Friday, November 30, 2007

Breath of Heaven

Words and music by Chris Eaton and Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father You have come
And chosen me now…to carry your Son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now….be with me now….
Do you wonder, as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am for the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong…
Help me be…
Help me….

Five years ago, at Christmas time, I read the words of the angel to Mary as recorded in Luke 1:45

"And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."

Many times in the Bible we read the words, "Blessed is HE..." so the words, "Blessed is SHE..." sort of jumped out at me...and it occurred to me that the words while they were directed at Mary in the first place....were also directed at me....

Like Mary, I had been given the wonderful priviledge of making my life available to the use of the Holy Spirit of God in bringing forth the life of His son. And as in the case of Mary, the priviledge was not without suffering rejection and suspicion from those one loved most, and the loss of one's own persona to become identified with that of the Son of God. The song quoted above, spoke to me at the time in conjuction with the wonderful promise of Luke 1:45. This is the meaning it had for me.


Obedience is costly sometimes but there is a blessing promised which causes us to follow on even if the way seems dark and cold and lonesome at times.


Sometimes obedience sets us apart from those who we have come to hope would always be beside us as a friend and help, and we have to come to the knowledge that our Father is all we have......but He is more than enough


Father chooses us not because we are especially wise or wonderful, but because we are available and obedient. I like the phrase, "...for the mercy of Your plan", because I have come to see that God's plan is more merciful than I once thought, and I'm sure, more merciful that I can imagine even now..... The threefold prayer at the just as I often pray. First I pray for what I think I need...."Help me be strong"..... then I realize that I'm not sure exactly what kind of help I am in need of..."Help me be...(fill in the blank)"...And then at the end of the day, I realize....I just need help for the simple reason that "Without Him I can do nothing."...."Help me."
Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness,
Pour over me Your holiness, for You are Holy
Breath of Heaven
In the words of Mary, I say:
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I lay awake, unable to sleep, frustrated by my inability to know how to respond to the strangeness of my life. A series of starts and stops…the crushing and dissolution of dreams and desires. I’m sorry that sounds so melodramatic but it demonstrates the level of self-pity I had succumbed to. Now you will laugh when I tell you that I got out of bed and went out to the hot-tub to pray, but if you’re wallowing in self-pity…..the hot-tub is as good as any place to do it.

Much of the blame for the predicament I find myself in, I have laid at the feet of my DH because I had so looked forward to a major shift in the focus of our life together when he would retire from his all-consuming career. This was postponed time and again, until eventually it became clear that retirement was not going to happen as long as health endured. I have much to say in my defense as to how DH’s choices have effected my life…or the loss of it, but I will spare you that for now. Suffice to say, that I was primed for turning a magical corner on the road of life and felt let down and dropped off on the curb.

Shakespeare said, (I think in Julius Caesar…and admittedly in a totally different context…)

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

I felt that the tide which I had so anticipated, had been missed in terms of our future happiness together and the voyage of my life was now bound in shallows and in miseries.

In any case, as I spoke to the Lord (from the comfort of the hot-tub) I felt reminded that He is the source of all my circumstances. DH is not God, although he may be a tool that God is using to prune me. So why should I be grieved at him when he is only a secondary cause and God is the prime mover?

Still it is frustrating…..waiting….. So I asked Father, “Could you please just give me one thing that I can do….?” Almost before I could finish framing the question, I had one word come to mind...and I have received it as my answer, though it is certainly not the answer I was hoping for. The word was, “BREATHE.”

The word resonated with me on several levels.

In John 6:28-29, we read, “Then said they unto him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Those verses certainly shed light on the meaning of Jesus, when He said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

He really has not asked us to do a lot of things. We are His workmanship….and in every life, there comes a time, when we cease to do…and we begin to have done to us. Henri Nouwen in his book, Finding My Way Home, has a chapter called “The Path of Waiting.” In it he says:

It is important for us to realize that when Jesus says, “It is accomplished” (John 19:30) he does not simply mean, “I have done all the things I wanted to do.” He also means, “I have allowed things to be done to me that needed to be done to me in order for me to fulfill my vocation.”

Jesus prepared Peter for this event in his life as well, in John 21:18 where He said,

"Most assuredly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don't want to go.”

I have chosen (and been chosen) to have Father act in my life, in any way that He must to accomplish His will and purpose. This being the case, I have received the word, “breathe” as direction from him. It has been years now since I first received the word “rest”, and this word has a familiar resonance. I don’t know who originally said it, but it is still true that, “The trouble with living sacrifices, is that they keep crawling down off the altar.” We want to act….rather than be acted upon. But there is a time for both…and we must not neglect one for the other.

There is much talk in psychology about such things as “self-actualization”, “significance”, “purpose”, and many other like words. But if our value is one of personal usefulness and merit, where does that put the handicapped or the elderly, or the mentally ill?

On the other hand if our significance comes out of our identity in Christ...out of the progression of being and becoming a child of God...then does our life not have value and purpose, even when we come to the point that all we can do is to breathe?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dig In

Jesus says in his prayer for us in John 17:8, “For the [uttered] words that You gave Me I have given them; and they have received and accepted [them] and have come to know positively and in reality [to believe with absolute assurance] that I came forth from Your presence; and they have believed and are convinced that You did send Me.”

Jesus did a perfect job of delivering all that God intended Him to deliver, yet we are told that he often spoke in parables and “dark sayings,” and also that He was sometimes deliberately obscure, so that only those “who had ears to hear” could understand.

Therefore, it is puzzling that Christians as a general rule feel that Jesus made everything we need to know absolutely clear and even written down in such a way that it should be perfectly understood.

In John 16:12, Jesus says, “I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now.”

Dallas Willard, in his book, “The Divine Conspiracy” p 293, makes an interesting observation concerning the cost following Christ. On the passage in Luke 14:26-27, 33 where Jesus says one must “hate” their family and even their own life, and take up their cross etc. forsaking everything or they “cannot be my disciple”. He (DW) says, “The entire point of this passage is that as long as one thinks anything may really be more valuable than fellowship with Jesus in his kingdom, one cannot learn from him. People who have not gotten the basic facts about their life straight will therefore not do the things that make learning from Jesus possible and will never be able to understand the basic points in the lessons to be learned. It is like a mathematics teacher in high school who might say to a student, ‘Verily verily I say unto thee, except thou canst do decimals and fractions, thou canst in no wise do algebra.’”

