Money, Time & Redemption (9)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” ~ Col. 3:23

~ Suppose you get a new job in a new city and so you move out there to work. There you also start attending a new church. You do not know much about the church, however from what you can tell, the pastor and people seem fine.

Over the course of a year you find that you really have no problems with the church so you pray to God and set aside a generous portion of your paycheck to give to God and that goes into the offertory every Sunday morning.

One fine Sunday morning, you go to church and receive a shock.  You find that the pastor was a crook all along who has hoodwinked the entire congregation and has absconded to South America with the sum total of all the offertory money received over the course of the year. You stand aghast as you are given this news by sobbing fellow members.

You also think of all the money you gave. Surely it has all gone to waste. Surely you could have bought all sorts of other things with it, done all sorts of things with it. Surely it is forever lost. You thought you were giving it to God, but now its all gone.  You’ve been bamboozled by a false pastor and all your offerings have come to nothing.

Or has it???

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people …” ~ Eph. 6:7

~ Most people to whom, I raise the above scenario will respond by saying something like,

“No. I don’t believe that its all gone to waste.  I prayed to God and gave it in faith. I trust that God will someway somehow work things out so that my money will still go to some good end.  It will be put to good use someway somehow.”

And – “So all is not lost. And moreover God also knows my heart. He knows the reasons why I gave and that matters very much to Him.”

~ Most people will reply in such manner.

I.e. They implicitly believe that God will redeem the money.

Now here is the point… if I give money to God and believe that God can redeem it even if incidents like the one mentioned above take place, why can’t I believe the same for the rest of life?

Look, if I shine someones shoes or produce financial reports for my boss or make a painting, and I do all that work as though I were serving the Lord, then can I believe that all this work of mine, is work that God can redeem even if I make some mistakes in the process?

~ I mean this is work done unto the Lord. It is work that I give to the Lord as an offering.

Money, Time & Redemption (8)

~ Somewhere I blogged about Charles Spurgeon mentioning something along the lines that – whatever work you do, whether it be something big or something small – perhaps shining shoes… if it is done to the glory of God, then it is royal work.

It makes sense right?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters …” ~ Col. 3:23

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people …” ~ Eph. 6:7

If you are working for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, then its royal work!

But there is something else… if you are working for the King of Kings and all of God’s work in this fallen world is redemptive in scope, then the work you are doing becomes a part of the flow of God’s redemptive currents and is now being redeemed.

*Note: Work as per Genesis has come under a curse. It will involve rough toil often. Christians are called to redeem work. How? Do it unto the Lord.

Money, Time & Redemption (7)

~ I once heard a Christian who was a retired CEO of some big company, say with regards to the issue of applying somewhere for a job and being rejected,

“When you live life under God, there is no such thing as rejection. Only redirection.”

He was exactly right. When you live life under God, His love swallows up all of our rejections and spits it out into the dustbin. Josephs brothers rejected him. However, what did that mean when Joseph reached the peak of Egypt as second to none but Pharaoh?

Yet I want to qualify what the CEO said one step further. I will say it like this.

“When you live life under God, there is no such thing as rejection. Only redirection, and redirection is a form of redemption.”

~ And this here does not just apply to the job situation, but it applies to everything. Perhaps you go rejected trying out for the soccer team or perhaps you auditioned to join a band and were rejected… or perhaps … a 1,000 perhaps… God’s redemption swallows up all the rejections in our lives and so to speak cancels it out.

Money, Time & Redemption (6)

Job:
~ Job in the anguish of his suffering did not say “I know the Lord lives” or “God Almighty is alive!” or something else. No, rather Job said,

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” ~Job 19:25

Why did Job use the term “Redeemer” and not something else?

Why?

Money, Time & Redemption (5)

~ Basically for my purposes, what I am working towards… I am trying to say that redemption is very active today.

In one sense God has finished and applied redemption. If you have accepted Jesus Christ at your Lord and Savior, then you have been redeemed. You have been purchased by His death on the cross and have passed from darkness to light.

