The Random Yak

Call me Ishmael

Filed under: Faith Yak — Random Yak @ 10:41 am on May 5, 2010

In this case, literally.

The Bible recounts the life of a young man named Joseph, who had an impressive pair of dreams at the age of 15 or 16.  In the dreams, sheaves of grain and stars representing his older brothers (as well as the sun and moon, representing his parents) bowed before him, signaling that in the future he would rise to more importance than the rest of his family.

As usually happens, this news didn’t go over well with the rest of Joseph’s family.  His brothers first thought to kill him, but settled for selling him into slavery.  (After all, why commit a mortal sin when you can commit a lesser sin and turn a profit in the process!) Joseph spent the next 15 years of his life (give or take) as a slave and a prisoner – all of it under circumstances which made it less than likely, by worldly standards, that his dreams were anything but the fantasies of a youthful mind.

Until, in prison, Pharaoh’s servants had dreams, which God enabled Joseph to interpret – and some time later, the dreams came true.  Even then, Joseph remained in prison (though perhaps with a renewed hope that his interpretation of his original dreams might not have been mistaken).  But then, the year Joseph turned 30, Pharaoh himself had a pair of dreams that nobody could understand.  Nobody but Joseph, who was called from prison to tell Pharaoh what he knew.  Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, but as a result of the interpretation God allowed Joseph to give, and Pharaoh’s gratitude for the enlightenment, Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt – then the most powerful nation in the world.

Joseph’s dreams came true.  (Literally, if you read the rest of the story…but I’ll refer you to Genesis 40 et seq and let you read it for yourself.) And he had to wait a very, very long time for it to happen.

I have often wondered how Joseph managed through the dark days (and months, and years) when it seemed almost impossible for God’s promises to come to pass.  I imagine him standing in a prison cell, staring at the stars, praying and reminding himself that nothing – nothing – is impossible with God, no matter what the world says or thinks about it.  I consider how the people around him must have laughed at his faith, or dismissed it with shaking heads.  Joseph, you fool.  You’re a prisoner and a slave.  The only things bowing down to you are the sheaves of wheat your scythe cuts down.

But Joseph knew what God had told him, and he never lost faith that God was true.

Recently, I prayed a very serious prayer about some things I know to be true, as clearly as Joseph knew the interpretation of his dreams (and not much less impossible, if looked at by the world).  Like Joseph, I am waiting and trying to remain obedient and faithful until they come to pass.  Like Joseph, the years are passing, and like Joseph, I have reached the point where faith and patience are a matter of choice.  My faith is not weakened by the passage of time, but at some point we must decide whether or not we still believe our understanding is correct.  I have made that choice.  I still believe.

But last week I began to pray about these things I know to be true, and asked – if it wasn’t inappropriate, or too much trouble, or outside the rest of the Master Plan – if I could have some reassurance, some indication that I had in fact understood these things correctly, and that God had heard my prayers.  If it wasn’t too much trouble.  Some kind of little sign.

Every night for a week, I prayed this prayer.  I prayed it in confidence, knowing that I would continue to believe even if I didn’t receive a sign, but also knowing that the Bible tells us to place everything before God in prayer, because he cares for us.

This morning, the sign came, in an unexpected and dramatic form.  I received news that another prayer – one I now confess I prayed more from diligence than from belief that my words would make a difference (though I truly wanted them to make a difference, and hoped they would, I just considered the matter very, very difficult to achieve) – was granted, in a fashion that was nothing short of miraculous.

When I heard the news, I almost fell out of my chair.

I can’t tell you the exact nature of the proof at this time – that story isn’t mine to tell.  I can’t tell you – yet – the deeper things that prompted the prayers in the first place, though in time I may not have to.  Like Joseph’s dreams, they will be evident to all who know me when they actually come to pass.

But I would shirk my duty if I didn’t post to confess the truth I learned again this morning, in a form much more dramatic than I ever expected to see.

