Last Sunday morning I went to my old church in Princeville, had lunch with some friends and ended up going back to the evening service with them. The evening’s sermon wasn’t so much a profound teaching from scripture as an exhortation about health – a reminder that my body, as the Holy Spirit’s temple, should be maintained both through physical exercise and healthy eating.
Now, it’s pretty common for my mind to start wandering in church… I’ll hear one thing that’ll trigger a thought that leads to another, and before long I’m on a totally different subject. It’s usually an equally edifying subject, but still different. That happened last Sunday; I heard “body,” and started thinking about how the body correlates to the soul.
In the beginning God created; first animals, then people. But he created them different from each other. While the animals only have a body, humans are made of body and soul. Shortly after being created humans rebelled against God. The consequence for this rebellion was death – for the body it was physical (it’s ultimate destination is six feet under), and for the soul it was spiritual (never-ending separation from God).
Over the years laws were put in place to try and redeem the body – but despite people’s best intentions and attempts they always fell short. It wasn’t until Jesus provided a way for the soul to be redeemed that people could truly be reunited with their Creator.
So, while both the body and soul are doomed to die, the soul can be redeemed. But until the body dies the soul must fight the temptation of the body, which cannot be redeemed (though it can be given new life – Romans 8:11).
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
8:30 PM – Started logging 24 hours of my life due to a topic prompt on words.bighugelabs.com. I haven’t posted much of anything on my blog, so this is my lame attempt at coming up with content. Maybe it’ll turn out to be kinda fun, though!
9:00 PM – Played a couple Bach Cello Suites, and Vivaldi Cello Sonata in A Minor. It’s been a little while since I’ve played… I visited a different church last Sunday so I didn’t play for church, and I’ve been super busy at work all week so I didn’t have too much extra time in the day when I wasn’t totally exhausted.
9:40 PM – Went to bed after a dessert of Strawberry Shortcake with vanilla and Rocky Road ice cream. I’m tuckered out from the day – it was good though, ’cause I finally got my car fixed!
8:30 AM – Woken up by Chad for breakfast. They fixed scones, grits, and scrambled eggs – delicious! Had some weird dreams last night – don’t remember any of them, except that they all involved me hiding from bad guys.
10:30 AM – Went to church at the Yess’ house. Garth talked more from Ephesians 6 about being imitators of Christ, and what that entails. Afterwards we shared a meal and visited.
2:45 PM – Went to Wildlife Prairie State Park. Showed the folks all the work I’ve done there over the past year – Silver Fox pen, bear pen, various roofs and odd jobs, and the two current projects (rebuilding a pavilion and building a butterfly pen). We got ice cream and supper at Culver’s after.
6:45 PM – Went out and rode Oakey with my cousin Kiersti. It was kinda overcast this morning, but cleared up and was a gorgeous evening for riding. We gave Oakey a much needed grooming – Spirit was too skittish to get near enough to be brushed.
8:30 PM – Had some milk and cookies while I posted this.
“Man knows good and evil, but because he is not the origin, because he acquires this knowledge only at the price of estrangement from the origin, the good and evil that he knows are not the good and evil of God but good and evil against God. They are good and evil of man’s own choosing, in opposition to the eternal election of God. In becoming like God man has become a god against God.
“This finds it’s expression in the fact that man, knowing of good and evil, has finally torn himself loose from life, that is to say from the eternal life which proceeds from the choice of God. ‘And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever . . . he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life’ (Gen. 3.22 and 24). Man knows good and evil, against God, against his origin, godlessly, and of his own choice, understanding himself according to his own contrary possibilities; and he is cut off from the unifying, reconciling life in God, and is delivered over to death. The secret which man has stolen from God is bringing about man’s downfall.
“Man’s life is now disunion with God, with men, with things, and with himself.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Ethics, chapter 1 pages 23 and 24
Before a couple weeks ago, it had been a long time since I’d posted on here. Well… besides the occasional picture post. But otherwise, nothing. I just never had anything to say; there wasn’t anything that I felt was important enough to post about. It’s not that there wasn’t anything happening in my life – quite the contrary. Just, what was happening wasn’t good for the blog – or me.
“Two steps forward, and three steps back” is how I’d describe my life over the past couple months. No… years, actually. At first it was in little things; things that most Christians are fine with. As I became more comfortable with those I’d take more steps backwards, camouflaged by the steps forward. And so the pattern continued.
