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I Am Here

Chapter 39

Good Monday Morning to this week 39 of 2022

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Moses is not yet an important leader or a mighty “influencer” when God meets him. He is tending the sheep of his father-in-law, a normal guy like you and me with a very modest job. For weeks, Moses has been travelling in the dust of the steppe and was not expecting anything special as he plods along with his flock through everyday life. Suddenly, however, Moses sees this bush by the side of the road that burns but doesn’t burn up. This catches his attention and he lets himself be interrupted. Once off the path he takes a closer look at this unusual event in the midst of his daily ordinary life. Through stopping and having a good look, he probably has already done his contribution to the story. It was God, on the other hand, who took did the all the rest, all the talking and all the initiative for everything that followed. “Moses, Moses!” is the voice of God from the thorn bush. Moses is called by his name. Now it dawns on him – it’s got to do with him, it’s personal. Moses’ answer to this startling encounter is very simple and he answers: “I am here”.

God does not reveal himself in the voice or approach of an Almighty, He simply starts a long conversation with an ordinary shepherd in the heat of the desert, after he gets a simple answer from Moses: “I am here.”

The conversation continues; The compassionate God Yahweh, speaks to Moses in a rough and harsh place, yet in a holy and sacred atmosphere.

In this encounter there is no separation between the calling and the vocation, the daily, the ordinary and the sacred. God shows up unexpectedly in the midst of a very usual moment, and in this very encounter Moses was transformed by the God who himself.

In order to be able to perceive the thorn bush in everyday life and thus the “I am here” – God with all our senses, we have to practise this presence anew. Moses’ simple “Here I am” asks me and you directly: When am I completely here? Not just physically, but also present in my extended awareness and consciousness.

Wishing a good start to this week.

Philemon

Summarised from a  presentation of Siegfried Zimmer @Worthaus.org

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The writing on the wall

Chapter 38

Good Monday Morning to this week 38 of 2022

The other morning I was on my way to work. As I walked past a shop
and looked over at the other side of the road, I saw a big sign. The sign
reads: “CasaBlanca; Promotes clean Storefronts”. As I neared the sign there were
two Bible verses scribbled underneath.

Daniel 5: 1-25 and Revelation 19.1

The first from Daniel
Mene; God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel; You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres; Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

The second from Revelation
Revelation 19.1; And after these things I heard a great voice of many people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God.

Daniel 5
The king’s banquet and the mysterious oracle: the king desecrates the sacred vessels, the hand writes on the wall. Attempts to interpret the oracle: the Chaldean sages fail, the queen recommends Daniel. Daniel appears before Belshazzar: Daniel addresses and rebukes the king interprets the oracle, and is rewarded. Conclusion: Belshazzar’s death, Darius’ accession.

Actually, the two verses are scribbled there like a question and answer.
The phrase “the writing on the wall” is a popular idiomatic expression, that could also be seen as a question, referring to the foreshadowing of any impending happening. A person who refuses to “see the writing on the wall” is being described as ignorant to the signs of an event that will likely occur in the near future.

Revelation 19 is about the “Return of the King” The book powerfully lifts the eyes of those living in hope of the coming King, to see above the problems and afflictions. In order that we may know God’s perspective on circumstances in our lives; that is, to see God and his sovereignty.

A recurring topic is for sure the return of the Kingdom of Heaven. But there is a lot of speech of the army of heaven, the faithful, those who follow to the end, those who fight the good right and run the race to the end, persevering with the eyes on the creator, the sovereign, putting all faith on him.

What writing on the wall have you seen lately?
How do you persevere and keep your eyes focused on the sovereign?

This week I’ll take the approach of the second word in regard to the writing on the wall and apply it to a lot of the weirdness, challenges, troubles, and negativity around me. Tekel;
You have been weighed you have been measured and you have been found wanting!

Wishing you a good start to this week as you discover the meaning of what you have seen as the writing on the wall.

Philemon

Opt-out

Chapter 37

Good Monday Morning to this week 37 of 2022.

A recurring topic this week – is the ability to opt-out.

Opt-out; the choice to participate in something or the decision to withdraw.

