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Chapter 32

Good Monday Morning to this week 31 of 2020

Psalms 27:7
Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.

Wherever he is, he can find a way to the throne of grace by prayer.
He humbly bespeaks, because he firmly believes he shall have, a gracious audience: “Hear, O Lord, when I cry, not only with my heart but, as one in earnest, with my voice too.’’ He bespeaks also an answer of peace, which he expects, not from his own merit, but God’s goodness: Have mercy upon me, and answer me,

David takes hold of the kind invitation God had given him to this duty,
It is a presumption for us to come into the presence of the King of kings uncalled.

My heart said unto thee (so it begins in the original) or of thee, Seek you my face; he first revolved that and preached that over again to himself.

Thou saidst (so it may be supplied), Seek you my face; and then he returns what he had so meditated upon, in this pious resolution, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

The true nature of religious worship; it is seeking the face of God. This it is in God’s precept: Seek you my face; he would have us seek him for himself, and make his favour our chief good; and this it is in the saint’s purpose and desire: “Thy face, Lord, will I seek, and nothing less will I take up with.’’

The opening of his hand will satisfy the desire of other living things, but it is only the shining of his face that will satisfy the desire of a living soul.

The kind of invitation of a gracious God to this duty: Thou saidst, Seek you my face; it is not only permission but a precept, and his commanding us to seek implies a promise of finding.

He calls us, by the whispers of his Spirit to and with our spirits, to seek his face; he calls us by his word, by the stated returns of opportunities for his worship, and by special providences, merciful and afflictive.

The call is immediately returned: My heart answered, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. The call was general; “Seek you my face;’’ but, like David, we must apply it to ourselves, “I will seek it.’’

The call was, Seek you my face; the answer is express, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

A gracious heart readily echoes to the call of a gracious God, being made willing in the day of his power.

He is very particular in his requests. For the favor of God, that he might not be shut out from that “Thy face, Lord, will I seek, in obedience to thy command; therefore hide not thy face from me; let me never want the reviving sense of the favor; love me, and let me know that thou lovest me.

Psalm 27.7 in various translations:

Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me!
Hear, O Jehovah, when I cry with my voice: Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
Listen, ADONAI, to my voice when I cry; show favor to me; and answer me.

Hear, Jehovah; with my voice do I call; be gracious unto me, and answer me.

Wishing you a week of God’s favor!



Lever yourself up

Chapter 31

Good Monday Morning to this week 30 of 2020

Ecclesiastes 4:10
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out!
Walter Winchell

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too?
I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis

He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow.
Friedrich Nietzsche

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with.
Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.
Thomas J. Watson

We all know Nietzsche the philosopher. Little do we know of the great
influence the theologian Franz Overbeck had through this friendship with Nietzsche.

Overbeck dissected the theology of the past and that of his professional contemporaries in a way that to this day has remained unparalleled in its acuity and range.

A few months after Nietzsche had settled in Basel, Franz Overbeck arrived from Jena to take up the chair of ‘critical theology’. Overbeck, who was born in 1837 and was thus seven years Nietzsche’s senior, became the one permanent friend Nietzsche had whose friendship was founded on a purely personal, instinctive basis. Although he became for a while a keen Wagnerian under Nietzsche’s influence, he was for most of his life quite at variance with Nietzsche in his opinions…But his closest friend for most of his life was Nietzsche. His account of his friendship is an unqualified expression of thanks for the experience. ‘Our friendship was without any shadows,’ he writes. At the same time, he is not sparing in his criticism, which he had certainly voiced while Nietzsche was still able to understand it; but in this instance, criticism did not constitute a ‘shadow’. As the years passed, Overbeck moved away from Nietzsche philosophically, and with Nietzsche’s last works he was quite unable to agree; at the same time, however, he moved closer as a friend, so that in the last years he and his wife were, apart from Gast, Nietzsche’s only real intimates.” (Hollingdale, page 53)

Franz Overbeck was the perfect complement to Fritz’s personality. He was an intellectual of high regard, appreciative of the arts – particularly music, broad-minded, honest, caring, reliable, genteel, and reserved yet steadfast in his opinions. Of him Nietzsche wrote: ‘Overbeck is the most serious, candid, personally lovable, and least complicated person and researcher one could have wished for in a friend. At the same time, he has this radicality I need to have in all people with whom I associate.’ Many years later he would confess to Overbeck that Overbeck’s loyalty and friendship had, in fact, saved his life: ‘In the midst of life I was ‘surrounded’ by my good Overbeck.

One can easily imagine the two discussing their respective works in progress over evening meals. It is not too conjectural to assume their mutual interest in the “zeitgeist” and the way their respective works were viewed by their shared friends was a fundamental basis for the solidification of their closeness.

