That’s What I’ve Been Saying

Over the years I’ve mediated disputes (not legal mediation) between people. On several occasions I found it interesting that they both had the same position but the vocabulary they were using to express themselves was not registering with each other. On those occasions I found the words and would ask, “So-and-so, are you saying this?” When they responded yes, the other would say, “That’s what I’ve been saying.”

The point here is that sometimes we need to find another way of saying what we are saying to get the point across. Sometimes, it takes someone else to do it for us. When I read this post, I thought, this is exactly what I’ve been saying. What I’ve been saying in particular is how we (the church) gloss over the difficult parts of scripture rather than contemplating them and working them out.

We simply cannot let the passage say what it says and do what it is meant to do.

Jim ELliff, Reading Scripture Rightly

Elliff makes the point that we sometimes are too quick to look at certain passages and immediately try to counter it with another passage that seems to state the opposite.

I think we could liken this to the skill needed when counseling people about work performance. Often people want to turn the conversation from their performance issue with statements like, “Yeah but he/she did it too,” “we’ve always…” or “I was trying to…” As humans, we will do about anything to get out of the discomfort of having to confront  our own shortcomings.

One of the saddest things as a supervisor was always to counsel someone and have them walk out having not owned up to the issue they were having. You could watch them walking away from their career because they weren’t willing to face their own difficult issues. Do we do the same thing with our faith? Do we skip over or fail to correctly understand scripture because doing so challenges some of our beliefs and makes us uncomfortable? Do we walk away from what God truly wants of us?

Thoughts on Yoga

I used to belong to the school that you could perform yoga moves without getting into the spiritual aspects of it. I guess I thought you wouldn’t be “doing yoga” unless you were concentrating on the Hindu aspects of it. I’ve started rethinking those things.

The difficulty is that yoga, as traditionally understood, doesn’t work that way. In traditional understanding, yoga is  itself  a religious act. The postures  themselves  lead the practitioner to God, whether the practitioner intends this or not. In traditional understanding, in other words, one can’t separate the religious and secular aspects of yoga and one really shouldn’t try.

https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/12/yoga-in-public-schools-american-and-indian/


The process of yoga is an ascent into the purity of the absolute perfection that is the essential state of all human beings…

The guidance of a competent teacher is required to learn methods for awakening the serpent-like vital force that remains dormant and asleep in every human body. 

samij.com


To those in the know, for example, the yogic asanas, or positions, retain elements of their earlier spiritual meanings – the Surya namaskar is a series of positions designed to greet Surya, the Hindu Sun God.

BBC


It should be noted at the outset that the word yoga itself refers to “linking with God.”

krishna.com

Draw your own conclusions.

For me, I’m not sure it’s a great idea for a Christian to participate in an activity designed for the purpose of linking to God. I certainly disagree with the statement that “absolute perfection is the essential state of human beings” and think processes designed to help you reach that realization are an insult to the sacrifice of Christ.

Rather than honoring Hindu gods and awakening a “serpent-like” force found in every human, I’ll just do some stretches from my pee-wee football days if I feel tight.

Psalms

Several months ago I set out to read one of the Psalms each day and spend some time quietly thinking about it afterwards. I have missed a few days here and there but have mostly stuck with it.

I’ve been struck by how deep into depression David sank. Yet he never loses sight of God’s supreme authority over all creation or the love he has for us. Strangely, while going through a rough time myself, I think these sometimes rather gloomy sounding prayers were very helpful.

Now, as I near the end of them, I experience some sadness that I must leave them behind for a while. At the same time, it’s like the end of a race and I feel energized. I have to resist the urge to rush through the last few.

ἐπιεικής

Greek word for the week, ep-ee-i-kacé.

This word is Strong’s #1933 and means mild, gentle, moderation, or patient.

It is found in Philippians 4:5 where we as Christians are admonished to live in such a way that this is a trait we are known for. I read that verse and it made me wonder, how can I be sure if I am known for something?

I attended a co-workers memorial service the next day and listened to everything that was said about her. Those were the things she was known for.

I thought about whether or not at my funeral people would say “he was gentle and mild” and I’m not too sure they would. Would they for you?

May we who call ourselves be known for being mild, gentle, and patient. What a mark that would make, especially in today’s social environment.

We Better Check Ourselves

Jesus is frequently portrayed as nothing but soft, sensitive, and never offensive. I think Jesus wasn’t that way. Do you view him that way? His followers won’t view him as a convenience, a comfort, or a merit badge you put on and say, “Ah, now I have Jesus.” He has us! We don’t add him to our life, we let him take over it.

He’s to be viewed as a precious treasure which we give up everything for 1. He’s to be so overpowering in our lives that our consideration for our own life and family might as well be hate when compared to him 2.

Do you feel this way about Jesus? If not, contemplate the Lord’s very own words in Matthew 7:21-23. He says “many.” He doesn’t say “some” or say “few”.

If your friends don’t think you’re at least a little too fanatical about serving Christ, why is that? Can your co-workers tell any difference between you and the rest of their peers? We should check ourselves to make sure we are doing the will of the Father. That’s as plain as it can be. You can say “Lord, Lord” but lip service won’t work. Only the ones doing God’s will make it.

I shudder to think of Jesus plainly telling me, “I never knew you.”

Notes:

  1. Matthew 13:44
  2. Luke 14:26

Getting a Jesus Hug

Different parts – Same body

This seems to be one of a few themes running through my devotionals and sites I regularly read. Reading in Galatians 2:4 last night with the family I looked at the study note. The comment there was that they came in and did that because people can’t stand to see freedom in others.

Don’t let others control your freedom through conformity. It doesn’t really matter if that conformity comes from their pressure or your own comparisons.

Don’t compare too much to others, but do what feels natural, do what honors the Lord, do what really draws you closer to Him, even if that is perhaps a little more intellectual, a little less emotional than you might see modeled or hear described by other people.