Yet in another sense – redemption is very active in our lives… All the crap from your pre-Christ past, all the baggage, all the sins, all the mistakes, goof-ups, the foolish business ventures, the struggles with the bottle as an alcoholic, the bad grades in your classes at the U, the car accident where you broke your hip and now walk with a slight limp…

All the crap, the junk, the goop, the garbage from your past will be divinely recycled. God will make it go towards a good end. This was Joseph’s conclusion:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~ Gen. 50:20

~ And not only the past, but so also today. All the bad things going on today – nothing will go to waste. God is not 99% efficient. He is 100% efficient. God will bring about good from exhaustively everything someway, somehow:

“And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

It will all be redeemed. All the junk in your life. And it will be redeemed because the payment has already been made on the cross.

Money, Time & Redemption (4)

~ My thoughts on this subject have been so scattered that I don’t know where to begin. I think I will just randomly throw it in here.

Definition of Redemption

Redemption means (1) to buy or (2) to buy back.

~ In my prior post I discussed the fact that redemption mean to buy something for a special purpose – say restoration. I want to mention that I have come across another sense of it.  This particular sense can be found discussed often in Leviticus.

Quick Example: Suppose an Israelite farmer had to sell their land due to a difficult financial situation. Then that land, if it was family owned through the generations and also if it was a strong source of income to him, and just simply meant a lot to him due to sentimental reasons – that land could be redeemed or purchased back at a later point. If not by him, then by a relative for him.  (There is more involved in this, like the fact that the land was regarded as being ultimately owned by God so the current owner had to sell it back – but – but another day…)

So redemption does not simply mean to (1) buy, but it also means (2) to buy back.

M.M. Dutt

~ I just came across Micheal Madhusan Dutt (1824-1873) almost randomly on the net. I had never heard of him before.  I think this brief bio is worth a read. There are lessons to learn.

“Michael Madhusudan Dutt was born to Rajnarayan Dutt and Jahnabi Devi in Sagordari, Jessore District in East Bengal (now in Bangladesh). Rajnarayan Dutt was a famous lawyer. Madhusudan’s formal education started in a school in the village of Shekpura, where he studied Persian. His intellectual and literary talents and imagination were quickly recognized. His parents decided to give him an English education, so he studied European literature at home before being sent to the prestigious Hindu College in Kolkata (i.e. Calcutta) in 1833.

Fifteen years after his death, Dutt’s work began to get the recognition it deserved. The next generation of Bengali writers and scholars praised his work and argued that it was among the best poetry produced in the language. Dutt’s work thus helped shape Bengali language and literature.”

“My fallen country! Where abide
Thy envied splendour and thy glory now,
The Pathan’s and the Mughal’s pride,
Spread desolation far and wide
And stain’d thy sinless brow.

~ Excerpt from King Porus.

  • Apparently this was a pro-freedom poem in response to the British yoke.

Money, Time & Redemption (3)

~ I define redemption as a transfer based on a transaction.

That is, it is the transfer of someone or something from a bad condition, place or situation to a good condition, place or situation.  And it involves a transaction because an expense is incurred that enables the transfer to take place.

Redemption is basically a form of purchasing. However not quite. Let me put it this way:

All redemption involves a purchase, whereas all purchasing does not involve redemption.

RedemptionPurchasing

So let me give you an example of the difference:

~ Suppose I go to a pet store and buy a cat because I have always loved animals and had been thinking about getting a pet. So I purchase the cat, take it home and take good care of it.  This is plain and simple buying or purchasing.

Now suppose …

~ Suppose I go to over to my neighbors house and notice that he does not take good care of his cat. He rarely feeds it on time, kicks it around, screams at it thus terrifying it, etc., and the cat looks haggard and about to die. So I make an offer to my neighbor and and ask him if I can buy the cat from him. He agrees and I purchase the cat. Now I bring the cat back to my own home and take good care of it, giving it a regular wash, feeding it regularly, etc. basically nurturing it back to health.

This is redemption. The cat was in a bad state, situation, condition before. Now it is in a good state, situation, condition.