Sabbath becomes a decisive, concrete, visible way of “opting-out” for and aligning with the God of rest. Walter Brueggemann

Spirituality extends the scope of human beings. Spirituality, is not about opting out of this world, but opting-in, it’s about enabling us to live more intensely within it.

Co-opted convictions will always betray you. Charles M. Blow

So many people would like to have guidance from God because obviously, if you have a word from God, it’s the best possible thing. But they don’t relate that to life as a whole. Often they want guidance as a way of opting out of the responsibility of making decisions. Dallas Willard

Doing nothing is opting for the sweetness of stillness … Instead of fighting with that which you cannot control, you might as well just see it through. Elizabeth Wurtzel

Jesus was facing the hour of his death, and he prayed, ‘Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me’. Was it possible? Could Jesus have opted out of his suffering and death upon the cross?

Currently, many opt-out procedures, be it online as well as in social settings are quite hopeless and cumbersome, making it hard to be control. Of course it’s really also a question of much, in control of things, we really need to be. One question is to declutter and opt-out, the other is to choose and opt-in on that which is beneficial!

A personal disclaimer

You’ve just redeemed all your reading points. (smile) Many of you have been reading since the inception of this whatsapp blog starting the 28th of March 2016.

Your points will refresh next Monday Monday if you chose!

Of course there are many options to opt-out!

Unsubscribe with a message to: +41796835092
Unsubscribe with an email to: philemon@warapunga.ch

Even better options!

To opt out; Enjoy the new podcast of “Two wolves and King” on Youtube with the following link: https://youtu.be/hkZ-TuwTZ-s

To opt out of the whatsapp but keep reading the blog click link: https://warapungamonday.wordpress.com/

To opt out; Simply wait until I run out of ideas! (smile)

Wishing you a great start to this week as you choose to opt-in and opt-out, a constant set of choices to make our daily lives.

Philemon

Divine emotive attributes

Good Monday Morning to this week 36 of 2022

The seven species listed in Deuteronomy 8.8, are wheat, barley, grape, fig, pomegranates, olive (oil), and date (date honey). Their first fruits were the only acceptable offerings in the Temple.

The flowering and fruiting of the seven species parallel our own spiritual development. On a basic level, these fruits are unique in that they provide the necessary nutrients for sustenance.

Since the fruiting of the seven fruits is linked to our own spiritual achievement, it is not surprising that these seven kinds comprise a wealth of spiritual attributes, nutrients, and medicinal properties.

Wheat: Chesed—Kindness
Barley: Gevurah—Severity
Grapes: Tiferet—Harmony
Figs: Netzach—Perseverance
Pomegranates: Hod—Humility
Olives: Yesod—Foundation
Dates: Malchut—Royalty

One theory is that every soul possesses all seven of these seven divine emotive attributes. But for each person, one of these traits is more dominant, shaping the individual unique spiritual path to God.

The lesson for us could be, that every new day, every new week, every new month our goal remains to grow spiritually and serve God with all “his” all “our” might with includes the all encompassing seven emotive attributes.

Wishing a good start to this new week.

Philemon

Consistency

Chapter 35

Good Monday Morning to this week 35 of 2022

1 Picture – 1 Verse this morning.

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in Him. 1 John 2:27

Wishing you consistency as you abide in Him!

Philemon

In anticipation as already in existence

Chapter 34

Good Monday Morning to this week 34 of 2022.

What sort of people belong to Jesus’ church community?  Jesus said it is those who are committed to doing God’s will.  He talked about the importance of doing God’s will on many occasions.  Here is just one example:

“Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:50; see also Luke 8:21).

From one view, the center of Jesus’ teaching and the early church’s vision is a radical form of discipleship in tension with, or even in confrontation with, the world around it. But this teaching and vision is fundamentally lost in the Christendom paradigm that turns the church into a master in the world and mutes its prophetic voice.

As Christendom or more the “Sunday Church” collapses in the West, it again finds itself marginalized, even exiled, in society and culture. An increasing number of church leaders are calling on the church to recover the lost vision of the early church and return to a mode as a faithful minority in a not-so-friendly world.