There is a lot of pressure on followers of Christ to not go any deeper than the surface. Anyone who has a desire to do so will suffer persecution from those who do not. They will be accused of thinking they are more spiritual or know more than others. The truth is that we are expected to gain a better and deeper, and more complete understanding, knowledge of and relationship with God as we go through life. If this were not the case, why would Jesus have gone on to say, in John 16:15, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.”

This passage supports the fact that the Holy Spirit was given in order to take us higher and deeper in the things of God.
Christians seem so afraid of being led in to error or deception that they don’t want to look any deeper into the things of God than what is on the surface, but there is a spirit to the word of God, and we are meant to look into it with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit to learn about the ever widening circles of Gods purpose in creation. To fail to do this is to remain spiritually infantile.

The book of Hebrews indicates support for a deeper level of understanding of God’s word. Not only is the whole book of Hebrews full of references to types and antitypes, but as it states in the introduction to this book (in the Amplified) that “better” is a key work in the entire book of Hebrews. Jesus is a better spokesman for God that the prophets; we have a better intercessor, a better priest, a better covenant etc. So we are encouraged by the book of Hebrews to look for deeper meanings and the larger antitypes to which the types direct us.

Chapter 6 of Hebrews directs us to better promises. Verse one says, “Therefore, let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity.”

And what is he referring to when he talks about the elementary things. This is made clear in the next sentence of the same verse. "Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, with teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment."

This is amazing! When have we ever got much deeper than these things? To most Christians, these are the height, depth and breadth of deep as it gets, and should we do as it says in Hebrews 6:3, and proceed [to advanced teaching.] We will be called heretics and worse.

If your three year old asked you how babies are made, you might give a very simple answer and it would be sufficient for their level of interest and understanding. But at higher levels of maturity greater levels of understanding must come into play. Not only that, but sometimes the answers given to a three year old have been more than simplified… to the point that while they satisfied a three year old, they are false… for example….”Mommy has to go to the hospital to get the new baby.”….might be a true statement, but it isn’t a true answer.

We are far too quick to say, “Now we see through a glass darkly,” (1 Corinthians 13:12) and to dismiss even the idea of a better understanding, and it’s true…we don’t see with perfect understanding. But that doesn’t mean we should not look for increasing enlightenment because the Bible also says “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18

I wish we had more of Jesus’ words. I wish we had recorded, what he told the two on the road to Emmaus. I wish we could have studied with Paul in his personal university of the Holy Spirit. But there is no use complaining about what, for reasons known to God, He has not given allowed us to see. He has promised us the Holy Spirit as our tutor, and said that, “He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth)”. And we don’t need to fear that He will lead us away from the teachings of Christ. He will broaden and expand and make them more comprehensible. It is God’s plan and desire that we grow into full maturity.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Comments on John 11

John 11

This Chapter is the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. I have always been curious about how Jesus was able to hear Father’s instructions and feel so confident that He was following directions implicitly. My desire is that I would be given ears to hear like He had.

A couple of years ago, I noticed in this chapter and in chapter 12 what I have referred to as the three signals.
I’m sure that there were other signals along the way, and Jesus was always aware of whether or not “His hour had come.” But these three signals stood out to me.

The first signal was when Jesus received the news of Lazarus’ illness. Jesus’ response was immediate. (V. 4) He said, “This sickness is not to end in death; but [on the contrary] it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through (by it).” It seemed that He was aware of wheels being set in motion.

v. 5 describes the love of Jesus for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, so it is a little surprising that v. 6 begins with the word “therefore” …”Therefore….He still stayed two days longer …where He was.” Possibly the disciples assumed that fear kept Jesus from going to heal Lazarus, because two days later, when Jesus said it was time to go, they warned Him that the Jews only recently were intending to stone Him. (v.8)

Jesus reply is a bit puzzling at first, He answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? Anyone who walks about in the daytime does not stumble, because he sees [by] the light of this world. 10. But if anyone walks about in the night, he does stumble, because there is no light in him [the light is lacking to him] Jesus’ references to light are always of interest to me. In this passage He is letting them know that He is the light, and He knows exactly what action to take and where it leads so there is no uncertainty or cause for concern. When taken with his statement in 12:35 it also lends strength to the idea that Jesus had received a signal that the process has begun that will lead up to the ending of His temporal life. In ch.12:35 Jesus is talking about his death and he makes the statement, “You will have the Light only a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light [keep living by it], so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes [he is drifting].

This is another incidence of “the tur.n” It seems he is talking about daylight, but what He is really saying is “I have the light of another world…Light from my Father, so I will be that light for you. You can follow me trusting that I know what to do and why…” They don’t really trust Him though, as evidenced by Thomas’s statement, in v. 16 Let us go too, that we may die [be killed] along with Him.

In v 23 Jesus tells Martha that her brother shall rise again, and in an interesting twist, she spiritualizes the meaning of His promise. Jesus says in v 25 “I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live.” He has told the disciples that He is the Light, and He told Martha that He is the Resurrection and the Life. This takes me back to chapter one where the statement is made, (v.4) “In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men.”

Jesus has turned from the natural to the spiritual now too, and he goes on in v26, “And whoever continues to live and believes in (has faith in, cleaves to, and relies on) Me shall never [actually] die at all. This makes me think of Enoch of whom it is said (Hebrews 11:5) that he was “caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death.” But it could also refer to the fact that the death of the believer will be like Christ’s death…which was actually a resurrection to the life that he had previously had with The Father.

I wonder why Jesus wept. He had deeply disappointed three people who He considered beloved friends. Although Jesus was not a “man pleaser” it must still have been painful to have seemingly been unresponsive to those who had trusted Him and hoped for His help. He must have had empathy for their feelings. Still He knew what God’s plan was…to raise Lazarus up… v. 33 says, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]” v. 38 says He repeated sighed and was deeply disquieted. Perhaps He was dismayed at the fact that people seemed to have no hope after death…that it was such a thing of dread” But it seems to me that His passion began here.

I love it where Jesus prayers are recorded. Here, He spoke to Father as a demonstration to the people. He was already in complete unity with Father’s plan, but He said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard me. Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger].”

He raises Lazarus…with a word. What God purposes to do…he speaks….and it is done.

