Saturday, January 19, 2008

Acts 27:22-24

"And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee."
Acts 27:22-24

This is a cool story from the New Testament.  Paul actually got to this ship because he was put in prison by people in Jerusalem, and others were trying to kill him, so he appealed to Caesar, and he is on this ship with a lot of other prisoners that are being transported.  The context makes it more interesting, because these verses seem to me to be about ownership and control in some ways.  Paul tells them that he belongs to God in the second verse, and in the last verse he relates that the Angel has given them to him... even though he is owned/controlled by the government and the prison system in some ways during this voyage. ... I like the contrasts here because it shows the difference between "belonging" to God, and being a slave to God.  Paul belongs to God because he chooses to belong to him.  Kind of like romantic love in some ways... choosing to belong to someone, meaning making a commitment and dedicating your life to a single person.  Love is the motivator rather than power.  The same when the angel tells Paul that God has "given" Paul the lives of all the people on the ship.  God doesn't do this for power, for himself or for Paul... but because he loves Paul, respects that he cares about these people... prisoners and guards are both saved with no distinction... AND because God cares about these people, and wants Paul to have influence with them to make their lives better. Belonging to God is so different from bondage or slavery of any sort. ... It's like crossing the street with the person you love most in the world.  That person is going to ask you to watch out for dangerous traffic, and will warn you if you start walking the wrong way, away from your destination... none of it to control you, or manipulate you.  Just to make sure you are okay, and get where you want to go. ... In fact, it's even more like that, but with a blindfold that you can only see through occasionally. ... We just don't know where we're going sometimes. :)  God does... and choosing to belong to him is a *love* thing, not a *slavery* thing. :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Luke 12:25-26

"And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?"
Luke 12:25-26

The Bible Dictionary tells me that a cubit was about 21 and a half inches at the time Christ was on the earth... so, the question asks us which of us can add almost two FEET to our height.  I could be over seven feet tall if I could do that... get into the WNBA. :)  Then, the thing which strikes me the most... Christ says that this thing is "least," as in... easiest to do?  I always thought that I would have to take Walking on Water 101 in the afterlife... but Making Yourself Taller 101 might be a prerequisite. :)  I think we should start studying this stuff... I could use at least a couple of inches. :)

On the other hand, the scripture as a whole is illustrating that we can't control our lives through thought. ... Maybe not that we wouldn't be able to someday, but that we can't now.  So, we shouldn't stress about trying to control everything. God (who *can* control things by thinking about them) will take care of all of them.  Kind of an extension of what God asks us to do all the time... put God first, and everything else will work out.

This of course is not to say that we should refuse to pay our rent, quit our jobs, or go sit in a field and wait for God to make things happen.  It is only to say that we shouldn't let those things stress us out, or be our main focus... ever.  God should always be the main focus, and if he is, then all the rest of it will fall into place.  Even when disasters happen to us personally... financial, physical, spiritual... even those things shouldn't cause us unbearable pain or be our sole focus.  God can handle it... and if we are focused on him, then so can we... always and anything.

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