Archive for the ‘Spirit’ 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 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.

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.

To Judge Righteously

Friday, October 24th, 2008 |

I’ve been listening to a dramatization of the new testament and I got to Jesus’s “eat my flesh” sermon in the book of John. His sermon was nothing less then a religious bomb that was bound to cause casualties, and it did.
Some of the thoughts that came to mind when listening to it was: What was there to gain from doing this? What is the point of handing people such a difficult concept, and then, in essence saying choose between me and normality? From a disciples point of view it almost seems unfair to put his disciples in such a position. Further more, from a conventional interpretation of Scriptures how would you back that up?

After more thought I realized that we human beings have such a predisposition to judge. We judge everything and everyone. In such judgment we often doom ourselves. If I was there that day and judged Jesus’s sermon from a conventional carnal judgment, I would have rejected truth. That is what most people did who heard his message that day.
Here’s the question behind it all for me: Why is it so hard to judge these things? How could what seems like good logic and common sense be so far off in this case? On any other day if we heard someone telling us to eat their flesh and never again go hungry all good logic and common sense would tell us this man is nuts and needs help, and we’d be right, but then this time it was wrong. Why?

The answer to this wont be found through carnal reasoning, nor through carnal logic. Not in this case at least. To judge accurate, in this case, one would have to use spiritual discernment. What Jesus said was true, albeit difficult to bare. The spiritually wise discerned well that day. As Peter testifies to by saying: “To whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life.”

Logic and Religion – do they meet?

Saturday, October 4th, 2008 |

I have heard many times that religion in general is illogical and that it makes little to no sense, or that it’s nonsense.

To say this about some religious beliefs may hold some truth, but for Christianity, or the way Jesus lived, Christianity’s author, this could not be further from the truth. Jesus was extremely logical and was very much a realist in His teaching. His message wasn’t flowery, or out of touch with reality, it was the opposite. He was the reality check to the religious system of his day. It was Jesus who pointed out the silly traditions that his religious counterparts were caught up in. He called a spade a spade. He never stood for the la la, blah, niceties, which bear no resemblance to reality. He was a realist “A” equaled “B” with Jesus. He was sincere, level headed, and without false spirituality. When he was confronted with the out of touch with reality belief system of His day, He spoke out. He was never afraid of saying it like it was, which eventually got him killed.

His logic was superior because he knew more, much more than those who came across his path. It is when we fail to grasp a matter that it appears illogical to us. However, everything that He taught all tied in to each other in a very logical way. For being heavenly minded, He was down to earth. Nature – the handiwork of the same author shows us what a realist God/Jesus is. Everything makes sense, from the great and mighty galaxies and solar systems, down to the atoms which make up matter. There are parts of nature which go beyond our understanding and it is these parts that seem illogical to us, but as we come to a fuller understanding of nature’s truths we begin to understand the logic and it is then that it begins to makes sense to us.

This same logic of nature and the same rhythm of “A” is connected to “B” is what we also see in the New Testament. Jesus came and pushed our understanding to the limits and in so doing brought us enlightenment. His teaching and concepts were of a grander scale that did not just involve the here and now, but the next age and the life that follows this life, which he tried to impart to us in many logical explanations and parables. Many of the truths He taught were foreign at the time, but they bore the same signature of logic and reality that we find in nature.

Through Jesus we also see that mankind left to himself is nothing more than a fool. He gravitates to the feel good, self righteous, out-of-touch with reality, eager to condemn, eager to kill, BS religions. These religions are as old as the hills and they will never cease to exist as long as man exists and can think for himself. In his own wisdom, he can never make it past the basics. He is forever stuck at “B” without hope of ever arriving at “C.” In seeing, he is blind. In hearing, he is deaf.

Everyone who came in contact with Jesus made a decision about him. They took things in, thought about what was being said, and passed judgment. Some judgments were right, some were wrong. If we were able to get inside their heads and follow the train of thought that led them to their ultimate judgment on Jesus, it would be quite interesting to observe. It would probably also be very familiar at the same time. As an on-looker to this mental thought process, you would probably be able to see flawed thinking much better than if you were the one going through the thought process. If we were amongst those who heard Him speak in the flesh and had him deliver a concept to us that pushed the boundaries of our comfort zones, what would our reaction be? Where would your train of thought bring you? Furthermore, would you be able to recognize any inconsistencies that pull you away from good logic as you passed your judgment?

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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