Grateful for Wrath

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

It seems Jesus used some harsh words, calling the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs”, “hypocrites”, “brood of vipers”, and other such things.

Which stirred up anger.

Resulting in His crucifixion, according to the eternal plan of the Father.

And resulting in the written record of unmistakable condemnation of the hypocritical behavior of the religious leaders.

Satan is also known for wrath, but of a different sort.  There is no turning away or appeasement of Satan’s wrath. He is consumed and identified by it (Revelation 12:12). The Pharisees were channeling it.

Most Bible verses containing the word wrath refer to God’s. God’s wrath is against evil. Satan’s wrath is against God and those who are His.

The Greek is instructive. ὀργῆς (orgēs) wrath – intrinsically/settled and constitutionally opposed. (As used in Revelation 6:16 of the Lamb.)

Ours is usually of a lesser sort. [F]or the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:20

As you see from the Greek, God’s wrath – His opposition to evil – is precisely because He is good. He cannot be good and wink at evil¹. We visualize wrath from our own experience with anger, which unredeemed, is based in fear, and certainly not of God. His wrath and righteousness are not mutually exclusive, but complementary and protective (of us, for example).

Satan’s wrath fits the same definition but is pointed in the opposite direction; he has become constitutionally opposed to good.

Me:
I have not (ever?) meditated on Your wrath, Father. Probably, I should have. I thank You for Your wrath. I am grateful that it is Your nature to oppose evil – the corruption of Your creation under the influence of sin. I love you! Thank You for Your wrath! Thank You that Jesus bore Your wrath on my account!  It was right that You oppose the evil I have done. Sometimes mindlessly, always selfishly, never justifiable.  It was pure mercy that He bore my penalty.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

[1] Phrase remembered from C. Spurgeon?

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End of Perfection

I have seen a limit to all perfection;
Your commandment is exceedingly broad. Psalms 119:96
Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I have wondered about this verse in the Psalms.

Holy Spirit:
Do not neglect to consider that it is a line from a song; meant to be meditation-provoking, memory-aiding, and beautiful. Fluency in Hebrew would help somewhat with appreciating the beauty of the verse. But, as you have found, there are helps for considering what is behind the translation to English. The Psalm came through David. But you know that I was surely making the heart of the Father known in the heart of David. So this is more than a song reflecting the cleverness of David, it is a song given from the heart of God to enlighten the heart of man, especially those with Me in their hearts to aid in enjoyment. So, I will help you. Let’s paraphrase this verse!

Me and You:
Of the things that are made, that which I can see with my eyes, I can appreciate the unanswerable perfection of them. Everything is made to relate to every other thing; each particle of the cosmos depending on others of every kind and and affecting all in ways that I will probably never comprehend in this life. These are coalesced into every astounding thing in an array of great beauty and complexity and swirl and pull with strange and unimaginable forces. A lifetime is insufficient to consider all the magnificence of the things that God has spoken into existence and that You, Holy Spirit, have brooded over, and that Jesus has authority over. Even so, at the last, these things are temporary and the time of their physical existence is running out. Your Word, with its instructions and power and lessons and majesty, though, will never come to an end. Time cannot measure the extent of the perfection that has come by Your voice, eye has not seen nor can the mind of man even begin to encompass all that has been made known by You. Your heart is carried to me by contemplating these things with Your help and I come to understand that I am loved by You and am blessed by You in ways that are exceedingly broad, even unmeasurable.

Holy Spirit:
How is that?

Me:
Thank You! You are magnificent beyond understanding! I love You!

Holy Spirit:
You are welcome! I love you!

Rest and the Vine

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Me:
Good morning Jesus!

Jesus:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I am grateful for some time off of work to rest and to be able to concentrate more on time with You!

Jesus:
If you would recognize that I have offered to help you with the burdens of your work and bring them to Me more, you would not be so much in need of rest.  The notion that you have the primary responsibility for it all is the world’s notion and you have been programmed with it thoroughly.  It is contrary to the principle of a branch abiding in the vine.  All the life-giving strength comes from the vine.  The leaves of the branch support transpiration, giving the moisture in the sap some place to go.  All this works in the environment that I designed: sunshine and rain and richness of soil.  You know, this process in a plant is a parallel of the process of you learning of Me and growing in understanding.

Me:
How so, Jesus?

Jesus:
The branch is tiny at first.  A mere tendril sprouting from the main trunk of the vine.  It abides in the vine and is nourished, receiving from the vine everything it needs to grow.  As it grows, it is able to take more and more of what the vine supplies.  The branch provides the place for fruit to develop and acts in concert with the vine.  It is part of the whole.  The undeveloped branch does not possess the capacity to carry all the fruit requires.  Nor does it have the physical strength to support the weight of the fruit.  If it abides long enough in the vine, though, it develops both the capacity and the strength to bear fruit.

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her
. [Proverbs 3:13-16]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
[Proverbs 9:10]
Me:
Thank You Jesus!  I love You!
Jesus:
You’re welcome! I love you!

The Spirit-Mind Connection

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3

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

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. – Ephesians 4

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I think you put it in my head to look at the connection between Your work in my life and my mind. I tried a Bible search on spirit and mind. Wow! I got a result of eleven verses, and that doesn’t count the more difficult search where the two words are separated by the artificial verse divisions.

Holy Spirit:
Does that seem surprising to you? Man was created in the first place to have a relationship with God. Remember when the boys first started to make acquaintances, how they maintained they had hundreds of “friends”? You were not intended to have that sort of relationship with Me. Our intention is more closely mirrored by the joyous intimacy that you experience with [your wife], and even that is far short of Our aim. Most attempt to maintain a relationship with Us that is more like the early self-aggrandizing example from the boys in public, instead of more like the deepening example of your marriage to [your wife]. That relationship, by the way, is energized as it is because the both of you are also tied in to Us in intimacy.

Anyway, in your physical existence, We ordained that the part of you that is commonly labeled the “mind” – and physically operating in the brain We designed – be apparently seamless from the spiritual part of your nature. Why? Because intimacy with Us requires it. What if the “spiritual nature” were separated from the “mental processes” like two friends with one in Denver and one in Boston, forcing them to communicate over a distance? Intimacy then takes much more of an effort.

Speaking of challenges, how about being dead for starters? Sin dealt a death-blow to the spiritual part of your nature. (Genesis 2:17, Ephesians 2:1) And speaking of that, what exactly is the spiritual part? I refer you to this insight I gave John: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24) The spiritual part of you is the part that is designed to connect to Us. Jesus sacrifice on your behalf made a way for your dead spiritual nature to be resurrected as He is. The “renewing of your mind” is first and foremost a journey from death to life. (John 10:10, Romans 6:4)

Me:
This is a fantastic gift, Holy Spirit! A treasure beyond any possible physical valuation! You must love us beyond all measure! The grace bestowed on me is so undeserved I am still unable to grasp the magnitude of it!

Holy Spirit:
That is the nature of a developing relationship. The ability to both comprehend (mind) and experience (in the spiritual sense) the depth of it comes with your growth. I AM Spirit and I AM without limits. Your spiritual limits decrease as your former state of death recedes in your rear view mirror, so to speak, as you draw nearer to Me.

Me:
Thank You for this time and these insights, Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love You!