God is there.  He is listening, and when you speak, He hears you.  I will not hate you if you don’t believe that as I do, but if you don’t I offer you this challenge:  Try.  Sit down tonight, and tomorrow, and the next day, and say an honest prayer to the God who answered the prayers of the Yak – the Creator God of the Universe.  Ask Him to prove to you that He exists, and that he’s heard your prayer.  Don’t ask it as a challenge, or a dare.  Ask it from an honest wish to know if I spoke the truth.

He’s already promised He will answer.  Try it and see.

All Fridays are good, but not all are Good Friday.

Filed under: Faith Yak — Random Yak @ 10:45 am on April 2, 2010

April 2, 2010: Good Friday.

I have nothing to be grateful for, with the exception of everything.

Not everyone shares my opinions or my faith, but whether you do or not, I wish you a Happy and Blessed Good Friday, a Blessed Easter, and the sincere hope (and prayer) that the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.  May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.  (Numbers 6.22-26)

Happy Easter.

Good Friday, 2008:

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 12:21 pm on March 21, 2008

“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16.32-33, NASB)

What troubled you today?

Did you wake up late?  Trip over the cat on the way to the bathroom, knock your head on the counter and spill the coffee down your pants? 

When you reached the office, did you miss an important phone call? Did someone else take the last of the half and half, leaving you only skim milk?  Perhaps you lost a major client, or didn’t get that raise you needed wanted so badly.

On the personal front, you probably had a tiff with your spouse or lost your “significant other.”  The electric bill is late, and the dog took this opportunity to come down with some heinous tropical disease requiring $350 in X-rays and a $2,100 surgery.  The car won’t start.  Your mother-in-law announced a surprise Easter visit and your kid just informed you he won’t be passing algebra again this year.

In other words, that tropical island looks better by the minute.

I’ve got a better idea.  Smile.  Sit down, look out the window, and don’t answer the phone.  Watch the wind blowing the trees, and follow the puffy white cloud through the sky.  Yeah, that one.  The one that looks a little like Godzilla eating a candy cane.

Today is a good day.

You woke up this morning.  A lot of people didn’t.  You got out of bed, when a lot of people can’t.  You have a cat that loves you (when it’s not trying to break your neck) and you can afford a cup of coffee.

You have a job.

You have a car, even if it doesn’t always behave the way you’d like it to, and you have a family that loves you (even when you act a bit like a self-centered jerk).

Most importantly of all, you have access to God Himself.  He will listen to you beg and whine and gripe, and when you’re finished He’ll still love you just as much as He did before.  He went to the cross to promise you that death is not the end.  When you check out the coffee stain on your new pants, consider the stains he left on the cross at Calvary, and be humbled.  They left Him no pants to stain.  Your stubbed toe and bruised ego can’t compare with the physical, worldly pain he endured for your benefit – and mine – and all the rest of the enemies He had yet to save.  And yet, for all our faults and failings, He laid down his life on our behalf.

“For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5.6-8)

I lived many years in the world before accepting Christ’s everlasting gift.  I stubbed my toes, spilled my coffee and burned my midnight oil making my own light and seeking the unstable security that comes from things the world can provide.  An enemy of the cross by ignorance, not by intention (though intent isn’t a necessary element of that crime).

On the day that became Good Friday, Christ went to the cross, not for a good man, or even for the righteous, but for the enemies and sinners of a thousand generations yet unborn.  He died for you.  He died for me.

Consider, and be humbled.  You don’t need that tropical island, that raise or that Porsche.  Coffee washes out.  Bruised knees and egos heal.  In this world we will have tribulation, but we also have the greatest blessing any man, woman or child could possibly receive: a Creator God who loves us enough to die not only for the good, but for the human as well.

The Thursday Thirteen Days of Christmas

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Faith Yak,Holyday Yaks,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 1:20 pm on December 13, 2007

Today is the rarest of Thursday Thirteens. Not only is it Thursday, but it is the thirteenth day of December and it is exactly thirteen days (counting today) until Christmas Day.

For this triple witching, uh, watching thirteenth, the Yaks bring you the thirteen days of Christmas gifts that we have already received this year. (No partridges in pear trees were disrespected or misappropriated in the making of this list.)

