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God is learning “about you”!

Chapter 31

Good Monday Morning to this week 31 of 2022

Brainstorming a verse in the Bible by Christopher Fisher

Psalm 139:4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

Possible meanings include:

Fatalism – God knows people like we know computers and can look at our input-output to determine what will happen given certain inputs. God knows the future because God knows all input-output code.

Mechanical Knowledge – God can read minds. The mind thinks the thoughts before they are said and thus God can intercept thoughts to know them before they are spoken.

Future Omniscience – God knows all events, past and future, and thus has all the author‘s words in mind.

General Relationship – Because God knows all people intimately, God generally knows how people think and can determine what they will say through a personal relationship.

Metaphor/Generality – This sentence is fully or partly figurative and idiomatic, meaning a concept similar to knowing words of people before they are spoken.

Enigma – This sentence is figurative and idiomatic representing something not familiar to modern readers and unable to be determined.

Personal Relationship – God is so familiar and personal with the author (not necessarily everyone else on Earth) and thus knows what David will say.

The sense in Psalm 139 seems to be that God knows David intimately, in a personal sense, not that David is explaining some technical description of God’s knowledge. Verse 3 says that God is “acquainted with all [of David’s] ways”, which suggests that God has learned about David rather than simply knowing automatically.

Far from being timeless and immutable, God in the Hebrew Bible is active, engaged, in
constant dialogue with his people, calling, urging, warning, challenging and forgiving.

Let’s conclude with the context of six verses out of The Message translation:

God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!

Wishing you an awesome start to this week.

Philemon

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Another in the fire

Chapter 30

Good Monday Morning to this week 30 of 2022

There was another in the fire
Standing next to me
There was another in the waters
Holding back the seas

Il sera avec moi dans le feu
Là à mes côtés
Il sera présent dans la tempête

Recently I heard the version of this popular song translated to French and it reminded me of the story. Australian songwriters Chris Davenport and Joel Houston were both also going through difficult circumstances when they decided to write a song about a lack of resolution in their life and how, sometimes, our expectations and prayers don’t seem to lead to divine intervention. Also, as Joel asserted in a recent YouTube interview: “Confession precedes belief”. Sometimes we need to speak out spiritual truth even before we can fully apply it to the circumstances of our lives.

The inspiration for ‘Another in the fire’ came from a phrase you’ll find in one of the Old Testament’s most renowned miracles. Daniel 3 recounts how three devout followers of Jehovah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were commanded by a deranged king Nebuchadnezzar to bow down and worship an image of gold or be hurled into a fiery furnace. The three men refused, asserting that God “is able to deliver us from it” but then, with remarkable courage, added: “But even if he does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (v18). In a rage, Nebuchadnezzar stoked the furnace seven times hotter than usual, and had soldiers bind the men and throw them in. The flames were so fierce that the soldiers were incinerated instantly. But when Nebuchadnezzar looked, he saw four, not three, people walking around in the flames, totally unscathed. The Bible describes the fourth man as looking “like a son of the gods” and is widely accepted to refer to the pre-incarnate Christ. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stepped out of the fire without even “the smell of fire on them” , and Nebuchadnezzar fell to the floor, in awe of the living God.

They were loose, whereas they had been cast in “bound.” They were walking in midst of fire “in the midst of trouble” They walked up and down in the fire, not leaving it, but waiting for God’s time to bring them out. He angel of the Lord came down into the furnace; and Nebuchadnezzar here says , God sent his angel and delivered them; and it was an angel that shut the lions’ mouths when Daniel was in the den. Nebuchadnezzar calls them out of the furnace: He comes near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and bids them come forth and come hither. Come forth, come (so some read it); he speaks with a great deal of tenderness and concern, and stands ready to lend them his hand and help them out. He is convinced by their miraculous preservation that he did evil in casting them into the furnace.

The other in fire walked with them, then justice prevailed and they were called out by the one that caused the injustice!

Another in the fire!

Wishing you a good start to this week!

Philemon

Fill your cup

Chapter 29

Good Monday Morning to this week 29 of 2022

Now, you are leaving the desert behind.
You are thirsty, your people crying for water.
But I have no mind to roll on with you.
A new water-out-of-rock must be found.
Be the overflowing spring,
Or a cistern that doesn’t lose a drop.
Be the one who digs deep into desert sand.
Be water-out-of-rock
Rachel Adelmann

A Miriam’s Cup is a new ritual object that is placed on the seder table beside the Cup of Elijah. Miriam’s Cup is filled with water. It serves as a symbol of Miriam’s Well, which was the source of water for the Israelites in the desert. Putting a Miriam’s Cup on your table is a way of making your seder more inclusive.

