Advance Payment

Good Monday Morning to this week 30 of 2019

This week I “stumbled” over the Greek word and masculine noun arrabón (ar-hrab-ohn).

Interlinear Hebrew for 1. Cor. 1:22 :
The (One) also having sealed us and having given the pledge (arrabón) of the Spirit(Pneumatos) in the hearts of us.

An earnest, earnest-money, a pledge,  a large part of the payment, given in advance as a security that the whole will be paid afterwards.

An installment; a deposit, down-payment,  which guarantees the balance the full purchase-price.

This phrase is twice used by Paul in another Epistle (2 Cor 1:22, 5:5). The metaphor is taken from bargains, in which, when a pledge has been given and accepted, the whole is confirmed, and no room is left for a change of mind. Calvin

The Spirit living in us governing us to the extent that we yield control. Paul uses the arrabón, the deposit, down-payment of what is to come. God’s seal of ownership over us, the already depostit that guarantees the full reality in the not yet of what is still to come.
A. Venter

The ‘earnest,’ is a small portion of purchase-money, or wages, or contract-money, which is given at the making of a bargain, as an assurance that the whole amount will be paid in due time. And, says the Apostle, this seal is also an earnest. It not only makes certain God’s ownership and guarantees the security of those on whom it is impressed, but it also points onwards to the future, and at once guarantees that, and to a large extent reveals the nature of it. MacLaren

This divine seal is the earnest (a token of what is to come – a pledge), inasmuch as itself is part of the whole. You have but to take the faith, the love, the obedience, the communion of the highest moments of the Christian life on earth, and free them from all their limitations, subtract from them all their imperfections, multiply them to their superlative possibility, and endow them with a continual power of growth, and stretch them out to absolute eternity, and you get heaven. The earnest is of a piece with the inheritance. M. Poole

Here is a gift offered for us all, a gift which our feebleness sorely needs, a gift for every timid nature, for every weak will, for every man, woman, and child. An offer of a reinforcement as real, so you and I may have in our hearts the Spirit of God, the spirit of strength, the spirit of love and of a sound mind, the spirit of adoption, the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, to enlighten our darkness, to bind our hearts to Him, to quicken and energise our souls, to make the weakest among us strong. Matthew Henry

If God having once given this earnest, should not also give the rest of the inheritance! Leigh

A seal was used for different purposes: to mark a person’s property, to secure his treasures, or to authenticate a deed. In the first sense, the Spirit distinguishes believers as the peculiar people of God; in the second, he guards them as his precious jewels; in the third, he confirms or ratifies their title to salvation.  An earnest is a part given as a security for the future possession of the whole. The Holy Spirit is the earnest of the heavenly inheritance, because he begins that holiness in the soul which will be perfected in heaven, and imparts those joys which are foretastes of its blessedness.  Calvin

All the results of the sealing of the soul are manifestly incomplete and tend towards completeness. Is this imperfect Christianity of ours, our little faith so soon shattered, our little love so quickly disproved, our faltering resolutions, our lame performances, our earthward connectedness, these things all that Jesus agony was for. Manifestly, here is but a segment of the circle, in heaven is the perfect round; and the imperfections, so far as life is concerned, cry aloud for a region where it’s possible for us to be made as He has wanted, complete again. MacLaren

He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 1. Cor. 1:22

Wishing a blessed week as you live in the “now”, often the “not-yet” yet draw from His Spirit grounded in the assurance of this “arrabón”,  deposit, down-payment, earnest and guarantee already given as gift for us!

Blessings

Philemon

 

 

 

 

 

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Found (not) wanting

In the popular film, A Knight’s Tale, Adhemar says to William:  “You have been weighed; you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.” This is a paraphrase from the Old Testament of the Bible (Daniel 5:27), which reads, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”

Good Monday Morning to this week 29 of 2019

The last two days I’ve been walking around with a 2-meter wooden folding ruler, not just thinking about measurements but also about sizes and perspectives and other matters.

To measure something is to determine a certain set of its properties in reference to a standard. At its simplest, it is a form of counting. Properties can include size, weight, duration, quality, or merely amount. Measurements are so important to our daily life that we often communicate in measurement terms without thinking about it.

