push and to pull, to stand tall and to bow low, to give and to take?  I think so, and this book is a reflection of that very idea.  That, whether by looking at what is around us, within us, or above us, we are created by and made to worship a God who governs, and dwells within, The Law of Opposites.  

In the days ahead, I will elaborate upon God’s creation of, and manifestation in, the realm of opposites.  When we take a closer look at nature (laws), mankind (logic), and God (Logos), we see that the law of opposites is evident in each one.  It holds true that what God created, He inhabits.  So, should the “doctrine of opposites” surface when we look at the work of His hands and the writing of His word, we would be wise to acknowledge that our God, Jehovah God, resides within the laws He created…and one of those is the Law of Opposites.


Please come back next week for the second pressing…the presence of opposites in Creation.

Traversable Grace

Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it. 

Hebrews 4:16


Snow days.  How can you not love them?  Well, I guess if I had an occupation other than school teacher, I might be inclined to receive them with less enthusiasm.  But, since I am a teacher, I love them as much today as I did when I was young!  There’s something stolen about these days that’s derived from the feeling of getting something that you weren’t supposed to have; instead of a scheduled day, it’s a free-calendar day!  I guess, in this, I am a thrill seeker:  a snow day kleptomaniac.  It’s not that I don’t want to go to school; it’s not that I don’t want to enjoy the company of students; it’s not that I don’t want to enjoy the routine of a daily schedule; it’s just that I love getting something for nothing!  And when the phone call comes through…the one whose message I already know before I press one to hear the recording…I feel the excitement rising and the anticipation mounting as I prepare to receive yet another “free day”!

Well, with that said, today was a snow day.  For me, that means catching up on reading while perched beside a window that permits me to watch the falling snow.  My mind, however, always wanders and thoughts pile up as quickly as the snow.  Childhood memories form a flurry of their own and, before the day is through, I’m outside tromping in the snow.

I don’t know which comes first:  the admiration of the snow or the thanksgiving for the snow.  But, regardless of the order, the outcome is always the same; the result is a lesson from the snow.  A few years ago, it emerged in a poem entitled “Snowflakes of Grace”.  Then, there was the lesson of Dirty Grace followed by the revelation of The Accentuation of Grace.  And today, thinking there couldn’t be “anything new under the snow”, I saw there was something new on top of the snow.

The realization came as I walked through the woods…over hill and over dale, so to speak.  I love making the first footsteps in unchartered snow, so I took the liberty of claiming new lands to the right and to the left.  In doing so, I walked in areas that I normally would steer clear of.  There’s the swampy area that I avoid, unless I want to have a pair of boots sucked off my feet.  There’s the uncleared area that I detour around, lest I feel the need to start cleaning it up.  And, lastly, there’s the ‘snakey’ area that I respectfully circumvent because, well…if I were a snake, that’s where I would live.  But, today…today…today I put my footprints where no man has gone before…or at least not since last winter!  And, when I realized that nothing was off limits this time of year, that everyplace was navigable when covered in snow, I knew I’d received my newest lesson on grace…which, for me, is always blanketed in snow.

Snow is seasonal; it comes when it’s cold.  Grace is seasonal, it comes when we sin.  Snow, because of the season in which it occurs, is accompanied by temperatures that make some areas more traversable…and less snakey, let’s definitely not forget the less snakey element…decreasing our boundaries and increasing our territorial borders.  Just as snow makes everything accessible, so too does grace make everything usable.  Are there areas in our life that sin causes us to avoid?  Areas that suck the boots off our feet and clutter our paths?  Grace can cover that.  Are there areas we avoid because we’re afraid of what might lie in the unseen…in the creations of our mind and not the reality of our sight?  Grace can illuminate and provide new vision.  Just as snow falls in its season, so too does grace fall in its season.  The beauty, however, is that the season for grace is perpetual; grace, truly, is never out of season.  Since it’s ushered in by the jet stream of our waywardness, the winds of grace are always circling.

How wonderful to know that God sprinkles grace over all of our terrain, making that which was once avoidable and in need of a detour sign, now fully accessible and even traversable!  There is nothing that grace cannot cover; there is no place that grace cannot fall; there is no sin that grace cannot restructure; there is no one whom grace cannot transform!