As we know from Torah and as the liquid in her cup attests, the Prophet Miriam, has always been associated with water. It was Miriam who defied Pharaoh’s death sentence for male Hebrew infants, who placed baby Moses in the basket in the River Nile, a kind of birth canal that delivered him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who found and adopted him, assuring his survival.

It was Miriam who, at the shore of the Red Sea, “took a timbrel in her hand and all the women followed her, with timbrels and with dancing.” And who “sang to them,” leading them through the parted waters, not with hesitation and fear but with music and dancing.

It was because of the merit of Miriam that a miraculous well traveled with the Israelites, slaking their thirst during 40 years in the desert. After Miriam died, there was no water. God instructed Moses to speak to a rock, asking it for water, as perhaps Miriam had sung and spoken to the land they were traversing, asking it for water. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck it — producing water.

Miriam is powerfully linked to all three water sources — river, sea and well — for good reason. Just as without water there would be no life on earth, without Miriam, there would be no Jewish life. Moses had to be kept alive. We have Miriam’s Nile rescue plan to thank for his survival. Without Miriam’s song and dance, there would have been no life-enhancing celebration of our redemption. Without Miriam’s Well, we would not have lived through our wanderings.

Rabbi Tamara Cohen writes; There is no set blessing over Miriam’s Cup but you might want to use the following declaration:

This is the Cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters. Let us remember the Exodus from Egypt. These are the living waters, God’s gift to Miriam, which gave new life to Israel as we struggled with ourselves in the wilderness. Blessed are You God, Who brings us from the narrows into the wilderness, sustains us with endless possibilities, and enables us to reach a new place.”

Wishing you a good start to this week as you have “your cup” filled!

Philemon

Where God happens


Chapter 28

Good Monday Morning to this week 28 of 2022

The fourth-century Christian hermits of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine understood the truth of Christian community profoundly, and their lives demonstrate it vividly—even though they often lived in solitude and isolation.

There is much to learn from the Desert Fathers as true and worthy role models, even for us in our modern lives as dealing with the anxieties, uncertainties, and sense of isolation that have become hallmarks of modern life.

A few translated quotes by Rowan Williams

Truth makes love possible; love makes truth bearable.

This life of utter givenness to God and the other, the neighbour, is already a life that evil cannot contain.

[Knowing God]… call it love, yes, only that can sound too emotional, or call it faith, and that can sound too cerebral. And what is it? Both, and neither… [its] the decision to be faithful, the patient refusal of easy gratifications… of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane and on the cross, that bloody crown of love and faith. That is how I learn finally of a God who will not be fitted into my categories and expectations… the living truth too great for me to see, trusting that He will see and judge and yet not turn me away… That is the mercy which will never give us, or even let us be content with less than itself and less than the truth… we have seen the truth enacted in our own world as mercy, grace and hope, as Jesus, the only-begotten, full of grace and truth..

If you can accept that God is more than an idea which keeps your philosophy tidy – then you may find a way back to an engagement with them that is more creative because you are more aware of the oddity, the uncontrollable quality of the truth at the heart of all things. This is what ‘detachment’ means – not being ‘above the battle’, but being involved in such a way that you can honestly confront whatever comes to you without fear of the unknown; it is a kind of readiness for the unexpected, if that is not too much of a paradox.

I have, by God’s grace, learned as a member of the Christian community what is the nature of God’s mercy, which does not leave me to overcome my sin by my own effort, so I have something to say to the fellow-sufferer who does not know where to look for hope. And what I have to say depends utterly on my willingness not to let go of that awareness of myself that reminds me where I start each day—not as a finished saint but as a needy person still struggling to grow.

Our new humanity that is created around Jesus is not a humanity that is always going to be successful and in control of things, but a humanity that can reach out its hand from the depths of chaos, to be touched by the hand of God.

Wishing you a good start to this week.

Philemon


La Foi Trinitaire

Chapter 27

Good Monday Afternoon to this week 27 of 2022

The Trinitarian Faith

The Trinity Society,
of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit
Great El Shaddai, Lion-Lamb,
the Fire of God, Dove of Heaven
while three in personality
live so much like One Love
than to our question “Who is God?”
Their voices together sing “I AM.”
David L. Hatton

La Foi Trinitaire

La société de la Trinité,
  du Père, du Fils, du Saint Esprit
Grand El Shaddai, Lion-Agneau,
  le Feu de Dieu… Colombe du Ciel
tandis que trois en personnalité 
  vivent tellement comme Un Seul Amour
qu’à notre question «Qui est Dieu?»
  Leurs voix ensemble chantent «JE SUIS.»
David L. Hatton

Wishing a blessed week of faith in “I AM”
Je vous souhaite une semaine de foi avec “JE SUIS”.

Philemon