TBC…

 

Money, Time & Redemption

On my shelf, I have a book, Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Very fascinating book.  In Chapter 2 of this book, Lakoff & Johnson discuss how we often use time as a (financial) metaphor in everyday talk. Here are some of the examples they give:

Time is money.
You’re wasting my time.
This gadget will save you hours.
I don’t have the time to give you.
How do you spend your time these days?
That flat tire cost me an hour.
I’ve invested a lot of time in her.
I don’t have enough time to spare for that.
You’re running out of time.
You need to budget your time.
Put aside some time for ping pong.
Is that worth your while?
Do you have much time left?
He’s living on I borrowed time.
You don’t use your time, profitably.
I lost a lot of time when I got sick.
Thank you for your time.

~ Pretty much this is how we talk about money also. I can think of others:
~~> “Let us negotiate the deadline with the client. Perhaps we can buy some time.”
~~> “I’m sorry. I don’t have time to play games with you. My time is precious.”
~~> “Arey yaar. He just watches TV and fools around social media all day. I don’t think he knows the value of time.”
II. Redeeming vs. Purchasing… simple buying

a. What is redemption. Add graphic..

III. Two verses on Redeeming the Time

IV. Illustrations…

{Finish later. I am lacking the time right now. I have insufficient time to finish up. }

The Church in India…

tgc_logo

The following is a really good article posted over at The Gospel Coalition. The title is “The Gospel in India” and it is by Aubrey Sequeira. It is worth reading twice at least.

Here is an excerpt:

” … Recently, I had the opportunity to interview three faithful Indian pastors. Vivek Jones oversees the Marg family of churches, a vibrant gospel-centered church network with three congregations in the city of Pune, an urban hub in Central India. He also gives leadership to E3 ministries and is associated with Acts 29 in the India region. Edison D’Souza pastors Cross Cultured Church in Mysore, a growing and largely unreached city in Southern India. “Harry” (name changed) pastors a church in a historic northern Indian city and is involved in planting healthy churches across the rural landscape.

This interview offers insights into the state of the church in India, the encouraging and discouraging aspects of ministry there, how Western believers can more fruitfully serve their Eastern brothers, and more. … “

~ Two quick comments:
(1) I resonate with a lot of what is said in the post.  A lot of what was mentioned there –  the good and the bad – have been my observations from my times spent in and out of India.

(2) In the post, there is this movement mentioned, viz. the hyper-grace movement. I had never heard of it before. So I googled it. Here is a post on the concept of hyper-grace at gotQuestions.org, “What is hyper-grace?”

Also: 8 Signs of ‘Hypergrace’ Churches by Joseph Mattera over at CharismaNews

When the Dead Give Life …

When Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the king of Israel came down to him and wept over him and said, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows …

ElishaAndJoash

20 Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet. ~ 2 Kings 13:14, 15, 20+

~ I have an aunt who is a psychiatrist. She once walked into the room of a new patient and the patient said to her, “Oh. You can’t help me. You don’t know what I have been through!”

Up above we have a story of how Elisha, a man who during his life healed quite a few people and yet now was sick and headed towards death. Then we move forward in his story a short bit to his death and find out something else interesting. Even while dead, he gave life to someone.

Could my aunt have given life to her patient? Or did she need to go out and get felled by the thing that felled this person and then come back and be on with counseling saying “I know just how you feel?”

~ But thats not really what I wanted to talk about… per this story… Here is what . . .

– Some people cannot draw a line. However they are great art critics. In fact their critiques can be so constructive that an artist with an open ear can actually improve in their artwork.

– Some people cannot preach a sentence. However they can give such good feedback on a sermon heard that the preacher becomes much better. Though they themselves are dead in the pulpit, they however can give life to others in the pulpit.

– An English Lit. prof may at best write dead prose and just even on a good day may not be able to write a line of poetry or fiction. However she may be a fantastic writing coach to her students.

– The list of examples goes on… however there was one that I thought flashed my mind, but I have lost it. Cannot remember…

~ ~ I think I now remember… sometimes when you are preparing a message, you may find that you are not getting impacted by it as you should. So you think to yourself, how can I preach this. If I am not feeling anything, how can others? Should you just not bother?

Not necessarily. The fact of the matter is that no matter your condition, the Holy Spirit can still use your work to impact others. Just because you are perhaps in a hopefully temporarily lapsed state does not mean that the message will not effect anyone.

