donovanmneal

Posts Tagged ‘Christian living’

When the darkness is your best friend

In My two cents and Christian Opinion on January 26, 2014 at 7:49 pm

desperate days_t_nt

Ge 2:18 ¶ And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

In going to Sunday morning service today, the pastor talked about breaking the out of the prison of loneliness.  I could really relate to this message, and there were a few thoughts that really stood out to me.

He talked about loneliness, and gave what I thought was a great definition.  He states that loneliness is the absence of or the intense longing for the companionship of people who really care for us and who long to be with us as much as we long to be with them.

Using his definition one can experience this in the multitude.  Loneliness is so undesirable, so contrary to the design of God, and so powerful a state that needs to be filled.  That even after God had created Adam, had given him a purpose, and placed him in an idealic environment where every material need could be satisfied he still lacked one thing to make his life complete—companionship.

It shows me that no matter what we gain in the world.  No matter how wealthy we become.  Our innate need for companionship is basic to who we are.  I learned from today’s lesson that solitary confinement which we have all heard of; is used as a punishment.  Now there is nothing new here, but think about that for a bit, and let that sink in.  Loneliness even within the prison system is used as a punishment.  Being alone, in isolation, lacking the comfort from a person who cares for you as much as you care for them, and who wants to be with you— is to be in a prison.  Think about that.

2_Vital Connections_TI now have a better understanding of such scriptures that say blessed are the peacemakers.  Peacemakers help reconcile people.  They fight against the trend that increases loneliness. Broken families increases loneliness, our living arrangements (suburban living I’m speaking of here.) can increase isolation and loneliness.  We plug our ears, and check into our iphones so we are not bothered, increasing our isolation.  Speaking of trends, one of the internets powerful abilities is its ability to help create community.  Often people do not understand how someone can spend hours online talking with people.  It is because so many of us are lonely.  Lonely in marriages, at work, in our various communities, and comes a technology that allows people to ‘connect’ with someone of like passions and who looks forward to seeing them when they come online.  It is easy once we understand how deep loneliness can be how many of can of us can fall victim to such entrapments, or on a positive note find companionship.

The pastor talked about how to circumvent this with natural remedies, build relationships with new people, family and friends.  I do not want to “repreach” his message.  Of course, the ultimate cure of the deep longing of our hearts is reconciliation with God, to connect with him and thereby empowering us to truly connect with others.

The forbidden fruit is nothing more than knowledge that we were not meant to experience.  Some fruit is vey tart and bitter.  Let not loneliness be something that prevents you from reconnecting with God, family, and friends.  Ask yourself who can you be a friend too to decrease the level of loneliness in their lives.  Which family members, which friend, can you reach out to?  If you realize you are alone.  Reach out to God, and ask him to reconnect with him, and then begin to make reconnections and new connections.  Above all, I encourage you to not let the darkness be your best friend.

D

How to shout in a black church. Smile give your teeth some air!

In Controversy is Christian on January 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I love the church.  I love the culture of the church.  White, African-american,Asian, etc.  Over my years I’ve been to many churches both mega churches and store fronts.  I will always have a special love for the African american segment of the body of Christ.

When you go to a black protestant church there a couple things you can usually expect.  Good music, a good word where the speaker reads the Bible, and if one of the local congregations let their “hair down”.  You might even see people dance. Now I’ve seen dances in the club and I’ve seen dances in the church.  So for a light hearted look at my own people.  (You have to be able to make fun of yourself!) Enjoy this wonderful little video that this group has put together that simply shines a humorous mirror at a tiny piece of what is sometimes the African american church experience.

This video has been viewed over a million times.  And deservedly so.  Have fun.  I found out which dances I’ve done.  Did you find yours?

To my wonderful white brethren in the body of Christ…its OK to laugh….we laugh at it too.  🙂

D

 

To be poor in spirit.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

desperate days_t_nt

In a recent worship service the pastor talked about our need to be totally reliant on God.

Needless to say I have not always done a great job of that in my own walk.  But nevertheless, I find that the lesson is still refreshing to hear.  Recently I received an understanding of a scripture that for many years has eluded.  Perhaps I never studied it as fully as I should.  Maybe I simply was blind to its truth before now I don’t know.  All I know is that I get it now.  And it’s a doozy…at least to me.

Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I’ve often wondered what that means.  I’m living in the 21st century and in the day when I hear terms like “Google it”, “Twerking” and “hashtag” the phrase “poor in spirit”, just doesn’t come up in my everyday experience.

The word poor here comes from a Greek word ‘ptochos’ which comes from the derivative ptosso.  It means…

“(to crouch); akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):–beggar(-ly), poor”

Now I’ve seen beggars.  Most of what I’ve seen has been homeless individuals as I speed near exit ramps holding signs that state “Hungry, will work for food.”  I’ve had beggars come and ask for a dollar.  I’ve seen them huddled in blankets cold with a tin cup, pressed against the back of buildings to keep warm.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant image that comes to mind.  Perhaps that’s why I have found myself running from such a condition.  I mean who wants to beg?  It’s probably one of the most adverse circumstances any of us would want to find ourselves in.  To be in such abject poverty, and a state of insufficiency that we must plead for the help of someone else.  But this Jesus person comes along and says yep.  Your blessed if that’s the state you are in, ‘in spirit.’

So naturally my logical thinking mind is “what’s this ‘in spirit’ thing?

After studying out that the word; ‘spirit’ comes from the Greek work pneuma, which roughly means breath.  I must admit that my understanding simply didn’t get any help there.  It wasn’t until later that it clicked for me that Jesus used what had to be an idiom.  A an expression that could not be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that had a separate meaning of its own.  Similar to such phrases like, “A Dime A Dozen”, or “A Piece of Cake”.

So what does “poor in spirit” mean.  It means to be totally dependent on the sufficiency of God.  To look to him for sustenance, fulfillment, sufficiency, and resources.

There are numerous scriptures that communicate this truth of the believers need to look to and rely on God.  Everything from Matt 4:4 “man shall no live by bread alone”, to when Paul communicates in 2 Cor 12:9.  “my grace is sufficient for you.”

Oh and these are just a few new testament scriptures.

This theme of dependence on God is one of the central messages of Jesus: that we are in need of God, a savior and that we are powerless (i.e. in abject poverty) without him.  What’s interesting is the contrast to the person who is “poor in spirit”.  I happened to find it, and the person, nay a whole group of persons are described by Jesus very clearly in Revelations 3:17

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

This was the comment to the Laodician church.  Interesting huh?  Those that know this text know Jesus’s feelings about them.  Words like regurgitation come to mind just to jar your memory.

No wonder I have had a hard time finding the meaning of this phrase.  Between my own life and society around me.  I’m stuck in a morass of people who are comfortable in their own self sufficiency and who don’t realize their true condition.

It’s amazing to me when I can look at my life and see how easily one can move to dependence on something other than God.  Kind of just gets ya doesn’t it?  Laodiceans…sigh.

Are you poor in spirit?