Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Health In Its Rightful Place

I probably do not completely understand what I am. It is probably the melancholy in me that is always searching for a deeper meaning, when the truth is right in front of me. I also do not think that I have always understood the responsibility that I have on my body. Ya, I grew up knowing about being a vegetarian, drinking lots of water, exercising, getting plenty of sunlight, etc. What I was not putting together was the idea that all of these health principles were meant for a higher purpose. They were meant to cultivate a place for God to reside and work efficiently. 

We can get all hung up on the idea that health principles will or will not save us. I could easily explain that, no, following health codes will not get me into heaven. That I can state. What I am proposing here is something that goes beyond coming before God and asking for forgiveness and receiving that abounding mercy. It is a response to His love! When I realize what He has done for me and the extend to which I have been forgiven I want to give my whole for Him.

Despite whether I want to take His counsel or not, He has made a second covenant with His people. That covenant is kept within my soul. Down deep in the matter of my mind and feelings of my heart. There rests a promise which should be reflected in my behaviors. What does this covenant consist of and what exactly is written on my heart? The love. A simple concept and depiction of what God is. When Christ was on earth He explained what the law of God was narrowed down to. 

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind (there it is again!)
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These two principles involve what is within me and God Himself. Love = God. Heart + Soul + Mind = Yourself. Who we are as Christians should be so intertwined with who God is that we cannot help but love God and man. Oh, and one more matter. If God is merciful towards the unrighteous, sinful, and lawless ones, where are we to abide?

With this all being said, I want to point out that taking care of ourselves is of utmost importance. We need to keep our minds ready, our hearts open, and our souls refreshed. What better way to do all of these things? I used to think that keeping my body healthy was so that I could keep a clean place ready for God (metaphorically speaking), but honestly it is more than that. Being healthy is more for keeping the tool God is using ready and able to meet the needs of others. We are that tool and light in the dark. God just wants to give us the opportunity to participate in one of the greatest feats! God could come down and do this all Himself, bringing His children into the fold. But He wants to use US! He knows that it would be most effective to use us, the ones who know what it is like to fall, get up, and fall again. He knows that we have been through a whole lot. We can reach others. He wants to put His stamp on us and show others who He is.

I remember a gentleman telling me that he could not really wrap his mind around religion. He asked me how I could prove something that is unseen (that being God I believe). When our conversation was interrupted and he had to leave, I thought about this concept. How does one prove to someone that God is real? Then it clicked. Who I am can reflect God and who He is. If I appear different than the world and others notice it, they will question and wonder. I can reflect God so that others, like that man, can truely see God. No gimics, tricks, or false leading. Straight up truth and light. 

So I encourage you to be healthy, not so that you can be more right with God, but so that you can be his tool in reaching the world. Trust me, I am still gaining understanding in the healthy department. There is so much out there on it that it is rather overwhelming. I just think that if we have a purpose for it, trying to walk in that direction will be so much more helpful.

And to think that I got this whole idea from reading chapter 8 in Hebrews. The Holy Spirit knows what He is doing.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Mystery of Justice & Mercy

I often get stuck on visuals. I cannot seem to wrap my mind around the idea that God is real, present, and waiting to commune with me. But there are those moments that I find His soothing words comforting me, through the spoke Word. If I would just take the time to see that yes I do have a love letter from Him each morning, I would know that He is real and good. 

Throughout Christianity and even through the beginning of time, we as humans have gotten stuck. We take so literally God's commands that we fail to look at the bigger picture that He is trying to present. When Christ came, the Jews missed the mark. They followed the laws of Moses and then some to the point of pain. When the Jewish Christtians were struggling after Christ's acension, they still could not seem to get past the laws set forth by Moses. They had to be reminded that God set up these laws in preparation for a greater purpose and more perfect covenant. Trying to convice God's people that Christ was their forever High Priest was not an easy task. 

When I look at the purpose of the the tabernacle and all the different furnishings, I am always amazed at the dialog that is created between God and humanity. Before I have discussed a purpose behind the priestly garments and also the candlesticks, but I have yet to speak of the most powerful symbolism in the sanctuary.

The Ark has always spoken of power for me. I have seen the respect and disrespect shown toward this piece. I pictured how it looked and what went inside. I have gone so far as to wonder where the ark of the covenant is today. What I have learned today is that this piece is a mystery in more ways than one. What  it represents is a very mysterious thing indeed. All of heaven stands by and wonders. The law which resides inside of the ark represents the justice of God. He will make sure that all is brought to the right. 

We know what it is like to want justice. We see the pain caused, the children that are mistreated without reason (not that there should be), and the wickedness that just seems to be out of control. God sees this as well, but there is also another side to God. His mercy (seat) is where this equation gets a little tricky. As Christ comes before God pleading on our behalf, God grants His request and sees to it that those who repent of sin are pardoned. He gives them a fresh white robe and calls them His own. 

What the sinner repents of comes in all forms. What we do not understand is that God can give mercy to whomever He wishes and it is given to ANYONE that repents, no matter how deep and far they have gone into the disgusting realm of sin. Why wouldn't all of heaven stand in perplexity at such a wonder? How can I not think that God is so good? He wants to reunite with us. He wants to end the separation. 

Remember the cheribum that bend their wings over the mercy seat on the ark? They are representative of the wonder of redemption. They are the depiction of what heaven is doing. If heaven stands by and is inquisitive of this mystery, why shouldn't we ponder this every day as well? We are the recipients. We get all caught up in wanting JUSTICE for those who have treated others wrong, but what about the justice we deserve? Where is justice and mercy rightly given? We should let the mystery of justice and mercy stay in the hands of our Lord. 

-taken from parts of Hebrews 7&8