Work & Redemption … CB2 L8R ~ Scratchwork…

Tentative: think all this stuff through later…

~ How does work relate to redemption?

– In one sense, we use the term redemption to describe what took place on the cross and in another sense, one that is more metaphorical, we use the word to describe so very many things, like redeeming work or redeeming time or say, redeeming sociology.

To do things unto the Lord, is to involve those things in God’s project of redemption.

Redemption: The process of making fallen things un-fallen for the glory of God.
Divine recycling. …
The Midas touch – not to produce gold, but to redeem. Not to produce gold but to produce royalty.

Love:
Is it possible to have a full knowledge of what the Gospel is, of what redemption is and yet still to love a person and not desire their salvation?

Is shame in the atonement?
Is physical healing in the atonement? Yes in an already but not yet sense. No?

Shame is a consequence. It is a result of something. It does not just hand in thin appear. It does not just appear out of nowhere. Shame is a consequence. Yes. There is an unjustified form of shame as in when someone feel ashamed for the wrong reasons, but here also this shame is a consequence.

Shame generally is a function of guilt. I feel guilty. So I feel shame.

We sin. So we are guilty. God forgives our sin. We are not no longer guilty. All guilt is gone. Is all the shame gone?

~ Yet still a point is made. There is a connection between shame and the atonement. He died to take away our guilt. So he died to take away our shame. Hanging on the cross was shameful. (Incidentally, Jesus likely hung completely naked, not as the renaissance and other paintings depict.) He bore shame for us also.

Think through later…

On Giving Too Much Advice

Ephesians 4:29 states,

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

~ Its the “according to their needs” clause that has jumped out at me of late.  I can think of at least two problem areas that this verse calls me on.

(1) Giving misdirected advice: The person has a problem with A, and you give advice on dealing with B. Basically results from not listening well.

I had a friend who once talked to me about how she was thinking about dropping out of college and I just rambled on with all this stuff that I thought would help but failed to see that the problems were really sourced in some psychological issues that also were likely connected to home.

(2) Giving too much advice: Blah blah blah. My above example should serve to explain this as well. I have had a habit of just rambling on presuming to know the entirety of a given situation and a person’s life and … Not!

The Bible & A Fortiori Reasoning… All the more so

~ In the Bible, we often find Scriptures that employ what is known as A Fortiori reasoning. This means that you reason from something greater to something lesser (or vice versa). It is a “how much more” form of reasoning.

For example, when Jonah gets upset that God allowed a little plant to die, God responds,

“You were upset about this little plant, something for which you have not worked nor did you do anything to make it grow. It grew up overnight and died the next day. Should I not be even more concerned about Nineveh, this enormous city? ~ Jonah 4:10-11 (NET Bible)

Or…

If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! ~ 2 Cor. 3:9-11 

And one more for the road…

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” ~ Matt. 6:30

I.e. If Jose is willing to let you borrow $1,000,000 for something foolish and frivolous, then how much more will he be willing to let you borrow $10 for other things.

BG_Xara

The Point: There are certain verses that you might come across when reading Scriptures such that you might consider that these apply to you assuming you have an active, walking and talking with God in Christ. For example,

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” ~ John 14:2

While this is talking about the life beyond this one, it can just as well be applied to today.  From this you could consider that whatever the next stage in your life in the here and now, God goes ahead of you and prepares things for you there and then.  God already has things in the works for when you get there (See Eph. 2:10 also).  And …

And … of course, the usual qualifiers apply of course such as you must be having an active prayer life, seeking Him, not nursing secret sins, etc.

 

The Nature of the Bible

When one considers the nature of the Bible and compares it to the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, one will find parallels. For example, Jesus Christ was fully human and fully divine. Like so the Scriptures are fully human and fully divine. Another example is that Jesus Christ was without sin – without “blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:19). The Scriptures in their original autographs are inerrant.

More about this can be read here: Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation By Norman Geisler & William Roach.
DI

I draw on this notion of the theanthropic nature of Scripture quite simply to make a simple point and that is that to fix ones eyes upon Jesus is to fix ones eyes upon Scripture. Hebrews 12:2 states “… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith …” It actually states, “fixing” not “fix” which is almost as if to assume that we will be already doing it.