Our God also measures. There are several well-known passages in the Bible that refer to measuring that give us some insight into God’s nature.

Proverbs 11:1 says “the Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him. Two more times in Proverbs, the same sentiment is given, even mentioning not only weights but differing measures that are detestable. Proverbs 16:11 further states that “honest scales and balances belong to the Lord.” In the spirit of James 1:17 (every good and perfect gift is from the Father above), combined with the well-known Christian principle that “all truth is God’s truth,” it can be directly inferred that accurate measurements are godly measurements, regardless of the application.

It seems like God is pleased with those who make an attempt to measure accurately and devise systems for accurate measurements. God’s concern for accurate measurements is not isolated to proverbial statements; they are embedded in the Mosaic Law. In Leviticus, the Israelites are commanded to “…not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. The same sentiment is reiterated in Deuteronomy where Moses restates to the people: Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. He calls to have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

When Daniel is finally called on to interpret the mysterious writing on the wall, he finds three phrases directly related to God’s measuring of the King:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Upharsin: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Or in creationGenesis lays out the creation story then another passage in Isaiah relates to God’s sovereignty over creation as one who does so using measurements: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?

Another interesting passage that speaks of measurements is in John 6 where Jesus feeds the crowd, about five thousand men were there,  with a boy’s grocery basket. Philip’s estimate of how much it will cost to “buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” or half a year’s wages, literally 200 denarii. The amount of food remaining: “they…filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves leftover…”. It is important to the storyteller that they measured the number of baskets.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of applying an understanding of measurements in the Bible is to make it personal for example with spiritual measurements.  When one reads with measuring in mind – not just physically, in terms of amounts of things or passage, but spiritually – a new perspective can be gained. Two areas include references to faith and love specifically, followed by spiritual growth in general.

Then Jesus said to her, Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted. And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
For I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
These trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Christ is revealed. Paul expressed a measure of love: The superlative when in the list of spiritual characteristics: “the greatest of these is love!

We see a pattern of measurements like a schedule, looks like God really expects spiritual growth. This is something one should be interested in measuring. Paul offers us an example of prayer that we should pray for others and seek the answer to the prayer to be filled full of Christ’s love. Paul tells us that God is using the circumstances of our lives to make us more into the image of Jesus.

The Bible is full of measurements as: A handbreadth, reed, day’s journey, talent, Drachma, sunrise, sunset, ninth hour or the third watch, all examples of precise measurements.

Insights can be gathered based on the emphasis that God seems to place on certain lengths of time or timing of events, numbers or amounts of things, and the value of certain items. Special notice should be taken when God gives someone a measuring assignment.  Even more interesting may be the intangible matters related to Christian living that give expectations of measurement. Jesus speaks often of faith as something that can be measured – He cites people as having little,  or much faith. Paul talks about faith growing as if one should be able to measure it – perhaps relative to our trials requiring a certain amount of faith. Peter offers his readers grace in abundance and expects them to “grow in the grace…of Jesus”, as if grace is something that can be measured. Jesus even states how one can measure the greatest love. Similarly, hope, joy, and knowledge are all referred to as something measurable in the life of the believer.

Tangible and intangible objects of measurements in the Bible offer us many associated implications as believers.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 17-19

Wishing you a great week and with the ever new perspective of God saying:

You have been weighed,
You have been measured,
And you had been found, not wanting!

Philemon

Follow your passion?

Have you also received this very questionable advice: “Follow Your Passion”?

Good Monday morning to this week 28 of 2019

A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is unwholesomeness to the bones.
Proverbs 14.30

Research suggests that telling people to “find their passion” isn’t just ineffective advice; it can actually be harmful. In a paper published last year in the journal Psychological Science, the authors compared the “fixed” theory of passion — the notion that passion lives within us, already fully formed and waiting to be discovered — to the idea of “destined” purpose.

Similarly, the authors found that believing in the idea of a singular and innate theory of passion led people to move on too quickly from paths they found interesting but challenging: “Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket,” the researchers wrote, “but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.”

