Friday, December 14, 2012

Uniquely Unique. . .

On the first reading the title of this article is a silly phrase, appearing redundant. . .We can think of other similar phrases: wet water, hot fire, dark darkness, sweet sugar. Any adjective added to unique emphasizing uncommonness, is repetitive and superfluous. Very unique. . . extremely unique. . .possibly found in the conversation of those who do not love precision of language. Unique means to be alone in its characteristics. If alone, then to be very alone or extremely alone, adds little meaning and the addition of adjectives to ‘unique’ dilutes and distracts from the true meaning of what it is to be unique.

But uniqueness is a function of vision. The closer the inspection, the sharper the vision, items appearing to be the same, are resolved to become in fact unique. Precision ball bearing, are manufactured to astoundingly close tolerances. The ultimate goal is for them to be strictly identical. Smoothness of operation, rotational concentricity, and long life of the mechanism all depend upon the balls in the race being twins of one another. Each bearing the load placed upon the race equally, but even with as much utmost care taken as is possible, micron and submicron differences can be discerned in diameter, weights differ when measured accurately to many decimal places, mirrored surface finishes can be compared and ranked, surface hardness. . . internal grain structure. . . feature after feature. Items meant to be the same, taken as the same, considered the same with close enough vision are found to be in fact uniquely different.

Other items of the same in concept or function. . . imagine viewing a million thumbs aside one another. Short, wide, fat, thin, wrinkled, smooth, black, brown, white, yellow, red. . . long nails, closely cropped nails, dirty nails, painted, bitten, manicured, chipped. . . healthy, unhealthy. . . newborn, and ancient, for all their differences, are still recognizable as thumbs. They are the same, and yet all different. Their difference can be quantified by peering again more closely at them. The study of the prints of thumbs, divides them into classes: plain arch, tented arch, radial loop, ulnar loop, plain whorl, central pocket whorl, double loop whorl, and central pocket whorls. Micro universes of staggering complexity, and structure, uniqueness visible only under magnification.

Every thumb is the same appearing, taking the same position on the hand, having the same function to the person, and aside from its differences is recognizable as a thumb, but different. . . unique on many levels, and quantifiably unique, and greatly studied in the pattern of the skin, . . .its print.

Uniqueness is ubiquitous. . . Uniqueness is everywhere. Every tree, every rock, every sunrise, every star in the sky. . . every baby. . . every smile. . . every breath and heartbeat. . . every tear is different, and if looked at closely enough exists alone from the beginning of time as an individual. My grandfather loved sailing upon Lake Michigan. He often remarked, that the color of the Lake was never the same from one day to the next. Wind, sun, clouds, the clarity of the water itself, ever changing. . . endlessly changing.

Simply being unique does not create value. The cars in the junkyard differ in more ways than those same cars did when sitting on the showroom floor. They are given no value because their class is so large. It is not at all difficult to find junkyard cars, but to find a showroom new Cadillac 50 years after its manufacture increases its value greatly, for the class of such cars is tiny. Simply being an individual unlike any other, does not automatically give value, but being in a small and desired class greatly increases worth.

Therefore we see that uniqueness is ubiquitous. . . but there is One who is uniquely unique. There is one who resides alone in His class. Who has none of His type with which to even compare. No micro-measurement is necessary to discern difference between He and others. There are no others even remotely similar to Him. Indeed no micro-measurement is possible. The scope of view required to wholly take in this uniquely unique Entity, would require a scope of the entire universe.

We are of course speaking of the Living God. Here is a list of 26 verses which speak of His uniqueness. . . with none to compare to Him. . .

Deuteronomy 4:39
Know therefore this day,
and consider it in thine heart,
that the LORD he is God in heaven above,
and upon the earth beneath:
there is none else.

Deuteronomy 6:4
O Israel:
The LORD our God is one LORD:

1 Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the LORD:
for there is none beside thee:
neither is there any rock like our God.

2 Samuel 7:22
Wherefore thou art great,
for there is none like thee,
neither is there any God beside thee,
according to all that we have heard with our ears.

1 Kings 8:60
That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God,
and that there is none else.

1 Chronicles 17:20
there is none like thee,
neither is there any God beside thee,
according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Nehemiah 9:6
Thou, even thou,
art LORD alone;
thou hast made heaven,
the heaven of heavens,
with all their host,
the earth,
and all things that are therein,
the seas,
and all that is therein,
and thou preservest them all;
and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Psalms 86:8
Among the gods
there is none like unto thee,
O Lord;
neither are there any works
like unto thy works.