As I walked the unchartered areas of the woods, God showed me the unlimited access of His grace.  As I saw the vast area that snow allowed me to traverse, God revealed the vast area that grace allows me…and others…to tread.  As I saw the seasonal element of snow, God showed me the seasonal attribute of grace.  How refreshing it is to walk in nature and to hear from the One who has lessons scattered about for all to find…if we will but look…and listen.

Here’s to walking in the snow.  Here’s to walking upon grace.  Here’s to grace walking all over us.  Here’s to lives that are accessible and traversable in season and never out of season!

Hark!  Is that my phone?  Could it be…oh, my…it is!  Here come those wonderful words… “This is a call from the board of education…please press one to hear this important message”.  I know the words that I will hear, and yet…I still have to press that number one!


Chapter One: The Opposites in Creation

Chapter One:  The Beginning of Opposites

             As we begin to examine not only the existence of opposites within our world but more specifically, more purposefully, their affect upon us, the best place to start is not just at the beginning, but in the beginning.

‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  And God saw the light, that is was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.’      (Genesis 1:1-4)

 When God set about creating our amazingly complex universe, we learn that everything He made could be described in two ways:  by what it was and by what it was not.  In other words, God created opposites.  God created all things from no things; the earth was formless and void, until God spoke.  Then, it took shape and had substance.  Darkness stretched out as far as the eye could not see…until God brought forth light and gave it its own realm.  The waters covered the land, until God pulled them back and set their boundaries. On every day, God created and separated…and He saw that it was good.

Just four verses into Scripture, we read of God creating the light and separating it from the darkness.  What is darkness?  The absence of light.  What is light?   The absence of darkness.  When each is looked at separately, its opposite must be laid beside it in order for its meaning to emerge.  How would we know light without experiencing the engulfing abyss of darkness?  And what would darkness be without the presence of light that, once withheld, revealed it?

As God continued His account of Creation, we learn more about the Law of Opposites that He set into motion.  On day two, God separated the waters above from the waters below (giving us our layered atmosphere), and on day three, He pulled back the waters below to reveal dry earth.  Beaches and bays; coasts and crests; sands and seas.  While they lie side by side, their characteristics are polar opposites.  One is formed in the absence of land while the other emerges from the absence of water, and both contain their own unique inhabitants.

Day four finds God lighting up the sky with the sun, moon, and stars through which He established the counterparts of day and night, the increments of months and years, and the seasonal opposites of spring and fall, of summer and winter.  On day five, He created the wildlife that skirts across the heavenlies or scuttles beneath the waters.  From birds that fly to fish that swim, each inhabiting its own terrain and each inhibited by its own traits.  Then, on day six, a final creation came forth that was the epitome of opposites.  From one, came two; though two, they became one.  This creation would be God’s greatest because into it He would impart His own breath, giving not only physical life but spiritual life as well.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  (Gen. 1:27)

 “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”   (Gen. 2:21-22)

On day six, God created Adam and Eve.  They were made for one another to complete one another.  From Adam’s side, Eve was formed, and from then on, she was to dwell in that place from which she had come…her husband’s side.  While God could have used any bone…or no bone…to create Eve, He did so with a rib, and the imagery is palpable.

Ribs, whose role is to protect the lungs; ribs, whose placement is on the side of the body; it’s from the ribs that God created woman.  From a rib, that man may be her protector; from his side, that she might walk beside him; from his flesh, that when together, the two may complete each other.  And, though designed to be together and directed to cleave to one another, each is the other’s opposite.

Man is created to lead the woman; to love the woman; to nurture the woman (Eph. 5:23, 25-26).   Woman is created to follow the man; to respect the man; to help the man (Eph. 5:22, 24,33).  The role of each plays off of, and into, the role of the other so that…when done according to God’s design…the man and the woman, from their place of contrast, complete each other.  And, though seemingly different in every way, from their place of divergence, this truth would be emerge:  opposites attract.  And so they do, and so they should, because in such a fashion God created them and in such a manner He reveals them.