The Jews go back to Jerusalem and report to the chief priests and Pharisees, and almost immediately, the plot is initiated to kill Christ. They said, v.48 If we let Him alone to go on like this, everyone will believe in Him and adhere to Him, and the Romans will come and suppress and destroy and take away our [holy]place and our nation (our temple and city and our civil organization). Once again, there is a choice to be made and the elite choose the institution over the truth. In v. 50 Caiaphas, the high priest,(and unwitting prophet), makes the statement that it is better for everyone that one man should die on behalf of the people than that the whole nation should perish. v. 51 says, “Now he did not say this simply of his own accord [he was not self-moved]; but being the high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was to die for the nation. V.52 And not only for the nation but also for the purpose of uniting into one body the children of God who have been scattered far and wide”

No doubt Caiphas meant something quite different than what God meant in having him make this prophesy. No doubt he meant that if they got rid of Jesus, the Jews would be drawn together again, instead of splintering off. But God’s meaning alludes to the “one flock” of John 10:16. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Jesus had to die in order to expand the range of the gospel beyond the limited context of the Jews. (the third signal shows this as well)

v.53 “So from that day on they took counsel and plotted together how they might put Him to death.” And Jesus was careful about appearing in public from then on because although He knew the wheels were in motion, leading Him to Calvary, He had two more signals to receive before His hour…

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Comments on John 10

This chapter is a continuation of the teaching of Jesus following the conversion of the blind man who had received his sight. I puzzled over the characters in the analogy of the shepherd…the shepherd, the thief, the sheep, the watchman, the hireling, the owner of the sheep, the fold and the door. (these are characters too) So far what I see is that Jesus is both the door and the shepherd. V. 3 says the sheep listen to the shepherd’s voice and heed it. I am constantly challenged by that idea,”My sheep know my voice…” I know there have been many times when I’ve thought, “Is that Your voice, Father, or is it my own….or worse….the enemy’s” and I’ve also thought if I could be more certain about knowing the voice, I would certainly be quicker about heeding it….obeying. But it is one of those things that we almost have to learn by experience….if we have a practice of second guessing….or ignoring His voice…..we will not learn to recognize it, and possibly even lose the capacity to hear it, but if we make a practice of heeding it….we will learn to hear and recognize it….seems backwards, but oh well….

I find it interesting when you link this story with the chapter before it, about choosing the light/life over the institution, in v. 3 it states…”and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them OUT. This is stated again in v. 4 “When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice….

When you just grab a few minutes and read a few verses in the Bible, you will probably always receive something on some level….but when you read with the idea of following the thread from where Jesus started and where He takes it….and consider “the turn” when it happens….sometimes there is even more to be gained. In any event, it seems to me that Jesus was teaching the people, that though they were to be taken out of the Institution that they knew and loved, He was walking on before them, and would lead them.

When I tentatively took my first steps out of the IC (institutional church) I was a little nervous about being led astray. I think this is a learned thing. That we are taught to put our trust in the professional theologians, and not trust that we will hear or recognize Father’s voice. However, in v. 5 Jesus reassures us that “They will never (on any account) follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call.” There are many religious movements we can get in on and many bandwagons to join, and I don’t feel any responsibility to debunk them, but I recognize that they are not the voice I’m listening for. Thank you Father….you are giving me ears….to hear.

Besides being the Shepherd, Jesus is also the door. It is by means of Him (and only by means of Him) that we enter into spiritual life. In V. 9 He states, “I am the Door; anyone who enters IN through Me will be saved (will live).” That’s what being saved is….receiving life...God’s life…the eternal kind of life. It’s not that we are just saved from the death of ET (eternal torment) we are saved from the condition we are now in….death….the kind spoken of in Genesis 2:17.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God said we’d die...and God does not lie…. And now, Jesus is telling the people, the way to be saved not from death…but OUT OF death.

Now Jesus compares the Good Shepherd, with the hireling, who He says, works for wages, and runs away and deserts the flock when trouble comes. The Good Shepherd, on the other hand knows and loves each of his own, and lays down his life for them. V. 15 says, “I am giving My life for the sheep.” He doesn’t ask us to stay in the fold because He knows that’s not the way of the sheep and that we’ll simply die if kept in and not brought out to pasture. V. 9 states, “He will come in and he will go out (freely) and will find pasture.” That’s because He leads us….and if we go astray….He will come and find us and lead us back to be in His care.

v. 16 is a verse which people have puzzled over. “I have other sheep (beside these) that are not of this fold. I must bring and impel those also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be (they will become) one flock under one shepherd. I’ve heard this verse used as support for the idea that there is life on other planets. It is also thought that since He is addressing Jews, he is referring to Gentiles. I think that’s certainly one facet of the truth, but the AMP Bible that I use, has a note taking me back to Ezek. 34:23, which is the verse that it seems Jesus is quoting. In speaking of the evil shepherd, He is also referring back to that passage in Ezekiel. From this we learn that Jesus is identifying Himself in the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophesy, just as He did with Isaiah’s prophesy, when He said (Luke 4:21) “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

As well as self-identifying as the Messiah, and I believe, preparing the Jews with the knowledge that the Gentiles were included in his plan, it is a message to us, that while there are some that are His sheep, and know His voice, there are other, that are not of THIS fold, but who He says He “must bring and impel also; and they will listen to My voice and heed My call, and so there will be (they will become) one flock under one Shepherd.” This is supportive of 1 Cor. 15: 22-28 , which is possibly the most clear teaching found in the Bible, of the eventual restoration of all thing under Christ. God does things in ages and stages…and that does NOT mean sleepers, creepers, leapers, pre-school, primary, intermediate, jr and sr high, c&c, Young married’s, homebuilders, seniors. It means each in his own rank and turn: Christ…then those who are Christ’s at His coming, and then the kingdom wholus bolus. It means in ever widening circles… Jerusalem...Judaea…Samaria… the uttermost part of the earth. It means over the course of ages….aeons…

So then in v 17and 18 He speaks of the love of the Father which accrues to Him in special measure “because I lay down My (own) life – to take it back again. V. 18 No one takes it away from Me. On the contrary, I lay it down voluntarily…” I used to think that there was something wrong there….because I felt that when one is executed, one’s life IS taken from one. And Jesus was executed, He did not commit suicide. I’ve learned though, that whenever there is an especially puzzling bit it scripture, there can usually be found a nifty little key which opens up something that was formerly closed to us. In this case, I believe Jesus was not talking about giving up his temporal life on earth; something He had not yet done. In v 15 He speaks in the present tense -not in the future, about giving his life. Also, in my Amplified Bible the word life is amplified with (very own) which seem to indicate a special meaning to the word life. In v. 18 He takes especial care to spell out the fact that, “No one takes it away from Me. On the contrary, I lay it down voluntarily. [I put it from Myself.] I am authorized and have power to lay it down (to resign it) and I am authorized and have power to take it back again. These are the instructions (orders) which I have received [as My charge] from My Father.”

