Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cut It Off!

“As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (a.k.a. "cut off their you-know-what")

When I read this I was amazed. Paul, a man who met Jesus in a vision, was sharing his opinion of people who were shifting the focus of new believers from God himself to a method of being with God. I can't help but have a love and respect for the way Paul speaks about this issue in the church.

Paul is writing to new believers in the city of Galatia (around 50 A.D.) expressing frustration towards Jewish teachers who are trying to influence them, non-Jews, to live in relationship with God in the same way the nation of Israel has always done so. The particular issue here is circumcision. (now you know where Paul gets his inspiration in writing the sentence above)

In this letter one of his points is, “When you come to know God, don’t get circumcised!” which is a really big statement for that time.

From the very beginning of the nation of Israel, circumcision has been a sign of God’s covenant and a very important part of the nation’s commitment to God (That may sound weird to you, but it’s true. If you’re curious as to why shoot me an e-mail ... if you’re reading this and you have more insight, please let me know : )

The Galatians have been deceived. These new believers are in danger because they are close to removing their focus from God himself to a "method" of being with God. Even though circumcision has been around for thousands of years as an important part of the Israelites commitment to God Paul states that Jesus will have no value to these new believers if they follow it.

How often do people simply join the crowd in Christian communities? How often do people set their traditions and methods of living with God onto others? Who do we serve? God or methods and traditions.

But we can't stop here. If we want to know the truth we have to keep reading. People don't have free reign to relate to God however they want to or however they feel.

God is beyond traditions or methods or ways or laws, even if they've been around for thousands of years. And Paul knows that if people focus on meeting "requirements" and "traditions" instead of on the truth of who God is and what it means to pursue HIM, they will be bound by those things and therefore unable to walk in the power of the Spirit. But there's more. Paul continues by saying:

"For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."

So what does this mean?

I think God is moving. He’s doing something new for a new people. He's being God (one who is above all things, full of understanding, the essence of true love for all people). He's being personal. This is exciting for me because it tells me that people haven’t reached the end of discovering how to relate to God or how He relates to us. It tells me that He’s not closed by a certain way to live with Him, but open to a way of life with all people that grows out of a relationship with Him...

...based on love, faithfulness, grace, forgiveness and truth.

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." - Paul

p.s. -to read this section of the letter you can go to: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%205:1-15&version=NLT

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Water, Atoms, & Something Personal

Spirit and body.

I've been pondering these things as of late. The flesh. The spirit.

What are we made of? Is it more than chemicals? Is it more than physical?

I was talking with someone once about an experiment a Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto, did on water. As you may know the largest component of the human body and of the world itself is water.

Well, Mr. Emoto took glasses of water and after performing certain tests would freeze droplets of the water. Then he would examine them under a dark field microscope that had photographic capabilities.

One example of his research is testing these glasses of water with certain music. He took one glass and played positive music for a night. Then he would examine the crystals. He did the same with a glass of water he secluded to negative music. The result was that the water crystals that had been listening to the positive music were symmetrical and beautiful while the water crystals that had been listening to the negative music were jagged and contorted.

He also taped certain words and phrases on glasses over night like "You make me sick. I will kill you." and "Love and Appreciation" and there was the same effect.

It's been said that "from Mr. Emoto's work we are provided with factual evidence, that human vibrational energy, thoughts, words, ideas and music, affect the molecular structure of water."

Re-considering how much a role water plays as a part of all living things, these findings cannot help but cause me to wonder at what is in this earth that we cannot put our finger on.

Humans have been putting their fingers down on a lot of things in science, but as humanity digs its fingers deeper into the foundation of it all, rather than finding the final, solid puzzle piece to creation, they are finding things that seemingly have a kind of personality. (Check out Rob Bell's film called "Everything is Spiritual" to learn more about this.)

There's more studies and findings, but I'll end here so as not to make this too long.

All this is to say that science is beginning to find that there is more personality to the foundation of life than we might think, and perhaps some underlying, dare I say, Person.

This morning I read from Proverbs. The part that really stuck out to me was, "By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew."

[here's a website on Mr. Emoto where I got some of the info: http://www.life-enthusiast.com/twilight/research_emoto.htm]