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Who walks when you walk in darkness?

Chapter 52

Good Monday Morning to this week 52 of 2021

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2

Let’s look at this passage of Isaiah 9.

I love the idea of prophecies referring to a future event in the past tense; not because the event has necessarily happened, but because its occurrence is concrete. There is a finality and certainty to it. It is as if it’s already taken place.

And I love the idea that the future tense of what Jesus will be called isn’t so much an event of the future, but a continuing event of past, present and future. 

Who walks when you walk in darkness?

Who walks when you walk in darkness?
Who stands straight?
Who treads firm?
Who lives in the 
true meaning of the word?

All fade away.
There is no trust
No solid ground.
No resting place,
No journey’s end.

There is no quiet,
No sense of peace,
No sight to guide,
No knowledge to lead.

I ask, who walks when you walk in darkness?

But now, a light has come,
The day has dawned,
The brilliance of the Holy One
Has shone upon the earth.

An heir is born,
A kinsman lives,
A child of ancient promise
Has arrived.

He holds the crown of David
And wears the robe of Solomon,
But as lord of both
He sits.

No dominion endures before him,
No war prevails against him.
No darkness can diminish him
And no depth can consume him.

For the LORD has given him all things,
That he may free the nations.
He loves the ways of justice
And his kingdom of light is eternal.

Wishing you a great start to this last week of 2021 , a transition and expectation
of the new year to come.

Philemon


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Remember and Return

Good Monday Morning to this week 51 of 2021

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. Psalm 22.27

Have you ever been to Palau? Or do you have Palau on your bucket list? It would be a good idea, the island is subjected to sea level rise that threatens low-lying coastal infrastructure, including schools and transportation, as well as ecosystems and cultural sites.

Palau is a country in the western Pacific Ocean somewhat at the end of the world!
It consists of some 340 coral and volcanic islands perched on the Kyushu-Palau Ridge. The Palau archipelago lies in the southwest corner of Micronesia, with Guam 1,300 to the northeast, Papua New Guinea 650 km to the south, and the Philippines 890 km to the west.

Reading in the magazine of PMA (Pacific Mission Aviation) that both my Mum and Dad were involved in over many years, I see and read some of the urgency that is mentioned in Psalm 22 mentioned above. The Psalm begins abruptly; My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me: a disturbing scene: someone who knows and trusts God is forsaken and cries out to God in agony.

The Cambridge Bible put it this way:
There was a knowledge of God, to which the nations might attain through the witness of His works without and the witness of conscience within. But they ‘forgot Him’ and turned away from Him to idols of their own imagination. But one day they will ‘remember’ and ‘return.’

Martin Luther wrote to this Psalm:
This is a kind of gem among the Psalms and is peculiarly excellent and remarkable. It contains those deep, sublime, and heavy sufferings when agonizing in the midst of the terrors and pangs of divine wrath and death which surpass all human thought and comprehension.

Then after vers 21 something changes, it’s the last: Hasten to help me…

After pouring out his soul in agony, now the Forsaken One has a glorious sense that God has answered Him. The crisis became bearable in the knowledge that God is not removed from His suffering nor silent in it. The deliverance from the crisis itself may be yet to come, but the deliverance from the sense of being forsaken by God in the midst of the crisis was his.

For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to him, he heard.

The poor shall eat and be satisfied: If God shows such faithfulness to the afflicted, there is hope for the poor. The good God will take care of the poor who trust Him and seek Him. The faithfulness of God to the Forsaken One becomes a foundation for His faithfulness to others in need, such as the poor.

This Psalm 22 shows us much of God in Jesus coming to this world, with a special highlight on the group of those that would “remember and return to the Lord”.

Let’s take this thought into these Christmas days.

Remember and return!

Wishing you a blessed start to this week!

Philemon



I thirst

Chapter 50

Good Monday Morning to this week 50 of 2021

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Exodus 23.20

Let’s give this interpretation an attempt, today using an old joke.

A man is walking alone in the desert, his camel has run away with water and food.
After a while, he sees a merchant. He approaches him and says:
Water, please, do you have me some water?
Sorry, Sir, I don’t have water, I only sell ties!

