Seven Day Random B&W Photo Challenge: Day Four

Seven days, seven B&W pictures of your life, no people, no explanations.

 

DAY FOUR:

10.18.17 b&w.jpg

Advertisements

The Humble

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. (CSB)

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.(ESV)

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. (NLT)

The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth. (HCSB)

Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth. (Amplified Bible)

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (The Message)

For the duration of this study I am going to use the same versions in each post. That will keep things consistent and less confusing. Because I pulled up the HCSB last time I went ahead and included it in this one as well. Once again it is a slightly different. It’s interesting that the CSB (which is a revision of the HCSB) differs that much. Of course, when looking at the intended meanings I don’t guess they differ that much at all. I do want to give another shout out to the Amplified Bible. Like I said last time, I really am starting to appreciate it more now that I have looked at it. As I searched this passage on biblegateway.com I noticed that there’s also something called the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition. I assume that it has been revised just like most other versions. That made me wonder, “How different (if any) is it from the current Amplified Bible?

Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! 

I was somewhat surprised to see that it is actually quite different. I am now curious about those two versions and will be doing more research on them in the future. That, however, will have to wait for another post.

We have already discussed what it means to be “blessed” in the context of this passage so we won’t spend any more time on that other than to say that true blessedness/happiness can only be found when one is progressing along this Kingdom Path. The part we do want focus in on is this business about inheriting the earth. What exactly is Jesus suggesting here? Are those who are humble/meek/gentle going to actually rule over the earth at some point in the future? I am inclined to disagree because we know that Jesus is the King of Kings and he is the only one who will rule in the end. So what does it mean?

In The Chronological Life Of Christ, Mark Moore suggests that this is a “laughable paradox” (166) when one considers the role those who are meek or mild play in a culture that is driven by selfishness. It was true in Jesus’ day and it remains true today as well. You do not get ahead unless you are self-serving and willing to step on others to move ahead. There is no room for gentleness or meekness. Only the strong survive. Moore suggests that there is a connection between being “poor” and “humble” that bridges our personal recognition and public recognition of our place before Almighty God.

I said that this statement is not referring to the acquisition of material wealth but there is some aspect of that in this teaching. Romans 8:17 says that we are co-heirs with Christ. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 6:10 says that we posses all things in Christ (Moore 166). Jesus’ statement is actually a reference to Psalm 37.

10 A little while, and the wicked person will be no more;
though you look for him, he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
and will enjoy abundant prosperity. (CSB)

We will live as co-heirs with Jesus when he establishes his eternal kingdom on the new earth. It will be somewhat like Eden recreated where Adam and Ever were supposed to exercise dominion over God’s creation as His representatives. So the eschatological element does address the actual inheritance of Paradise Restored but in the original context I believe Jesus was talking about right then and right there as well. Those who followed him would be partners with him in his ministry to the lost, they would eventually be filled with the Spirit when he left, and finally they would continue his kingdom work until he returned.

Another aspect could be that because this is God’s world and He rules in completely, we, as His adopted children are the rightful heirs. If that is in deed the case then it’s a matter of us reclaiming what was once ours. This world was created with us in mind and we were to be God’s crown jewel. Our sin tarnished all that but Jesus came to reconcile not only us but all of creation back to the Creator. Those who truly following Christ are taking their birthright back from the enemy through the blood of Christ.

As with much of Jesus’ teachings, it is about attitude. We cannot claim to own any of it or forcefully take any of it. It’s not ours for the taking. It’s only through humble and gentle obedience to Christ that we are put back in the place God intended for us in the beginning.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

A.L. Kennedy – Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse

The Doctor of my childhood (what little I was able to watch) was Tom Baker. I have enjoyed the newer Doctors quite a bit but when I hear “Doctor Who” it is Baker’s lovable mug that comes to mind. I am also a fan of Douglas Adams and a friend described this as being Adams-inspired. That was enough for me to snag this copy and dive into it. I am not familiar with any of Kennedy’s other works and I have never read any of the Doctor Who novels. I was truly a “virgin” going into this. There is nothing bad about this book and it is actually quite entertaining (what bits I finished) but it never really grabbed my attention and held it. Kennedy is a capable writer and the story felt very much like Doctor Who but I continued to lose interest enough times that I never actually finished it. I confess that I received this particular title during an rather hectic point during my life and that may have contributed to my lack of interest with it. This is not a indictment of Kennedy or her novel. As I said, the parts I read were truly interesting and stayed true to The Doctor. I did find some of the writing to be a bit long winded but it was not nearly as tiresome as Tolkien or Lewis. I do hope that one day I will be able to pull this one down from the shelf and give it another shot.