For these reasons, I believe that Jesus is referring here to laying down His pre-existent life rather than his physical life. In John 17:5 He speaks of his resurrection from this “death-life” to his pre-existent life when He prays, “And now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honor in Your presence as I had with You before the world existed.” He laid down his pre-existent life voluntarily, with the understanding that He would take it up again. His physical life was taken from Him, even though He did give it in the sense that He was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Also, Jesus consistently refers to the carnal or temporal life as death. Consider what he said to the disciple when he called him, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” So Jesus voluntarily laid down His (very own real pre-existent life) to become one of us (dead) in order that He might share His (eternal kind of) life with us when He has resumed it…which He has done.

V 19 says, “Then a fresh division of opinion arose…” Everywhere Jesus went division arose, because as He Himself said in Matt. 10:34, He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. A sword is a tool, not just for battle, but often used to separate or divide. Consider Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” He came to sort, who’s in and who’s out, sheep from goats…but today, there is almost nothing worse that you can be than divisive….it’s almost as bad as intolerance. There is a lot of pressure on us all to stay homogeneous with the crowd, to not set ourselves apart by becoming too spiritual. It seems you have to act carnal to be normal, and to not make anyone feel spiritually inferior. It’s like work to rule. If no one raises the bar, then we’ll all feel a lot more comfortable. But everywhere Jesus went, the sword of division went too. And anyone who is serious about following Jesus will be persecuted and ridiculed by those who are happy where they are. If we attempt to live the Christ life, we will have the same divisive effect Jesus had, and if we are highly successful, we will very likely be treated as cruelly as He was.

So they badgered Him and mocked Him “He is insane – He raves, He rambles…” They ask Him if He is the Christ, and He plainly tells them that He has already affirmed that He is. He says in v. 26 “But you do not believe and trust and rely on me because you do not belong to My fold [you are no sheep of Mine.]” Once again we are reminded that there are more folds than one. Jesus reiterates in v. 27 that the sheep that are His own hear and are listening to my voice…not only that they hear…but they deliberately hear…they are listening and following. He knows who they are, and no one is able to snatch them away from Him.

His remark in v. 30 “I and the Father are One,” reminds me of the opening two verses of the book of John. “…and the Word was with God (two) and the Word was God (one) The same was in the beginning with God (two). Is Jesus God? Well If a man has a son, is the son the father? Are they one person or two? Jesus has referred to Himself as the Son of God, and even more commonly, the Son of man, I believe that when He makes the statement, “I and the Father are one," He is saying they are in complete and total agreement and alignment. Jesus’ prays for us in John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:” It is our destiny to be one with the Father in the same way that Jesus is. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” It’s affirmation that we deliberately align our will with His and agree with Jesus’ prayer, that we all be one.

We read in 1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” We can read this verse and we can sing it….but if we really believe that it is our destiny to become sons of God, then we will be treated the same as Jesus was. Our consolation for the persecution we can expect to suffer is found in 2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:”

In V. 36 He asks, “ “Do you say of the One Whom the Father consecrated and dedicated and set apart for Himself and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Once again, Jesus makes a clear claim to be the Son of God.) At the end of v. 39 Jesus makes the statement “The Father is in Me, and I am in the Father [One with Him]. I think that reinforces the concept of being in a state of complete and perfect unity with God. I will repeat Jesus’ prayer for us which is found in John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:” This is what I understand to be meant by the term “Sonship.”

Monday, May 21, 2007

comments on John 9

I’m in the book of John today and you know how tempting it is for me to go to chapter one, (or go and comment on 1 Peter one…or for that matter begin at Genesis 1, but since I am on chapter 9, that’s where I’ll begin.

The first three verses tell of the disciples question about the man born blind. Whose sin is this poor man being punished for. Jesus answer of course is that he’s not being punished for anyone’s sin but that he was born blind “in order that the workings of God should be manifested.”

This is evidence to me that ALL THINGS are of God. In this case, a miracle of healing was going to be performed to bear witness to the power of God manifested by Christ. I believe that God is sovereign and that what He does is good, even if it doesn’t seem to be in human terms. Even if there are not signs, wonders and miracles, what He has done is good, and His testing and challenges, are not to destroy us but part of the creation process. We would not be who we are without the sufferings of molding and the times in the kiln.

In verse four Jesus says, WE must work the works of Him Who sent ME. I notice the word WE and I don’t think He is using the royal we….I think he is including us….as his own body….partnering with Him in doing the work of Our Father.

In verse five, he says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the world’s Light.” This reminds me that He also said in Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Also Acts 13:47 he says, “I have set you to be alight for the Gentiles….and it also reminds me of the first chapter of John verse 4 - 9….”In Him was life and the life was the light of men…that illumines every person.” We are his body and we share his function of illuminating the world with the light…which is life of God….which is the eternal kind of life. Often people have expectations of us, and will be disappointed in us if we don’t live up to those expectations, but as Jesus said, in the previous chapter – John 8:29, “I do nothing of Myself (of My own accord or on My own authority), but I say [exactly] what My Father has taught Me.” This is our pattern and our ideal as we make choices whether to please men or to please God. Jesus was a disappointment to those who expected Him to set up an earthly kingdom, and we will disappoint people too, whose expectations for us conflict with the way Father wants us to live His life… Anyhow…moving along….

I would love to know why Jesus chose to use mud and saliva in healing the man….His methods are sometimes surprising to say the least….in any case, I suppose there is demonstrated a trusting and obedience on the part of the man healed…or maybe Jesus didn’t want him to be able to see Him and identify Him until after the Jews had grilled him. But when he was asked he bore witness that he had been healed by Jesus, but he did not know where he was….perhaps he wouldn’t have recognized Jesus as he had never seen Him yet.

