John 14:6 Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Jesus called Himself the way, the truth, and the life. These were not plural, but notice that he added that there was no other way or truth or life to get to the Father.
John 14:6 Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.
We know that He was called light as well. But, I can't stop comparing these three characteristics of God's nature to the three keys to Spirituality highlighted by Paul in the love chapter. And, don't forget to notice where the LOVE chapter is in the New Testament... it's sandwiched in the middle of a bunch of doctrinal issues and the Spiritual gifts. After you have paused for a moment to listen to the aged old man insist that he is going to show you the best way to be Spiritual, with a wave of his arm, then we will skip right through the chapter to the last word on love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Here we see the three keys a Christian should strive for: faith, hope, and love... if we want to be so Spiritual. I see a correlation between the two sets of three. I believe a case can be made to match them up. We could do that here and now on the spot. But, I want you to make the match yourself. I've made mine. And, I have posted it on another of my websites for you to take a peek at... once you've done your homework. It's over on a new page of Go-Minister that I am working up as a resource for unlocking our gifts and talents. After you compare your thoughts to mine, feel free to comment, tweet, email, or inbox me your thoughts, and what you make of the two verses together as interlocking puzzle pieces. My choices can be found at http://www.go-minister.com/puzzling-gifts.html Be sure to check back on that page soon to see how the resource is going, and email me any contribution ideas you have, as always. God bless you!
The movie Hunger Games was an intriguing movie, so much so that I'm still thinking about it a lot weeks later. It's one of those unforgettable stories. It combines futuristic Science Fiction with realism and the carnival-like atmosphere of the media. It is set in a time when the media gets totally out of hand and begins to dominate the lives of the people... wait a minute... that's now. Well, anyways the media is feeding on the masses of humanity like piranhas. Ratings drive life and death, and everyone watches... even those being consumed. It is definitely a lesson in sociology. I enjoyed the fact that human behavior was presented realistically, when it came to showing the violence otherwise peaceful children turned to, in the name of survival.
I mean, what would you do if you were pitted against your neighbors in a life and death game? Some of us would kill without a moment's hesitation. Others would hesitate to attack people who were merely victims of the same death trap that they themselves were. A few would triumph and seize the reins, turning the course of their own lives and decisions, rather than being controlled by outside forces. And, this is the human spirit.
It reminded me of the book/movie "Holes" by Louis Sachar, in that it demonstrates the potential of the human spirit to thrive and feed off of hard times. It shows how real people can overcome the struggles they face, over insurmountable odds, and rise above what would be perceived as their own destiny. No, I've never been much of a believer in destiny. Have you?
Wikipedia tells the author's inspiration for the story:
Collins says that the inspiration to write The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the invasion of Iraq. The two "began to blur in this very unsettling way" and the idea for the book was formed. The Greek myth of Theseus served as the basis for the story, with Collins describing Katniss as a futuristic Theseus, and that Roman gladiatorial games formed the framework. The sense of loss that Collins developed through her father's service in the Vietnam War also affected the story, whose heroine lost her father at age 11, five years before the story begins. Collins stated that the deaths of the young characters and other "dark passages" were the hardest parts of the book to write, but she had accepted passages such as these were necessary to the story. She considered the moments where Katniss reflects on happier moments in her past to be the more enjoyable.
1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
Paul points out here the fact that men are known by their own spirits. Likewise, God is only known by His own Spirit. We can't even know Him, unless we have His Spirit inside us, the Holy Spirit. So, it stands to reason we can't always know if we would operate in the Spirit of God or our own fleshly human spirit in a crisis. Obviously, whichever spirit was fed most would win the struggle. I am definitely looking forward to, though it is going backwards as I have said before, I'm looking forward to listening to the audio books of the series. If you see the movie, let me know what you think.
The deaf make a joke, where the sign for standing is displayed (2 fingers pointing down or standing on the other hand, which is palm up.) Then they flip the palm facing downward, and hold the two fingers upside down under the palm and call it understand. Of course, this is not the correct sign for understand, but it presents a funny picture of someone standing under, literally. We use the word supernatural to describe something beyond our understanding of the laws of the natural world. But, we have to keep in mind, our understanding is just that... our understanding. We stand under the omniscient God of the universe, the Master Creator and Designer of all that we see and more.
Wisdom has been defined as “the perception of the best end and the best means.” I would also define it as the ability to apply knowledge profitably and sensibly. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 says, “For the Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jew and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” This stands out to me because what the world seeks, they find the least of. Yet, what believers find, whether they knew it or not, they needed most. Even today, people still seek wisdom and the power of signs. God gives by revelation and by inspiration. Our knowledge of Him does not come from Scientifically searching for Him, but rather from God’s divine self-disclosure to us.
