Monthly Archives: February 2013

Transcendent Faith

Before I had a dream I began talking about faith and what it means. I have never tried to follow the crowd and that is okay with me. Today’s comments may step on toes but that is life. Please consider what I say and take it to God in prayer.

Now what I want to say is that a lot of things are much deeper and much greater in breadth than they appear. To me faith falls into that description. When I looked faith up in a systematic theology textbook it referred it to salvation. To me faith is so much more.

To me the Christian life is about God and Jesus. That is the beginning and end of it all. The person of the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit as you choose). All life exists in them, through them, and because of them. That is the story, nothing more or less. That means that faith is founded in them, rooted in them, and all focus should be on them.

Remember Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen?” Change faith to God, “God is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” While faith is considered a noun it also acts a whole lot like a verb. Remember we talked about it meaning to bind, binding like a rope that draws and binds.

When a cowboy ropes a calf he attaches the rope to the calf and then draws it to himself until the calf is captured and held. With God and us (you and me) it is God, the Father, son and Holy Ghost casting His rope to capture us, to draw us to Himself and capture, making us His. It is also us casting our rope to capture God and bind ourselves to Him never to let go of Him. That is a statement of faith. I belong to Jesus and I will never let go of Him, nor will He ever let go of me.

That is transcendent faith, it is saying so much more about what faith is and means. It transcends what people think about faith. It is not blind belief, it is not blind trust, it is a relationship with another person who happens to be God himself. Now that changes the perspective and takes it to a much higher level, the level of reality and truth.

Speaking of reality and truth I believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth. Science may think it comes close, math may think it is absolute but I submit that the only absolute truth is God and everything else falls so short when compared. I don’t know how the universe began, or when. Yes it is wonderful to consider and study, to research and seek the “how” of everything. But, you have to begin and end with God.

But I digress; let’s get back to talking about faith. Faith is about a relationship with a person who, in the context of Christian faith happens to be God. It should be, and God wants it to be, alive, active, real, so much more than many Christians even have a clue that it should be.

Final word, love God, live God, and breathe God. Capture God by faith and be bound to Him never to let go, never to doubt that that bond is anything but permanent and unbreakable. That is the bond of love, God’s love for you.

I had a dream

The Dream

I had planned to continue discussing and exploring the meaning of faith. That will happen later. Now, there are times when the profound occurs. That has happened and I am compelled to write about it and to tell about it.

I woke up this morning from a dream. I was compelled to get up and record what I had seen and experienced because it was a Holy dream, a Holy event and time had occurred. To me it actually happed like I had seen it. I had been a witness to Jesus and to His time of leaving here.

I rose and turned on the computer, not stopping to check email, my daily comics, not even the news, to read what terrible events were occurring in our world. A pot of coffee was started because I wanted a mug of the soothing drink in an earthenware or stoneware mug. I will take time and choose just such a mug because I am sharing this story with those who were not able to come and join this dream and be here for this event. This cup of coffee is one of those warm events shared by friends over coffee after all.

This dream occurred near Houston, down close to Interstate 10. The land and surrounding were scrub trees, tall grass and patches of oak and pine trees. It was now, modern times, not back near 0 A.D., not near Jerusalem. But He was here, walking with us just as real as He walked in those days.

Somehow, all of us who knew Him had felt called to gather near Him from wherever we were and from whatever we were doing, come, something important is about to happen, you are summoned. And we each knew that Jesus was leaving, that His time had come to an end to be with us. And we stopped wherever we were, left whatever we were doing, and we came and gathered. It was quiet, solemn, yet love permeated the event.

Strangely, Jesus did not look modern. He wore the long off-white robe, had the long hair and beard. His eyes were still clear and shining, piercing, able to penetrate wherever He looked, and we each knew He was looking into our hearts and minds.

