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Caverns of our soul

Chapter 22

Good Monday Morning to this week 22 of 2022

May the Grace of God be with your Spirit.
Galations 6.18

Last week I heard and listened to this song many times, and it profoundly touched me.

The song is written in D-flat Major. H. Berlioz calls this key “majestic”.
Five pitches D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭, B♭ – make this major scale. (a lot of back keys to use on the piano with this song)

Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle 2011

Awaken my soul, come awake

To hunger, to seek, to thirst
Awaken first love, come awake
And do as You did, at first
Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul
Pour in me to overflow
To overflow

Yes Spirit
Come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Spirit come and fill this place
Let your glory now invade

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul
Pour in me to overflow

Songwriters: Andrew Lee Isaac Vowles / Grantley Evan Marshall / Robert Del Naja / Horace Keith Hinds / Fall Afresh lyrics © Mercy Vineyard Publishing

may the caverns of our souls be refreshed this week!
Philemon

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Joined in a global separation

Chapter 21

Good Monday Morning to this week 21 of 2022

Fyodor Dostoevsky and Jesus of Nazareth aren’t quite in a discussion yet, implicitly it could go from an interview to a discussion or debate, I am putting out some of their favorite quotes that speak for themselves. Both could make a difference to some of the problems we’re stuck with and stuck in. I’m not promoting the ideology of the first but showing how he tried to unmask with the fundamental idea that lay behind the entire movement in Russia toward atheism, nihilism, rationalism, and materialism, and away from the true Christian faith that was the spiritual heart of the nation before that move.

To love another person is to see them as God intended them to be.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. Jesus of Nazareth

A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying – lying to others and to yourself. Fyodor Dostoevsky

This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you. Jesus of Nazareth

Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Jesus of Nazareth

Without a clear perception of his reasons for living, man will never consent to live, and will rather destroy himself than tarry on earth, though he be surrounded with bread.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for. Fyodor Dostoevsky

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” Jesus of Nazareth

Wishing you a good start to this week, seeing not as you would see, but trying to see the other as God/Jesus would see them.

Philemon



Having mixed feelings

Chapter 20

Good Monday Morning to the week 20 of 2022

In this current time there are so many reasons for concern, but also so many things that are paradoxical and make it hard for us for an opinion or even share a certain view on certain issues. Be it indifference, ambiguity, or ambivalence may lead us to think we’re not involved or there is even a lack of feelings, in the contrary, these are strong expressions of having mixed feelings!

Like Jeremiah, we can acknowledge that all these disparate feelings and realities can be true at the same time. We can try to hold them in tension, refusing to opt for the easy resolution offered by either triumphalism or apathy. It’s good to admit that we are part of something larger than ourselves. Thankfully, God’s faithfulness is greater than our complicity. While Lamentations models ambivalence, its core message is one of clear-eyed hope.

“My soul is downcast within me,” Jeremiah writes. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

History tells us that Jeremiah suffered with his people. He was not removed or raptured away to safety. He was not even among the remnant carried off to Babylon with the promise that their descendants would return.

Jeremiah died in exile without witnessing any clear resolution for the people of Israel. He died as he lived, in ambivalence—recognizing both what had been promised and what had yet to be fulfilled.

But he also died in hope. He died believing!

“The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord .”

Surprised by Paradox, Jen Pollock Michel writes,

“Allowing for paradox does not represent a weakened approach to theological understanding. On the contrary, it allows for a robust theology, one that is filled with the sort of awe that not only regards God as unimaginably wondrous but also awakens in us the desire… to see Him as He is.”

Wishing you a good start to this week as you may also wrestle with the paradox of our times with mixed feelings.

Philemon

Divine Inversion

Chapter 19

Good Monday Morning to this week 19 of 2022

But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then. Matthew 19.30

In current politics as in other events of the world even in situations in spiritual life, we’re experiencing an inversion. A change in the order of the terms, the condition of being turned inward or inside, the reversal of position, order, form, and/or relationship.

09.05.1945 – a current mantra of Russian politics …
May 9th. In Russia, it’s Victory Day in Russia marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and falls one day after Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) is celebrated in the UK and Western Europe. The Soviet government announced victory early on 9 May 1945 after the signing ceremony in Berlin. The inversion here is that they are now the aggressors and don’t have much to celebrate 77 years after and will have their place taken as those who liberate.

09.05. 1671 – a very nice little story in history of inversion taking place.
Thomas Blood tried to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London on this day. He failed and remains the only would-be thief to attempt such an audacious robbery. At various times Blood – who called himself either “Captain” or “Colonel” – was an adventurer, a rebel, a master of disguise, a con-man and a spy – but, by all accounts, a likable rogue.