This passage is ironic, in that we see those looking for a sign, and they trip over the sign. Meanwhile, we see those looking for wisdom, and they are foolishly discounting the wisdom of the Almighty. That which is supernatural is beyond the natural; outside the natural. It really would be foolish to discount everything outside the natural world simply because you can't see it, much like discounting the existence of planets that contain water beyond our solar system. We can't see them. But, the fact that we stand below this knowledge does not make us ignorant. Only discounting that as impossible would make us truly ignorant. Knowing the limitations of your own mind is true wisdom.
Our weakness reminds us of the strength and power of God. My latest podcast episode is ready at http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/ and on the player below. I read in a variety of versions; KJV, NKJV, NIV, and the Living Bible. For a complete transcript of Scripture references, see the Podcast Page.
Tonight I have a special guest interview with Songwriter Mark Snyder of Tree Hill Collective. Mark talks about the "God Quotient" and how his faith influences his songwriting. He has provided Worship Leader Kits to be given away to listeners tonight. Just let me know and we'll get them to you. You can reply in the blog comment section, or our feedback line phone number is 206-202-4087. You can send media files to my Email: email@example.com
Tonight's Podcast can be heard on the player below, or at my podcast page at http://reason2believehim.libsyn.com/
Links for Mark's Resources:
Resources for Worship Leaders: http://www.weekendwarriorworship.com/digital-hymnal/
Amazon.com Keyword Weekend Warrior Worship
Mark Snyder's Featured Song clips are:
-Death Could Not Hold You (1st Corinthians 15)
YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5kanfPU_jE&feature=youtu.be
-I Worship You Alone (Revelation 4, 21:1-4)
YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhYUJ3-6FWY&feature=youtu.be
-All Glory (1st Chronicles 16:8-36)
-Let His Name (Psalm 148:13, Hebrews 12:2)
-We Shall Overcome
-A Way to You
Society is often fragmented at best, and the most careful of us tend to live haphazard lives, at times. But even the most orderly lives often break apart. The pieces form a patchwork quilt effect in the end. I remember the first time I saw a "breaking up housekeeping" yardsale, I had trouble sleeping that night. I had never realized before that a happy marriage could be broken up just like that, no divorce or anything, just seperated because of old age and the convienence of caregivers. Maybe Mom is staying with their daughter across town, and Dad is moving in with their son in Tennessee. It seemed odd that all the "stuff" of their lives was being divided up like garbage, useless to the children. It seemed even more difficult to imagine that a couple married at some point because they loved each other, imagined a life together, built a home and raised children, who would throw away the family unit of their parents, just like the furniture.
I don't like this. A home is not furniture. Author and New Yorker, Jonathan Fields wrote about a similar circumstance. In his blog titled "Dust in the Wind" he has a photo of a red dumpster that holds the life possessions of various widows and widowers in his building who've passed away. This has a sobering effect, and reminds me that all of my possessions will probably be worthless when I am gone. It begs me to remember what really matters in life.
I remember leaving one job, where I felt loved and appreciated. I had built up a substantial classroom laboratory of equipment for teaching Science and Math, one that I would have given my eye teeth for when I first started teaching. But, as I was moving back to North Georgia, and had a job to go to there, I resigned with excellent references. But, I was shocked deep inside to see that my entire classroom of equipment was thrown in storage at the end of the year, unappreciated, and unclaimed. I was reminded that my work would mean nothing once I was gone, if not in the heart of my former students alone. Really, isn't that the product of teaching anyways? Likewise, isn't the "heart work" the most lasting product of any life?
1 Corinthians 3:13-14 has the answer. Paul teaches us a simple test for what matters. Will it survive a fire? If it won't survive a fire, then it is not eternal, and has no real value. So, the only real value in work is what you have done for the heart and soul of a person. Are you making a difference? Or are you making a living?
I slept soundly last night, and dreamed happy dreams. Sleep is precious
when you hit your forties. We get tired. But, I can remember, in the past, times
I have felt restless. Sometimes a sense of restlessness can be so great and
troublesome that we can’t focus our minds on the tasks at hand. Sometimes it can
prevent our sleep as well.
