All Posts in Category: (10) The Measure of Life

The Measure of Life – Conformity to Jesus

God chose us to bear the family likeness of His Son.  Romans 8:29

Attached to Jesus, you are a unique masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10)  Yet, “God chose us to bear the family likeness of His Son…” (Romans 8:29)  So, the genuine YOU is Jesus-like!

I have bad news! Because we crave acceptance, we permit parents, peers, pressures and the public to define us. Consequently, Father’s original design is hidden beneath layers (like an onion) of false fabrication. In the process of conforming we lose our true identity.

Don’t panic! The Creator possesses the original blueprint of YOU: “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion” (Brennan Manning). This is the first step of self-discovery.

 

 

Secondly, become acquainted with THE Measure. Liquids are measured in ounces, pints, quarts and gallons. “Grow in … understanding your Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
  “It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own”. (Mere Christianity, p 58.) As you employ meditation and prayer the Mentor is on 24/7 duty to guide you in discovering the Jesus-like YOU!)

 

Finally, slowly begin to examine yourself. “God is patient. He wants you to have an opportunity to change the way you think and act.” (2 Peter 3:9)  What thoughts, actions and words are Jesus-like? Label these: “the real me”! Anything that doesn’t measure up to Jesus is a distorted fabrication. If you need help, ask Father: “Investigate my life. See for yourself whether I’ve done anything unlike Jesus. Then guide me on the road to the fulfilled life.”
(Psalm 139:23-24)

George Washington, the first president of the United States, was serious about “measuring up”! He prayed: “Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.” (George Washington, the Christian pp. 24-35)

Easter Impact – 3

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Philippians 4:13

(NOTE: as compared with English, Greek is a profoundly rich language.)

Easter means Energy!

This power produces an ATTITUDE. “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Herein Paul employs two Greek words for power, the first of which is ισχυω. The root of this word envisions military action: a combative, confrontive force that faces resistance to bring about victory (success). Notes three elements: 1) resistance 2) combative force and 3) success. The second Greek word is ἐνδυναμόω, meaning to be empowered to face resistance, the result of which is success.

OK, enough Greek. Here’s an illustration. In World War II the goal (success) was to overthrow Hitler in Berlin. Starting on the shores of Normandy, the allied troops encountered German resistance, requiring a fierce force of military action. Though history tends to emphasize the “Big Battles”: Bulge, Midway, Stalingrad, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Caen to name but a few, there was constant resistance all the way to Berlin. Finally, throughout the campaign the allied forces were empowered with equipment, both old and new. However, the primary weapon was the will of the human spirit!

In following Jesus we will encounter resistance. In Ephesians 6 Paul succinctly delineates our situation. “Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way, you will be able to successfully stand against the devil’s strategies.” This is the subject of Paul Bunyan’s classic work, Pilgrim’s Progress.

 

So, here’s the picture. Your Enemy resists God’s purposes for your life. Via various methods the Monster of Life intends your failure as a disciple of Jesus. Though the resistance is intense, possibly involving grave wounds, your success (the Creator’s design for YOU) is guaranteed IF you will recognize and draw upon the power that’s in you. Remember! This inherent power is nothing less than that which the Father released in raising Jesus from the dead.

So, Paul writes: “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Now, that’s ATTITUDE!

EASTER IMPACT – PART 2

I pray that God will give you spiritual insight to know how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

Ephesians 1:18-19

Since the beginning of time nobody saw it. Then, in 1905 a school dropout, working at a patent office, saw it through the lens of mathematics. Einstein concluded that mass (m) and energy (e) are equal, since the speed of light (c2) is constant. In other words, mass can be changed into unbelievable amounts of energy.

 

 

Then, on August 6, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 5 sq/mi of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. For the first time the power of E=m2 was physically seen by mankind.

 

 

Paul employs three different Greek words for power. The first is δυναμεως which means inherent power, that is, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. The second Greek word is ενεργεια which means power in action. Finally, we have κρατους which refers to the effect of the released of power. At Hiroshima the inherent power of uranium was released in the dropping of the atomic bomb, the effect of which was the domination of destruction.

Paul asserts that the Father released his inherent power the effect of which was the resurrection of Jesus. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:52)

 

Note the object of Paul’s prayer: “spiritual insight to know how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.” Einstein saw but the number of others who saw was minuscule. It would be years (1945) before what Einstein saw was successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico so that others saw and believed.

