A Chat with a Friend: Thoughts on Trust and Guidance, John 14 and Proverbs 3


Credits: Michael Pokocky

The other day I was talking with a friend and not long after that I came across some Bible verses that felt quite fitting in the light of our talk. Let me share some thoughts with you.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit has is there to give us counsel and a pathway to truth. It is very natural for us, me especially, to think of truth as a body of knowledge to identify right from wrong. Jesus however was not referring to that. Earlier in John 14 Jesus advises that He is the way, the truth, the light.

So, truth appears not so much a set of answers; truth appears to be referring to a person: Jesus Christ!Truth is the tree of life, and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We want clear, fixed solutions. It is part even of our survival mechanism. The Holy Spirit however wants to give us truth and with that life itself ultimately. But our human nature makes that we are almost naturally inclined to think that we can find that truth, on our own strength more often than not mixing up knowledge with life. I know I have been, and I still am regularly. This condition or human tendency is recognized and it is therefore no surprise that we read in Proverbs

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3: 5-7 NIV)

I remember all to well how I reached a dead end, some years back. I had been searching and either not finding or been disappointed with whatever truth, life I did think I had found.  Christianity was no exception, and I was determined to expose it as a sham, a scam. It was at the time the last viable option. Ironically I ended up becoming a Christian and for the first time in many years, for as long as I can remember in fact, I have found the peace  I was so desperately searching for on my own strength. It is beautifully worded in one Jewish song: Ruach (Spirit).

“Not by might or by power, but by the Spirit of God.”

The matter of being comforted and guided by the Spirit, to follow the Spirit‘s lead, not to find answers but to find life, is not a quest but  a matter of trust. It is already available to everyone of us, its part and parcel of what being a believer is all about. It seems so obvious but in daily life it poses me challenges regularly. We are (I am) so used to living in a world in which we (are made to) believe that we have all the answers that it seems almost unnatural to place our trust completely in God. Yet that is exactly what Jesus did and while his life may have had some incredibly hard moments, he came out the winner. In all this and considering everything I remind myself of one thing: no matter how evolved we are as humans and as societies and civilizations, we have yet to find the answer as to why, if we are so advanced, pain and suffering are still not solved as a human problem?  All the advances we made over the centuries did not solve this problem and the scale has as far as I can see it only gone downhill.

Even though I fail in respect of placing my trust in God, in letting myself be guided, I have not been disappointed wherever I did, even where I did not understand the calls being made on my life. Sometimes matters become more clear along the way, sometimes not (yet).  I will try and am keeping on learning live with it and trust God, until one day I hopefully do see the purpose behind God’s way.  In any event I am peace, that is more than I ever achieved on my own strength for such an extended period. Christianity is not a guarantee for a trouble free life, but it makes a incredible difference to know that it may serve a purpose, you are not alone and that help is at hand to comfort and guide you through any storm.

 

Love is: 1 Corinthians 13: Am I?


I am currently reading through several books amongst others Alpha Questions for Life by Nicky Gumbel.

In this book Gumbel tells the story of a woman that promised herself to read 1 Corinthians 13 everyday, in which Paul explains so beautifully what love and what the importance of love is.

Love

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Time and time I am captured amazed by the beauty of these writings.

Now the lady Nicky Gumbel speaks about decides that she would replace ‘love’ by ‘I’ and stop as soon as she came across a description she did not make. Hopefully she would one day be able to tick off all the descriptions.

I have found on many occasions that replacing the Bible really starts to speak to me when I make things personal. As an example,read the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 v1-17) and see how they provide you with a clear picture on what you will become or aim to become if you replace the “you” with “I”.

  • I shall have no other Gods before Him
  • I will not make or have idols
  • I will not misuse his name
  • I will remember the Sabbath by keeping it Holy and will not work on it.
  • I will honor my father and mother
  • I will not murder
  • I will not commit adultery
  • I will not steal
  • I will not give false testimony
  • I will not covet

What a beautiful promise he commandments become.

Or try this with the Lord’s prayer of Matthew 6:  9-13.

My Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name (by me)
your Kingdom come,
I will do your will as your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give me today my daily bread.
Forgive me my debts,
as I have also forgiven my debtors.
And lead me not into temptation,
but deliver me from the evil one,
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory.

Amen

To me the prayer speaks differently when the generic “us” is replaced by I and all of a sudden I commit myself very personally to doing His will, all of a sudden the confession of sin becomes personal and is no longer a vague ‘us’ but a personal acknowledgment that I am a sinner that needs forgiveness, all of a sudden God‘s provision becomes very personal and all of a sudden it is very clear that “we” are not just tempted by evil and in need of deliverance in general as a humanity but personally.