On the other hand, those with a “growth” perspective on passion are more likely to see it as a malleable quality that can be cultivated, which makes them both more open and more resilient. This thinking, the authors wrote, “leads people to express greater interest in new areas, to anticipate that pursuing interests will sometimes be challenging, and to maintain greater interest when challenges arise.” A. Beau

Believing you’re only cut out to do one thing makes it easy to get stuck in a rut. But to grow, by definition, means getting unstuck. It means opening yourself up to new ideas and new interests and allowing yourself to be steered by them.

And the best part is? With the thoughts of Intelligent Design and Open Theism, we know there is not only one perfect plan but the perfect plan to all possibilities prepared out there for us.

The Hellenistic philosophers greatly shaped the thinking of the time and influenced much theology and theory of fixed passion living in us. Plato argued that we see not by light entering our eyes (as we now know is the case) but by light proceeding out of our eyes (Timaeus 45b). For Plato, seeing is an active, not a passive, process. Since knowledge was considered to be a kind of seeing, Plato also construed knowing as acting on something rather than being acted upon (Sophist 248-49). Much of this view of seeing and knowing is picked up and defended even to this day.

Once we abandon the ancient view of seeing and knowing as active processes, it becomes clear that God’s knowledge is perfect if, and only if, it perfectly conforms to the nature of what is known. So if possibilities are real, then God’s knowledge is perfect if, and only if, God knows them as possibilities. God always knows everything perfectly. Leading is us to this wonderful God of possibilities,  even as we believe that a partly open future is exactly fitting to the God of all knowledge, leading us to being  part of what God perfectly knows.

Acting and following on the Godly passions, these lead to compassion, and therefore to a much better place then,  acting on or following our own passion coming from within!

I wish you a wonderful week as God forms the ways before you in possibilities you couldn’t have imagined.

Philemon

 

Loyalty is returned

Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. Martin Luther

Loyalty is about people that stay true to you, behind your back.

Respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained, loyalty is returned.

A woman’s loyalty is tested when her man has nothing …  A man’s loyalty is tested when he has everything …

For the eyes of the LORD are looking and seeking throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are loyal and fully committed to him.
2 Chronicles 16:9

Good Monday Morning to this week 27 of 2019

Was thinking about loyalty last week ….

Loyalty, in general use, is a devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophy, country, group, or person. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of loyalty, as some argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.

The willing and practical and thoroughgoing devotion of a person to a cause”. Loyalty is thoroughgoing in that it is not merely a casual interest but a wholehearted commitment to a cause. Josiah Royse

In the Gospel of Matthew 6:24, Jesus states, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”. This relates to the authority of a master over his servants, who, according to Biblical law, owe undivided loyalty to their master.

On the other hand, the “Render unto Caesar” of the synoptic gospels acknowledges the possibility of distinct loyalties (secular and religious) without conflict, but if loyalty to man conflicts with loyalty to God, the latter takes precedence.

Loyalty in the personal realm, which comes out of love, devotion, dedication and commitment to the well being of another, is healthy.

Loyalty in marriage; Being loyal means being respectful of your partners’ weaknesses and discretely helping them compensate for those weaknesses.

Being loyal means keeping confidences, without fail.

Being loyal means reassuring your partner that you will be there emotionally and physically, whenever you are needed and following through with this promise.

Being loyal means keeping your word, being truthful and reliable in keeping your promises.

A young man was traveling first class on a flight out of India. The friendly cabin crew kept coming past to offer him alcoholic drinks. After refusing many drinks they asked if he wasn’t happy with the inflight service and how they could help him to feel more comfortable. The young man answered. I will drink alcohol on one condition. Can you offer the pilot the same drink first, only then will I accept this offer of yours.

The crew member looked at him with surprise and hesitation and replied: Sir, he is on duty and if he drinks there is a great chance we will crash. Upon this the young man replied; This is interesting, I too am on duty, in the same way, I have to save my faith and stay loyal, not risking crashing my principles for a complimentary drink.

Loyalty is the pledge of truth to oneself and others. Ada Velez-Boardley

Loyalty is what makes us trust. Trust is what makes us stay. Staying is what makes us love, and love is what gives us hope.  Glenn van Dekken

Loyalty means I am down with you whether you are wrong or right, but I will tell you when you are wrong and help you get it right!