The point is that one way to fix your eyes upon Jesus is to fix your eyes upon the Scriptures. Got guidance? No? Then read.

Sin, Shame, Guilt & Proclaiming the Evangel (2) ~ More Notes…

I got the following from Logos Bible Software:

FromLogos

 

~ Some quick comments:

It seems to me that shame has both an objective and subjective dimension.

1) You can do something shameful and feel ashamed.

2) You can do something shameful (e.g. steal from your mother) and feel no shame.

3) You can do something thats not shameful and feel shameful. (You may need to get counseling here.)

4) You can do something thats not shameful and feel no shame.  Sounds tautologous..

 

 

Sin, Shame, Guilt & Proclaiming the Evangel (1)

I. Note passages from the Bible
II. Note some notes
III. Comments

II. Noting Some Notes:

Shame

(1)

SHAME. The Eng. word and its cognates appear about 190 times in OT and 46 times in NT. These occurrences are translations of original forms representing at least 10 different Heb. and 7 different Gk. roots and a considerably larger number of Heb. and Gk. words.

Two main meanings can be distinguished: descriptions of states of mind, and descriptions of physical states. The states of mind may be classified into three broad categories: first, those where an individual is or might be the object of contempt, derision or humiliation; second, those where he feels bashfulness or shyness; third, those where he feels respect or awe. The physical states involve a degree of exposure or nudity, or the words are used as euphemisms for the sexual organs.

The most frequent usage by far involves the ideas connected with contempt, derision and humiliation.

Woolley, P. (1996). Shame. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 1085). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. (Note: Emphasis mine)


(2)

Shame correlates with several parallel themes such as sin, nakedness, reproach, humiliation and guilt. It is, however, particularly connected with post-Fall sexuality and humanity’s broken relationship with God and others.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were ashamed to stand before God, whose test of obedience they had violated (Gen 3:1–24). This is not surprising. But the unaccustomed sense of nakedness and shame they experience toward each other is unanticipated and clearly portrays the devastating effects of sin on the very core of our being. Shame is thus seen objectively as that moral state which exhibits the reprehensible and degrading nature of sin, and subjectively as a psychological or emotional consequence that flows from guilt and sin. The two are necessarily related. To sin and feel no shame aggravates the offense. Thus one of the strongest condemnations Paul can direct against the enemies of the cross of Christ is that they “glory in their shame” (Phil 3:19 RSV). At the same time, to continue to feel shame after sin has been forgiven would be equally inappropriate, since forgiveness removes sinful reproach through the One who endured the cross and despised its shame (Heb 12:2).

Shame and judgment are juxtaposed so frequently that “to be put to shame” is recognized as an idiom meaning to come under God’s judgment. But there is also a sense in which shame functions as a moral deterrent within the believing community. Thus when Paul cautions the Ephesians against unwholesome speech, he suggests that it is a shame to even speak in public about what evildoers perform in secret …

Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J., Longman, T., Duriez, C., Penney, D., & Reid, D. G. (2000). In Dictionary of biblical imagery (electronic ed., pp. 780–781). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Living in Truth ~ Excerpt From Humanitas.org

~ There is a post at Humanitas.org that I think is just very important reading for folks in the West. The title is:  Living in truth, however dark the times

Here is an excerpt:

“Anxiety and discouragement and even despondency are reflected in the mood of many Christians these days—as well as anger.  What will happen in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage?  Obviously, religious liberty will become front and center as the implications of the Court decision play out in the daily lives of many Christians whose faith practices run afoul of the new ruling.

2161839452_7ffbf4bdc6_zHowever, this dark mood has been building for quite some time.  Against the talk of doom and gloom by many alarmists, Dr. Os Guinness points out that this is “not Christian language at all.  We should always speak the language of faith and hope and mission.”

Speaking before the court’s ruling, Dr. Guinness reflected on cultural momentum that has been underway for at least a century:  ‘We are living in 500 years of western dominance, which is clearly now declining. … Will we have a vision of faithfulness that will be true to our Lord and adequate to the extraordinary times in which we’re living?’  Our cultural moment requires ‘an unshakeable, unwavering confidence in the power of the gospel.'”