In v. 16 where the man has been brought to the Pharisees, they said, “This Man (Jesus) is not from God, because He does not observe the Sabbath.” Once again, Jesus didn’t live up to the standards that the Pharisees had set, but He certainly was sent from God….and pleased God. We are always doing this to each other….”If you loved God, you would do ___.” (Fill the blank with what the speaker expects) If you loved your children you’d spank them….If you loved your children, you would never strike them…. So they got the “therefore” wrong. Because Jesus didn’t conform to their interpretation of the Sabbath, they ruled Him not to be of God. The arrogance of the elite. It’s why we need to do only what we see the Father doing….and we have to know Him personally not just through the interface of the elite.

So the Pharisees next interviewed the parents…who chose the institution over the Life/Light. Afraid to lose their place in the synagogue, they pled ignorance. Verse 22 demonstrates that even before the crucifixion of Jesus, believers were being expelled from Judaism. They couldn’t follow Jesus and have the institution too. Some weighed the cost longer than others. Look at Nicodemas and Joseph of Arimithea…secret believers….but eventually they had to make a choice whether to be a pillar in the synagogue or a lively stone in the body of Christ. The parents, in this story bowed to social pressure to avoid becoming pariahs.

Meanwhile, the Pharisees went back to the man and harassed him until in verse 25 he says,” I do not know whether He is a sinner and wicked or not. But one thing I do know that whereas I was blind before, now I see.” He seemed to be trying to preserve his place in the mainstream too, but they prodded him until he was frustrated and said, “I already told you and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Can it be that you wish to become His disciples also?”

At this, of course, they went ballistic.I like the Amplified which states,”they jeered, they sneered…etc” and the verbal battle escalates, till in a rage, the leaders show their conceit and their utter contempt for the laity, and they shout,” You were wholly born in sin (from head to foot); and do you (presume to) teach us?” …”So they cast him out (threw him clear outside the synagogue.)

I wonder whether if he had not faced this persecution, he might just have settled back into his old life (only with his sight) and never have come to believe in and follow Christ. But Jesus, after the man had been cast out, then chose to go and look him up….anonymously, for the man had not yet seen Him….he was blind….Jesus asked him, “Do you believe in and adhere to the Son of Man?” And the man, who had nothing left to lose….he had already been kicked out….said, (this guy has some personality I think) “Who is He, Sir: Tell me, that I may believe in and adhere to Him.” When Jesus identified himself, immediately the man said, “Lord I believe”….and worshiped Him.

It seems to me that there is a very strong object lesson in this story. It wasn’t just a case of a blind man being healed. But he was showing them something about the Kingdom of God…Jesus was ALWAYS teaching about the kingdom of God. So when He stated in v. 2 that the purpose of the man being born blind was so that “the workings of God should be manifest” ….well now He comes around in the last three verses of the chapter to the moral of the story.

Jesus says in v. 39, “I came into this world for judgment (as a Separator, in order that there may be separation between those who believe on Me and those who reject me) AMP. It’s quite plain that the parents chose their status in the institution over the light and the life of Christ. Their son, chose to pay the price of losing his temporal status, in order to receive and believe In Christ. In order to drive the message home, Jesus goes on to say, “…to make the sightless see and to make those who see become blind.”

The blind man had received his natural sight, but he had also received his spiritual sight. It’s another sort of literary device…if you will… that I always see in Jesus’ teaching….what I call… “the turn”…when Jesus turns in mid sentence, or mid story…anyway…without much warning…to the spiritual.

(Like for example in Luke 21:18 where he has just given a hideous litany of persecutions which He says we will face…including being put to death….and then He ends with, “ But there shall not an hair of your head perish.” He has turned to the spiritual and though the hair of your head sounds like a very physical symbol, He obviously doesn’t mean we won’t suffer physically…even die….but that spiritually, we will be safe and secure. I digress….but this defines what I refer to when using the term “the turn”)

So this use of “the turn” is something that the Pharisees did not fail to notice, and they then asked (rhetorically I’m sure), “Are we also blind?” This very nicely set Him up, so Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but because you now claim to have sight, you sin remains. [If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but because you insist, ‘We do see clearly,’ you are unable to escape your guilt.]

There might be a bit of a case here for the idea that those who have never been given an opportunity to hear about Christ, will be held to a different standard than those who have …as it says in Luke 12:48 “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” I believe that they will simply be brought in to the kingdom at another stage according to 1 Cor. 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Be that as it may, I think the lesson Jesus is presenting is, that the only way to escape our guilt is to admit it. Pride keeps us blind. How can we ever be taught if we are proud enough to think we have nothing more to learn?


Hi Steph,

I’m sure there is risk in anything we might choose to do. I’m not planning to be reckless about it, but I don’t want to be ruled by fear either…especially other people’s fear… I’ve booked 14 nights in hostels so far and so will be filling in the blank spaces as time goes on. I hate to have everything sewed up with no flex for serendipitous opportunities, but on the other hand since I am a woman and going alone, and cycling, and really….can hardly imagine what it will be like, (think shepherds in bathrobes, biblical scenery…etc…everything in miniature…and on flannelgraph….haha)…I think I will try to have all my lodgings arranged prior to going…and I will let you all know what I’ve planned as I go so that you won’t be concerned.

My Dad has a friend…an old widower, who went solo to Israel recently, and he just bussed around, and saw the sights and really enjoyed himself. I am planning to cycle from place to place….but possibly stay 2 or three days here or there….So far here is what I have planned.

Arrival in Tel Aviv at Noon on the 13th of September…..and go directly to the HI hostel in Tel Aviv, where I can hole up for three nights, get my bike assembled, and get my legs under me from the long trip…..I can go to the beach and explore the area around Tel Aviv during that time. Hostels run around $20US per night and include hearty breakfasts….so not too expensive….

On the 16th I will begin to make my way up the Mediterranean coast….My next hostel stay will be in Haifa, but I don’t want to go the whole distance in one day….I could….as it is 95 K, but knowing my penchant for pushing things to the max…..I want to split it up…Also, I want to stop here and there…Natania looks nice, and I want to see Caesarea….There is a beach campsite just north of Caesarea where I might plan to camp if I decide to bring my tent…otherwise, I’ll book something else…that night is still open..

On the 17th….I’m booked in to the HI hostel in Haifa for two nights…I’ll spend time exploring that area….and Akko…a little to the north.

