Archive for December, 2011

Calmness

December 15, 2011

My dad's place in Sulligent, summer 2011.

A personality that is calm is a desirable trait that may be overlooked when listing the markers of a person with good character.  I bet you like to be around people who are of a calm demeanor rather than ones who are “wound up” most of the time.  They probably tend to calm you down and thus help you feel better.

Children who are calmer would seem to have an increased ability to focus on the task at hand and would therefore be able to learn better.  I think the ability to focus or concentrate is one of the main indicators of a smart or potentially smart child.  It is good to be smart, because it increases your opportunities to serve.

Adults also need to calm down.  Not only does a calm or quiet personality affect your kids/grandkids (and anyone with whom you interact), it helps you feel better and be more focused on what you need to do.  Calmness increases discipline.

You might think this topic is not addressed in the Bible, but here are three scriptures from the Epistles where it is:

… But we exhort you, …, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you; (1 Thessalonians 4:10-11 RSV)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 RSV)

Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  (1 Peter 3:3-4 RSV)          

How calm, quiet, peaceable, and gentle are you?  Do you influence others to live this way by your own life example?

 

O God, increase our faith

That we may take You at Your word

That we may believe it and trust it

That we may submit and follow You

And that Your Holy Name may be exalted in the process. 

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Man and God: You, Me, and Jesus

December 12, 2011

  Every person you will meet today started out like God.  They may have defiled His image, but, at birth, they were made like God by God.  This also applies to you and to me.  This knowledge should affect how I view others and how I view myself.  An understanding of my original connection to God, though I am flesh, should also enhance my appreciation of the Incarnation, when Christ (God) voluntarily took flesh upon Himself.

The word of God is clear that God made us like Himself.  This does not mean that God made us “little gods.”  But, that He made us with some of the same characteristics that He has.  God is perfect and infinite in His characteristics.  I am not. I choose how close to perfection I will come as I make daily choices about Christian living.

Look how many times God tells us that He made us like Himself.

…Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him…. (Genesis 1:26-27 NKJV)

… In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. (Genesis 5:1 NKJV)

… For in the image of God He made man. (Genesis 9:6 NKJV)

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. Therefore, since we are the offspring of God… (Acts 17:26-29 NKJV)

For a man … is the image and glory of God…. (1 Corinthians 11:7 NKJV)

… men, who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3:9 RSV)

When I see someone, or think of someone, or interact with someone I need to remember this:  they are made in God’s image.  God made them originally exactly the way He wanted to make them and He made them like Himself.  When faced with improper behavior, instead of taking offense, being condescending, or seeking revenge, I should remember that this is another person created in the image of God, by God, exactly the way He wanted to make them.  Life may have gotten in the way and they may not look much like God now, but that is not the way they started out.  They came into the world like God.  It is possible that they can return there.  I need to help them do that, not hinder or discourage them.

I spend some time (I am sure too much) recalling my past failures.  I can get pretty depressed about them.  What I need to do, and what we all need to do, is to recall who we are because of Who made us and the way He made us.  We need to exult with the psalmist:

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. (Psalms 139:13-14 NKJV)

By virtue of our divine design, we have great potential.  God has placed it in the palm of our hand.  Open the fist clenched in fear and anger and behold what God hath wrought.  If we were like God once, we can be like Him again.  Let’s reclaim our destiny.  God will help us (He already has).  We can change the world for good, beginning with ourselves.

God identified with man His creation not only in creating us in His image, but in taking flesh upon Himself in the Incarnation.  This was accomplished in the person of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NKJV)

… Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God… (1 John 4:2-3 NKJV)

…(Jesus) emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8 RSV)

The love of God for you and me is revealed in many ways.  The Cross is obviously one of these.  Another is the Incarnation.  God loved us so much that He became one of us to save us and, yes, to serve us.  How can we not love Him back?

 

O Lord God

Maker of heaven, Maker of earth, and Maker of me

Bless me to be more like Your Son

Bless me to live in harmony with Your purpose for me

Bless me to see in others the spark of You they possess.

 

[The image is “A Monk” by A. Kosnichyov, 2006.  Imagine he is contemplating how he can be more like God.)