1. Every day that we experienced God’s love, forgiveness and grace. That is, every day that we accepted this most-precious gift.

2. Every day that we shared love, forgiveness and/or grace with anyone else.

3. The day we had the automobile accident, but no one was hurt.

4. The day Myak forgot all to pack a dress shirt for an out-of-town event, but an alternative clothing choice was providentially available.

5. The day we had popcorn at the office.

6. The day I did not vent my emotions as venomously as I felt them. (Unfortunately, this gift was much rarer this year than in other times.)

7. The day that God provided a way out well before I knew that I needed it. That is, I am thankful for this special instance that I recognized, knowing that God is doing this constantly without my conscious notice.)

8. All the days before the fuse on all of the outdoor Christmas lights blew out, again.

9. Online Christmas shopping.

10. Finishing Christmas shopping with thirteen days to go. (This is for RYak. For Myak, this goes on the Christmas wish list.)

11. The days that all of the family were together again.

12. Every day that the United States did not experience a terrorist attack.

13. Every day an American soldier is not injured or killed defending our country.

No “Christmas” Shopping in Citrus Heights

Filed under: Christmas Alliance,Faith Yak,Holyday Yaks,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 12:25 pm on December 6, 2007

If you drive by and see the brightly lit trees and banners promoting shopping in the Sunrise Marketplace commercial area and at the Sunrise Mall in the city of Citrus Heights, California (as I did recently), you can’t miss the city’s decorations strategically placed on the center median of Sunrise Boulevard, decorations emblazoned with expressions of “Peace,” “Hope” and “Joy” and even, around a corner, banners expressing “Holiday Greetings” — but no “Christmas.” 

What is the reason for Hope?  Jesus, whose coming brought the only true reason for hope the world will ever know.  But it’s not worth a mention by Citrus Heights. 

How do we find Joy? presents? family? vacation?  All good, but alone, not enough for true joy.  Joy comes from Someone greater than friends or family and a gift beyond price and freely given to all.  Joy comes from God our Creator, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, at Christmas.  But that does not merit a banner in Citrus Heights. 

Peace is the desire of every heart.  The world pronounces “Peace, peace” when there is no peace, but Jesus gives the “peace that exceeds all understanding.”  The city of Citrus Height saw no reason to note the reason we can have peace, or joy or hope at Christmastime. 

Whoever heard of a birthday party that carefully, cautiously and oh-so correctly suppressed references to the child whose birthday is celebrated around the world on December 25? 

Its a sad, sad Christmas in Citrus Heights.  Yes, I did go there to shop (as the city’s decorations hoped to entice me to do) and, no, I will not boycott merchants and the Sunrise Mall for the shortsightedness of the city planners.  I will still shop at stores that acknowledge “Christmas.”

Oh, yeah, tonight the city of Citrus Heights will light its “Christmas Tree.”  Couldn’t think of another name apparently.  Remember, Citrus Heights is the city that brings the world its annual summer parade the week before July 4 and calls it not an Independence Day parade but the bland (and inoffensive to everyone, but me) ”Red, White and Blue Parade.” 

Citrus Heights, Public Relations Department.  Memo to all City officials: ”Remember during the holiday season, there are two topics in multicultural America today that we all must be most careful to downplay: God and Country.” 

Citrus Heights is concluding its own year-long self-congratulatory 10-year city birthday celebration, and on the whole I admit that I have been relatively pleased with its development, except for the above-mentioned and glaring patriotic omissions and Christmas-demeaning snubs. 

How would you like it, Citrus Heights, if Sacramento County gave you a birthday party but refused to mention you by name?  That’s what you’ve done to Christmas.

Linked to the Christmas Alliance homepage.

Random Wednesday Thought: Fortitude

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 11:08 am on September 12, 2007

Reaching major life goals sometimes feels a lot like playing a game of “last man standing” on the beach as the tide comes in.