So, there we have the manifestation of the Law of Opposites.  From the very beginning, in fact, in the beginning, God separated the light from the dark…the known from the unknown…the evident from the invisible…the Creator from the creations.  From the pulling back of the waters to the establishing of dry land, from the scattering of sunbeams to the sprinkling of moon beams, from the soaring of eagles to the swimming of eels, and from the galloping of the antelope to the grazing of the zebra.  And then, and then…God created mankind.  Male and female He created them; as opposites He created them; that each would be seen more clearly not in spite of, but in light of, their contrast.

light and dark

Chapter Two: God’s Nature in Nature

Chapter Two

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever, Amen!”   Romans 11:36

Having created the heavens and the earth, and all that dwelt within and upon them, God initiated the first…and still continuing…game of ‘Hide and Go Seek’.  I’m not talking about the incident in the garden with Adam and Eve, though that did employ both components of hiding and seeking (the cause of which we will examine later).  No, I’m referring to the hiding of God’s truths about His nature in the earth’s nature. To ensure mankind would seek Him, He left him with two things:  a questioning mind and a quarry of clues.  Surely, between the two, man would uncover the Creator of all that was, and is, and is to come; surely he would find, stretched between the beginning and the ending, the One who is the beginning and the ending, the Alpha and the Omega. (Revelation 1:8)

So God waited, and He watched, and He wooed; so man pondered, and he prodded, and he ‘pothesized.   What causes the changing of the seasons?  What makes the tides come in and go out?  What holds the planets in orbit?  What causes the formation of rainbows?   Yes, God gave man a questioning mind so that, through asking, He could show up and show out that man might grow up and grow out.  Just where did God place the answers to man’s questions?  He buried them in the earth’s crust and He tucked them into the heaven’s atmosphere and He scattered them across the ocean waves, the sound waves, and the light waves.

Over the years, men have been credited with discovering the clues God embedded in His creation.  Men whose names we recognize like Copernicus, Galilei, and Newton; and men whose names (unless we’re science geeks…or amateur writers who use Google) we don’t recognize like Aristarchus, Shen Kuo, and Theodoric of Freiberg.  Since the beginning of time, man has interacted with the world God created and he has sought to find the answers for the questions that explode like split atoms in his mind.  Though discoveries tend to bear the name of the ones who identified them, it is God who created and concealed them; man simply uncovered them.  Men like Sir Francis Bacon and George Washington Carver acknowledged that their discoveries came from God.  We know because their insights still waft through time and fall upon our inquisitive hearts.

“A little science estranges a man from God; a lot of science brings him back.” –Sir Francis Bacon

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” –George Washington Carver

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” –George Washington Carver

So, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that Newton’s laws of motion are actually Elohim’s laws of movement, and Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion originated as El Shaddai’s laws of celestial cohesion.

It is within this preface and upon this premise that the Law of Opposites continues to unfold.  Having created a world defined by opposites, God crammed it with attributes comprised of opposites.  Though they are found within the entire field of science, their existence is summarized in this one statement, in this one law:  for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In textbooks, this is known as Newton’s third law of motion; in Creation’s context, it is known as God’s first law of nature, and its evidence is everywhere.

When we interact with magnets, we learn of their push and their pull: of their polar opposites.  When we look at electricity, the light switch of revelation turns on as we note the presence of electrons and protons, the recognition of negative charges and positive charges.  And what about the buoyancy principle?  According to Archimedes, “the force acting on, or buoying, a submerged or partially submerged object equals the weight of the liquid that the object displaces.”  Here we see that force is calculated by the contrast that occurs when two objects have an opposite impact upon each other; one displaces while the other holds places!

Along with the laws of nature evident within our scientific world, there are also the laws of science evident within our natural world.  For example, when studying rocks and minerals we note their texture and their density.  Are they rough or smooth; are they hard or soft? We find temperatures at which liquids freeze and liquids boil and we manipulate items as they change from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas.  With every principle and with every law there lies at its core not only the grain of truth but the God of Truth.  That which is tested examines its contents; that which is proven exalts its Creator.

And, when curiosity evolves into questions and when questioning erupts into quarrying, the game of hide and seek begins…and continues…as theories emerge and principles equate and laws establish and God expounds:  and the created beholds its Creator.  What man mistook for intellect, God meant for insight; what science mislabeled as reasonable, God not only marked but manifested as revelation, for “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.”  Within the realization of every scientific “discovery” lies the reality of the God who “hid” it.  In magnetism, poles with opposing forces work on objects to pull in and to push out; through magnetism, we uncover the attribute of God’s holiness: He pushes away sin and pulls in righteousness.  Then, there is the presence of magnetic fields which surround magnets.  Does God not have such a force around Him that also attracts and deflects?  While God desires that all men are drawn to Him through His Son (I Timothy 2:4), Jesus stated that many would push away from His teachings (John 6:66).