Family and close friends are wonderful – they never let you go down without a fight. Their fight over me was fought on their knees, in prayer. Sure, some shared their thoughts with me; they let me know what they thought about the path I was headed down; they even told me that they, and some of their (and my) closest friends were praying for me. But I still didn’t have a clue about how many people were actually praying.
The changes were small at first. Really just changes to moral issues I had. But as I tried to “clean up” my life by myself, the Lord taught me that on my own I can only a fail – that the only way to have true victory over my life and my sin is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I’m very thankful for friends and family who care enough and love me enough to pray. I’ll never underestimate the power of the prayers of the righteous.
I came to realize for the first time that the many references in the New Testament to “Christ in you” and “you in Christ” and “Christ our life” and “abiding in Christ” are not figures of speech but literal, actual, blessed fact. Before that August morning in 1910, I’d always known Christ was my Savior, but I had looked upon Him as an external Savior, one who did a saving work for me, from the outside, always ready to come alongside and help me by providing power, strength, and salvation. But now I knew something better: Jesus Christ was actually and literally within me. And even more than that, He Himself constituted my very life, taking me – body, mind, and spirit – into union with Himself, while I retained my own identity, free will, and full moral responsibility.
It meant I need never again ask Him to help me as though He were apart from me. Instead I could ask Him simply to do His work and His will in me and with me and through me. My body was His, my mind His, my will His, my spirit His. And not merely His, but literally a part of Him.
He was asking me to recognize this truth: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Jesus Christ Himself had become my life.
Charles Trumbull – Victory in Christ, “The Life that Wins” p.27-28
I just finished reading Signs of Life by David Jeremiah. What an amazing book! The book was designed to be read a chapter a day, for forty days of new challenges. It’s definitely high on my recommendations list.
The last chapter of the book is simply a list of the forty signs of life talked about in each chapter. Even though it had been months since I read the first chapters (yeah… I didn’t quite get through the book 40 days), they were still challenging and encouraging to read. They are:
1. My words and actions evidence Christ’s indwelling.
2. My faith is expressed through works.
3. I am a source of light in a dark world.
4. Every moment of my life is a living moment with God.
5. I am conscious of influencing those around me.
6. Those who witness my life see Jesus.
7. The imprint of my Christian life will remain for eternity.
8. I am willing to get my feet dusty in the streets of my community.
9. My walk supports my Christian talk.
10. Opportunities to share Christ are divine appointments.
11. The most important thing to say is “Jesus loves you.”
12. The needs of others are as important as my own.
13. I am a walking, living advertisement for the Lord.
14. Every day I create incriminating evidence to prove that I am a follower of Christ.
15. Hearing the Lord’s direction begins with prayer.
16. I am open and listening for God’s direction.
17. Unconditional surrender to God brings me spiritual victory.
18. My love for God is greater than my affection for anything in this desirable but deadly world.
19. My life is not plagued by worry because I am held tightly in God’s hands.
20. I am willing to be pliable in the hands of God.
21. I participate in personal ministry that impacts my community.
22. The world sees the heart of God through the work of my hands.
23. The major theme of my life is love.
24. My behavior reflects the teaching of Jesus.
25. Those two come in contact with me leave encouraged.
26. I courageously walk though the open doors God puts before me.
27. My life makes waves in the hearts of those around me.
28. Humility is the hallmark of my service.
29. I look for ways to generously give to others.
30. I give to others because God has given richly to me.
31. Nothing stands in my way of following Jesus.
32. God is free to use any area of my life to do his will.
33. I am a faithful steward of all God has given me.
34. I take time each day to mine God’s word.
35. There is always more I can do for God’s kingdom.
36. Compassion is my passion.
37. I care… regardless.
38. Others will know I am a Christian by my love.
39. My love for others is not conditional on their meeting my standards.
40. I am a channel of God’s grace to others.
The weakest trees grow by themselves. The strongest trees grow in the forest. The weakest trees will bow and break when strong winds blow. The strongest trees, because they are surrounded by other trees, will be able to stand strong winds.
Today my boss, Fedi Davidovics, talked to me a little bit about my life as a Christian. He stated that we have two enemies – the physical, and the spiritual. If I, as a Christian, try to fight the spiritual battle alone, when the worst assaults come I won’t be able to stand as strong as if I have surrounded myself with a host of other Christians.
The weakest Christians stand by themselves. The strongest Christians stand with other Christians. The weakest Christians will bow and break when strong winds blow. The strongest Christians, because they are surrounded by other Christians, will be able to stand strong winds.