Anyone who’s been six and gone to the beach knows what I’m talking about.  End of the day.  The sun sinks into the horizon, warm on your back.  You stand facing the dry sand, knee deep in water, and let the waves try to suck you backward.  You can’t see them coming, so you don’t know when to brace yourself against the sudden rush of water against the back of your knees.  If you manage to stay upright the waves retreat, pulling you backward, and you struggle to maintain your balance against the sucking of the sea.

One by one the kids around you fall, laughing, into the waves.  They surrender to the pressure of forces stronger than a child’s strength to stand.  Last man standing wins.  As a rule, all he (or sometimes she) takes away are bragging rights and perhaps the satisfaction of knowing (s)he stood against the waves a little longer than the last time – though hopefully a little less than the next time.

As we grow, we sometimes forget the need to stand, laughing, in the water while the waves tug at our knees.  We often forget that the world consists of forces much greater than our personal ability to withstand – though the fortunate among us also know we need not stand alone.  We also forget that while fortitude alone won’t make you the last man standing, the last man standing always had the fortitude to refuse to fall.

Remember that when everyone around you goes crashing into the waves.  Laughing or not, the fact that they reached the end of their fortitude doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve reached the end of yours. 

Sometimes, the only difference between knowing you are meant to stand and actually achieving it comes down to simply having the fortitude to refuse to fall.

Trackposted to Perri Nelson’s Website, Leaning Straight Up, The Bullwinkle Blog, third world county, and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.  

Church Cannot Refuse To Employ Homosexual Youth Minister UK Tribunal Rules

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks,Law Yaks,Yaks of the Week — Maniyak @ 2:15 pm on July 27, 2007

An openly practicing homosexual who was refused a post as a youth officer by the Bishop of Hereford has won his case for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation beforethe Employment Tribunal (UK).

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Judgment Day: Angels and Men

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 12:01 am on July 22, 2007

A Judgment Day has already come and gone, for many, but the final Judgment Day is yet to come, for us all. In Second Peter 2 and the book of Jude, seven historical examples of God’s Judgment are noted as warnings of God’s future judgment and as reassurance that in judgment God will remember mercy for those who have asked for mercy by accepting the salvation offered only in Jesus Christ.

The first example of God’s judgment, chronologically, is the pre-historic judgment on Satan and the fallen angels.

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment … [9] then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment. …” 2Peter 2.4, 9.

“Angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, God has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. …” Jude 6.

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An Object Lesson in Rabbit Trails

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Random Yak @ 3:07 pm on July 18, 2007

Today’s Object Lesson: some things, you’re better off not knowing. Unless, of course, that’s not the case.

While running through the results of a google search for “ea” (to confirm that this is, in fact,an all-vowel word meaning “a stream or riverbed”) I came across the following website:

Emotions Anonymous.

Yes, this appears to be a real organization dedicated to the proposition that twelve-step recovery programs aren’t just for alcoholics and overeaters. Now I don’t personally qualify, because the websitereserves membership for those possessed of a (strange and inexplicable) “desire to become well emotionally.”

Joking aside, I looked into the Twelve Step recovery program advocated by EA, withthe full intent of subjecting the organization to a complete and thorough verbal drubbing.Certain I would discoveryet another humanistic, relativistic program dedicated to the proposition that “I’m OK, You’re OK, and Nothing is Forbidden,” I looked forward to decorating, hanging andsystematically destroyingyet another Personal Pinata of Fisk.

But it was not to be. (more…)

FALSE PROPHETS, OLD AND NEW

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 12:01 am on July 8, 2007

“Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Jude 3.

1. Recognize and Defend the Truth of the Word of God and Prophecy.

1.1 The “prophecy of scripture” represents the words of “men moved by the Holy Spirit” who “spoke from God.” 2Peter 1.19-21. Miracles provide proof of the truth of future prophecies, especially the miracle of past prophecies fulfilled, such as the Messianic prophecies Peter references, 1.19.1.2 “Prophecy” biblically refers to any expression of the word of God, whether regarding the present or the future. 2Peter 1.19-21; 1Peter 4.11.