One by one we were each called to walk with Him, into the field of scrub trees and brush, the path winding as Jesus and I walked, He talked and we were quiet. Quiet because we each knew what was happening, It was time for Him to go and leave this earth, this place and time. We knew He was going back to His home. We knew that one day each of us would join Him, but not today, not now.

All I knew was I was with Jesus, walking with Him in His last moments here with us. And I knew that just being with Him was enough, words weren’t needed. He was telling me He loved me. He was telling me it was okay, okay to cry, okay to miss Him, to know that I would be lost in the here and now. My heart would be wounded, sad, lonely.

Yet, He knew that I would have the others, you, to recall this day and time, to sit with a cup of coffee and say, “do you remember the day…….?” Yes, I would always remember the day. I remember this day, the day I woke from a dream. The day I was called and bidden to come, now, and the day he was just …..gone.

But the important part is that He knew, He knows, this day would come. He would no longer physically walk with us, be with us, and talk with us over a cup of coffee during the rising of the sun. But He knows that the sun will rise every day until the Father says it is time for it all to end, until it is time for each of us, for all of us, to come home and be with them forever.

Yes, I am crying over a dream but I am also enjoying a warm cup of coffee. I am thinking about all of the good, the good times, all of the blessings of knowing Him, of walking with Him, the blessings of friends, friends I can have a hot cup of coffee with and remember knowing Jesus in the flesh, of this His last day, His last hours and minutes. Of seeing Him disappear, of being gone. I will cherish this day, and I will cherish the memories, the pain, and the loss of my friend.

The picture is that of the cup of coffee sitting by the laptop on the dining room table, cluttered with the busyness of life. You can see that the sun is now fully shining. Notice that the coffee cup starts out at the bottom of the cup the same color as the coffee, then it changes as it goes up to a warmer brown, and is topped with royal blue glaze than fills the inside. I remember where I got this cup; I was with a friend at a pottery fair. I remember buying it because it was so warm and inviting, like a good cup of coffee with friends. I know where it was made and by whom. It is wonderfully made, balanced in handling, the right weight and size for a friendly cup of coffee.

He is gone, yet He bids me to live this day and every day. To tell of Him and tell of the marvelous life He has brought for each of us. To remember all. I will remember that this day it was also a part of saying goodbye to a friend. No, it was a dream, but it was real to me and it has meaning to me and I will cherish it because it is a memory of Him. He came and spent time with me and woke me from my slumber to give me such a memory of Him. I thank Him for this morning, this time, this dream.

A word, faith.

What is faith?

What does faith mean to you? What does the word faith mean? On first look these two questions appear to be the same, but they are far from it. One of them asks what a word, the word faith in this discussion, means while the other asks what does this thing mean to me. Down deep in my heart and mind what do I really embrace? Take time to examine what faith means and what do you embrace. The context for this is God and Jesus Christ, the church, and personal belief.

Let us in our examination of this word begin with the plain old dictionary before we delve ever deeper.

Dictionary.com says the following:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5.a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

World English Dictionary says this:
1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp. without proof or evidence
2. a specific system of religious beliefs: the Jewish faith
3. Christianity trust in God and in his actions and promises
4. a conviction of the truth of certain doctrines of religion, esp. when this is not based on reason
5. complete confidence or trust in a person, remedy, etc.
6. any set of firmly held principles or beliefs
7. allegiance or loyalty, as to a person or cause (esp. in the phrases keep faith , break faith)

Finally I offer the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary:
1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth. I have strong faith or no faith in the testimony of a witness, or in what a historian narrates.
2. The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, or probable evidence of any kind.
3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith; a faith little distinguished from the belief of the existence and achievements of Alexander or of Cesar.
4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God’s testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.

Webster goes on to say the following:
[L. fides, fido, to trust; Gr. to persuade, to draw towards any thing, to conciliate; to believe, to obey. In the Greek Lexicon of Hederic it is said, the primitive signification of the verb is to bind and draw or lead, as signifies a rope or cable. But this remark is a little incorrect. The sense of the verb, from which that of rope and binding is derived, is to strain, to draw, and thus to bind or make fast. A rope or cable is that which makes fast. Heb.]

