Presence strengthens; absence sharpens

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
Psalm 139.7

Good Monday Morning to week 34 of 2019

Absence = “Ruach of God”
The wind to the fire; it puts out the little and kindles the great!

Presence = “Ruach of God”  is the mighty wind, the breath of God, the Spirit of God, the Burning Bush of Moses, the pillar of fire leading the Israelites, the eternal flame lit in the tabernacle, the incense, and the individual tongues of flame at Pentecost.

Every time you take a matchbox into your hand to take out a match, you hold it in your hand before you open it. What do you see? You see three sides of the box. Of course, you know it has six sides, even though you only see three.

Presence strengthens!
Absence sharpens!

Where shall I go from your spirit? – Where shall I go where your spirit is not; that is, where you are not; where is there no God?

Where shall I flee from thy presence?
Where shall I flee from your face?

A fearful thought, for those who fear or hate God.
A deep comforting word, for those that love God.

What do you see? Some examples in the Old Testament: 

Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back” seven times.

Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days you would not believe if you were told.

Son of man, see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and give attention to all that I am going to show you; for you have been brought here in order to show it to you!

What do you see, Jeremiah? And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”

What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”

Jesus: What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed, shaken by the wind?

Then again Jesus laid His hands on his eyes, and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

If we go back to the metaphor of the matchbox and apply it to Psalm 139.7;
God’s presence is always real, the other three sides of the matchbox may be felt like absence, yet we know very well, the matchbox is complete and the other three sides are there and continue to make the whole box complete.

The Psalmist knew these thoughts only too well:
Psalm 139. 8 and following:

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.

Wishing you a good start to this new week.

Philemon 

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Swifter than eagles!

Good Monday Morning to this week 33 of 2019

David and Jonathan 

Jonathan and David become friends and loved each other as themselves.
Jonathan swore eternal friendship David and gave him his robe.

David became successful pleasing Saul, killing even Goliath in battle.
David became the peoples favorite, making Saul jealous and suspicious. 
David committed to the friendship also his musical gifting on the harp.

Saul put the life of David in danger, not dealing with his demons.
Saul was afraid of David after his two attempts to kill him.
Saul, not David felt abandoned by God.

Israel and Judah loved David as a successful leader

Saul tries his trick David and promises his oldest daughter.
David had a good idea of timing and didn’t want to be joined to the King yet, nor did he take the bait given by Saul.
(With David having 7 wives, 19 sons, and one daughter in the time of his life,  there is more than timing at play here I assume.)

David changed his mind, fell in love with Michal,
this time delighted to become the kings’ son in law. 

The greater the love between David and Michael , David and Jonathan, grew,
the more afraid Saul became of David.

Jonathan told David of his fathers plans to kill him.
Jonathan stood to the friendship and commitment to David.
Jonathan intervened even to speak to his father in favor of David.
Saul still wasn’t rid of his demons and tried to kill David again.

Again David fled, Saul, followed close behind, Michal warned David and
him and let him down a window to escape.

Michal also stood to David and tricked her father, this time with goats hair on a pillow.
Groups of Prophets were gripped by God’s spirit when Sauls’ men came they too were gripped by God’s spirit and began dancing and shouting. The same thing happened to the messengers three times, then finally even when Saul went,
the Spirit of God took control of him in Samuels presence.
David fled again and went to Jonathan for advice and friendship.

Jonathan negotiates a plan, while David hid.
Saul threw his spear at Jonathan in rage.
Jonathan sent the arrow to warn David to hurry out.
Jonathan and David were filled with grief as they farewelled.

Jonathan blessed David.

The friendship of David and Jonathan:
They were swifter than eagles
They were stronger than lions.
The weapons of war couldn’t withstand their friendship.

Jonathan’s gifts to David; a robe, his armor, a sword, his bow, and a belt.
Were these a token of their ancestral friendship? When Jonathan makes “a covenant of love and brotherhood with David does he invest with his garments and weapons? By giving him his clothes, Jonathan gives to David, a personal pledge of love, by David’s accepting them, he accepted Jonathan’s invitation to become his dearest friend yet more also expression of “loyalty, service and obedience” as Jonathan pledges his allegiance to David, recognizing him as the next king of Israel.

J.P. Fokkelman (1986) proposed a three-fold meaning here: By giving David his arms, Jonathan “is transferring the title of a champion of Israel to David,” as the national hero and great liberator in the name of the Lord. By giving David his cloak, the crown prince hands over to him “his rights and claims to the throne.”

There is so much purpose, intention, symbolism, signs, methods, truths, and learnings in this short story of the Bible.

From Sunday school or early childhood memories we probably already have our interpretation and “takeaways” from this story.

Here a few of mine: 

– God values relationships and friendships far beyond our imagination.
– God has a plan and will reach his goal whatever detour he takes with his people.
– It’s good to deal with demons before they guide our lives and try to take all from us.
– God is the only who has the “big picture” in mind, every move he makes!
– The battles we win, are won in deep friendship with Him, our almighty Guide!
– Some secrets and hidden things stay hidden to then later reveal God’s intentions.

A personal takeaway:

A deep personal intimate relationship with God our Maker, Father and divine King,  enables us to be, swifter than eagles, stronger than lions, therefore the opposition formed against us can’t stand!

Wishing you a very good week!

Philemon

The drama going on in our minds!

Good Monday Morning to this week 32 of 2019

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

There is a compelling drama going on in our minds, sometimes like a plot of various players or characters;  impulsive, thoughtful, automatic, systematic, spiritual, deliberate or even calculated. Sometimes they playoff against each other and determine judgments, decisions and leading to actions we take. 

There are also responses coming from “within us” like things we do to survive, but then there are many responses out of deliberate focus, attention, trained self-control and behavior.

A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.- more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? Let’s do the math!

For many, the first intuitive answer is $0.10. The correct answer is $0.05!

One way of thinking was quicker, tricked the other with the faster answer and in this case leading to an incorrect answer for some.

Colossians 3:2
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Isaiah 11:3-4
He will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness, he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.

Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

James 3:13
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

What comes to your mind when you see the word “So_p”
Now those who were thinking of eating or saw the word eat in advance will probably think the word should be “Soup”. While those who were thinking or reading of washing or cleaning probably thought the word should be “Soap”.

Our individual thoughts are primed so easily, how much more to prime them with truths of love, of depth and coming from the creator of all wisdom!

Traumas, illness, culture, training, health, family and much more, of course, influence our thinking in a far greater context, yet that is a topic in need of much more detail.

Everytime the people of God thought less of themselves, something went wrong in the story. K. Adams (preaching the sermon: What The Enemy Wishes You Didn’t Know)

If you’re interested, there is a version on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS_XzBYGir8

Ending the sermon she summarises with words of empowerment, the thinking and thoughts from above that influence and drives our thinking through our new “life” we have,  with a reformed mind for thinking our of the thoughts that God has for and over us.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Wishing you transformed thoughts this week.

Philemon