On the 19th…I plan to cycle across country through Nazareth and Tiberias to Karei Deshe HI hostel at the Sea of Galilee. I’m spending three nights here, as I’ve heard its lovely, and I want to spend at one day cycling around the Lake (sea) and another to poke around…..

On the 22nd, I will begin to follow the Jordan River down to Jerusalem…but again, I don’t want to do it in one day…its 150K….so I’m breaking it in two so I have yet to arrange accommodation for the night of the 22nd. I’m hoping I’m not leaving the Galilee too soon, and that two days will be enough…..I might wish I had broken it into three…to give me a little more time on this bit….in any case…I’ll stick to the plan….and if I’ve missed something….I’ll go again…haha…

So I’ll ascend to the city of Jerusalem on the 23rd…and I have 4 nights booked at the Jerusalem Agron HI hostel…perhaps not enough time to see all I want to see and do all I want to do, but at least I was able to get 4 nights and I’m hoping I might have a little leftover time at the end of my trip to revisit here……

On the morning of the 27th, I’ll descend to the shore of the Dead Sea and begin a rather long ride to Masada HI hostel. I had hoped to get En Gedi….but it was booked….so I’ll have a longer ride….bummer….but I’ll STOP at en Gedi at least….thinking…..I probably will regret not breaking this up so I might have to change it yet….Anyhow….I have two nights booked at Masada …so if I have to backtrack to En Gedi hot springs, then so be it….you know how I hate to miss a hot spring!....and I want to taste that famous water that David refused to drink….because they had risked so much to get it for him…and possibly taste some of those grapes that Solomon raved about in the S of S….HAHA…(*note to self… Frommer’s guide)

I leave Masada on the morning of the 29….EEK…I hope I will have had the good sense to ride the cable car up to the top and see where those famous Jews made their last stand against the Roman army… trip’s almost half over at this point…..So in the first half of the trip, I’ve got 14 of the 16 nights accommodation already booked. That is the end of what I’ve planned so far.

I’m still thinking what I want to do next. I can either be a weenie, and head straight down the relatively flat Arava route to Eilat…..or I can head over some hills and make a point to see the Ramon Crater and other wonderful…eerie landscapes….In either case I think it will take me three days there and three days back….so I’m considering riding a bus for part of the trip through the Negev. When I get to Eilat, I want to use maybe 2 or three days to visit Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan. I’m still debating whether I want to cycle over there, or possibly buy a bus excursion of some kind….anyhow, it is in my mind to see those places….and I’d love to see them both in the early morning and the sunset hours….because I’d love to take pictures like they have in National Geographic…HAHAHA!....and I want to ride a horse….or possibly a camel…..hehehe. And I want to also spend a day or to in Eilat, snorkeling or scuba diving in the Red Sea…..After that I can happily head back to Jerusalem…or Tel Aviv, either cycling or bussing….depending on time constraints…..and if there to fritter away what remaining hours and minutes I may have doing whatever remains to be done….None the accommodations are booked yet for this second half.

You can get…and I plan to….a green card….which is a national park pass which gets you admission to 65 parks and historic sites….for only 120NIS= $33C. If I get this pass…then I will free go see so much more than if I have to shell out $10 every time I go through a door or a gate…. With the pass, I won’t feel bad about going in briefly wherever I feel like and not worrying about whether I’ll get my money’s worth or I’m wasting my time. There are a lot of things to see….and if I’m not impressed I’ll feel free to shove off…..I’m thinking about a bus pass too….but need better information….I want to cycle and so I’ll consider whether individual bus tickets might be more economical or if it looks like I’m going to want to park my bike at each stop and bus around, then maybe a bus pass would make sense…anyhow…still working on that one….

I’ve deleted the rest of your correspondence… I’ve decided to broadcast this email to a few other’s…and maybe since it’s so long, I’ll put it on my blog and add to it as plans progress and the trip becomes a reality. The time is ripe….I can’t wait go until I’m too old and crippley to do this. Time is a wasting…..