Did Jesus give us, any practical guidance as to how we should organize our communities or our community activities? Not really! Members of Jesus’ family/community, in different places and times, can develop ways of meeting that are appropriate to our own cultures and our own needs. We do not need to do things the way others do them, and we do not need to do things the way others have done them for decades, or centuries.

On the contrary, Jesus did have a vision for his family/community in regard to values. It is set out in a prayer he prayed shortly before his arrest:

“I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23).

This is a wonderful prayer for the present and future community. It is regarded in anticipation as already in existence.

This short text this morning is a call regarding spirituality, it may not be the momentum or the quantity but much more a question of quality in regard to living the faith as a Christian and in the context of our lives and community.

Wishing you a great start to this day and week.

Philemon

12 Close Friends

Chapter 33

Good Monday Morning to this week 33 of 2022

I recently saw a meme that said :

Jesus’s real miracle was having 12 close friends in his mid 30’s.

The structure of Jesus Christ’ relationships with the twelve apostles presents us with an interesting model for our friendships as well. His relationship with these twelve “ordinary men” transformed these fisherman, tax collectors, and political zealots into men who changed the course of the world.

In his book, Making Friends, Making Disciples, author Lee B. Spitzer provides us with an interesting visual for placing people in our friendship circles, along with these definitions:

Best Friends: the 2 or 3 dearest loved ones.
Special Friends: the 3–5 closest friends outside the center circle.
Social Friends: the 7–12 people one spends a great deal of time with.
Casual Friends: the 50–200 people one knows by name and might socialize or work with (acquaintances).
Outside the Circles: Non-friends and enemies.

According to Jeff Atchison, Jesus showed us the importance of narrowing in on a smaller ‘inner circle for the highest degree of intimate training.” This “inner circle” consisted only of Peter, James and John, the three who witnessed some major events that the other disciples did not.

The raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead. The Transfiguration of Christ on the Mount
Christ’s travail in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane

Michael Hyatt, states in The Leadership Strategy of Jesus, that Jesus took His inner circle on special outings, allowed them to witness his greatest glory, and even His deepest temptations. Jesus prayed with His inner circle and taught them things He did not teach the others. Jesus even introduced the three to His heavenly family. Hyatt concludes the three were Jesus’ closest friends and confidants.

Sounds like a great model for your God Buddies!

Do you have a few close confidants — your “inner circle” per se, that you can trust with your deepest thoughts?

Wishing a good start to this new week.

Philemon

Ruins – Fragments of the future

Chapter 32

Good Monday Morning to this week 32 of 2022

For now we see as in a mirror and are baffled, but then face to face; now I know in fragments, but then shall I understand even as I also have been understood.
1. Corinthians 13.12

People have always helped their history along: They did not wait until dramatic events such as feuds and battles or lengthy processes such as neglect and weathering turned once proud buildings into ruins. They preferred to cut short the process and build artificial ruins straight away. They can be admired above all in English and German castle gardens of the 18th and 19th centuries. Antiquated structures such as towers and mossy temples, even half-ruined aqueducts and amphitheatres, not to mention all the artificial grottoes and miniature gorges complete with rock bridges cheerfully parading in velvet and silk.

At that time, there were master builders who specialised in such artificial ruins, had various types of patina in their catalogue of samples and knew how to carve a stone to make it look as if the ravages of time had been at work. The commissioners were concerned with effect, that is, effect without cause, pasteurised transience. I like to imagine that there were two schools of thought: one that offered the prospect of ruins with an unlimited guarantee of durability, and another that advertised that further decay was already included in its buildings and that showed durability from an other angle.

As with the ruins you can observe in literature quite alike. Many works of the ancient have become fragments from the future as soon as they are written. They are not deliberately enigmatic or mysterious but strive for clarification, differentiation, illumination: an inexhaustible reservoir of ideas.

Often enough, intentional literary fragments are mere glimpses of profound meaning.

For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 1. Corinthians 13.12

Wishing you a good start to the new week with fragments of the future in what you do today.

Philemon

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

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