I included the modern definitions simply to show how weak our use of language has become. Faith, that of rope and binding, to strain, to draw, to make fast. To make fast. Such beauty of words, such a picture of what faith means. To bind and make fast. You and God!

The Apostle Paul in Hebrews, chapter 11 and verse 1 says this: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This is the original King James English. Faith is substance, faith is evidence. When I work with clay I work with substance, I get my hands on the clay, around the clay, all through the clay. It is real, it has meat to it. Evidence, go into any court and watch what happens. The judge is only interested in the facts, the evidence. Your honor, the evidence shows that the accused did thus and so, was here or there. These, your honor are the facts, not opinion, not hearsay, but facts, evidence. Yet this speaks about that which is hoped for, that which is unseen, yet it is real.

So, what does faith mean to you? To what does it bind you to, bind you fast, bind you tight, and make you one with? I offer to you that faith can transform into know, can transcend hoped for and unseen into alive, into a reality that man here on earth can never acknowledge. Know is a verb, an action word, an alive being word.

Jesus is real. He is God’s Son, He is God made man. Can I prove it, no. Can you disprove it, no. But faith is binding fast to Him that is, it is becoming one with Him, alive in Him. And true life is only found in Him.

No title or “What, me worry?” – Part III

It has been a very interesting week, and not that all together good week. I have been very rushed, and worried about nothing, and have allowed myself to get behind the 8 ball, so to speak. Behind the 8 ball is an old term meaning you are running around like a chicken with its head cut off and you can’t get ahead to save your life. I am writing this from Houston where I am at my late wife’s cousin’s house. They have a kiln and were going to fire some pieces I had made. I .ill talk about that more on my art of earth and light blog.

When I was almost two hours late leaving I had the song “Jesus on the mainline, tell him what you want” running through my head for no reason. It is a nice song but not one of my favorites, but it was playing like a broken record in my head. I realized I needed to stop and talk with Jesus so I did. What was so refreshing was I knew what I wanted to ask Him for. “Jesus I want to be at peace with myself and with You.” So what does this peace look like, what should it look like, how should we live at peace with Jesus?

Before I discuss that I have to say that as I have been a Christian for 40 years now I know the answer! And if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior you know it as well. Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5, or “ If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” I Peter 6:8. Notice how Jesus Himself says “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” I really appreciate where Jesus makes His point crystal clear in this passage, …nor will I ever forsake you. He is always with me (me means you and me) and He will NEVER forsake me (that means me and you). Never is a pretty permanent word wouldn’t you say.

This is saying that the problem rests not in circumstances or other things, the problem rests with me (again, that means me and you). So why am I not content like Paul says I should be? Because I am trusting in sight, not walking by faith. Remember too, again, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”

The dilemma arises now that I prayed and asked Jesus for peace, with myself and with Him. Here we have a done deal, I asked for something within His will (perfect and permissive). Now, how do I appropriate it and walk in it? One step at a time, one day at a time. Clinging, resting, trusting, walking, add adjectives out the wazoo, it is trusting that He is Lord, His word is true, He is God. I do not need to know or even understand the mechanics of it. What I need to do is believe. This is the same belief I had to have when I asked Jesus into my life back in 1971, simple belief and faith, “Jesus, come into my life.” “I receive You as Lord and Savior.” That powerful, yet elegantly simple prayer transformed my life so many years ago. Radically, totally, completely, yet so very honestly. Have you prayed that and received Jesus into your life? First, and most importantly, if you have not I invite you to talk with God, one on one, to ask Him to make Himself real to you, where you are, who you are. Then you will be confronted with the truth and can make an honest decision.