Psalms 86:10
For thou art great,
and doest wondrous things:
thou art God alone.

Isaiah 43:11
I, even I, am the LORD;
and beside me
there is no saviour.

Isaiah 43:13
Yea, before the day was I am he;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand:
I will work,
and who shall let it?

Isaiah 44:6
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel
, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts;
I am the first,
and I am the last;
and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 44:8
Fear ye not, neither be afraid:
have not I told thee from that time,
and have declared it?
ye are even my witnesses.
Is there a God beside me?
yea, there is no God;
I know not any.

Isaiah 44:24
Thus saith the LORD,
thy redeemer,
and he that formed thee from the womb,
I am the LORD that maketh all things;
that stretcheth forth the heavens alone;
that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 45:5
I am the LORD,
and there is none else,
there is no God beside me:
I girded thee,
though thou hast not known me:

Isaiah 45:6
That they may know from the rising of the sun,
and from the west,
that there is none beside me.
I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:18
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens;
God himself that formed the earth and made it;
he hath established it,
he created it not in vain,
he formed it to be inhabited:
I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:21
Tell ye, and bring them near;
yea, let them take counsel together:
who hath declared this from ancient time?
who hath told it from that time?
have not I the LORD?
and there is no God else beside me;
a just God and a Saviour;
there is none beside me.

Isaiah 45:22
Look unto me, and be ye saved,
all the ends of the earth:
for I am God,
and there is none else.

Isaiah 46:9
Remember the former things of old:
for I am God, and there is none else;
I am God, and there is none like me,

Hosea 13:4
Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt,
and thou shalt know no god but me:
for there is no saviour beside me.

Joel 2:27
And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the LORD your God,
and none else:
and my people shall never be ashamed.

Revelation 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega,
 the beginning and the ending, 
saith the Lord, which is, 
and which was, 
and which is to come, 
the Almighty.

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega,
 the first and the last: 
and, What thou seest, write in a book, 
and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia;
 unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, 
and unto Pergamos, 
and unto Thyatira, 
and unto Sardis, 
and unto Philadelphia, 
and unto Laodicea.

Revelation 21:6
And he said unto me, 
It is done. 
I am Alpha and Omega, 
the beginning and the end. 
I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:13
I am Alpha and Omega, 
the beginning and the end, 
the first and the last.

We must know who we worship. We must know of His great value. We must know of and extol and recognize His unique uniqueness. We humble ourselves by lifting Him up. . . It is vitally important that we know who we worship. He will tolerate no competition for our worship.

Exodus 34:14
For thou shalt worship no other god:
for the LORD,
whose name is Jealous,
is a jealous God:

1 Chronicles 29:11
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

I love you my God. I celebrate your unique uniqueness. I worship you. I humble myself before you, as having more in common with a lowly worm, than in common with you. I thank you for loving me. . . for loving all mankind, for coming to earth robed in flesh, and redeeming us by your sacrifice.

I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Go Ahead Be Afraid, But Don't Fear the Mayan Calendar Ending

After church today I ran a few errands. I went to Menards and bought some required handy man items for the house, then I went to Meijers did some grocery shopping, and finally to the pet store where I was pleasantly surprised to find the dog food we feed on sale, so I bought 3 bags vs the 2 I had been planning on.

Somehow carrying home 20 cans of tuna, 12 rolls of toilet paper, a couple of large bottles of dish soap, 4 tubes of tooth paste, and a large supply of dog food makes me feel rich. It's silly, but our dogs are our kids equivalent. . . and seeing their needs taken care of for a couple of months gives me comfort. Seeing a couple dozen cans of tuna, and toilet paper, and tooth paste on our pantry shelf give the illusion of preparedness in a small way.

We don't know what the future holds. We attended my grandson Jakub's 10th birthday party late yesterday afternoon, and several family members independently spoke to me through the evening about the end of the Mayan calendar, etc. and whether the world was soon to end.

As a firm believer of the Bible, I can say for certain that several years of prophesied events must take place before the battle of Armageddon could happen. We do not look to be on the cusp of those happenings yet, but our world even without the Mayan calendar ending is still a very dangerous place.