~ Amen, Amen and Amen!

~ I have come across some reds and blues – anger and sadness – post the Supreme Court decision.  People are apprehensive about the future.  The Pax Americana has come to a close.

However I am also adamant that this should not get us down too much. There are so many more reasons – starting with the Cross – to be calm and content then there are to not be.  And… some day I will write on that… but not right now.

 

 

Conversational Skills from the Bible…

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~ Col. 4:6

Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Eph. 4:29

…for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. ~ Matt. 1237

Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return, I will restore you,
    and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
    you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
    but you shall not turn to them. ~ Jer. 15:19

He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues. ~Prov. 17:28

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you[a]—see that you excel in this act of grace also. ~ 2 Cor. 8:7

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. ~ Proverbs 15:2

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. ~ Proverbs 25:15

Lost and Found ~ More to Process Later…

LA_City_Hall_with_sister_cities~ There are those who are lost – this is everyone who does not know God. It is the default setting into which we are born in.

And then…

There are those who are lost among the lost. All I can see is that there are people who I have met in life who are just so going left and right, up and down, indecisive, flitting from one thing to another… confusion central … life is a mess.

Then there are the found… the found meaning found by God. Found in God. Those who live by faith and have their compasses ever pointing heavenward are never lost. They always have direction.

Then there are the lost among the found … This could be due to sin… it could just be due to being hit hard by the rough and tumble of life, such that they find themselves perplexed, confused, lost… I think of Job or Paul… These are the lost among the found. Lost yet found.

Lost: ” …We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, – ”
Yet Found: “- but not in despair; ~ 2 Cor. 4:8

Isaiah… backgrounds… CB2 L8R

How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” ~ Psalm 21:19.

May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
Psalm 61:7

~ Relate this to Isaiah later on… so also Psalm 23

Two Posts on Love Worth Reading . . .

 

heart_shaped_line_266972

~ There are couple of blogposts on Love that I want to highlight as well worth the read. These are from Pastor Steve Cornell’s blog Wisdom For Life, a blog thats one of my best finds this year.

(1) 12 Tests of Love:

~ How does one distinguish infatuation from genuine love? Here are some tests:
1. Test of Time – Love benefits and grows through time; infatuation ebbs and diminishes with time.
2. Test of Knowledge – Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other person. Infatuation may grow out of an acquaintance with only one of these characteristics known about the other person.
3. Test of Focus – Genuine love is other-person centered. Infatuation is self-centered.
. . .
9. Test of Physical Attraction – Physical attraction is a relatively small part of love, but it is a central focus of infatuation. (Now don’t read “small part” as “not a part” …
. . .
12. Test of Delayed Gratification …

(2) Being In Love vs. Behaving In Love

~ This is from a post titled “What if you don’t feel love?”

“A wife once told me that she planned to leave her husband because she “just didn’t love him anymore.”

She saw herself as a victim of feelings she couldn’t change. …”

John Piper Devotional on Job

~ The following is a poem I wrote on Job. I wan to attach to it a devotional from John Piper.

JobIM2

Words for the Wind

Do you think that you can reprove words, when the speech of a despairing man is wind? (Job 6:26)

In grief and pain and despair, people often say things they otherwise would not say. They paint reality with darker strokes than they will paint it tomorrow when the sun comes up. They sing in minor keys and talk as though that is the only music. They see clouds only and speak as if there were no sky.

They say, “Where is God?” Or: “There is no use to go on.” Or: “Nothing makes any sense.” Or: “There’s no hope for me.” Or: “If God were good, this couldn’t have happened.”

What shall we do with these words?

Job says that we do not need to reprove them. These words are wind, or literally “for the wind.” They will be quickly blown away. There will come a turn in circumstances, and the despairing person will waken from the dark night and regret hasty words.

Therefore, the point is, let us not spend our time and energy reproving such words. They will be blown away of themselves on the wind. One need not clip the leaves in autumn. It is a wasted effort. They will soon blow off of themselves.

