Friday, January 25, 2008

Time traveling for the Lord

Years ago I was strangely thrilled when I read Poul Anderson's novel, There will be Time, about how time travelers from different centuries, or millennia, chose the crucifixion of Christ as the probable "center of time" where any and all past and future time travelers could convene to find each other en masse.

From time to time, as I read the gospels I imagine myself being in the multitude as Jesus is teaching or healing or simply walking by a Galilean town. I don't just wish I could have been there, I see myself actually in that time period. I imagine that somehow I brushed up on my Koine Greek that I studied for two years in the 70s, as well as Aramaic and Hebrew. The actual method of time travel is not important but what is important is the question I ask myself every time I find myself back in the days of Christ.

As I come to him to be healed, or blessed, would he realize that I am not of his time, that I am a time traveler from the 21st century? Would that knowledge be imparted to him or would it be kept from him, especially since I know that he will rise from the grave. What proof would I have to show him that we still think of him and pray to him across 2,000 years? Perhaps I could show him my bible in Koine Greek that spells out the future of the early Christian Church. Would he believe me?

Would I be prevented from interacting with him? Would I merely be allowed to observe, but not participate, with him or with anyone I meet?

Since nothing is impossible for God, I would like to travel back in time once this Earthly dispensation finally ends and the eternal dispensation begins. With an eternity to fill up with projects and revelations of God's love, I would love some day to become a time traveler for the Lord and experience Christ's life on Earth first hand .

Eternal Sabbath Sun

Lead me to your eternal Sabbath, oh Lord.
Lead me to a land where the sun never sets.

With the coming of the night, the Sabbath ends, tomorrow. Tonight, as I closed my bible and prayed after having read several Psalms, the words about the eternal Sabbath came to me suddenly. I was surprised by the choice of words. What could possibly motivate such a desire? I had anticipated the Sabbath all day and now that it had arrived I realized that it would leave just as suddenly 24 hours hence.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Prayer of Jabez

Lately I've been repeating the Prayer of Jabez, which I ignored years ago, thinking it was simply a marketing trick. Now these words also help to increase my appreciation for God and are changing my attitude and relationship to God.

"Oh, that he [God] would bless me and increase my territory. Let the hand
of God be with me and keep me from harm so that I may feel no pain. And God
granted him [Jabez] his request." 1 Chron. 4:10.

God's Smiling Face

I never thought God smiled at me until yesterday. Let me explain. Even though I've related to God since childhood, I always thought of him as being either too serious to smile, or upset with me for what I did or did not do in my day to day life.

Yesterday, after the Sabbath ended and I continued my post-Sabbath devotions by thanking him for his being my creator, and savior, I added "friend" for the first time in my life and really felt that I meant it. When I thought of God being my friend, I smiled and felt that for the first time, perhaps, in my life I sensed God's smiling face.

I was almost choked with emotion when I realized that I had been thanking him sabbath after sabbath for being my creator and savior, but never my friend.

It isn't easy relating to a triune God. At times I've felt it necessary to address all three when praying to indicate that I had all three persons of the Godhead in my affections. I must confess that when I think of the Godhead I have warmer feelings, or more fully-realized feelings towards Jesus Christ. For three years now, I have also been having a love relationship with the Holy Spirit, who I once thought so holy that it was safer to not think of him too much, or at all, lest I accidentally offend whom I considered the most holy person of the Godhead. This was due in part to Christ's statement about the sin against the Holy Spirit being the only sin that had no pardon. How wrong I had been all my life long to stay away from the person of the Holy Spirit out of fear of somehow offending him.

Now regarding God, I come to the most complicated relationship I've had with all three persons of the Godhead. Even though all three divine Persons are God, normally when the bible speaks of God, with no other descriptive terms, it is referring to God the Father. At times in my life I've felt warm toward God, but seldom completely at ease. The reasons are many.

My own relationship with my father has been difficult in my life. Even though I have a good relationship with him now, that wasn't always the case. Whenever I used the expression "God the Father," my human father, with all his eccentricities and imperfections came to mind and influenced my conception of God.

During my late adolescence and early adulthood I had come up with the term Father Jesus and that had helped me soften the shock of using the term father to describe God.

In the past year I've sometimes felt that the term God is too generic, as historically there have been other gods, and to capitalize the term was not as endearing as speaking of Jesus Christ, or even Holy Spirit, which sounded very specific in my mind.

A few months ago I started reading Norman Vincent Peale's Power of Positive Thinking book, and the phrases, "God is on my side; God is blessing me; God is helping me; God is guiding me; God is my friend;" greatly helped me to think of God in warmer terms.

Even when I make mistakes I don't like to dwell on them. I don't linger on God's frowning face in the same way that a loving parent doesn't let a frown, or momentary relaxation of a smile, linger on their face due to their child letting them down. What good can it possibly do me to think of God as frowning on me when I fall short of his perfect ideal? I confess my shortcomings and claim his promise of forgiveness and cleansing, and continue thinking warm and positive thoughts of the God with the smiling face. That's what my God is like. His smile never fades for very long, if at all.

Thank you, God, for showing your smiling face to me no matter what else I experience or do in my life. Someday I hope to gaze on your smiling face as one gazes into the face of a good friend or loved one.