 

 

Paul sawhow tremendous is the power…” that is inherent (δυναμεως) in the followers Jesus. However, he also knew that it would only be released (ενεργεια) via “spiritual insight”. Consequently, He prayed “that God will give you spiritual insight to know…” Peter saw the inherent power in Jesus’ word, “Come!” Therefore, “he got down out” (ενεργεια) of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus.(Matthew 14:29) Peter’s inherent power was released, the result of which was his water-walking!

Easter means energy that is present NOW!

However, this inherent power is available only to those whose insight has been enlightened so that they will take action that is a mystery to “normal” people (think of the Noah story in Genesis 6.

Two questions:

  1. Have you been connected to Jesus by faith? This is the greatest experience of power you will see!
  2. Have I ever done a Peter? Have I ever been a water-walker? If you attempt to dodge the question with your theology or what’s commonly accept as normal, let me quote John 14:12: “I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things that I am doing. You do even greater things now that I am going back to the Father.”

MEASURE OF LIFE – Chorus of Success


God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.” [1]

SUCCESS is the realization of design!

About the “flowers of the field” Jesus observed: “They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it?”[2]  For a few minutes focus “the eyes of your heart[3]” on this collage of color and design! Let their beauty soak into your mind and heart! These flowers, each expressing a unique design, are a vivid demonstration of success!

 

Now turn your attention to this portion of Psalm 148!

Praise God from earth, you sea dragons;
Fire and hail, snow and ice;
Apple orchards and cedar forests;
Wild beasts and herds of cattle,Snakes, and birds in flight;
All of Father’s creation, Praise the Lord!

Rather strange words, wouldn’t you agree – apple orchards and birds in flight praising God? Neither has the capacity to think or speak! Perhaps this is nothing more than poetic license; that is, “the freedom to depart from the facts of a matter or from the conventional rules of language when speaking or writing in order to create an effect.”

I think NOT! Please concentrate on the collage again. In being a flawless expression of what the Creator uniquely designed, each flower is a part of a grand CHORUS OF SUCCESS, rendering to the Creator the most profound praise that can be offered!

1] Genesis 1:31

[2] Matthew 6:28

[3] Ephesians 1:18

MEASURE OF LIFE – What is Success?

Solomon completed building the Temple of God — the project he had set his heart on doing.
Everything was done—success! Satisfaction!
2 Chronicles 7:11

DATELINE: Sunday, June 19, 2016: 90 degrees, full sun, billowy clouds and a brisk breeze. It’s a perfect day in Traverse City, Michigan! We’re visiting Randy, our oldest son, celebrating both Father’s Day and Spencer’s (grandson) 14th birthday. The celebration has ended so I head for the pool. Lying on an air mattress, totally relaxed, my mind wanders aimlessly. Suddenly, a question that had meandered through my brain for several days’ surfaces again. WHAT’S SUCCESS?

At age 74 the common cultural answers have been rejected: status, degrees, wealth, power, etc. …. In the lives of “the well-known I’ve seen them all demonstrated to be less than adequate to sustain and satisfy the human spirit. EG: Elvis hit the scene when I was in Jr High. I vividly remember his first national gig on the Ed Sullivan Show. Yes, it’s really true: the camera only shot his upper torso. No hip action on TV in those days! Before hard rock and heavy metal took over Elvis was the pop, cultural icon for over a decade. Without exaggeration, he had it all. And yet, well, you know “the rest of the story”! Most recently it was Prince!

 

pine-tree

Back to the pool.  As the breeze effortlessly navigates me around the pool I focus on the surrounding environment. Forty foot pine trees capture my attention. They appear to be giant dancers swaying with the rhythm of the wind. I muse: “What’s success for a pine tree?” A female cone is pollinated by a male cone (I never knew there are female and male pine cones!). Driven by a precise hereditary design, the fertilized cone automatically develops into a mature pine tree over time. SO, success is the realization of the Creator’s design. “It is … what it is!”

 

I hear some rumblings: “That’s too simplistic.” Listen to three persons of distinction.

  1. Isaac Newton (referred to as the Father of Modern Science): “Nature is pleased with simplicity and nature is no dummy!”
  2. Albert Einstein (Father of Atomic Energy): “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
  3. Henry David Thoreau (famous transcendental author): “Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers.”

mattress

Half hour of full sun – I’m baking! Time to exit. I paddle to the ladder and flop out of the floating mattress. I look at the mattress. Invented by Frank Masterson in 1961, it was designed to support a person on top of water … even a 185 pounder! It was a success – the realization of Masterson’s design. “It is … what it is!”

God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.”[1] The Creation was the realization of the Creator’s design! Consequently, it was a GREAT SUCCESS … VERY GOOD!

 

[1] Genesis 1:31