Taking part this week in the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest over at Chelsea Owens blog. It’s great fun!
I am grateful for the astounding warm-up today; 22F below earlier in the week, 52F now.
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
[ This quote is from Isaiah;
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. – Isaiah 64:4]
10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2
Me: Good evening Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit: Good evening Jon!
Me: This passage is chock full of wisdom and the promise of still more wisdom borne (and born) by You! Thank You!
Holy Spirit: You are welcome!
Me: I am mystified by Paul’s comment, which I know he got from You, that the rulers would not have crucified Christ had they understood all. Had they not, where would we be?
Holy Spirit: You have often observed that Jesus did not pull any punches in speaking with the rulers. He consistently told the truth in a way that would inflame their indignation and instinct to protect the sin they imagined was righteousness because it was, well, theirs. They were simply respecters of themselves. Not a humble bone in their bodies. Paul is just observing, matter of fact, that they did not get it. Even when bluntly told the truth.
When Paul uses the words “predestined before the ages” in verse seven, he is pointing out that God knew fully from before He created that man was going to need to be rescued from the power of sin. He knew before there was time. He knew before there was any man. He had always known. Yet, He chose. He chose to create. He chose to create man. He chose to create you. He chose that in the Son, He would bear your sin, that in Me, He, who is holy, would be able then to communicate with you who is only made righteous by faith in the Son. Were it not so, communication would be futile. (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:40, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Matthew 13, Isaiah 6:9) You observe this in your day; those who see not and hear not because the truth is foreign to them.
Me: Yes, Holy Spirit! If it were not for You, none of us would ever overcome our blindness.
Thank You for speaking with me about these things! I love You!
Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you! I love the ones that still persist in their not seeing and in their not hearing, but I Am unwilling to override their choice.
I am grateful to have the Word of God to hear and the Spirit of God to guide. I can scarcely imagine the universe that some believe exists by some innumerable set of random variations. (That started from what, exactly?)
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Jesus, Matthew 7:12
Me: Good afternoon Jesus!
Jesus: Good afternoon Jon!
Me: I didn’t mean for it to be afternoon before speaking with You in this journal entry. I went out to plow the snow drifts that accumulated last night, and it was a much bigger job than I expected. Beautiful, though. Thanks for the trio of young deer that ran by, heading North. They were lovely as well. Your creation is full of Your magnificence! Everywhere I look, there is reason for awe and amazement!
Jesus: You are welcome.
Me: Lately my company has been making a distinction in their statement of the “Golden Rule”, that we should treat others the way that they want to be treated. They made that assertion without any further explanation, as though it was self-evident. That has kind of bothered me, because it seemed a modification of my understanding of what the scripture says. I am grateful to You for showing me that I was wrong about that and that my perspective was actually a self-centered one.
Jesus: Yes, I thought it was high time that you had that sorted out. The difference is, of course, seeing it from the perspective of the person you are treating however you are treating them. You are the one who knows how you want to be treated and if you assume that the way that you want to be treated is the way that they want to be treated then you have not afforded them the same freedom as you have exercised over your own desires.
Me: Treating them how they want to be treated instead of how I want to be treated requires me to find out how they want to be treated.
Me: That is not always easy.
Jesus: It requires building a relationship and being sensitive to their reactions to you.
Me: That seems pretty hard. It certainly is not possible if my focus is on myself.
Jesus: The Spirit is given to guide you into all the truth.
Me: You are saying that truly understanding others is the work of God, aren’t You?
Jesus: Yes. The work of God in you. … and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover. – Ecclesiastes 8:17
Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:28-29
Me: Thank You Jesus! I am grateful to You for the things you tell me. I love You!
Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!
I am grateful for Jesus, our way.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’” 2 Samuel 7:16 (Samuel speaking to David; Jesus is the fulfillment.)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6
Me:Good morning Father!
ABBA:Good morning Jon!
Me: Thank You for the promises You have fulfilled in Jesus!
ABBA: There is an aspect of Jesus being the way that I want you to consider more deeply. Obviously, Jesus’ death in your place paid the legal debt you owed because of sin. (Death because of sin announced in the garden – Genesis 2:17; explicitly countered in Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ) He is the way to escape the deadly consequence of what you have done because He already endured your just deserts.