I give it a three out of five simply because I never finished it. What I read was good but I just cannot comment much more.

I was reviewing a copy I received from bloggingforbooks.

Seven Day Random B&W Photo Challenge: Day One

I saw a buddy of mine do this and thought it would be interesting. The rules are simple.

Seven days, seven B&W pictures of your life, no people, no explanations.

 

DAY ONE:

10.15.17 B&W #1

I’m sitting here in the office working on some things before we have to head over to Grover for their Fall Kick Off tonight. Robin and I are singing a couple of songs. We’re doing our version of Caedmon Call’s version of Kemper Crabb’s Warrior. We’re also doing our version of Everybodyduck’s The Nails In Your Hands. I really enjoy singing with my wife and I wish I could find more opportunities to do so.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Something New

Okay, I am the first to admit that I am not very good when it comes to this whole blogging thing. Let me rephrase that, I am not very consistent. I believe that I am a decent writer and that when I have something to say it is worth writing. The problem I am having now is finding the time to sit down and write. I still waste more time than I should but with the Walmart job and my church responsibilities I’m not watching television or movies. I’m not really listening to music very much. I do have it playing here in the office and I do listen to CDs on my drive to work but that’s about it.

I have been working nine hours shifts (there’s an hour lunch break) on the days I go in to Walmart (today is 11 to 8) so I don’t have a lot of extra time on those days. I’m currently working three days a week but I do have a four day week coming up so I know I won’t get much done on those days. Wednesdays and Sundays are usually busy doing church stuff so there really isn’t much time to write for this. Jamie is now doing school at home and I haven’t been spending nearly enough time with her on that. The only reason I’m writing this is because I intentionally got up early so I could come in to the office and do a couple of things before I have to go in. If I had waiting until tonight this would have never gotten written. It will be close to 9:00 when I get home and I honestly won’t feel like messing around at a computer. The days I work 7 to 4 are even worse. I have to get up at 5:30 just to get ready and make the drive. I know I won’t get up earlier than that to write. So I’m trying to figure out the best way to make enough time for this.

The other thing I’m working on is a YouTube channel where I post videos (10-15 minutes) discussing the same sorts of things that I write about here. I have attempted similar things in the past (audio not video) but wasn’t very successful. I want to give it another shot and see if that will help me relaunch this thing. They would obviously compliment one another. If I can muster up something respectable I may consider investing in a decent camera and mic and boost the production values a bit. Until I consistently put out something that I’m not embarrassed by I’m not even considering that.

I do plan to continue the Beatitudes. I really do. I do plan to post those thoughts here. I really do. Be patient. More is coming. Let me revamp the way I’ve been approaching this and see if things don’t get better.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Those Who Mourn

Matthew 5:4

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (CSB)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (ESV)

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (NLT)

Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn[over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted]. (Amplified Bible)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (The Message)

Once again I have posted the verse in different versions. Once again I omitted the NIV, NASB, and KJV because they are pretty much identical to the CSB and ESV. I do like the subtle difference in the NLT and appreciate the fact that it is trying to explain exactly what “blessed” means. One that I didn’t include is the Holman Christian Standard but after looking at it I think I want to. The HCSB is the predecessor to the CSB that I have started using (I GOT IT FOR FREE). It is a new translation that was first released in 2004. It has since been updated (the explanation can be found HERE) and the name shortened to CSB. I didn’t check it to begin with because I assumed (incorrectly it turns out) that it would render the passage the same.

The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. (HCSB)

Now, I admit that the difference is subtle but it is still different. The same sentiment is still found in all of them. I am starting to appreciate The Amplified Bible the more I look through it but it’s not one I could read. The in-text variations are somewhat distracting when reading but very useful if comparing versions. For that I like it. I know what I’m getting when I consult The Message but it is always interesting to see how Peterson renders things. Even though it is a paraphrase he knows the languages and isn’t throwing things out there willy-nilly.