But why was he not executed immediately for high treason? The plain truth, the historian writes, is that this brash man, smooth-talking and brim-full of Irish charm, who had demanded a personal interview with the King to seek his reprieve from the scaffold, was more useful to Charles alive than being hanged, drawn and quartered – the fate of all traitors. Astonishingly, says Hutchinson, Charles granted him an audience and asked him: “What if I should give you your life?” Blood pledged: “I would endeavor to deserve it.” He and his accomplices were pardoned for “all treasons, murders, felonies assaults” committed by them. The King also granted him property in Ireland, providing an income of £500 a year and a pension for life. Finally, Blood says Hutchinson, became a spy for the King.

In the kingdom of God, there are many examples of inversion. Jesus would say that we are to be “in the world but not of the world.” To fully engage in the here and now, while at the same time being counter-cultural. Going a step further we are even called to stage or be part of a great inversion. The revolution of God, the last being first, leady by the one who was first to then being last. Or very often mentioned in the teachings of Jesus was the reversal of position, order, form or relationship. Those who thought they were really close to God were the ones in the most danger of a broken relationship with Him. Those who were marginalized and viewed as far from God were actually very close to the heart of God.

He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He set the world on them.
He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.

Why do we see power win so often and see divine inversion so seldom? But confound us it does. A virgin giving birth. A king—the King—lying in a manger. A dead God on a stick. These, along with the many other inversions in the Bible, both big and small, promise the possibility of a different world, a world in which God inverts the natural order of things, including the natural of the human world. “For not by might shall a man prevail.”James R. Rogers

Wishing these inversions for the place you are at, the situations you are in that are in need for a divine inversion.

Philemon

The Tale of Two Kingdoms

Chapter 18

Good Monday Morning to this week 18 of 2022

Let us rehearse the various scenarios of the tale of these two Kingdoms of what it means to be on either side of the equation. The self-narrated role we play in our own story creates for us the illusion we’ve chosen correctly, leading us to assume we’re on the right side of history because we imagine we’ve chosen to serve a greater good.

Greg Doles writes this beautiful piece I quote the middle of a text and article;

The Kingdom of Man believes that the greater good is a matter of seizing power, so that control and lockstep conformity, to whatever the latest iteration of the greater good the ruling authorities say it is, can be achieved. Therefore it is a kingdom best served by intimidation, coercion, and violence and conformity.

But for the Kingdom of God, the greater good is best understood relationally – that only the humble servant of all will have prominence in God’s Kingdom (Mark 10:42-45). Therefore it is a kingdom best served by, forgiveness, redemption, and love.

In short, God doesn’t bully people into conformity – He lovingly entreats them to reconciliation – to be reconciled to God . . . and to one another.

Wishing you a blessed start to this week!

Philemon

Developing intellectual virtues

Chapter 17

Good Morning Moring to this week 17 of 2022

Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Thomas Aquinas

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. (Rom. 12:3).

God cares about how you think, not just what you think. … No walk of life is without the need for insight, discretion and love of truth.”

How do we know what we know? What have wisdom, prudence and studiousness to do with justifying our beliefs?

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
Marilyn vos Savant

I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. Martin Luther

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom. Charles Spurgeon

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Edith Wharton

Careful oversight of our intellectual lives is imperative if we are to think well, and thinking well is an indispensable ingredient in living well. J Wood

The global theater of information coming towards us on social media means our need for intellectual virtue is at present especially acute. Wood wrote more than two decades ago, but his suggestion of three key virtues—studiousness, intellectual honesty, and wisdom—is just as needful now. Bonnie Kristian explains as follows;

Studiousness means seeking truth well, steering between the excesses of vicious curiosity on the one hand and credulousness and oblivion on the other.

Intellectual honesty concerns how we respond to knowledge while acquiring it. It’s the virtuous mean between intellectual dishonesty and willful naiveté, and it requires us to deal in sincerity and good faith

Last, wisdom is the virtue we need to put knowledge we’ve sought and gained to good use. The wise person’s life will be “marked by deep and abiding meaningfulness, anchored in beliefs and purposes that offer lasting contentment,”

Thomas Aquinas says “love follows knowledge” so as our knowledge increases our ability to love God and others should also increase. He explains that those who have had the deepest and most intimate relationship with God, pursued God with everything they were – including their minds. In fact he claims that ‘the earnest pursuit of truth and a commitment to being the best stewards of our minds as we can be, are authentic acts of worship in themselves’ and should be assessed by the extent to which it helps us honour God and serve our neighbours.

Wishing you a blessed and good start to this new week!

Philemon