And so it is with the sixteen descriptions of love in 1 Corinthians 13 when you make them personal. What a guide for life they become:

  1. I am patient
  2. I am kind
  3. I do not envy
  4. I do not boast
  5. I am not proud
  6. I am not rude
  7. I am not self-seeking
  8. I am not easily angered
  9. I keep no record of wrongs
  10. I do not delight in evil
  11. rejoice in truth
  12. I always protect
  13. I always trust
  14. I always hope
  15. I always persevere
  16. I never fail

There is only one sad things about this checklist: So far I never made it past point one: love is patient. What about you?

1 Corinthians 13

Fifty Commands Of Christ ~ Digging the Word


1. Repent
Mt 4:17
2. Follow me
Mt 4:19
3. Rejoice
Mt 5:11-12
4. Let your light shine before men
Mt 5:16
5. Honor God’s Law
Mt 5:17-18
6. Be Reconciled
Mt 5:24-25
7. Do Not Commit Adultery
Mt 5:29-30
8. Keep Your Word
Mt 5:37
9. Go the Second Mile
Mt 5:39-41
10. Love Your Enemies
Mt 5:44
11. Be Perfect
Mt 5:46-48
12. Practice Secret Disciplines
Mt 6:1-18
13. Lay Up Treasures
Mt 6:19-21
14. Seek First Gods Kingdom
Mt 6:35
15. Judge Not
Mt 7:1-2
16. Do Not Cast Pearls
Mt 7:6
17. Ask, Seek, Knock
Mt 7:7-8
18. Do Unto Others
Mt 7:12
19. Choose the Narrow Way
Mt 7:13-14
20. Beware of False Prophets
Mt 7:15
21. Pray for Laborers
Mt 9:37-38
22. Be Wise as Serpents
Mt 10:16
23. Fear Not
Mt 10:28
24. Hear Gods Voice
Mt 11:15
25. Take My Yoke
Mt 11:29

26. Honor Your Parents
Mt 15:4
27. Beware of Leaven
Mt 16:6
28. Deny Yourself
Lk 9:23
29. Despise Not Little Ones
Mt 18:10
30. Go to Offenders
Mt 18:15
31. Beware of Covetousness
Lk 12:15
32. Forgive Offenders
Mt 18:21-22
33. Honor Marriage
Mt 19:6
34. Be a Servant
Mt 20:26-27
35. Be a House of Prayer
Mt 21:13
36. Ask in Faith
Mt 21:21-22
37. Bring in the Poor
Lk 14:12-14
38. Render to Caesar
Mt 22:19-21
39. Love the Lord
Mt 27:37
40. Love Your Neighbor
Mt 22:39
41. Await My Return
Mt 24:42-44
42. Take, Eat And Drink
Mt 26:26-27
43. Be Born Again
John 3:7
44. Keep My Commandments
John 14:15
45. Watch and Pray
Mt 26:41
46. Feed My Sheep
John 221:15-16
47. Baptize My Disciples
Mt 28:19
48. Receive The Endument of Power
Lk 24:49
49. Make Disciples of all Nations
Mt 28:20
50. Demonstrate God’s Power
Mk 16:17

From Fifty Commands Of Christ ~ Digging the Word.

A great way to explore the different teachings of Christ in the Bible.

I am the Gate


Another mobile phone picture. It reminded me of John 10:9

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

I am the gate? When Jesus compares himself to the door or gate one should keep in mind the way things worked in those days. The sheep pen in those days (unlike the gate in the picture) only had one entrance/exit. Very often the shepherd would sleep in the entrance thus functionally being the actual door.

Through this metaphor Jesus tells us that He is the means by which the sheep (us) may enter into the promised fullness of life. It is also good to remind ourselves, in these times of religious pluralism and syncretism  that Jesus did NOT say I am A gate but THE gate, so as to keep us reminded that through Him and through Him only we are saved. Furthermore he presents us with a certain liberty ‘to come in and go out’; in His presence we are able to live our lives in freedom, peace, protected and in His presence we’ll  find ‘good pasture’ or a fulfilled life.

The Historicity of Jesus Christ


Kristopher Bate

Thinking Faith Ministries

Will speak on The Historicity of Jesus Christ

Canterbury Youth Services

472 Cranford st, Papanui ( above Chipmunks )

7pm, Saturday the 24th July 2010

Come & bring a non-believing friend!

Free Entry

For details contact Ramana / Seema

Ph. 0274412217 Email: ramananv2002@yahoo.co.uk