We’re just scratching the surface of this topic …. it’s vast, deep, huge, wide and a life long discovery!

Wishing a great week!

Philemon

Dear God

Good Monday Morning to this week 26 of 2019

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

Thinking about money matters last week, I stumbled upon this little story:

A poor man decides to write a letter to God, asking for some money…

In the letter, he writes that he works very hard but can never make enough. He pleads to God that even $100 would make him extremely happy.

The next day he goes to the post office, hands in his letter, and leaves with high hopes. The person sorting all the mail notices the envelope addressed to God. Confused, he stamps the letter to be returned to the poor man’s house.

Later that week, as the mailman comes to the poor man’s house to deliver his mail, he also notices the letter addressed to God. The mailman reads the letter and feels bad for the poor man, so he decides to get $50 out of his wallet and put it in the envelope. He puts the envelope in the poor man’s mailbox and continues on with his day, feeling great for helping a man in need.

The next week, when the mailman reaches the poor man’s house again, he notices yet another letter from the poor man to God. He opens the envelope and reads the letter:

Dear God,
“Thank you so much for the money you sent me last week, but you should know that my thieving mailman stole half of what you had sent me!”

Let’s look at the four characters of this story?

Poor Man

He is hardworking, tries to pay his bills and says the “dear God prayer” asking for heavenly provisions for 100$.

God

He hears the prayers and answers part of the prayer through the Mailman.
Or, God doesn’t hear the prayer because 2 humans try to solve it on their own.
Or, He wants to answer through the Mailman, but this man isn’t completely obedient and only gives half.
Or He wants both involved to give 50$
Or His intention is that both give 100$ so the Poor man is blessed abundantly.
Or, He wants to answer it through the Sorting Mailman, to return the letter and challenge the Poor man to speak directly to God and his community.

Mailman

Crosses his competence, opens a letter, let’s his heart get moved and shares his money. He gets the “good feeling” after helping the man in need with 50$.
Later finds himself accused of being a thief because he only answered half the request. But maybe the 50$ were all he had left, maybe also was poor,  would this change the story?

Sorting Mailman

Is this the real villain? He doesn’t send the letter to God, returns it without letting his heart be moved,  returning it back to the Poor Man?

Yes, such a little story raises some good questions. Could the Mailman really be seen as a thief, robbing God, robbing the Poor Man? Or did he give all he had, and did the problem rest with the Poor Man who didn’t have faith and started accusing people of his own being in need?

A few years ago the following book was very popular amongst people I work with:

When Helping Hurts,  alleviating poverty without hurting the poor and yourself, written by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.

In bringing change the writers take the following approach. Asset-based community development, a methodology for the sustainable development of communities based on their strengths and potentials. It involves assessing the resources, skills, and experience available in a community; organizing the community around issues that move its members into action; and then determining and taking appropriate action.
This method uses the community’s own assets and resources as the basis for development; it empowers the people of the community by encouraging them to utilize what they already possess.

Let me re-write the story from this viewpoint:

The Poor Man

Is in need and prayers for 100$. He also shares a copy of his letter to God to the community he lives in. He specifies to God and in this letter that the roof of his house is leaking, as well as his feeling of always being in need.

God 

God has heard the prayers directly, hears the second prayer, then hears the prayer of the community as well.
God starts stirring the hearts of the people in the community, preparing them for action.

Sorting Mailman

He says a prayer and sends the letter a local building company known to be very professional, built on good values and with an excellent reputation.

Mailman

He hears of the letter being sent to God. When he goes to the house of the Poor Man,
he sits down for tea and listens to the worries of the Poor Man, buys him some food, and pays him a bus ticket to the company the mailman sent the letter to.

This story could end with the local building company repairing the roof of the Poor Man’s house with the Mail Man and the Sorting Man sharing the costs.

It could end with the roof being fixed without cost, just a few hours of labor of person coming from the local building company to fix it.

WWJD? What would Jesus do? Would he preach the Sermon on the Mount and challenge his hearers to sell their earthly goods and give to the poor, and so provide themselves with “a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”

What would Bill Gates do?
What would your parents do?
What would your pastor do?
What would you do if you were the mailman, or the guy sorting the mail?