Friday, April 20, 2007

Why I left the Institutional Church

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why I left the Institutional Church Category: Religion and Philosophy
As much as I appreciate all I've experienced and learned through my participation in church all my life, I find I no longer belong in the institutional church. I love and respect the people and the friends I have in the church as brothers and sisters in the Lord and don't feel it is my role to say they should do as I have done. Having parted company with the institutional church, I hope to be free not to have to defend my actions by being critical of it. I certainly see myself as a "lively stone" in the church that Christ is building.
Perhaps the first departure for me was that I came to reject the idea of a hell of "eternal torment" and to believe in what the Bible teaches concerning the "restitution of all things" as more worthy of a God Who's "mercies endure forever." For me, this harmonizes the age-old argument between Calvinism and Arminianism. The following is a very brief skeletal explanation:
The Restitution of All things
Calvinism says, "Christ died only for the elect"
Arminianism says, "Christ died for all but only those who believe benefit."
Restitution says, "In Christ shall all be made alive"…...
This is well expressed in the following scripture as well as in other similar references:
Philippians 2:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 ¶Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Every Man in his own order. First Christ…the first perfect man…then those who are Christ's at his coming (in their lifetimes) and then everyone and everything.
This passage in 1 Corinthians indicates the order of our perfection:
1 Corinthians 15:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Could Christ's action be less effective than Adam's? As by one/…….all so by one/all….this is repeated five times in succession in the chapter five of Romans. This kind of repetition indicates the importance of the message….
Romans 5:
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.The church propagates a slander against God, because of it's teaching of Eternal Torment. God is misrepresented. The Bible states, in many places, that Jesus is the express image of God. If we want to know what God is like….we should look at Jesus. The following is one of many verses where this is expressed.
John 1:18
"No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten son, which is in the bosom of the Father….He hath declared him."
I find that it is difficult to dig deeper and come to a more accurate knowledge of God, when there is no opportunity to discuss any variation of the orthodox image of Him held by the church without being marginalized as a heretic or a crank. If I were to bring my questions and ideas forward in the church setting, it would most likely be viewed as disruptive and causing confusing for children and for those who are less mature as Christians and not used to hearing a different view.
Picking out the teaching of "Eternal Torment" from the teachings of the institutional church, is a lot like picking out egg shells from scrambled eggs. To come to a clearer understanding of a better Theology in the milieu of all the false fad theologies and all the traditional theologies which are false but have deep roots is difficult if not impossible. For this reason participation in the institutional church has become a hindrance rather than a help to me. It is compressing rather than expanding my knowledge of and relationship with God.
It is a daunting thing to change your Theology. I will be criticized by some and marginalized by others. It is often easier to put people in a box and write them off rather than to try to understand. There is a temptation to want to have a once for all experience….pray the prayer….join the Church….(get the barcode) and never go any deeper with our experience of God. Not only to be right, but to have always been right and never to have had to learn differently.
Hebrews 4:11 says:
Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest…"
And Hebrews 5:11 expands this idea:
Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your spiritual hearing and sluggish even slothful in achieving spiritual insight. (Amplified Bible)
Before I had ever read the Bible, I had been taught to believe in the eternal torment of Hell and now that I HAVE read the Bible numbers of times, I find there is much more scripture to support that it is rather, God's love and mercy that endures forever. I find that I find I serve a more wonderful God than I once thought. His plan is not thwarted by anyone or anything. The grave does not end God's dealings with us. His judgment follows it, and his judgment is mercy. It is corrective.
1 Corinthians 11:32 "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
There is wrath involved, but as any parent knows, punishment that is meant for correction and discipline flows out of love. Some children are compliant and want to please their parents. Others, are difficult and rebellious, but we continue to chastise and correct them and it truly does hurt us more than it does them. Our goal is to bring them all up as our children in spite of the fact that some seem to cost us more dearly and possibly even contribute less to our "joy de vivre"
The following passage in Romans suggests that God's chastisement has the important function of bringing us to repentance. It flows from his kindness and his mercy.
Romans 2:
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
"According to his deeds," does not seem to indicate "eternal," but rather appropriate and effective.
At the risk of repeating what most of us have already heard stated many times, the word "eternal" has no equivalent in the original languages of the Bible. It has been mistranslated from the word aeon or aeonial. These words are more appropriately translated "age-lasting" and have a reference to time of an indefinite length, as opposed to "eternal" which can't logically be expected to have a beginning if it doesn't have an end. This is something that I had heard for years, but have found it very simple to verify by looking at a Greek interlinear New Testament.
There are many who write about these subjects more clearly than I do, but I wanted to make a start by expressing myself in my own words using only Scripture as reference. Chapter 6 of Hebrews tells us to go deeper in our Spiritual maturity. I think one's Theology has to keep developing and changing in light of their revelation of, and relationship with, God. After all, what is theology if it isn't simply, what knowledge we have of God. God is changeless….but I must not be, until and unless I am perfected, so I am very open to having the way of God expounded to me more perfectly. (preferable to being burned at the stake) I think my ability to admit I was wrong is attested to by this writing….and I'm certainly not satisfied that I'm completely right yet….
I believe that a wrong image of God keeps many people from loving Him. Jesus came and said, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father" He came to reconcile us to God, by showing us who God is. My desire is to know God as truly as is possible, because I think it's important, and because I want to love Him for all He's worth.
I believe we all have a margin of error in our Theology. I know I certainly do. But I also think there are some people who don't want truth because it will jigger up what they already know.
"Truth makes knowledge obsolete," is simply a little paraphrase of 1 Cor. 12: 10-12. To me it says that when we finally know all truth, we will gladly trade our "knowledge" for it.
6:46 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - Remove

Comments 1 Peter 2 1-10

Thursday, March 29, 2007

1 Peter 1-10 Category: Religion and Philosophy
I am often a little overwhelmed with respect to the expectation that I sense to simply explain myself to others. I Know the two things that bothers people, is my:
1. rejection of the teaching of eternal torment... argued by some...nevertheless...
2. withdrawing from participation in the institutional church.
I got on to this blog space, because I wanted to read my neice Tanya's blog and it seemed that I had to register myself in order to view hers. I had thought about blogging befor, because I want to express myself on spiritual matters but it seems I have no real spiritual fellowship for several reasons including (but not limited to) points one and two above. Anyhow, I don't plan to go in to this at this point in time. I actually am a little uncomfortable with just blathering whatever comes to mind, but that seems to me to be the way blogs work. I am not very adept at methodical thinking and expressing myself in an impromptu way, so I have made a decision...(for this time at least) to comment on Scripture starting from where I am reading this morning. Hopefully my perspective on Scripture will reveal something of why I am what I am.
I hope to defend myself on points one and two on this blog to the satisfaction of myself and whoever else might read it...but it might take some time...I don't know....So here goes....I'm starting with the 2nd chapter of 1st Peter because that's where I am...
1. So be done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (evy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind.
If our intention is to follow Christ....then my motto is "Get the easy stuff right!" Sometimes, we don't see things like insincerity and grudges and that type of thing in ourselves (but with practice and humility...we can) but surely we DO see obvious wickedness and depravity etc. so why not start there and then get down to the fine details after that. My feeling is that a lot of Christians leaders seem NOT to be serious about starting with the first steps indicated in v. 1. and yet, their followers do nothing to help themselves, spiritually, but depend on these "leaders" to spoon feed them. That kind of complacency is killing us.
I don't think I can type out the whole you'll have to open yours and read it for yourself (I'm reading the Amplified...which is really good!) Verse two talks about newborn babies CRAVING the milk and growing unto (completed) salvation. This is not demonstrated and won't happen by simply going to a Church service once or twice a week. It tells me that I am to go after what I crave in order to GROW unto completed salvation. It's a process of putting off (our carnal responses to things) and putting on (the nature of Christ) It all sounds rather spiritual but if we simply think's not a bad start.
Carrying on, we are advised to come to Him (that is Jesus) who is the Living Stone(v.4)....and becoming a living stone ourselves and built into a spiritual house (v.5) This is the church of which I AM a member...and I am promised that I will never be disappointed or put to shame (v. 6) I'm very glad of that....because I have been disappointed and put to shame in the past.
In Verse 8 it refers to the fact that this spiritual building will be an offense or a stumbling block for those who disbelieve "as those (who reject Him) were destined (appointed) to do." This tells me that there is some truth in the doctrine of "election." That many are called....but few are chosen....that some may not be chosen now but will be chosen later...(v.10)
I am blessed if I am able to see something in the spiritual realm....but how can I expect that others act on my say-so. God will bring us all along in His own timing....He is always at work in all of us, and He has a perfect sense of timing. This reference in verse 8 to a disbeliever being destined or appointed to reject Christ (for now) seems to support what is suggested in 1Corinthians 15: 23-24 "each in his own rank and turn" ... And then (v.10) seems to suggest that even though I might have been excluded at one time...that doesn't mean that I will forever be excluded.
This is getting quite long so that's all I have to say for now. Here is a brief summary of the topics I believe this passage of 10 verses support.
1. Salvation is progressive with the intention of our perfection.(v. 1-3)
2. We are living stones in the body of Christ - we are His workmanship.v. 4-7)
3. The progression is individual as well as collective. He is at work in us as individuals to bring us to perfection and He is also bringing us collectively to stages....
Wish I could be briefer....I have the habit of saying all I have to say with one-liners for fear of being told to "shut up." The beauty of blogging is that no one can really tell you to "shut up."