Through Andre-Marie Ampere’s curiosity, God revealed the relationship between magnetism and electricity.  Ampere found that magnetic fields have moving particles and that this movement, or current, can produce electricity.  Where there is no movement, there is no attraction.  Read that again.  Where there is no movement, there is no attraction.  Need I charge your Biblical worldview battery here, or do you already feel the force of that magnetic field?  We know we serve a living, moving, current-flowing God whose one intent is to draw all men to Him, but do we also realize that for Him to draw, we need to move?  Do we realize that our attraction to God will wane with the decrease or absence of His current, of His Spirit, flowing through us?  Science revealed it…God inhabits it.  And, as being made in the image of God, we also display the attributes of our Father.  But, lacking His holiness, we can use our magnetism, our “force fields”, to influence others positively or negatively.  We can pull them in that they too may learn about the God who first pulled us, or we can push them away and miss the connection…and increased current…God made available to us.

And what about our buoyancy principle?  Just how do we amass God’s presence in this?  (See the pun…oh, I love it when these float up!)  As Archimedes soaked in his tub, God’s truth rose to the surface.  Archimedes sat down and the water rose up; Archimedes rose up and the water sat down.  To keep from having to actually explain the law of displacement any further, for fear that I would have to plunge into waters deeper than any tub could hold…or my mind could contain, let me plug the drain right here:  that which is displaced can be measured by that which it replaced.  To relate this to God’s nature, we would say that which God removes can be measured by that which God replaces. In Joel 2:25, God introduces the law of displacement:  “The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.”  Here we see God’s restorative nature as He promises to replace that which He removed.  When it feels like our losses are greater than our gains, we cling to the God who holds us up…the God who keeps us afloat in shallow tubs and in high seas.  (I fear I’ve held my breath too long pondering over the simplification of this principle and, as such, am now experiencing the cranial bends.   Therefore, if my accuracy has been displaced as my analogy submerged, please forgive me and seek the truth yourself as you soak in your own thoughts…or tub.)

While these are but a sampling of examples, I believe them to be accurately depictive of God’s created nature and of His revealed nature; I believe God’s creations bear not only His fingerprints but His DNA as well. Within the world that God created, He not only left visible signs of His omniscience but He also left invisible signs of His omnipotence and of His omnipresence; God inhabits the works of His hands and reveals Himself through its principles, its laws, and its truths.  And, when He set things in order and then in motion, He established the first law of nature:  for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. God is the God of opposites.  It was manifested when He separated light from dark, the heavens above from the earth below, the waters from the land, and when He created mankind:  male and female He created them.  And the evidence of opposites is apparent not only in the creation of the world but also in the sustaining of world for the law of opposites courses through the very laws through which God holds all things together.  The law of opposites pulses through creation and is as palpable as a heartbeat detected by a doctor’s stethoscope; it is the heartbeat of God:  for every rhythm, there is an equal and opposite rhythm…for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…to God be the glory forever!  Amen.

newtons 3rd law cartoon

Next week…the law of opposites revealed first in heaven…and then in the garden.

A Grace You Can “Grow Into”


“…But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”  Romans 5:20b


               There are some phrases that are less appreciated with age; “you’ll grow into it” is one of them.  When I was young, it wasn’t a bad thing to receive something that, though not a perfect fit at the time, would eventually become something that I would grow into.  From bicycles whose pedals were a stretch to reach, to outfits whose sleeves and legs would require a stretch to fill, growing into something simply meant I had something to look forward to.  But, as an adult, I can’t say that I embrace the concept of growing into something the way I did as a child.  Receiving items I can’t use now…but will have to grow into…is not only unappealing, it’s downright unflattering.  Think about it.  What is there, for a person who’s on the far side of middle-age, that would be exciting to wait for…to grow into?  Cookware?  Well, that would just mean I don’t yet have the culinary skills required to use what I’ve just received.  Books?   Again, if I have to grow into them, I must not have the aptitude to understand them as yet.  And, while this is truly the case with many a text, telling me so will not bring accolades of delight from my lips!  There’s furniture, that can be a nice gift, but the only furniture one grows into at my age is the lift chair and the Hover-round.  And, what about clothing?  While I used to like the idea of growing into an outfit, now…um…need I even answer this?  Nope, there’s not one gift I can think of that I’d like to receive if it meant I’d have to grow into it.

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