Their relationship was often mundane and entirely ordinary. Therefore, surprisingly little evidence of the course of their daily associations exists. But Overbeck’s friendship affected Nietzsche as evidenced when Nietzsche surveyed the first ten years of their friendship in a letter to Overbeck in 1880: “You will be deep in your work, dear friend, but a few words from me will not disturb you. It always does me good to think of you at your work; it is as if a healthy natural force were blindly working through you, and yet it is a force of reason which operates in the subtlest and most tricky material, and which we have to tolerate whenever it behaves impatiently and doubtfully for letting me watch the spectacle of your life from so close at hand – indeed.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. Albert Schweitzer

Wishing you good friendships even to people you wouldn’t expect to be friends with as
we learned from this extraordinary example of a theologian and philosopher.



And I will dwell!

Chapter 30

Good Monday Morning to this week 29 of 2020

I’m still reading the book “When bad things happen to good people”  Here a few quotes:

“To believe in God is not to affirm His existence. To believe in God means to trust God, to rely on God to be there for you when you are afflicted by despair, to light your path when you are uncertain as to what to do.” Harold S. Kushner

I find God, not in the tests that life imposes on us, but in the ability of ordinary people to rise to the challenge, to find within themselves qualities of soul, qualities of courage they did not know they had until the day they needed them. God does not send the problem, the illness, the accident, the hurricane, and God does not take them away when we find the right words and rituals with which to beseech Him. Rather, God sends us strength and determination of which we did not believe ourselves capable so that we can deal with, or live with, problems that no one can make go away.

It isn’t God’s job to make sick people healthy. That’s the doctors’ job? God’s job is to make sick people brave, and in my experience, that’s something God does really well. Prayer, as I understand it, is not a matter of begging or bargaining. It is the act of inviting God into our lives so that, with God’s help, we will be strong enough to resist temptation and resilient enough not to be destroyed by life’s unfairness.”

The idea that God gives people what they deserve, that our misdeeds cause our misfortune, is a neat and attractive solution to the problem of evil at several levels, but it has a number of serious limitations. As we have seen, it teaches people to blame themselves. It creates guilt even where there is no basis for guilt. It makes people hate God, even as it makes them hate themselves. And most disturbing of all, it does not even fit the facts.

God is the light shining in the midst of darkness, not to deny that there is darkness in the world but to reassure us that we do not have to be afraid of the darkness because darkness will always yield to light. As theologian David Griffin puts in, God is all-powerful, His power enables people to deal with events beyond their control and He gives us the strength to do those things because He is with us

Or to Psalm 23 he writes:

The central theme is that the experience of going through the valley of the shadow teaches the psalmist what God is really about, and he wants to share that with us. He changes from an almost paternalistic understanding of God, almost a parent-child relationship, to a genuine relationship with God.

I never appreciated the last line of the psalm until I had to write a chapter about it. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” God is inviting him into a permanent relationship–it’s much deeper and richly textured than just shepherd and sheep. In Judaism, the mitzvoth [commandments] are a way of retaining a relationship with God, so that everything you do–the way you eat, the way you use words, and the way you treat other people–is a way of spelling out your relationship with God. The sense that you are living every moment of your day in God’s presence–that’s what it means to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even as I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You set a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Wishing you a good start to this week.




Chapter 29

Good Monday Morning to this week 28 of 2020

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy. Colossians 1.11

It’s already mid-year and all this Corona trouble that started earlier this year just doesn’t
seem to pass or go away, so it’s a bit without hesitation that I think of endurance this morning.

More then toleration or just bearing, or patient suffering, more than the acceptance after resignation, a large portion of resoluteness and tenacity, accompanied by perseverance and filled with determination. We also develop resilience, continuity, longevity with the strength, force, and muscle to continue. In all, you will find the bouncebackability but often not just due to motivation, but to the backbone of life, a faith to carry, hold on and press forward.

Abundant the verses,  as many Biblical authors knew the concept, spoke of all the trials and the rewards.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12.12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1.12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12. 1-3

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16.33

Another favorite that has accompanied me since the very early days of my life:
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isiah 40.31

Endurance, a willingness to stick with things. J. Peterson

Paul takes another angle at endurance and calls it the fruit of trial and the works of faith, therefore resulting in steadfastness and patience.

According to Colossians, God tells us, that since He has chosen us to be His children that He loves, we have a responsibility to clothe ourselves in tenderhearted mercy and kindness.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

I summarize to the following statement:

Endurance of faith is what carries us through!

Wishing you a blessed week.