My Musings – “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” Probably said by Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, 1913 – 2005, African American civil rights activist). Variations of the first part of this quote have been attributed to many different people, with the true origin of the quote unknown. I think we might be safe in attributing it to Isaiah.
The Biblical definition of faith, is found in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV 1984).” In other words, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Another version states that it is the substance (what’s tangible) of hope (what’s intangible), the evidence (proof) of what cannot be seen (unprovable). You may end up being called a nut. But if you don’t stand firm, you’ll never become a might oak. in fact, if you do not stand firm, you will not stand at all.
My Advice – Don’t just stand for something. Stand for someone. Stand for a firm belief in Jesus Christ. If you do, though you cannot see it, you can be certain that you will never fall. You’d be nuts not to.
My Musings – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
God gave us life and liberty (freedom to make our own choices). The pursuit of happiness is a bit more problematic. Man has a tendency to find (or think he can find) happiness in all the wrong places and with all the wrong things. More often than not, these rob us of the very thing we are pursuing. We would be better off pursuing joy (which is not dependent upon things or circumstances) rather than happiness (which usually is dependent upon things or circumstances).
Better yet, as the above verse states, we should pursue righteousness and love, which results in life, prosperity and honor. We need to remember, however, that an abundant life is more about quality than quantity, lasting prosperity has little to do with an abundance of “things” (which moths and rust can destroy) and honor has more to do with our character than it does with how much fame an adulation we can achieve. And how ironic it is, that when we get it backwards (we pursue long life, prosperity in things and honor absent humility), righteousness and love (and happiness) often eludes us.
My Advice – Let’s make sure what we pursue is not only worth the chase, but is also worth catching.
My Musings – As often as not, real trust is more a matter of the heart than it is of the mind. We often have to follow our hearts, when logic and our understanding on how things appear to be are telling us we should not trust. If we do not trust with all of our heart, can it really be trust?
“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”— Van Morrison
My Advice – In God we can trust. Your mind may have its doubts at times, but in your heart you know you should.
My Musings – We usually think that a broken spirit is a negative thing. But how could God possibly forgive a proud and rebellious spirit? The text implies that God actually despises such a spirit. Genuine contrition (feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming) is not possible absent a humble and penitent heart.
My Advice – Do not allow a proud or rebellious spirit get in the way of a humble and penitent heart.
My Musings – Carl Sagan wrote, “There is nothing unusual about the earth. It’s an average, unassuming rock that’s spinning mindlessly around an unremarkable star in a run-of-the-mill galaxy – ‘a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.'” Yet on this “unassuming rock” in this “great enveloping cosmic dark” God placed the crown-jewel of His creation – Man. We know (Carl Sagan notwithstanding) this, because of all His creation only man was made in His image.
All of the other “work[s] of [His] fingers” are beyond our comprehension, because our finite minds cannot comprehend the infinite. And yet “these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14, NIV 1984). Who indeed? Incomprehensible to us, yet still “how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” The infinite is still merely the “outer fringe of His works.” Try and wrap your head around that!
Which brings us back to the Psalm above, which is attributed to King David. In the midst of all that has just been so inadequately described, “what is man that [He] is mindful (Attentive; regarding with care; bearing in mind; heedful; observant) of Him?” That my friend, is a mind full indeed!
My Advice – “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Redeem means to buy back, liberate or free a possession, object, or person, by the payment of a ransom. Biblically, the term redemption indicates a freeing from the slavery of sin, in exchange for the ransom price. Redeemer, is the one that pays the ransom (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1988).
The ransom price must be of sufficient value to effect the exchange. Ironically, in our fallen state, we have no intrinsic value that would merit any ransom price. Yet Christ paid the ultimate price to redeem mankind. The priceless in exchange for the worthless. The ultimate in unmerited favor. Ever marvel at the love that had to be behind such a sacrifice? No wonder Job’s heart yearned within him.
My Advice – Our bargaining position is extremely weak. We have nothing of value to offer ourselves. Accept the ransom.
My Musings – Arbitrate: to settle (a dispute between two people or groups) after hearing the arguments and opinions of both.
Some say that Job is the oldest book in the Bible, in which case Job is “unwittingly” making the earliest prophecy about the coming Messiah.
If you browse the internet, you’ll find various opinions on what makes a good arbitrator. Among them are competence, character, courage, commitment, compassion. I would add at least one more: an intimate knowledge of both parties in the dispute. Ever wonder why God became man though His Son Jesus Christ? While this is undoubtedly a multi-dimensional question, perhaps this was one of the reasons.
Christ already had the divine perspective. For He “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3, NIV 1984).” When He became man, He acquired the human perspective. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15, NIV 1984).”
My Advice – In the most important “dispute” of our lives, one with eternal consequences, we want more than a good arbitrator. We want the best. Jesus is the best. As a matter of fact, He is the only arbitrator that is able to “remove God’s rod from [us].“