Let’s end by what the  boy in the story with Jesus did:

And the boy offered Jesus his meager lunch. He only had a few loaves and fishes, and Jesus had 5,000 mouths to feed. Gifts in God’s hands can be and often are divinely multiplied to meet the demands of greater works.

What are your “loaves and fish” to give this week?

Wishing you His provisions!

Philemon

 

Independence or Dependence

Good Monday Morning to this week 25 of 2019

Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’:  I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”

Looking at this prayer in verses 9-12. It may be imagination, but I think Jacob is trying to manipulate God in his prayer. In verse 9 he is claiming God’s promise that He would bless Jacob. In verse 10 he gives God the credit for his prosperity and then he again claims God’s promise to bless him in verses 11-12. It seems to me that Jacob was almost saying to God, “Come through for me God. You promised me. You owe me!”

I find his story of Jacob particularly intriguing because we get to see his whole family and how they interact. In modern language, Jacob came from a really dysfunctional family, and we will see the influence bad parents can have on their children.

Jacob’s messed up family life helped shape him into being a manipulative person. Jacob’s style of relating was one of manipulating others. He tried to control life and depended on himself, not God. God had to break Jacob of this bad pattern of relating. How it is that God finally got through to him?

All this weakness in Isaac let Rebekah take over. It was her natural tendency. Isaac’s natural tendency was to be passive, so she took over the family and Jacob’s life. Rebekkah had problems. When her twins are born, she shows partiality to Jacob, the non-hairy weaker looking one. Gen 25:27 says Jacob spent most of his time at home. So Rebekah takes over his life and arranges everything for him. She teaches him how to cook. She arranges for him to get the blessing, she arranges for his deliverance from Esau by sending him to her brother Laban, telling him everything will work out fine.

So I think we can see that Jacob came from a fairly typical family. His mother had a tendency to want to take control. The father let her. His brother was just a natural man concerned with the things of this world.

I do think we can assume that Jacob knew that he was supposed to end up with the birthright eventually. I’m sure his mother told him what the Lord had told her. (The older will serve the younger). What this event shows us is that Jacob was not willing to wait on the Lord.

It is ironic but that Jacob left the promised land which was part of his blessing. It ought to be obvious to Jacob that there is something wrong with this picture. It ought to indicate that the way Jacob got the blessing was not what God would have planned.

However, we see that in spite of Jacob’s deceitful way of obtaining the blessing, God is going to honor it.

But that night God, who is still trying to get through to Jacob, meets with Jacob in a wrestling match!  Verse 24 says, “Jacob was left alone.” It is such a little phrase, but I think it is very, very important. He had run out of resources. Jacob has finally been broken. Jacob is at the end of his rope. His life is a mess. He is all alone, he has exhausted his own resources and has to face Esau alone. I think Jacob is finally broken to the point where he will now trust in God.

As soon as we see that Jacob is alone, it says that “a man wrestled with him.” That man is God. We know that because Jacob is given a new name, “Israel” which means “he fights with God.”

What did God do to Jacob when He wanted to get hold of Jacob’s life?

He revealed Himself to him.

God says “let me go”!  But Jacob wouldn’t let go. He says, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” Jacob has finally come to the point where he would rather die than live without God’s blessing.

Jacob’s name was changed to Israel when he finally began to trust in God. Israel was God’s covenant name for the new nation. The name “Jacob” represents independence from God and “Israel” represents dependence on God. It is not a hard and fast rule, but it seems to me that there are certain places in the OT where God calls the nation, “Jacob,” instead of, “Israel,” and it is because they are acting independently.

Incidentally, after he meets with God, we see that although he left the people divided into two groups, instead of hiding behind them, he now goes out in front of them to face Esau alone. He now is depending on God and not his own resources. Esau receives him openly and it seems that there are no hard feelings, forgiveness and reconciliation happens. God has paved the way for Jacob to return to the promised land.

Jacob’s problem? He wanted to control his life, so he manipulated people. Jacob thought he could make it on his own without God, yet only with his “new name” did reconciliation happen and he was able to return to the “terrain” of blessing.