“Surely the Lord GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets. [8] A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”Amos 3.7-8.

Prophecy, a gift of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12.7-11; 2Peter 1.20-21), does not replace love, a fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5.22; 2Peter 1.7; 1Corinthians 13-14 (13.2-3; 14.1-5, 29-32, 37-39). We need both truth and love; each define the other. Love must not be permitted to compromise truth, nor truth permitted to compromise love. “Speak the truth in love.”

1.3 False prophets. (a) Two kinds of false prophets exist: People who prophesy about the future but whose prophecies are not fulfilled, Deuteronomy 18.20-22; and people who prophesy against the truth and reality of the living God, whether or not their future prophesies come true, Deuteronomy 13; 2Peter 2.1; Jude 4.

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EVIDENCE THAT JESUS IS GOD AND THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 9:36 pm on June 30, 2007

Wisdom and Warnings: 2 Peter, Jude and Ecclesiastes

2 Peter 1.12-21, Proof of Divine Inspiration of the Bible

1. Review: Faith in Supernatural Reality and the Dynamics of Spiritual Growth. 2Peter 1.12-15. Faith and spiritual reality, 1.1-4; progress of faith, 1.5-11.

1.1 The importance of spiritual reminders, 1.12-13. Examples: (a) Rainbows, Genesis 9.1-17. (b) Abraham’s altars, Genesis 12.7, 8; 13.4, 14-18; a tamarisk tree, 21.33 (22-34). (c) Isaac’s altar, Genesis 26.23-25. (d) Jacob’s pillar, Genesis 28.18, 22 (10-22). (e) The tabernacle, the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the ark of the covenant, Exodus 24.12 (31.18; 32.15-19; 34.1, 4, 27-28); 25.8-10, 16, 22; 26.30; (f) Sabbath rest, Exodus 31.12-17; 34.21. (g) The memorial stones in the Jordan River upon entrance into the Promised Land, Joshua 3-4; 4.1-9, 20-24. (h) Personal testimonies, e.g., Psalm 145. The Bible itself is a spiritual reminder. Compare the Declaration of Independence, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial.

1.2 Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s betrayal, restoration and death, 1.14-15. Jesus told Peter (prophesied) that (a) he would be tested by Satan, Luke 22.31-32; (b) he would betray Jesus, Luke 22.33-34, Matthew 26.31-35, Mark 14.27-31, John 13.36-38 (prophecy fulfilled, Matthew 26.36-41, 69-75; Mark 14. 34-37, 66-72; Luke 22.39-46, 54-62; John 18.15-18, 25-27); and (c) he would be restored, serve God and die at the hands of his enemies, as a martyr, Luke 22.32, John 21.15-22.

1.3 Through this ego-crushing experience, Peter learned humility and the true meaning of agape, godly love. Note the use of agape and phileo (brotherly kindness, friendship, love), in John 21.15-17, and in the final progression of faith, 2Peter 1.7.

1.4 Peter recalls these facts in 2Peter 1.14-15 for two reasons: first, to emphasize his exhortation to live in the reality and power of the spiritual world, by faith, because this is his last opportunity to remind them; and, second, to illustrate his own knowledge and reliance on spiritual forces, as confirmed by his personal experience.

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Apologies for Last Sunday

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 9:33 pm on

Sorry, I simply forgot to post last Sunday’s Bible study on 2 Peter 1.5-11, the Progression of Spiritual Development. I wrote it and taught it but forgot to post it. Someday I will post it, but not today. I apologize.


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Spiritual Reality from an Eternal Perspective, 2 Peter 1.1-4

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 10:04 pm on June 16, 2007

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: [2] Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, [3] seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by [or, to] His own glory and excellence. [4] For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2Peter 1.1-4.

The first four verses of Second Peter contain a flowchart of the spiritual dynamics of faith in the Christian life, within a grid integrating the truth, reality, values and meaning of a Christian worldview.

1. “Simon Peter” (1.1). The author is Peter. Issues re authorship: (a) Name, writing style, vocabulary (but see 1Peter 5.12, Silvanus helped Peter write First Peter; Second Peter was written by Peter himself, less skillfully); (b) proto-Gnosticism (2d century), beginnings existed in First Century; (c) similarity of 2Peter 2 to Jude; (d) references to writings of Paul in 3.15-16, despite Paul’s rebuke of Peter in Galatians 2.11-14 (but see Acts 15.36-40, 2Timothy 4.11 re Mark, Paul earlier rebuked Mark but later expressed great respect and fondness for him. The early Christians did not hold grudges!).

2. “[O]ur God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (1.1). In Greek, use of one article (tou, the) with two nouns (God, Savior) means a reference to one person. Peter is stating that Jesus is God and Savior (so also in 2.20; 3.2; 3.18; Titus 2.13; cf. 1.2; 1Peter 1.3).

3. “[F]aith of the same kind as ours” (1.1). Biblical faith is not subjectively believing or trusting in something or someone. Biblical faith has two essential components. First, faith requires knowledge of the reality of God and the unseen, spiritual world and its power, 1Corinthians 2.4-13; 2Corinthians 4.18-5.7; Hebrews 11.1, 3, 10, 13-16, 27. Second, faith means relying on God and the reality and powers of the spiritual world in the present, natural world. Hebrews 10.32-39; 11.6. Peter’s faith was not special because he was an apostle. All Christians must have the same kind of faith.

4. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (1.2). Knowledge of God based on true faith causes grace and peace to increase in our lives. The dynamic (flow chart) is faith >(in the) knowledge of God >grace and peace. If we want grace and peace from God, we must seek greater knowledge of God and then rely on that knowledge, that is, exercise faith. Grace and peace are not gifts of God like random answers to prayer. They are states of spiritual growth. Grace and peace are acquired by prayer, yes, but not in isolation. Grace and peace proceed from faith in the knowledge of God. People who have God’s grace and peace are rare and distinctive, perceptually different from people without faith or knowledge of God.

5. “Grace” refers to God’s intervention on our behalf. We are saved by grace, through faith, or we are not saved at all, Ephesians 2.8-10. Only grace is sufficient to overcome the power of sin in our lives and evil in the world, Hebrews 4.12-16.

6. “Peace” means the calm assurance that God is in control and acting on our behalf. Peace is not the absence of difficulty, suffering or turmoil, John 14.27; 16.33; Romans 8.28 (26-39). When we pray and place our faith in God concerning dangers and problems in our lives, God acts in response to our prayers and also gives us “peace that surpasses comprehension,” Philippians 4.6-7.

7. The experience of faith >(in the) knowledge of God >grace and peace describes a model of the Christian life which appears to be typical of most Christians who live by their faith and knowledge of God. People who call themselves Christians but who have not placed real faith in the knowledge of God do not experience this grace and peace. But Peter goes on to describe a second, more dynamic experience of faith in God. Here is Peter’s flowchart of the spiritual dynamics of the Christian life:

[My limited editing skills in WordPress do not enable me to reproduce the chart accurately. Here is an approximation. I will send a pdf version to anyone who requests one by email.]

Faith> in the knowledge

of God >grace

>peace

>through the true

knowledge of God>power

>promises

(by them)

>everything

>life

>godliness

>glory (of God)

>excellence

(virtue, morality)

>partakers of

the divine nature

World >lust>corruption>[death]

James 1.14-15

This grid presents a complete Christian worldview:

Reality Truth Values Purpose

(ontology) (epistemology) (axiology) (teleology)

8. “[T]hrough the true knowledge” of God. The dramatically greater impact of faith in the lives of Christians living on the second level of faith is explained by differences in the “knowledge of God.” In both levels of faith the knowledge referred to (epiginosko in Greek) means full, empirical, personal and experiential knowledge, not abstract knowledge or mental theory. Knowledge is described as receptive and passive in the first level of faith (“in”), that is, these believers are receivers from God (spiritual consumers),butin the second level of faith (“through”) knowledge is more internalized and applied, and believers are active (spiritual producers), being used by God. In the first level knowledge is contained, like water in a lake; in the second knowledge is dynamic, powerful and purposeful, like water in a rushing river. The phrase “true knowledge” means an exact and detailed knowledge of God, by experience, by study and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

9. “Glory” here means demonstrating the power of the spiritual world in the natural world, as Jesus did. John 2.11. Jesus has given us his earthly glory, John 17.22-23.

10. Christians are called to become sons of God, Romans 8.14-21, not gods or God.

British Cabinet Member Fem Smokin’ Mad at Iran

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks,News Yaks — Maniyak @ 12:57 pm on June 11, 2007

Remember last month when Iran took 15 British sailors and marines hostage? One of the hostages was a woman, and I just now came across the uncompromising, clarion call for liberty, peace and rational morality in the public statement made at the time by a female member of the British cabinet, Patricia Hewitt:

“It was deplorable that the woman hostage should be shown [on Iranian television] smoking. This sends completely the wrong message to our young people.”

Who knew that the war on terrorism was to make the world safe for nonsmokers?

“Iran, we plead with you. Please save the West, from second-hand smoke and global warming. Nuke us if you must, but save us from ourselves.” Ms. Hewitt, on the other hand,cannot smoke because she has her foot in her mouth, permanently.

Belated reporting thanks to First Things, June/July 2007, page 66.

Wisdom and Warnings: TRY Summer Bible School Course Outline

Filed under: Faith Yak,Just Yaks — Maniyak @ 12:01 am on June 10, 2007

Wisdom and Warnings: 2 Peter, Jude and Ecclesiastes

TRY Summer Bible School readings and course outline.

Week One, June 17. 2Peter 1.1-4. Spiritual Reality from an Eternal Perspective. These four verses reveal a flowchart of the spiritual dynamics of the Christian life within a grid integrating the truth, reality, values and meaning of a Christian worldview.

Week Two, June 24. 2Peter 1.5-11. Progress of Faith, Sequence of Spiritual Growth. After faith in God, what comes next? Then what? Where is God leading us?

Week Three, July 1. 2Peter 1.12-21. Proof of Divine Inspiration of the Bible.

Second Peter 2 contains the same teachings and makes essentially the same arguments as the book of Jude. They should be read and studied together.

Week Four, July 8. Jude 1-7; 2Peter 2.1-10. False Prophets, Old and New. “Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” Jude 3.

Week Five, July 15. Jude 8-16; 2Peter 2.11-19. False Prophets, Then and Now. False teaching from professed believers vs. true wisdom from non-canonical sources.

Week Six, July 22. 2Peter 2.20-22; Hebrews 6.4-8 (4-20); 10.26-39; 12.15-17. Christians at the Edge of the Pit. These are sensitive and challenging passages about Christians who abandon the life of faith.

Week Seven, July 29. Jude 17-19; 2Peter 3.1-9. Creation, Time and Relativity.

Week Eight, August 5. 2Peter 3.10-13; Zechariah 14. The World Will End in Fire.

Week Nine, August 12. Jude 20-25; 2Peter 3.14-18; 1John 5.16-18; 2Timothy 2.21-26; 1Corinthians 3.10-15. Blameless Before God. Preparing for Judgment Day.

Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes to explain the ultimate futility of trying to understand life and to find lasting meaning and purpose in our lives apart from God and the reality of eternal life. Solomon was given special, divine wisdom, spoke personally with God and saw God miraculously answer his prayers (1Kings 3; 4.29-34; 2Chronicles 7), but he turned away from God to follow his many wives and to worship false gods (1Kings 11), which explains the painful lessons of loss, despair and meager hope in Ecclesiastes.

Week Ten, August 19. Ecclesiastes 1-3. Wisdom, Pleasure and Knowledge of God.

Week Eleven, August 26. Ecclesiastes 4-6. Wisdom, Wealth and Power.

Week Twelve, September 2. Ecclesiastes 7-9. Wisdom, Work and Women.

Week Thirteen, September 9. Ecclesiastes 10-12. Weighing Words of Wisdom.


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