One thing I never really addressed in the other posts is exactly what is meant by the word “blessed” in the first place. I will remind all of you reading that I am not a language scholar and I must rely on tools when addressing the original text. The word being translated as “blessed” is the Greek word makarioi which occurs twenty-six times in the New Testament. It is a form of the word makarios which is most commonly translated “happy” or “blessed”. There is another Greek word translated “happiness” (eudaimonia) but it is not used in the Bible. Being “blessed” moves beyond merely happy. The idea is that those who are “blessed” are fortunate or better off because of God’s favor. It also moves beyond the earthly sense of being blessed with material riches.

This statement suggests that those who mourn are in this state of being blessed. We sometimes use this verse to comfort those who have lost loved ones and while God does comfort those suffering loss, this deals with mourning of a spiritual nature. It is true that the Greek word (pentheó) can express mourning over the death of someone. However, in this context it builds upon the idea of being spiritually poor and recognizing the need for a savior. That realization should lead one mourn the personal sins in his life and long for reconciliation with God. This is the moment when we one begins to grieve over his own sinfulness and the eternal consequences it brings. It is a visible grief that is difficult (if not impossible) to console.

James, the brother of Jesus puts it this way:

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:7-10 (CSB)

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Beatitudes are a series of progressive “steps” that one takes to become a true disciple of Jesus. Admitting the need for Christ is the first step and that conviction should lead to repentance. When this happens Jesus says that one will be comforted (Greek parakaleó). This same root word can also suggest the idea of having a legal advocate which is how Jesus describes the coming Holy Spirit in John 14:16. He (the Spirit) is called the “Comforter” or the “Advocate”. When we are convicted of our sins and it breaks us, Jesus has promised that his Spirit will indeed step in for us.

Being a Christian (disciple of Christ) is more than just saying we believe what the Bible says about him. Jesus began his earthly ministry be setting the ground rules. In order to truly follow him one has to begin by confronting a holy and mighty God and recognizing that he is not worthy. That realization should break him and cause him to truly be shaken by his own sinfulness. Once that happens God steps in and leads him the rest of the way.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

 

 

An Unintended Break

Life happens. I am working three eight hour shifts a week at Walmart. I am typically working 7 am until 4 pm and that is fine with me. Sundays and Wednesday are still super busy with church things. I have things I want to write about but I have honestly avoided a lot of the things on the internet lately. In just the last week there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas and Tom Petty died. With all the things going on in my real world and the responsibilities I have at home, at church, and at work I just haven’t felt like sitting down and opening up.

October also begins what is usually a rough stretch for me emotionally so I’m already prepping myself for that. 2017 has not gone the way I had planned but we are nearing the end and I’m still standing. God is still good even though I picked up some new bumps and bruises. I started a low-carb diet not quite a month ago and I’ve lost twenty pounds so far. I’ve still got quite a few to go but I am determined.

I still plan to jump back into my walk through the Beatitudes. Please be patient. It will come. For now I am going to leave you all with my top ten Tom Petty songs. These are either from The Heartbreakers, his solo albums, or the Traveling Wilburys. Comment and tell me what you think of my list. Did I leave off anything?

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

  1. The Waiting
  2. I Won’t Back Down
  3. You Got Lucky
  4. End Of The Line
  5. Wildflowers
  6. Free Fallin’
  7. Breakdown
  8. Don’t Come Around Here No More
  9. American Girl
  10. Into The Great Wide Open

An Apology

I didn’t intend to disappear for several days but that is the nature of life. I have started working morning shifts at Walmart (7 am until 4 pm) so that has required some readjustments with sleep and office hours. I have also been busy with family, church, and other obligations that take up time. I am still reading, studying, and pondering what the Beatitudes mean to me and I still plan to go through them here. In fact, my goal is to start back up tomorrow. I just wanted to take a moment and assure you all that I haven’t vanished again. I simply got busy.

I have been listening to Dustin Kensrue’s incredible worship album (The Water And The Blood) on my drives to and from work. I will leave you with one of my favorite songs from it. This is an acoustic version that he put up on YouTube.

 

May God our Father give you grace and peace.