Besides that, I want you to think of “way” in the sense that Robert Frost used it in his verse about his travels. I want you to think in terms of the process of life, one thing leading to another; one day’s choices building on the decisions laid down the day before to stand as the foundation supporting today. When Jesus said, “I Am the way”, he also meant that His life is our highest example. He marks the way in the manner that a path guides our footsteps to the destination that He intends. A path does not guide one who does not walk on it. Remember Frost’s line, “ And looked down one as far as I could; To where it bent in the undergrowth;”. Reaching the destination requires continuing to put one foot in front of the other until the end of the journey is attained. In just that way, every step in your life is under your control. You can follow Jesus in the way, or you can turn aside and trudge into the woods. It is really always up to you, step by step, choice by choice.
The truth (I Am the truth) is clarifying. As the refiner’s fire causes the dross to rise to the top so it can be removed, walking with Jesus in the way does that sort of purification. When the scripture says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2, it is speaking of choices you make about that to do with your mind. Here is a signpost along that path: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8; with the transformation noted in Romans 2:12 as a result and abundant life as the destination of this way (I Am the life).
Me:Thank you Father! I love You!
ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!
I am grateful to be able to stay home today, to just watch it snow and not have to travel anywhere.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26-28
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; – John 17:22
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – Ephesians 2
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. – Galatians 5:17
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. – Matthew 10 (v35 quoted from Micah 7:6)
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
Me: Good morning Jesus!
Jesus: Good morning Jon!
Me: I pasted a lot of scriptures in the beginning of my journal entry for today. It seems the Spirit was leading from one to another in a trail of connections. I’m not sure I understand. There seems to be a paradox embedded in there.
Jesus: What kind of paradox?Me:Well, I thought at first, it was all verses about unity and seemingly in agreement with Your prayer for oneness John 17:22.
There is even Paul’s discourse in Ephesians 2 about the breaking down of the “barrier of the dividing wall” apparently segregating Jew and Gentile.
Jesus: That is not quite right. Let’s talk about that first.
Me: What is not quite right?
Jesus: What the dividing-wall divided. Paul was, in fact talking to Gentiles about their having been brought in by my having broken down the “enmity” which represents the thing that the law was pointing out: God is holy and man is sinful. Sin is therefore a definitive division between God and man; the ordinances of the law offering continual proof of the inability of men to keep them – that is, making plain which side of the wall one is on. Paul says explicitly in that passage in Ephesians 2 that I, in My flesh, “abolished” that enmity, that division. The enmity I abolished is the one between God and man. In My flesh, I bore your sin on the cross that it should no longer have legal power over you. He was telling the Ephesians that the same provision I made to bring the Jew in, made a way for them to the brought in as well. There is no difference in the provision. It is one and the same act. So, Jew and Gentile are joined in that they can choose God’s side of the wall.
Look extremely carefully. I did not break down the wall. I broke down the barrier that the wall presents. I made a way (Isaiah 43:19). I AM the way (John 14:6). “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24).
This is incomprehensible if you lose sight of the fact that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and sinful man is dead to spiritual things (Ephesians 2:1). The nature of the “barrier of the dividing wall” is death (spiritual followed by physical). The death wrought in man by sin is what separates from God who is the very essence of life. I Am the life (John 14:6).
The rest of the verses the Spirit led you to have to do with the fact that I have not removed your ability to choose your actions while you are still in your physical body. Those verses say clearly that the evidence of that truth is plainly seen; My word sharply marking the division. But if you choose Me, if you choose to walk in the Spirit, then your life can become a fulfillment of My prayer for unity with Me. And if you are one with Me, then you will be one with all others who are one with Me.
Me: Thank You Jesus! Thank You for explaining! I love You!
Jesus:You are welcome! My pleasure! I love you!
I am grateful for peace with You! I am grateful that You were pleased to go to such extraordinary lengths to bring peace between You and all of us. The most extraordinary lengths that have ever been extended at any time!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. – Luke 2:10-16
Good morning Jesus!
Good morning Jon!
The angels said to the shepherds, “… you will find”. Did they have to search many animal shelters in Bethlehem? Did they have to poke around the ox and donkey lots of strangers? Were they risking being accused of being thieves, creeping around in the dark?
I cried for them when they came by. The other shelters were silent.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Thank You Jesus! I love You!
You are welcome! I love you!
I am grateful that You laid aside Your glory and majesty to graciously serve us in our helpless dilemma, becoming helpless yourself that You might rescue us.
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:6-7
Good morning Jesus!
Good morning Jon!
I am prone to think that I need some kind of position of authority to make a difference, that I would have to be in charge of something. What authority does an infant in a feed trough have? Yet that is the way You came and You have made all the difference. I love You!
I love you! And that is why I came in the way that I came. I want you to make a difference and know that it is not your power or authority or circumstance that makes it possible to achieve the goal set before you.