Reflecting on our lives – yes this is a problem, a challenge, a promise and blessing as we go from independence to dependency on God.

Wishing a blessed week!

Philemon

 

 

 

 

 

Unboss or WWJD


For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. Jesus

Good Monday Morning to this week 24 of 2019

This week I was reading and quite impressed by the trend in large companies to apply methods of “Unboss”.

UNBOSS is a new mindset that turns conventional understanding of management and works on its head and transforms limited companies into unlimited movements.

Here are some of their principles:

– Focus on purpose rather than profit.
– Dissolve the old hierarchy and encourage everyone to work together.
– Transform your business into an unlimited social network.
–  Become a great place to work and attract the best people.
– Step aside and let your co-workers take the lead.
– Turn customers into partners and advocates for your cause.
– Involve people outside your company – also in research and development.
– Tolerate mistakes and talk openly about them.
– Strengthen dialogue throughout the organization through the use of social media
– Forget short-term go back to passion the basis upon which you were founded.
– Think about who would really miss your organization if it ceased to exist today.

Good stuff – I like it!

Somehow I get the feeling Jesus knew a whole lot about this method and put it into practice a long time ago! He knew a lot about priorities, passion, future, purpose, changing society, bottom-up instead of top-down, recruiting, drawing in, encouraging, strengthening, dealing with mistakes, relationships, authority, power and much more.

Here are some of the statements that changed the world and that can keep changing the world if applied.

– Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

– Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

– Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

– Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

– As you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. Jesus

–  For where your treasure is, there your heart is! Jesus

– And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ The King

– Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another. Hebrews

– God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. Peter

– We may ask, what does someone know, Jesus asks, how is he using what he knows.

– Jesus solved problems in people’s lives. The more He did this, the more His reputation spread and the more influence He had among the people and the culture. His core method was through extravagant servant leadership.

– Jesus’ life as a foot-washing servant would eventually lead to the adoption of humility as a widely admired virtue.

– The ancient world loved education but tended to reserve it for the elite; the notion of Jesus, that every child bore God’s image helped fuel the move for universal literacy.

– Jesus had a universal concern for those who suffered that transcended the rules of the ancient world. His compassion for the poor and the sick led to institutions for lepers, the beginning of modern-day hospitals.

– Jesus had a way of championing the excluded that was often downright irritating to those in power. His inclusion of women led to a community to which women flocked in disproportionate numbers. Slaves—up to a third of ancient populations—might wander into a church fellowship and have a slave-owner wash their feet rather than beat them.

– The apostle Paul said: “Now there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, male and female, but all are one in Christ Jesus.” Thomas Cahill wrote that this was the first statement of egalitarianism in human literature.

Jesus established culture, a flourishing culture. A few principles by Shelly Trebesch

1. Authentic Engagement
2. Invitation to Participate
3. Empowerment
4. Correction

With these behaviors, he established a flourishing culture, a framework, a reproducing, life-oriented environment where anyone could experience God’s, true heart.

Wishing you a wonderful empowered and engaged week in participation with what Jesus wants to do with you.

Philemon

Interruptions

The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life. C.S. Lewis

Good Monday Morning to this week 23 of 2019

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in Life Together,

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks. . . .

Interruption, a period of time between two events

a temporary or permanent stop in a process

a situation in which something happens later or more slowly than you expected

a short period of time between two longer periods

a time at which one thing ends completely and a new thing begins

a time during which something interrupts a process or activity

a short time between periods of work in an official organization, especially a court or parliament

a short break in the middle of a play, film, concert etc

a period of time in which you are allowed to change your mind about a contract or agreement that you have signed

Bonhoeffer petitions to stop and allow for interruption — to cultivate a disruption theology, as it were. This benefits both the one doing the interrupting, as well as the person being interrupted because it is in those instances God reveals himself in ways we may never have seen or experienced otherwise. God is erecting visible signs of the cross in our path.

Interruption is God’s invitation. God is inviting us to see him all around us, in the lives of others, in our conversations, in our serving those in need.

