Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

The Parable of the Sower

Monday, August 31st, 2009 |

I was listening to a dramatization of the book of Luke the other day. Jesus was telling the parable of the sower (Luke 8.) In the parable some of the seed, or the Word of God, fell on ground that also had weed seeds. The weeds, which are representative of the cares of this life, ended up choking out the good seed. I feel, in my life, the possibility always exists of the cares of this life choking out my relationship with the Lord. What is the balance between following opportunities that life brings your way that can be nice, and maybe even something that you always wanted to do,  but when you boil them down to their fundamentals, they are “worldly” by nature? By worldly, I mean they have the ability to weaken your faith and walk with the Lord, not because they are inherently evil, but because they can easily force you to change your priories to things other than your walk with the Lord.

I am well aware of the fact that we can’t live a life only focusing on the spiritual. There are the realities of life –like the need to work to put food on the table. Life, in general, brings with it a host of responsibilities that we must tend to and I’m fine with that. I embrace the responsibilities life brings my way.

As a Christian though I can’t let these weeds choke out what really matters. I feel that if I only go with the flow of day-to-day events that come up in my life without making a conscious effort to look out for my spiritual needs along the way, I unintentionally become consumed with the day-to-day living to the point that the cares of life become my master and I their slave.  My time is consumed with their to-dos. My relationship with the Lord in these situations takes the back seat and, unless I catch it, it continues to drift further into the peripherals of my life.

After much thought on this subject, I feel that it comes down to a personal awareness of what really matters.  God’s word in my life is paramount if I wish to stay on course with God and enjoy the benefits that come from sharing my life with Him. I believe if we have an awareness of our priorities in life, the balance between the *world* and the health of our spirits can be kept. It is on an individual basis that this realization and awareness must happen. Safeguards from others are nice, but it is not a long term fix to the problem. To recognize the need for balance, we first must be convinced that there is even a need for such a balance. Many times, sadly, we learn the need for balance through our failure to live a balanced life. Through our imbalance, we reap the negative consequence of a drained spirit which weakens our spirit. This, in turn, affects our physical and mental well being.

I believe that as Christians it is extremely important to keep a good head on our shoulders in this complex, ever changing  life as to what the true priorities are.   If we lose our bearings as to what is truly important and begin to misjudge our priorities amidst all the hubbub that  life  brings our way with its demands, pursuits and opportunities, we will lose our way despite our good intentions.  I admire all of you who have kept a strong relationship with the Lord despite your immersion in a world that is at best indifferent to the things of the Spirit. You have a lot to teach me.

Time and Silence

Sunday, June 21st, 2009 |

Silence is golden…at least some say it is. Not sure if it’s golden in the case of a blog lacking new posts.

For a little daisy picking on the subject of silence. In Revelation chapter 8 verse 1 it says “there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”

Does that mean there is time in heaven? If there is, then “time” must not be bound to only our dimension which is a very interesting thought and it opens the door to more questions. I’ve always thought that time was a part of our dimension and not part of the heavenly dimension. Or was John referring to “time” because ultimately he was still part of this dimension (even though at the time he was in the spirit) and therefore was still being governed by time?

Walk by faith, not by sight

Sunday, June 7th, 2009 |

The other day I was pondering the concept of walking by faith and not sight. The Bible says that we believers “walk by faith, not by sight.” Doing this, I feel, is easier said than done. What it comes down to in the real world is conscientiously choosing to tune out present “realities” that indicate a different outcome than what God has told us, or choosing to reject knowledge that does not support what God’s word tells us. It takes a certain strength to do this because it goes against the natural inclination of the flesh which is to trust what our mind can understand, or what our five senses lead us to believe. Walking by faith is really an unnatural act. No where in nature do you see animals ignoring their senses and choosing to proceed on faith. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. An animal’s survival depends on its senses. For us though it’s not just a matter of instinctively following our senses. We have the majesty of choice. We can choose to not be persuaded by the realities of our present circumstances, or the wisdom of the world and instead cling to God’s promise.

To put this into context, we have been told throughout the Bible of the Last Days and the return of Christ. At the moment we can see some of the tell-tell signs that Jesus told us would proceed His second coming. There is a measure of hope to be found in these signs. Although the signs in themselves may not be all that comforting, it’s the promise of the the return of Christ that makes the weary heart glad. Despite the signs that are beginning to show, we are not there yet. The history of man’s rule on earth has not run its full course yet. There are still climatic events that the Bible tells us of that must come before Christ’s return that have yet to happen. It is at our present location in history that we must be willing to trust God’s word and walk by faith trusting God for what we do not understand. The natural way to think is that “all things continue as they were.” The Bible warns us about coming to this conclusion.

We must strive to follow Abraham’s example of faith in these present times. We must be willing as Christians to walk by faith despite what our personal way of thinking may steer us towards. To base the future on the present does not work. We must take by faith what the Bible says and let events unfold as they may. The reward of our faith will come in due season, even though at present God’s Word and promises may be hard to grasp or comprehend.

When we do choose the path of faith over perception, we gain. Our faith is exercised and strengthened through the process. Our understanding of God also increases and the relationship that is shared between us and Him grows. Walking by faith, I feel, is part of the maturing process of a Christian.

John 3:36

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 |

I was reading John chapter 3 the other day and came to the last verse (verse 36) in the chapter which says:

“He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.”

It made me think and even start questioning God. If God is a loving God (which I believe He is) then why does He exercise His wrath on humanity? Where’s the love in that?

Then it hit me that we by default are already under God’s wrath due to Adam and Eve’s choice to sin in the Garden of Eden. This help me understand this verse better.