Once we make that decision, then we enter into the promises of Hebrews and I Peter that I quoted above. Content in all things. I pray that I walk in this contentment and that you walk in it as well. Peace I speak to all who read these words and embrace them. The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Final comment and apology. I am new to blogging and although I can type directly into WordPress I have been writing the blogs in Microsoft Word because it is a larger, clearer type for me. The problem is that the pretty formatting does not transfer over (the Italics, the Bold, the underline, etc.). So the blog, for now, lacks all this nice emphasis where emphasis is needed. My apologies.

What, me worry? – Part 2

Yesterday .”I posted about a friends blog titled “the burdens of this life My focus was on the word worry I talked about being focused on the wrong things, thus worry sets in and things go downhill. Responding to a different tweet I said that we are our own worst enemy, and we are. we are blind, one sided (my side is always right after all), and as stubborn as they come. Does this ring a bell in your life?

I received an email this morning from WordPress (publishers of this blog) that someone was following my blog. Wow, some stranger (in a strange land if you like Robert Heinlein) wants to know what I write and say. That to me is very humbling. So being the person I am I researched to learn what I could about them. It appears they are in North Carolina and is about the business of being a real church by loving all people. That is nice. Reading further I found a statement from their mission statement that spoke to me. “…encounter the life changing message of Jesus Christ.” I have encountered Jesus Christ and I have embraced the life changing message He brought and shared (actually gave when He did on the cross). If this is so then why am I burdened and worried, why am I failing in the embracing part of a life in Christ? Why is probably the most common question people ask?

So far this post hasn’t said anything worth saying, it hasn’t addressed the problem, or any problem for that matter. We know we have problems, burdens, worries and we ask Why” but as human beings we become galvanized to inaction. I came up with that term. One dictionary defines galvanize as “stimulate somebody to act: to stimulate somebody or something into great activity.” But we become galvanized to inaction. We are like deer stuck in the headlights of an oncoming car.

I offer to myself and to each person that reads the following advice. Get up off your butt and return to your first Love, Jesus. It is not simply a matter of being “saved” or of security of the eternal, it is about living with the Living One,, of doing what we know is right, of doing, let me repeat that word, doing. That means not knowing but putting it into action. Yes, I have problems, worries, burdens, yada, yada, yada. But I will still proclaim I am alive (in this case through my fingers on a keyboard). I will keep on, breathing each breath knowing that it is a gift. I will tackle problems one by one and tell each one that it will not have control over me.

What, me worry?

http://aviewfromthepews.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/the-burdens-of-this-life/

In order to read this blog today you need to first read the post that is linked above. If I should have first asked for permission to link the blog I apologize for not doing so in advance.

Now the post above titled “the-burdens-of-this life” spurred me to ponder my life. The word worry stuck out and I commented that that did not seem to be what we should be about. I will copy my comment below in a minute. Do I worry? Yes, but I think that more than worry I have allowed myself to get caught up with myself and my life problems. I am much older than I once was (61, almost 62) my health, if I was honest, would be considered poor (ask me and I will tell you that it is decent, a lie). From a human standpoint I have problems and “woes is me” out the yazoo (that is a polite term for you know what). Yet the Lord gives me each new day, He gives me each breath I take in. He gives me the light of day and the dark of night, both are my/our friend. He feeds me, clothes me, shelters me. He brought a dog into my life along with two cats to befriend me. He is restoring my art.

The author of the above blog asks us top ponder things. When I do I see I have been focused on all the wrong things. The question then becomes how do I turn back to that which is important. He never leaves me nor forsakes me, even though I so quickly allow myself to get caught up in petty things (like myself). What about you? When was the last time you really talked with God? Let me repeat the question, when is the last time you really talked with God? One on one, mano to mano. Direct, God speak, I want to hear your voice. I invite you to take that time. Maybe in the shower or bathtub (good place to say God, wash me clean for I am filthy) or while looking at His creation that we call nature and the universe.