In Hebrews 4:9-11 the writer of Hebrews is preaching a sermon (in the
last half of chapter three and chapter four) using Psalm 95 as his text. David
had mentioned the fact that many of the children of Israel were not allowed to
enter into the “rest” of Canaan Land due to their lack of faith, but died in the
wilderness over their 40 year wanderings. Instead their children entered into
that glorious rest provided by God. He goes on to tie in the fact that god wants
us to receive the rest from our own “good works” where we tried to pay for sins,
and instead allow His blood to cover our sins. Afterall, the Sabbath means
resting from our work.
In Hebrews, it is explained that the Sabbath Day rest of the Jews (work
six days, rest on the seventh) was a shadow or type of God’s rest that is to be
provided to His children. Hebrews is pointing out that because David said
“Today, if you will hear His voice,” then there must be another rest remaining
for the people of God, more than a Sunday nap between services, more than Canaan
Land for the Jews.
This is also shown in the prophetic passage in Isaiah 11:10. We know
that our rest comes from the lord. Psalm 37:7 and Matthew 11:28 points us in the
direction of our most bountiful source of rest and peace here on Earth. Prayer
is the source of peace and strength, our rest in God’s arms.
“At that heavenly sound
My soul, that is sunk in forgetfulness,
Recovers its judgment
And the lost memory
Of its first, exalted origin.
It transverses the ether
Until it reaches the highest sphere,
And there it hears another mode
Of imperishable music,
The first, the source of all.
Here the soul steers
Through a sea of sweetness, and at last
Sinks so deep within,
That it hears or feels
No strange or rare event.
O blessed trance!
O death that gives life! O sweet oblivion!
Could I but remain in your repose
Without being restored
Ever to these low and abject senses!
To this bliss I call you,
Glory of Apollo’s sacred choir,
Friends whom I love
Beyond all treasure,
Since all visible things are sorrowful tears.
Oh, may your music, Salinas,
Sound everlasting in my ears;
Hearing it my senses awaken to God’s goodness,
And all else remain oblivious.”
by Luis de Leon - Ode to Salinas*
* Fragment of a larger poem, which was translated from the Spanish
Salinas was a blind organist who played for the Cathedral of Salamanca,
Spain in the 1500’s. Leon apparently loved to hear Salinas play, and as other
portions of the poem explain, hearing the blind man play about the raptures of
heaven reminded him of how truly “blind” men are who seek only gold to satisfy
themselves here on Earth. The poem is speaking of organ music, a delightful
sound in which it is easy to lose yourself. But, there are parallels here drawn,
in my mind, to prayer.
Where we can turn music on loud enough when we just want to relax at
home, to stop our mind from working, providing a sense of rest sometimes from
troubled thoughts, prayer can give a rest to the restless that unburdens the
mind, body, and soul. The difference is like anesthetic and antiseptic.
Anesthetic numbs pain by dulling the senses, masking the symptoms. Antiseptic
cleanses a wound, allowing healing to take place.
When I can’t take time aside to pray, like while working, music
functions well to turn our thoughts to God. But, when I lay everything aside,
and turn my thoughts to God, focusing on who He is, my mind not only forgets the
details of the day, but wounds actually begin to shrink and heal. Heart pain is
erased in prayer.
In prayer, I can “cross that heavenly sphere,” and sink so deep within
His “sea of sweetness” that I feel nothing. When I hear His voice “sounding
everlastingly in my ears,” my senses die to everything else, external and
internal distractions, and “awaken to God’s goodness” where all else fades in
oblivion. This rest is the greatest peace to be found on Earth.
Hebrews warns us that the disobedience of an unbelieving heart can
prevent us from receiving the rest of God, like in the wilderness of wanderings.
Afterall, if you don’t have faith that God can keep your restless spirit in His
hands, then you won’t bother to pray for peace.
More is included in God’s rest than prayer. Worship also provides that
glorious rest of God, again illustrated by the poem, and experienced in church
services. The Holy Ghost experience is a glorious rest for all who will partake.
The Heavenly City will be our eternal rest. Paul said that eyes have never seen
what God has in store for those who love God. 1 Corinthians 2:9 The peace of God
can surround our restless spirits and give us rest beyond our own understanding.
Philippians 4:7 You know, I can only imagine heaven, but prayer is a bit of
heaven here on Earth, for those who will enter into that rest.
Silver Comet... September 2010...Me and Larry. This was a year ago, after the first two surgeries, and before the last three. This was the day of my third attempt at riding my bike. This was also the first day I realized I had more of a problem than just recovering my fitness level. I was in pain and trying to pretend I was fine and everything was going to be ok. I thought I was just out of shape from the surgeries. I thought determination would pull me through this. But, by the time we reached the first bridge I knew I couldn't go on. I told Larry that we could turn back after resting there for a few minutes. We had barely gone a few miles but I knew something wasn't right.