Society is so intertwined that an upheaval in one part of the world could very easily dramatically disrupt energy supplies, or periodically in history new diseases have arisen which have decimated large swaths of population. . .or civil insurrections can arise with little warning. . . political revolutions have taken place almost over night. . . surprise attacks have occurred throwing entire regions precipitously into war and hardship. . . a relatively small EMP weapon exploded over the eastern seaboard, would burn up every electric motor, cripple every car, computer, power generating facility from Florida, to Maine to the Mississippi River. . .It would be years and probably millions of deaths, before life returned to normalcy. We just do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Really the only constant is change. . . slow and inexorable. . . or rapid and traumatic, change is the only certainty and no matter the fortress you might build. . . no matter the doomsday vault you might prepare. . .our Lord is our only true safety.

There is no way to completely protect our flesh. No matter. . .ALL will one day breathe their last breath. Every heart will one day stop beating. . . whether due to war. . . or a terrorist attack. . .or famine. . . or an asteroid hitting the earth. . . or illness or accident. . . or disease. . . or the simple wearing out of our bodies due to old age.

We are all destined to die, and to face eternity based upon the choices we have made during this life. Our only safety is to find out what God requires for eternal salvation, and to ensure that we attain. . . and maintain. . .abide in that state until we draw our last breath. And then our worries vanish. . . for eternity.

No more troubles.
No more tears.
No more sickness.
No more pain.
No more fear.
No more saying goodbye. . .
for ever. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Don't fear the Mayan calendar ending.
Fear life ending for what ever cause and not being saved. . .

I love you my God. . .
I thank you my God for saving me. . .


Saturday, December 8, 2012

A New Covenant Commandment. . .

Jackie and I had a very nice time at Life Tabernacle's Christmas party last night. Fellowship one with another in the body is very important. Being a part of a church must be more than merely showing up for service, sitting on a pew and listening to a sermon once or twice a week. We are to be brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, and the members of a body are in continual contact one with another.

1 Corinthians 12:25-27
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (26) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

By the same measure that there is separation between us, our unity. . . our power and effectiveness is diminished. A body cannot be effective and graceful with a fracture in the leg. . .or a dislocated shoulder or a compressed disc in the back, it is the same spiritually in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:14-16
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We are to be fitly joined together. Identifying ourselves, and functioning not as individuals, but as unified members of a body. If there is one thing I envy of the Jewish faith, is their sense of identity. It goes beyond their common religion. It is their heritage. . . their genealogy. . . their history. . . their blood.

I greatly desire that sense of identity and belonging and history for us. We must continue to strive for it, but I fear that it will not come of its own. Such strong bonds, may only come at great cost. . . through oppression, and persecution.

We do not have strict dietary restrictions. Circumcision is not required for us. We are not restricted as to what we do on the Sabbath. Though all these things build a sense of identity. They are not a part of our heritage or our doctrine. A secret handshake, special undergarments, and elaborate rituals would certainly help define and separate us, but as followers of Christ those artificial devices, since they are not of God, eventually will become tools of the devil.

There is only one way in which Jesus commanded us to be distinguished from others:

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This is no mere suggestion, or recommendation. . . this is a COMMANDMENT from Jesus. This must be our identifying boundary and mark. . . our new covenant shibboleth. Anything else we try to substitute for this as a means of establishing community and identity, may succeed in the short term, but long term will end up becoming , a distraction, a stumbling block, and ultimately a wedge between us and God.

Love one another. . .
Love one another. . .
Love one another. . .
By this all men know that ye are MY disciples. . .
By this all men know that ye are MY disciples. . .
By this all men know that ye are MY disciples. . .

I greatly desire to be known as disciple of Jesus. . .
Therefore, I MUST love my brothers, and sisters.
This is a new covenant commandment of God.

I love you my God. . .
Help me my Lord to perfectly love my fellow man. . .


Friday, December 7, 2012

Favor With God. . .

Continuing this morning to meditate upon the following verse:

Luke 1:30-31

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  (31)  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Fear not Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. . . and then the angel goes on in a very few words to completely overturn Mary’s life.  I know that I cannot in my bones understand the impact these words must have had upon Mary.  

It must have rocked her on several different levels.

Judicially, it was the equivalent of the angel telling someone today, that they had committed a multiple premeditated murder. . . for being pregnant out of wedlock, was potentially a capital crime. . . an offence punishable by stoning.

Morally, her friends, her family. . . her mother, and her sisters would have every reason to think that she had fallen from sexual purity.  The word would spread through her small community of Mary’s ‘problem’.  Wags, and gossips would tell the tale with voices heavily flavored with skepticism, and doubt.  Sure Mary. . . an angel told you that you are pregnant and carrying the Messiah in your womb conceived by the Holy Spirit. . . Sure Mary. . . wink. . . wink. . .