Then the man resumes his road, he is more and more tired and the sun shines high in the sky. A few hours later the man sees a second merchant. Dying of thirst he walks towards him on his knees. And he says to him: Please Sir, I need water… please!
Again this man answers, sorry I only sell ties.

So, the man gets on his way. Half an hour later he came across a third merchant. The man moves forward with difficulty (he crawls) and says breathlessly:

Water…I…beg…you…water!

Oh, sorry my good man, I only sell ties. But a little further, in this direction, there is a bistro where you can get water to drink.

Thank you… Thank you very much!

So the man continues in the direction of the bistro, five minutes later he finally sees the bistro, he starts to run and finally arrives at the entrance of the bar, he practically collapses on the counter and asks:

Waiter, water, water please, I desperately need to drink.

And the waiter answers him:

Sorry sir but here we only serve those who have ties on!

Why did the camel run away, to begin with?
Why were there three merchants on the way, trying to sell ties?
Where exactly was the place that was prepared for him?
Which one of the three merchants was the angel?

We begin this week with a riddle, yet we are not clueless, nor are we lost!
There are provisions on the way, there are signposts, there are angles, the question is if we recognize them!

Wishing you a good morning.
Philemon


I had a dream

Chapter 49

Good Monday Morning to this week 49 of 2021

The king said to them,
“I had a dream, and I’m troubled by it. I want to know what the dream was.”

I had a dream. I had a dream of a GP, of a General Practitioner. This
man lived out in a subdivision of Lome. Around his cabinet were a few homes,
a football field, a few kiosks, a few clothes shops and many motorbikes
that would pass around his place on the red road in front of his entry.
Let’s call the GP Jean. Jean came to the entry, close to his customer stopper
with a big poster on it offering his services, looking out to the soccer field
while greeting Marie as she passed with a lot of cosmetic products on her head,
greeting him with a big smile. How are you children asks Jean, thanks they are
all well replies Marie.

Jean looks back at his poster, he thinks of the many services he has offered. All
three pregnancies, all the checkups and even two of the three children he delivered
with a midwife right in his little cabinet out in Agoé. Jean smiles as he thinks of these
kids, this family and looks over to the soccer field and then over to the school behind the field. Jean also remembers the last child and the rush to the hospital with both mother and
child being in great danger.

Jean smiles, and then he frowns, he is troubled. What will become of these children?
Of course, he has often blessed the families and the children with the verse from Isaiah

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jean is even reminded of the Message and how well he gets the meaning of the verse

I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Or the Jewish approach;

For I know what plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai,

Or the Voice which ends with a very nice little command;

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that.

These passages give him hope, fill his mind and heart with deep satisfaction, knowing that the God he knows is able to do this and will prepare a home for him somewhere yonder.

Back to Jean standing at the entry of his cabinet, his heart and mind are at peace, but his spirit is troubled. He is reminded of Jesus going through cities and villages and finally speaks to his disciples:

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few;  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

Jean is still deeply in thought of all these passages as a young man passes by on the road, while he’s knocking on a piece of wood. Hey, what’s it you’re selling today? The man on the road turns and shows him the empty bag. Oh, remarks Jean, why this – why is your bag empty? I’ve sold all my candies and many other things, my bag is empty but what I have now is worth so much more, because I had a dream last night. I had a dream that I would stop selling candies. Every time someone stops to buy something after them hearing the sound, I will stop, I will sit down with them and talk to them about their past and speak to them about their future. I will start to help them to build a vision for their life.

Jean went back to his desk, got out a big marker, quickly went out the poster on the road
and added one more service to his list, right after the “check-up” he wrote:

New Life Vision

The man on the street is touched, excited and walks straight to the next seamstress
and gets the same title sown onto his backpack. New life Vision!

Jean goes back to his cabinet, drinks some Vitale water and lets the next mother with her kids in. Again all three have a cough to which he has some medication, but the words on his lips are the ones he just took in from the encounter with the young man outside.

New Life Vision. For I know what plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai!

Wishing you a good start to this week.
Philemon