When Jesus was interrupted, He started where He was and helped those in need who were nearest to Him. There is always another mission “out there”—the next cause, the next city, or the next country that seems to be the most important mission we could pursue. Jesus illustrates that our greatest mission is often the person in front of us.  Dillon Burroughs

I wish you many good interruptions this week!

Philemon

 

Hybrid power; Divine power

Good Monday Morning to this week 22 of 2019

A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct types of power, such as internal combustion engine to drive an electric generator that powers an electric motor. The basic principle with hybrid vehicles is that the different motors work better at different speeds; the electric motor is more efficient at producing torque, or turning power, the combustion engine is better for maintaining high speed. Switching from one to the other at the proper time while speeding up yields a win-win in terms of energy efficiency. Mopeds, electric bicycles, and even electric kick scooters are a simple form of a hybrid.

The engine of our soul and spiritual life also need power, not just the right amount but also the right kind of power for the right situation for maintaining speed, health and drive.

God wraps, covers, creates, trembles, whispers and thunders his power: 

God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds don’t burst with the weight. He covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds. He created the horizon when he separated the waters: he set the boundary between day and night. The foundations of heaven tremble; they shudder at his rebuke. By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster. His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”
Job 26:7-14

God fills us with His power,  even with an overfow! 

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

A spirit of power. 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self – discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

His divine power, hybrid in a way,
more then a win-win approach:
Glory and excellence! 

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one how called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.  2 Peter 1:3

More power, less talk! 
“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20

Power in affliction. 

He who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

He can do far more abundantly! 

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us! Ephesians 3:20

Yes! This I seek this morning!

Have a blessed week filled with His power in abundance!
Philemon

 

 

About kings ….

Good Monday Morning to this Week 21 of 2019

Just on my journey back from Ghana I was reminded of the 09.12.2016. On the day of the general elections I traveled from Togo to Ghana, then on the 9th the New Patriotic Party as opposition won and President Nana Akufo-Addo was elected as president. As the announcement was being made I was sitting with  the King Akyems at his home in Accra.  It was a moment of incredible joy and enthusiasm and an immense breakthrough for Ghana.

So I mentioned it to Thomas yesterday evening and he smiled and said:  no no, no visiting the King now, since he won he is very, very busy with the ruling party, there is no way we would get to see him now, but nevertheless he is doing many good things for his people.

So let’s look at a short good story of a King:

Once upon a time, there was a Kingdom. The king there only had one leg and one eye, but he was very intelligent and kind. Everyone in his kingdom lived a happy and a healthy life because of their king. One day the king was walking through the palace hallway and saw the portraits of his ancestors. He thought that one day his children will walk in the same hallway and remember all the ancestors through these portraits.

But, the king did not have his portrait painted. Due to his physical disabilities, he wasn’t sure how his painting would turn out. So he invited many famous painters from his and other kingdoms to the court. The king then announced that he wants a beautiful portrait made of himself to be placed in the palace. Any painter who can carry out this should come forward. He will be rewarded based on how the painting turns up.

All of the painters began to think that the king only has one leg and one eye. How can his picture be made very beautiful? It is not possible and if the picture does not turn out to look beautiful then the king will get angry and punish them. So one by one, all started to make excuses and politely declined to make a painting of the king.

But suddenly one painter raised his hand and said that I will make a very beautiful portrait of you which you will surely like. The king became happy hearing that and other painters got curious. The king gave him the permission and the painter started drawing the portrait. He then filled the drawing with paints. Finally, after taking a long time, he said that the portrait was ready!

All of the courtiers, other painters were curious and nervous thinking, How can the painter make the king’s portrait beautiful because the king is physically disabled? What if the king didn’t like the painting and gets angry? But when the painter presented the portrait, everyone in the court, including the king, left stunned.

The painter made a portrait in which the king was sitting on the horse, on the one-leg side, holding his bow and aiming the arrow with his one eye closed. The king was very pleased to see that the painter has made a beautiful portrait by cleverly hiding the king’s disabilities. The King gave him a great reward.

How much more does our King Jesus oversee our disabilities, doesn’t just paint cleverly but erases them completely with his Grace!

Wishing you a great week!

Philemon