Physically, from one moment to the next. . .from virgin to pregnant with no warning.  First hand I cannot comprehend this change, but second hand I have been witness to the transformation, and from the outside, it appears pregnancy is an adventure without equal or parallel in a man’s life.

Emotionally, we don’t know the exact moment of the conception, but almost from the moment of conception, a woman is emotionally changed in a normal pregnancy.  Her body is changing.  A hormonal hurricane is beginning to rage within her. How terribly difficult a position Mary was in.  How desperately alone she must have felt.  I cannot imagine.

Want to be used greatly of God?  Be ready for your world to be turned upside down.  Look at other examples of the Bible. . .David, Moses, Jonah, Paul, Peter, John, Luke. . . and on and on.  To be greatly used by God, is not to continue to sit on your living room couch and watch the world pass you by. . . but it means to be taken into completely new and unfamiliar. . . uncomfortable. . . at times terrifying situations.

Luke 1:38
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Oh that I might have the grace of Mary. . .

Be it unto me according to thy word. . .
Be it unto me according to thy word. . .

When my world is completely turned over. . .
When all the tongues are wagging. . .
When my body and emotions are in upheaval. . .
When though I am innocent, men have apparent justification, and desire to stone me. . .

Be it unto me according to thy word. . .
Be it unto me according to thy word. . .

I love you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .

Be it unto me according to thy word. . .

Thursday, December 6, 2012

No End. . .

Things the Bible says there is no end of:

Psalms 102:27
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. 

[Psalmist speaking of God's years]

Ecclesiastes 4:8
There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

[Speaking of a lonely person having no end to his toil.  He will be ground down by his aloneness, and lack of joy because of his lonesomeness.]

Ecclesiastes 4:15-16
I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead. There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

[The author of Ecclesiastes, the king speaking as a king. . .the people are as an endless sea.  When the son succeeds the king, they still will not be happy.  This foolishness, and hopelessness tries the spirit]

Ecclesiastes 12:12
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

[There is an endlessly flowing river of latest. . . newest. . . most modern ideas.  Each fashion of doctrine and philosophy supplanting, and in turn being supplanted by another.  This never ends and will wear out your body and strength to no avail]

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  (7)  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

[Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. . . I don’t know that I have ever read it this way before, but I read this tonight as a prophecy.  Since its inception, has Christianity ever dwindled and diminished?  Has Christianity ever nearly died out, only to be subsequently resurrected?  Or has Christianity continually for 2,000 years been on an uninterrupted path of growth?  I would love to find hard figures, but right now my gut tells me that Christianity has been ever growing. . . of the increase of His empire. . . of His kingdom there shall be no end. . .]

Luke 1:30-33
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  (31)  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  (32)  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  (33)  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

[and of His kingdom there shall be no end. . . the annunciation to Mary, of her carrying the Savior of the World. . . and of His kingdom there shall be no end. . .]

Thank you my God. . .
Thank you my Lord. . .

Sunday, December 2, 2012

No Beggars Allowed

Revelation 1:6
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:10

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

One of the keys of successful selling, is belief in your product. . . Not only belief in the item being sold, but, the person selling must have confidence that others will be benefited by the item.

A salesman who hangs his head, and timidly makes his sales pitch, expecting to be rejected stands little chance of making the sale.  It sounds crass, but in the most fundamental terms we are selling the message of Christ.  Our attitude is everything.  Rejection damages our self-confidence, but evangelism must not have anything to do with confidence in self, and everything to do with faith and confidence in Him.

Pity is only reason I will buy something from a beggar.  I don’t care about what he is selling.  I will buy something from him because I feel sorry for him.  The only important product a beggar has, is his neediness.  

We are not. . . We must not be looked upon as. . . We must not consider ourselves as beggars.  We are kings, and priests. . . We are sons of the King. . .We have found a pearl of great price, and we know where another might also acquire such a treasure.  This great treasure of salvation, is had for next to nothing.

Junk, trash, used. . . worn out, and broken items are traded for it.  We. . . God offers an overflowing chest of gold, in exchange for the clutter. . . the boxes of torn and faded clothes. . .the broken lamps in the garage of your soul.  God offers everlasting life, for that which does not work in this life.  There can be no downcast eyes, when selling this treasure.  We must exude the power, and confidence, and joy which these riches have brought to us.

And if the sale is not made. . . the pity is not upon us, but on the one who did not buy. . .

Galatians 6:9

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

What we sell is life itself. . . life eternal. . . let us not be weary in well doing. . . Let us carry ourselves confidently, proudly, regally as the kings we are meant to be. . .

Thank you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .