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Friday, July 24, 2015

(91) Living life by the spirit


To expand on the lesson Spirit, Soul, Body this will look at what the issues are with the spirit. Take a look at the chart to the right to remind yourself what consists of the spirit and how the spirit makes 1/3 of who we are and how we respond.

To begin with, why do we even have a spirit?  God created us to have a spirit so that we can have a relation with Him for God is spirit.  There is a direct connection between mankind and God.  If we are only flesh and blood we can never understand spiritual things.  We will never be able to experience the glory that He has for us.  He also placed inside us the desire to help others, love others, and connect with others as well without any conditional terms.  This is the highest form of relationships.

What kind of relationship can be built upon the spirit?  We are here for one main reason, to worship Him.  That is why our bodies can dance before Him.  That is why we speak praises and prayers.  This is why we can read about Him and feel things those who do not read can not.  Our worship gives us a foundation that is stronger than any other force in the universe.  The love that God has for us is called agape.  This means it is unconditional.  There is no condemnation under His love.  This is a Godly love that we are supposed to strive for with each other as well.  It is not a sensual love or a love built upon similarities like the other two.  This is the love that Jesus told us to show and the love that Paul writes is the greatest of all things.  When a marriage is built upon the love of God then it has the strongest bond it could.  If there is the love of God in a marriage then the other two loves either become less important because they are fulfilled or they become more enhanced.  This love makes us fight for things.  This love conquers all that comes against us.  This love looks past all the things that has been done wrong to us.  This love turns the cheek.  This love goes the extra mile. This love carries us through the sands of trouble and holds on to us when there seems to be no hope.  This love is patient.  This love is from God, A father's love  A love that never forsakes and forgives all that we have done.

How does the spirit react to the world?  There are two ways it reacts to the world.  One is we know that God will get us through anything.  That is called faith.  The other is we know God wants us not to be bystanders.  He wants us to take action.  This is called conviction.  Both call us to do the right thing.  Both are ensconced with love.  Both are filled with truth.  Both are filled with compassion.  Both are filled with mercy.  This is where what is known as the fruits of the spirit come in.  You will know if someone is filled with the spirit when they show their gentleness, patience, kindness, peace, self-control, and above all love. Those who fail to show these, even though they claim to be Christian, are not living by the spirit.  When they say they are Christian but live more by the soul or body then they do not show the fruits.  This is when the world says they are hypocrites.

How is the world enhanced for the spirit?  President Snow (Hunger Games) said there is only one thing stronger than fear and that is hope.  What a profound statement that rings true.  Fear is what drives the body to the fight or flight instinct.  Fear is what cause our souls to worry and causes stress.  But in the spirit, there is no fear because the spirit in us gives us hope.  We see the light at the end of the tunnel because we have the light inside us.  The spirit also gives us joy.  Happiness is based on your situation but joy comes from something else.  When we have the spirit we feel stronger and healthier.  We see things for what they really are.  We know more about right from wrong.  It gives us dreams.  It gives us purpose.  Yes, the world is enhanced for us but even more importantly those with the spirit enhance the world.  Jesus said we are the salt of the earth.  We are here to build each other up.  We are here to share our hearts.  We are here to use our gifts (whether natural talents or gifts of the spirit) See Spiritual gifts for an overview.

What is the result? This is the most important part about understanding the spirit.  When we live by the spirit the desire to do the right things overwhelm us.  But sometimes the world does not understand what the right thing really is and we look foolish to them.  We should be slow to speak and slow to anger.  We are suppose to walk by faith not driven by our desires of the flesh.  When we do these things we feel worthy.  We feel free from the issues of the world.  When we live by the spirit all the other aspects of our lives take shape.  This gives us a foundation that we can all fall back on.  With the spirit we are complete beings.  We are higher than any other life form and that makes us the most loved of all God's creation.  That is why He gives is chance after chance after chance.

We are human. Having a spirit is part of us and we should not ignore it.  We may have the only light some people will ever see.  We may have the only hope that some will ever hear.  We have the absolute truth that the world needs but will not accept.  We have to share love to the world.  The world only lives by their bodies or their souls.  They do not understand the spirit, so to them our absolute truth becomes relative or to them sometimes irrelevant.  Yet, the world watches us and waits for us to not live by the spirit and then jumps at the first sign of a failure.   And because of that we get blamed for all the hate.  Even though we all fall.  We get blamed for all the division.  Even though we all have issues. So,they kick God out of schools, governments, and lives.

And we wonder why the world is the way it is.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

(90) Living life by the soul

To expand on the lesson of Spirit, Soul, Body this will look at what the issues are with the soul, both good and bad. Take a look at the chart to the right to remind yourself what consists of the soul and how the soul makes 1/3 of who we are and how we respond.

To begin with, why do we even have a soul? God created a soul for us because He wanted us to make a connection with each other based more than just on physical pleasure.  He placed inside us a mind that can think, reason, imagine, discover, search, and comprehend.  He gave us the desire to try and find answers to the universe and to discover who we are.  But not only about His creation but also to use all of the above to know about each other, another pleasure given to us.  Our relationships have another level.

What kind of relationship can be built upon the soul?  This relation is deeper than the one with the body.  This one is multi-faceted.  Our emotions though are the foundation of this relationship.  Our emotions are made up of all of our situations and backgrounds, such as our thoughts and feelings.  We can connect on an intellectual basis.  And when we do we can grow in education.  We can see things in a different light.  It can cause a deeper feeling of purpose.  We can share our thoughts.  And when we do we find out about more of who we are when we are able to understand we have the same issues in life.  We can share our feelings. And when we do we make that intimate connection where we develop a loving emotional relationship.  This emotional relationship is based on our similarities where we can develop the greatest of friendships.  But if all we do is base our relationships on our emotions then we can become disappointed in the actions of others. They will always fail us because of our expectations.  This is where the idea of forgiveness comes in.  God gave us guidelines here too.  We need to treat each other with compassion, mercy, hospitality, generosity, and above all love.  This is the essence of the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Paul.  But people mistake emotions and its actions for marital love.  This is why marriages such as those in like Hollywood don't last.  They like the person on the surface but they fail to create a deeper relationship and later on realize they are not connected anymore.  This is why intellectuals spend too much time away from each other in a marriage.  They think their intellect is higher than the other and that starts many arguments.  Ever notice most people marry someone with similar intelligence level?   But if they have no better foundation than their intellect then the marriage is not strong.    This is also why no one should get married at a young age and why "puppy love" is not real.  The relationship if built on emotion can be filled with disappointments and the "love" goes. Phileo love is a brotherly love.  It is for friendship.  Animals have friends.  Heck the dog is man's best friend (because they can't argue).  You are higher than an animal.

How does the soul react to the world?  There are only two ways, the soul uses logic and reasoning. During the Enlightenment era people like Voltaire and Rousseau stressed the idea of using logic and reasoning to discover the answers of the universe.  They claimed there were natural laws of the universe that were constant and man could not work outside those laws.  They denied many religious beliefs like miracles because these would go against these natural laws.  They relied upon their intellect to explain the world.  But some things in this existence can never be explained by logic or proven by science.  Is there a mathematical equation for love?  No.  Can science completely prove the beginnings of the universe?  No. Sure we can come up with the best of theories and do many experiments based on what we know.  And we can actually prove many things with a constant result but we can never fully understand the universe. If we try to prove everything by logic and reasoning only then some things we will never get to experience because we deny its existence or some things we will never get to understand because we deny the possibilities.  The worse thing they can do is over think things.  They try to rationalize each and every aspect of life.  Views on both sides of every argument seems rational but they aren't. See Rationalization for more explanation.  Liberal ideas distort truth because they sound correct but are full of falsehoods. Humanism, atheism, feminism, ideologies, and philosophies all start to sound like truth but are pseudoscience.  They stress individualism but look for a belonging.  They are confused but claim they have all the answers.

How is the world enhanced for the soul?  We write self-help books.  We write text books.  We go to psychologists and psychiatrists.  We study.  We observe.  We take classes.  We have support groups. There is nothing wrong with any of these.  These were made so that we could get help and make connections with others, to know that we are not alone with our struggles.  But people use these as a crutch.  These things become excuses.  They blame their mother for their criminal activity because a psyche book said that is what happened.  Nothing becomes their fault because they can explain their behavior.  How about...you were just wrong and take the consequence.  Psychologists try to pinpoint everything on our psyche. Simplypsychology.org  But not everything is based on our past.  Sometimes we are who we are because of our distorted thinking.  To quote from a great movie, "Stop breaking the law A-hole".  When all we do is try to explain our actions then we never get to what the real problem is and we keep feeling ashamed and confused.  But we are human.  If we do wrong we will have these feelings and will keep having them unless we understand there is a higher calling.

What is the result? This is the most important part about understanding the soul.  We want to find that special someone that we are special to as well.  We want to make that connection with others so we feel like we belong.  This is why we join teams.  This is why we join clubs.  This is even why we read, to find something we feel a part of.  But when we can't find that right relationship we start to wonder what is wrong with us. Our mindsets become focused on the negative.  We start to hate ourselves.  We don't see ourselves as worthy of anything, or any gift.  We struggle with our thoughts.  We look for answers and if we look in the wrong places then we find the wrong answers. Years of pain and stress cause depression.  We feel like our sanity is up for grabs.  Instead of just causing physical pain for relief, many take the next step and want to end it all. Knowing everything just isn't enough.  There is still a part of us that is unfilled.

We are human. Having a soul is part of us and we should not ignore it. We are geared towards curiosity and a desire to understand.  God created a universe so vast that our minds will never stop wanting to find it all.  But there are limitations and mysteries that God left open. Mankind though thinks they know better and creates theories.  Those with high intellects think they don't need anything else. The screenshot of someone to the right explains a lot.  The person who posted this is one of the greatest people on the earth and deserves so much more than life has been lately. But they can't find the answers. They wonder what is after this life.  They are an atheist but still have a question about after you die.  That's because God's spirit is still in them but they deny it.  Those who rely upon their intellect can't see past the natural world.  But there is another world out there. And we wonder why the world is the way it is.

You are important. You have dreams and hope. You are more than just emotions. Yes, you have a body. And even more importantly, you have a spirit. Use it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

(89) Living life by the body

To expand on the lesson of Spirit, Soul, Body this will look at what the issues are with the body, both good and bad.  Take a look at the chart to the right to remind yourself what consists of the body and how the body makes 1/3 of who we are and how we respond.

To begin with, why do we even have a body?  God created a physical body because He created a physical universe.  He created one with sound, sight, smell, taste, and feel.  God loved His creation but His prize creation was mankind.  He loved it so much He wanted it to experience the rest of creation in all of its glory. The earth was formless at first but then water, air, and dry ground appeared. Things would be able to not only sustain life but give it pleasure as well.  From the ground came plants and animals for food and companionship.  But even with all this one pleasure was missing---relationship, a physical relationship with the same bodily species.  He created both male and female.

What kind of relationship can be built upon the body?  The only one that can be achieved with the body is one that uses the body; a sensual, sexual, or erotic relationship.  These are not to say this is wrong.  There is perfection in a sexual relationship.  The male body fits the female body and the female body fits the male body.  God created this relationship and there is nothing wrong with having erotic feelings or to experience this pleasure.  There are many ways we can experience this.  But if all we do is have sexual relations with no other feelings then we can distort its purpose.  People start to seek only sex.  They try to get it any way they can.  But God gave guidelines.  Yes, people will disagree with this but it is the truth.  Please see Types of love for further explanation.  If this relation is the only type you have then you will be left empty and many times feel ashamed and that is because you are human.  You are created with more than a body.  You are higher than the plants and animals.

How does the body react to the world?  There are only two ways, the body either learns how to fight or it turns to flight.  Ever heard the quote, "think before you react"?  That is a very truthful statement.  If we do not think when a situation arises we may over react or freeze.  That is called the fight or flight response. (Psychcentral.com)  The article's first sentence is dead wrong but the rest is sound.  We either panic and run or we have an adrenaline rush and fight.  When an animal is cornered it does the same thing, but most will fight (picture snarling dog).  If we do not think before we react and only use this instinct then we end up hurting people.  We post on social media our break ups without feeling any consequence.  We even lose our sanity and shoot up military recruiting stations (maniac, idiot).

How is the world enhanced for the body?  We try to create textures and scents.  We play music and create paintings.  We take medication and vitamins.  We buy and sell items that make us feel better.  There is nothing wrong with any of these.  These were made for our pleasure.  But people take this and create fantasy worlds.  These things become outlets for anger which is better than the alternative but it creates dark and hurtful places in our lives.  When all we do is escape the world, we never truly escape our pain.  This is why alcohol and other drug usage is so rampant.  It is the only way we can kill the pain.  People who don't use drugs turn to other ways like tattooing and cutting.  To quote a heart wrenching song:  "Though I don't want to die. But the only anesthetic that makes me feel anything kills inside", so the person ends up cutting herself. When all we do is try to make ourselves feel better then we end up feeling useless and without purpose.  But we are human.  We have both.

What is the result?  This is the most important part about understanding the body.  We are more than just desirable flesh.  This is why women feel disrespected when men only think of their body as attractive.  They want to be seen as more, someone with a mind and a purpose.  Women who cheat do so because they are treated by other men with more purpose and who listen to their thoughts (they are more sensitive to their feelings).  Men also believe it or not want to feel more than just a body. They want to protect and feel appreciated.  Most men who cheat do so because they feel under appreciated.  Both sexes feel an emptiness longing to be filled.  However the easiest way to fill a loss is with the body so we do it trying to fill the emptiness.  It's at this point we hurt the most because the sexual, fantasy, reactive part of us is not enough.

We are human.  Having a body is part of us and we should not ignore it.  We are built for pleasure and to please.  But there are guidelines and standards that God gave us to get the best out of the pleasures. Mankind though thinks they know better and creates their own standards and distorts the idea of Paradise. And we wonder why the world is the way it is.

You are important.  You have a purpose.  You are more than just beauty on the outside.  You have a soul.  And even more importantly, you have a spirit.  Use it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

(88) The Ark of the New Covenant

No one really knows where the Ark of the Covenant from the Old Testament is today.  Sure there are theories that it is in Ethiopia and others as well.  Yes, Indiana Jones found it and now it sits in a storage room in some US facility before someone thinks they are funny.  But in reality no one really knows.  But it also probably doesn't really matter since we are under a new covenant.  It is neat to see how the Old Testament and the New Testament coincide with each other so much.  The Old Testament though for the New Testament Christian is only symbolic.  That is not to say that the Old Testament doesn't mean anything or nothing in it ever really happen.  On the contrary it is literal historical events, but we are no longer bound to its rules and punishments for we are under grace and forgiveness.  But after all of this has been said there is an ark for the New.  Sure the easy answer is that Jesus is the New Ark.  But there is a deeper connection between Old and New.  There is an actual physical Ark that happened.   And we can almost still see it today.

Before we go on let's look at the word Ark.  There are a couple of words we have for this word.  One is "tebah" and the other is "aron".  Both are similar and mean chest, box, or coffin.  In other words a place where you store something of value or of major importance that you want to remember.  Noah's Ark is an example.  God placed His most valuable possession in His tebah so that it would be remembered and saved. 364 days later the precious item was let out of the tebah.  But the word coffin could also be used for Noah's Ark.  Man died.  He was placed in a coffin.  But see what God did?  He raised man out of the coffin.  Man was resurrected.  An Old Testament historical event that is now symbolic of what will happen to man if he believes in the Son of God!  We will be resurrected.

The Ark of the Covenant is another example of this word.  God placed His valuable possession, His promise, and other items of value in His aron.  This chest or coffin was made of acacia wood, gold, and other items.  It was topped with a lid and on the lid is called the Mercy Seat.  On each side a cherub is sitting with its wings spread out.  Blood for sacrifices was poured out onto the left side of the Mercy Seat (symbolic of where Jesus sits compared to God the Father).  Blood is poured for the forgiveness of all our sins.  It provides the mercy we need to keep our relation with God.  Again, historic event but now symbolic for the Christian.  For Jesus still sits on the mercy seat and our sins our forgiven because of His blood that He poured our for us.

**But there is another symbolic yet real event that makes this even more of a great connection.  When Jesus was laid in the tomb of Joseph there had to be some blood that was left on the shroud that they covered him with.  Then on the day of resurrection Mary was there and saw the place where the shroud was left, empty.  But when she looked up she saw...two angels on both sides of the "coffin" or the ARK!**

The ark of the New Testament is surely Jesus but the symbol behind this is that the Ark of the New Covenant, or promise, is that because of Him we will be resurrected.  His blood was poured on the Mercy Seat once for all and now He sits at God's right hand (on the left).

**Inspired by Joseph Prince Ministries.

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