Here is my comment to the above blog post:
I first did a brief read through when I was first notified and thought about the hard drives I have sitting at home (state secrets, nuclear bomb plans, cure for all ills, etc.) contained on the drives. Heaven forbid if the Feds come knocking on my door after monitoring this note. I went back over the post while having supper of a brisket wrap. What, me worry? Can you name the famous person that said that? worry to me is a word that has its place but I don’t think your application is a proper one for it. Instead, what you are discussing is having our minds, lives, beings, etc. focused on Christ. Moreover it is not allowing the Holy Spirit to have full reign in our hearts, minds, beings, etc. Jesus is to be Lord of our entire life and that, to me, is the crux of where I fail. I refer back to Peter, in a boat on a stormy sea. Jesus calls him to come and join Him. Peter finds himself walking on water, then he realizes he is walking on water. That is not a normal state of affairs. I am now much older than I was, and not as healthy. Do I focus on all the things I could do and now can’t or do I focus on the fact I am one day closer to being with Jesus? I don’t think I am worried about all the negative, I think I am focused on it and not focused on the One who gives me my every breath. I say breath because that is our most basic need. Yes, He provides us with food, shelter, love, and so much more. But lets just keep a focus on the basics. He breathes His life into us with every breath we take. Thank you for a very thought provoking post.

Happy Birthday Nicholas!

Thank you Google for having as your doodle a drawing (in color no less) of the Solar System with the Sun at the center. For many umpteen years (that means so many you can’t count them) man thought the universe centered on good old planet Earth (after all the stars at night revolve around us, right). I have taken college courses in Astronomy and a requisite is the study of the history of Astronomy. Why, you ask, would we need to study the past to understand the present and the future? When we lay out the history we discover the thinking process that occurred to reach our present understanding of things. And in this picture (not the one of the Solar System but that of the history of Astronomy) we find that people had things wrong and we had to change our way of thinking about things.

Now, the world thought the universe centered on the Earth and Copernicus (that would be the Nicholas of Happy Birthday Nicholas, 740 years ago) said wait one minute. Let’s look at what we know, and don’t know, and see if we can discover the truth. He then developed a model that incorporated the Sun as the center of the solar system. The problem to then modern thinkers was that it did not fit the current established view.

Since I am probably boring you talking about someone so old and out of date let me continue the boredom with some of his tenets. These I have copied from Wikipedia and to whom I give credit:

1. There is no one center of all the celestial circles or spheres.
2. The center of the earth is not the center of the universe, but only of gravity and of the lunar sphere.
3. All the spheres revolve about the sun as their mid-point, and therefore the sun is the center of the universe.
4. The ratio of the earth’s distance from the sun to the height of the firmament (outermost celestial sphere containing the stars) is so much smaller than the ratio of the earth’s radius to its distance from the sun that the distance from the earth to the sun is imperceptible in comparison with the height of the firmament.
5. Whatever motion appears in the firmament arises not from any motion of the firmament, but from the earth’s motion. The earth together with its circumjacent elements performs a complete rotation on its fixed poles in a daily motion, while the firmament and highest heaven abide unchanged.
6. What appear to us as motions of the sun arise not from its motion but from the motion of the earth and our sphere, with which we revolve about the sun like any other planet. The earth has, then, more than one motion.
7. The apparent retrograde and direct motion of the planets arises not from their motion but from the earth’s. The motion of the earth alone, therefore, suffices to explain so many apparent inequalities in the heavens.

Pretty heady reading but it is very succinct in saying, hey folks, this is how the world really revolves. So I invite you to read his tenets and then tonight (if you have clear skies) go out and just spend time looking at the universe and spend enough time to allow the sky to move, to rotate in its dance. Maybe, if you are lucky, you will have some passing clouds to join in and add to the dance.

Finally, I believe in God. The funny thing is I have not seen any science that would dissuade me in my belief and what I see in the natural world, and in science, does nothing to lessen the belief that He is the Creator of it all and the One who puts all things into their dance, a dance so incredible that I can only find awe in it all.