1:05 PM - 2 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - Remove

HI Mom!I know what you mean about trying to condense everything down to one liners... I think this is a great idea for actually taking time to write it out and be understood... i'm interested to read the rest and see where you're at... did you notice you are a francophone site? Il faut ecrire en francais!!! :)..The whole idea of salvation being progressive goes against a book i remember you had when i was a little girl (Kingdom of the Cults? Something about "Rainbow?") - anyway, it was that Christianity was differentiated from other religions by rejecting a deepening "initiation" - once you're in, you're in... That was something that kind of sat there in my unconscious - and now i'm wondering what Bible verses would back up that assertion... because YES - i do believe that conversion/submission comes to a head at some point for every believer, a stone of remembrance where they can look back to "this point, when i became a Christian" - but like C.S. Lewis so memorably put it, it does seem to be a call to "Farther in and Further Up"... Never enough to just sit on your butt and be content - it seems the Father is ALWAYS working on something new and we are forced to grow or die... either let that main root force new life into our little branch, or wither... lovestephanie
Posted by stephanie On Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Well yes! It is both instant and progressive. Like a baby. A baby is fully human....but then it develops into an adult. It was a human being right from the start...but it is to be hoped that it doesn't stay an infant...but grows into a full fledged adult.
So since we are spiritually born of God we should expect to grow and mature as such. Becoming more and more like our Father. I like how Dallas Willard puts it...that God wants us to become the kind of people who He can set free to do whatever we want. Isn't that what we want too?.....Don't have to worry about Shirley..I know exactly what she'll do.., because she thinks and acts just like Me.
Posted by Mamalena On Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 11:41 PM

Comments on 1 Peter 2:11-25

1 Peter 2:11-25 Category: Religion and Philosophy
11. Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles (in this world) to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.
This makes me think of sitting around the campfire with the youth group (at Arlie and Gail's) singing "We are strangers...we are aliens....we are not...of...this world." It made me smile at the time....but it's true. Problems start when we begin to put too much stock in the systems of the world....which as Watchman Nee in his book, "Love not the World" reminds us, are all fading away. They are temporary. Verses like this tend to put things in proper perspective. Remind us to look up....
Verses 12 -17 talk about how to behave ourselves as aliens. Giving respect for authorities and living as exemplary citizens even while knowing we have a higher citizenship. It is easy to think, "This is not taking into consideration, the society we now have and the corruption of leadership..." but in fact it is most likely that Nero was in power at the time this was written. That tells us something. I do think it should be held in balance with verses like Heb. 11:23 where Moses' parents are commended for concealing their baby because, "they were not overawed and terrified by the King's decree." Then there is the example of people like Corrie Ten Boom who became part of the underground....and even Deitrick Bonhoffer....implicated in an assasination plot against Hitler. There are many questions that this could arouse about practical applications, so my idea is that somewhere in there we must deal Christianly within the evil empire without becoming cog in the wheel of evil ourselves. Is there a way to be season and preserve?....or expose...then I think that's our part....(but maybe not throwing a pie in the PM's face...haha)
The next bit is to household servants....all employees probably. But I think we can all relate to the bit about unjust suffering. V 20-21 indicates that we should expect to suffer unjustly, and if we bear it is acceptable and pleasing to God. V 21-23 speaks of the suffering of Christ for our guilt and how it doesn't mean that He suffered INSTEAD of us...but left us an example so that we should suffer like He did. "He made no threats (of vengeance;) but He trusted Himself and everything to Him Who judges fairly." (v23) When it speaks of Him "bearing our sins" (v24) I think it relates to v 23 where we are told to "bear patiently with suffering."
Your children can make choices which you have to adjust your life around if you want to have relationship. For example, you might have to visit them behind prison bars....rather than being invited over to their house for Sunday dinner... it might be different than you had hoped for, but you take relationship on the available terms. (not my children....of them I am well pleased...thrilled even.)
Other people effect our freedoms.....Osama Bin Laden....we all bear the consequenses of his actions in terms of diminished freedoms....getting frisked at the airport....our hairspray and nailfiles confiscated. There might be some truth to the statement of J. Sartre, "Hell is other people..." I'll probably get nailed for quoting that old athiest in my little Bible commentary....haha....because we all know it is our duty to love people like our Father does. Maybe that's the whole idea though....some are easy to love....and some we have to be able to bear their sins in order to love them. V. 24 says that He bore our sins "that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness." I wish I had a really good understanding of this whole issue...I don't...but I think there's more to it than I once understood...if indeed I ever did.
4:13 PM

Moving my blog

OK....I've decided to move over from myspace....which I find too noisy for my liking. I guess I should go and retrieve my 2 or 3 posts from there. Today, I went for a bike ride of about 22K down the spit past the Colwood lagoon, to my sister's place. Not home...then I remembered they were moving the last of their stuff in today, so were probably out loading the truck to drive it in.

When I got home, I took my kayak out for a ride, and then spent some time cleaning out the disgusting paddle boat, which was 1/2 full of stagnant water and slime.

Next, I spent the afternoon reading in Isaiah and a book I got free at the AHEA conference about an organization that raises money for national missionaries. This just makes so much sense to support these local people, rather than send westerners for about 100 times as much money. You can go to and pick out a missionary to support for $30 per month. I love the idea and was only a little turned off by the author's dwelling on "Snatching people from the prospect of ET." I thought I'd like to support what they're doing, and write him a letter explaining a more excellent way. Well....if I do that, I'll post the letter here, but don't hold your might not know me!...all talk...