O how quickly we are given to defending God, or sometimes the truth, from words that are only for the wind. If we had discernment, we could tell the difference between the words with roots and the words blowing in the wind.

There are words with roots in deep error and deep evil. But not all grey words get their color from a black heart. Some are colored mainly by the pain, the despair. What you hear is not the deepest thing within. There is something real within where they come from. But it is temporary — like a passing infection — real, painful, but not the true person.

Let us learn to discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind — spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love.

For more about John Piper’s ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Matthew 11:28-30 ~ The Nature of a Yoke (2) ~ Outline

~ Due to time issues, I am just going to put a rough outline of my thoughts here. I will work it out later.

I. What is a yoke?
A. Many types
1. A single strap often put around the neck of a someone like a slave.
2. A wooden balance shaped object with two bows for placing the heads of cows.
3. A yoke with multiple bows suited for many cows
B. Purpose
1. To lighten a load
2. To provide balance
3. Illustration: Like the straps on a backpack. They make the load more manageable It beats carrying a heavy handful of books.
C. In the Bible
1. Yoke stands for the physical implement put around the neck
i. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…” ~ 2 Cor. 6:14). I.C.1.i.
2. Yoke stands for both the physical implement and so also the burden.
i. “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” ~ 1 Kings 12:4
3. Etc. Verses can be multiplied
II. The Nature of Yokes 
A. We were created/designed to be yoked.
1. I.e. We have been created to do things with our two hands
2. We have not been created to have empty hands.
i. Illustration: Upon retirement, boredom surprisingly sets in rather than rest & relaxation. * CB2 
B. This means that there is always something to do.
1. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10
i. No such thing as unemployment when you live under God.
ii. The unemployment rate is 0 in the Kingdom of God.
iii. God is sending us a stream of good works (= yokes) our way. Things for us to do.
C. We are all constantly under a yoke – like it or not
1. During Jesus’ day
i. The yoke of the Scribes and Pharisees, 1,001 rules
ii. The Roman Yoke – taxes, rough rulers
2. During Jesus’ day and our day
i. Having a hectic, stressful life.
ii. Your job – can be a light yoke or harsh one ~~> Having a tyrant for a boss at the workplace
iii. Having a mental illness like schizophrenia and as such being on meds which keep you weak and sluggish 24/7.
iv. Alcoholism or being addicted to a drug. Your drug is your yoke. Though chosen, now its a very difficult yoke to be free from.
v. The yoke of being in debt to someone. The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. ~ Prov. 22:7
vi. While employment can be a yoke (see ii.) so also can unemployment (creditors knocking, bills piling up, etc.)
vii. Being unequally yoked (in marriage, crooked business partner, etc.). See I.C.1.i. ~~> 2 Cor. 6:14
viii. Living under a totalitarian regime
ix. the yoke of sin… our natures are sinful
x. etc.
III. The Nature of Christ’s Yoke in itself
A. Not a yoke that is imposed on us (e.g. Roman yoke) but a yoke we take on. “Take My yoke upon you.”
1. Which means that it can be rejected to our detriment.
B. Must be taken on and learned from: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from me.”
C. The yoke of a gentle and humble Person, not a ruthless boss: “For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
IV. The Nature of Christ’s Yoke in relation to other yokes
D. If taken on, will in due course expunge all yokes involving sin on your part (e.g. doing drugs)
E. If taken on, will make lighter and more bearable, all other yokes, not involving sin on your part (e.g. being delivered from tyrant boss.)
F. Summa: If you take on Christ’s yoke, other yokes in your life will become either be removed or be made more bearable. i.e. the burden becomes lighter.
IV. The Nature of Christ’s Yoke & You
A. Discipleship

1. Oxen in training are put into the bows of a yoke. One ox will be strong. The other will be weak and perhaps just a baby. This strong Ox pulls the bulk of the weight and thus trains the smaller ox.
2. Almost as if Christ is a yokefellow of yours, being yoked together with you and thus teaching you.

~ Only sinners get sick. Saints do not.
~ Only sinners get unemployed. Saints do not? No?

The Parade

There is a parade of works coming our way.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10