I wanted to ride so bad. I missed the Silver Comet. I was so happy to be there and yet so sad that I couldn't ride. Larry put his arms around me and held me, and held me together, when I thought I would fall apart from the frustration of trying to make it work. Psalm 119:143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me...
Psalm 119:117 Hold me up, and I shall be safe...
On August 11, a month ago, I sat silent as the doctor diagnosed me with Mylitis and explained the solumedrol infusions, and that the chances were slim I would be riding my bike again. I thanked him and set the appointments in my phone. But, I cried in the car as I left, which explains why I didn't realize I stopped and then pulled through a redlight as I left, as photographed so clearly by the intersection cameras. I received nice prints in the mail from the Police, with an invoice a couple weeks later.
So much water has gone under the bridge in the past year. But, through the current I found myself still standing. Determination didn't do any good. It was not that everything worked out. Actually, I was worked out of everything, one right after another; like peeling a pomegranite. Layer after layer, the shell of the pomegranite is peeled away, to reveal the ruby seeds that taste like sunshine. They are wrapped in tissue like paper inside the shell, which makes them look like treasure in gift wrapping. They are my favorite fruit.
The Bible says that we are the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:27 We are His arms and legs. Usually, God chooses to use a person, part of His body, to wrap His arms around us when we find ourselves weighed down with troubles. Sometimes, we may find ourselves going it alone with God. Those times make the moments when God's body is a tangible person even more precious.
God spoke to Isaiah about breaking down walls and crying to the
mountains. Isaiah 22:5 This is language of a vision. We all need vision in our
lives, vision of God’s will, vision for the Kingdom, and vision for the Harvest
of the Lord. This was a specific vision of Isaiah’s.
Daniel had vision as well. Daniel 9:23 Notice that Daniel was instructed
by an angel to “consider the vision?” In Daniel 10:1 we find that Daniel
reportedly had understanding of the vision. As you can see from these two
verses, and the way I worded my comments, there are two meanings or usages for
the word vision.
First, is the more specific reference to a specific event where a man or
woman sees or hears from God Almighty on a certain topic, in a certain moment.
Visions in this sense are accepted as supernatural events. Many people have
visions from God, whether sleeping or awake.
Second, is the general meaning for the word vision, where a man or woman
is said to have vision, meaning that they look ahead to the future and have a
goal or purpose in their heart for how something should and will be, seeing that
the future condition already exists as real in their own mind. They act in a way
to drive that vision to reality.
But, are these two things really different? In the more specific
instance, we see the ignition event or the catalyst for the more general sense
of vision. Can a man have Godly vision without hearing from God? There are many
different visions, and not all involve God’s will. Paul said, speaking of
different languages, that there are many voices in the world, and all of them
have some particular meaning. 1 Corinthians 14:10 There are visions outside the
realm of God’s will. The task is to focus on the truth.
There is truth in the world. Much of popular psychology teaches a moral,
religious relativism… that everything is relative. But, Christians realize that
there is an absolute truth, or something right to align everything else with,
Jesus. And, He is what so many are looking for in the world. What is it that is
real and true out there? What can you be sure of today, if not Jesus?
It has been said that vision is the art of seeing what others fail to
see. This then is the vision that we need to grab hold of now. We need a vision
of The Truth. Lies are everywhere. False religion, false living, false friends,
but we need a vision of true religion, true living, something that can break
down the walls of lies and falseness in the world around us. That is where the
church, and the individuals within the body of Christ comes in.
I want something inside my heart and mind that will cry out to the
mountains of the kingdoms of this world, “Here stands Truth!” Can God turn my
eyes to a vision of His truth for this generation?
Psalm 1:6; the way of the righteous
Psalm 37:18; the days of the upright
Psalm 94:11; the thoughts of man,
1 Corinthians 3:20; the thoughts of the wise
2 Timothy 2:19; them that are his.
2 Peter 2:9 how to deliver the godly
God knows much more than we know.
Aside from these things that the Lord knows, is what appears to be an oath in Joshua 22:22 "The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know..." It is similar to the modern saying, "The lord knows my heart." But, the most beautiful reminder is Psalm 139:1, the whole Psalm. God knows us better than we know ourselves because He is ever with us, and always has been, from the "get-go."
The only question remaining is, do we know God?