Because of Adam and Eve’s choice in the garden mankind has been brought down a much harder road than what God may have originally desired for us. Mankind chose sin and the consequences of sin is death. It was our choice to sin, not God’s. God is the opposite of sin, He is perfect and He is life and so by His very nature He stands against sin, and because God is against sin, we who sin fall under His wrath which is directed towards sin. Even though He hates sin, He loves us who sin which is what John 3 brings out and which is an important point to understand. If you put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment you’ll see His predicament because of our choice to sin. He is left with two choices: to try to save us from death which is the consequence of sin, or to let sin triumph over us through our death.

John chapter three reveals the extent that God is willing to go to save us from the mess that we ourselves could never escape and that we fell into because of free choice. Because He loves us He sacrificed His treasured gift, Jesus, to defeat the death that sin brings.

It also shows the respect that God has for free choice which also comes from Him, and which really is an act of love on His part. Even with His sacrifice to save us He still has not overridden the majesty that we have to choose even when it comes to our own salvation.

True Patience

Friday, May 15th, 2009 |

When you stop and think about it, God is very generous. He gives us a lifetime to learn lessons. Man can be so opposite of God. We tend to shoot for rapid change when it comes to others’ behavior. We want to see quantifiable progress in others and when we don’t see it, we grow inpatient. It’s good that God is not that way. If He was, I think we’d all be screwed.

The Fog of Recession

Friday, May 8th, 2009 |

I think it’s interesting how different the same landscape can appear through a different set of eyes. So far with this recession I’ve read predictions from financial prophets of both doom and prosperity, each professional weighing in with their personal thoughts and predictions of the future. Maybe the differences in views has to do with what you choose to focus on. One annalist will say things are getting better and we’re on the road to recovery, the other sees major obstacles in our way and is more critical about what is being done. Both have their reasoning and the data that supports their thinking. I feel it’s good to be optimistic in life, at the same time, I think wisdom in this situation is also equally as important. Wisdom, I feel, would examine both sides of the coin and prepare for things to not go as imagined or planned. Right now it seems that some of the recession storm clouds may be breaking up, which is certainly welcome, but we don’t really know what turns exist in the road ahead. I guess the best thing to do is hope for the best, but at the same time be as realistic as possible. The last thing people need is false sense of hope that leaves them unprepared and in a worse state if things do take a turn for the worse.

The legacy of Faith

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 |

The trials of our faith are what make us stronger in Him. We do not know all things, nor do we understand everything that is presented to us, but with time the mysteries of God are revealed. Abraham was given a promise that he never saw with his earthly eyes, yet he remained faithful to God throughout his life despite the fulfillment of the promise. God has been true to His promise to Abraham. Abraham’s example of faith has helped to define faith for us today. We too have also been given promises concerning the future, yet despite the evidence of these promises, or the seeming lack of evidence as viewed from our view point, it is required the we also remain faithful to God. Gods tapestry will be completed in His time.

Priorites

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 |

Every once and awhile I step back far enough to notice how trivial the day-to-day cares of life can be. Its hard to step back and come to a conclusion like this, at least it is for me. The day-to-day cares can seem so demanding, so all encompassing, but maybe its just how we perceive them. I think it has to do with what we choose to focus on that determines our priorities. I question my judgment at what I allow my focus to be. At times its obvious what needs attention, but I don’t think its obvious every time. Sometimes I think there is no real thought put into it, but rather its an act of gravitating towards resolving a certain problem. Maybe gravitating towards one certain problem among many has to do with inclination which then determines our priorities.

Reason is the enemy of faith

Monday, April 6th, 2009 |

“Reason is the enemy of faith” so says the adage. From my observations this saying tends to polarize people. There are those who see wisdom in the adage, and then there are those who look at “reason” as a method to strengthen their faith.

To make a point I’d like to change this saying to: “Reason is the enemy of doubt.” If you ponder on the saying in its reverse form, it still holds truth. Reason can be a great way to dispel doubt and build up faith. Christianity is a very reasonable faith. There is no convincing reason why we as Christians should shy away from discovering the reasoning within Christianity.

If the saying is true, then it can not be referring to the form of reason I just mentioned above. Here is what I think it may refer to. As much as we study, we will always have an finite understanding of God and his ways. It is with the things that we do not understand that our faith in God must step in to bridge the gap between our limited understanding and His complete understanding. You can only put faith in someone you trust. It is when our reasoning steers us away from trusting in God for what we do not understand that reason becomes the enemy of faith.

End time theology

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 |

The other day I was thinking about current belief systems we as Christians have about the end time. Sometimes it seems we have it all neatly squared away in our minds. I feel the older I get the more I realize that sometimes reality plays out differently then what I may have originally pictured. In personal experience with hearing from the Lord, what the Lord says does come true, but not always the way I may have pictured it. There’s always twists along the way, or unseen events that make you think otherwise and give you some ground to entertain doubt.

What we actually know about the end time are only the “mountain peaks” of world events, which is actually very little. We know of events and peoples who are going to stand out in world history. What we don’t know about are the valleys that lay between these mountain peaks, or the chain of events that lead to the events we’ve been told about, which probably constitute the lions share of time and events. From a distant theological point of view the end time can look like one mountain peak after another in quick succession. Its interesting how Jesus narrowed it down to a generation, or a life span. It’s something that’s going to take time to play out and in the daily grind of life it seems more that way.

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My name is Justin Paone and this is where I express my thoughts, discoveries,views and the day-to-day happenings in my life.

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