Passion Week Musing: The Dangerousness of Jesus


Jesus was a dangerous.  Think about it. See he came to change things. His mission was to make things different. He posed risk to those that were in charge. He posed such risk that Herod the Great killed many infant males to try and kill one. He was so dangerous that the crowd tried to kill him on more the one occasion.  Most had hoped that his dangerousness would mean the end of Rome and re-establishment of Israel as a country and kingdom. However, that was not what yes was about. He did not meet those expectations. This also made him dangerous.  It was his dangerousness that led to his death. He lived God’s way. He was concerned for each individual. He loved and demonstrated concern for others over appearances of righteousness. He was so dangerous that they decided that He needed to die for the good of all. They considered Him so dangerous that the tried him at night, examining ultimately if He was one who is leading Israel astray and worthy of death. They decided He was and assured his death. Jesus was dangerous.

Jesus is a dangerous.  Think about it. He changes things.  Following him involves loss of control and submission. There is great risk in following Jesus.  If you truly follow Jesus your life is will be the same.  There is no one in history who unsettles people like even the name of Jesus does. Mention of the name can bring unease and unsettle others. See following Jesus involves trust and faith. It involves a belief without absolute certainty. It involves following a different way and going against the ways of the world. Jesus is dangerous.

Jesus will be dangerous. Think about it. There is a time coming when Jesus returns. It will be a time for those that do not follow him to fear for there will be wrath untold. The twisting on creation due to the impacts of life outside of dependence on God will be undone. All of creation will not go untouched. There will be wrath. There will be judgment. There will be making things right. Never before will there be any greater danger and no greater power unleashed.  Jesus will be dangerous

Now that you have done some thinking. Realize that to some the danger of Jesus is the making of a villan because there is great danger. He does not meet expectation. If you follow Him you are good, if not, an enemy. Either he is Lord and King or not.  See, there are many who want to live their own way. Many who think that they are good enough for they care about and try to look out for others and do other nice deeds.  How dare the creator of the universe be told to show self and come in such a manner? How dare He require complete surrender? Yet, Jesus brings forth life. He sets things right and in all that danger He alone brings true peace. For all the danger that is there, the danger only exists if you reject and turn away. And there are those who have thought about it, recognize it and follow Jesus, this ever so dangerous one. The letting go brings far more than any risk and true life and peace are gained.  So, yes, Jesus is dangerous, but in the end He alone brings about true health and wholeness. So accept the dangerousness and surrender. Once you do you will never be the same and it will be good.

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The praise song The Horse and Rider- What it teaches us about the Joy of the Lord

Recently the praise song The Horse and Rider has been on my mind.  The song when sung is often done in a round. It is catchy tune but rarely have taken time to reflect more on the meaning of the little song.  Here are the lyrics (sadly could not find a video.)

THE HORSE AND RIDER:

I will sing unto the Lord
for He has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and rider thrown into the sea…

The Lord my God,
My strength and song
Is now become my victory.

The Lord is God
And I will praise Him,
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

The song is based on Exodus 15:1-2 when God delivered Israel from Egypt in the Red Sea. It is known as the Victory song. It celebrates God supernaturally intervening and giving Victory. God served as the defender of His people who he brought out of the slavery of Egypt. It is no different for those of us who have become His children and entered into His Kingdom through Jesus.  God is our strength and our defense.  The enemies are powerless even if it looks like all  is lost and darkness will overwhelm and win.  God assure victory. In fact the ultimate victory has already been declared through the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

So reflecting on this there are simple facts clearly stated.  God is our strength and song.   God as our strength  easier to grasp. God is our defense, or shield our covering, our attack force, and so on.  All measure and concept of strength is found in God and He shows it on an ongoing basis. 

The harder to grasp concept is God is our song.  In thinking about this song really is about a response.  Now often the words have been used as shield and reference defense but the concept of praise and source of joy is also appropriate. In essence, a response to the difficult and trying times including times of wilderness call for response beyond self.   In a sense this song and passage really reflects the concept of the Joy of the Lord. 

It is also interesting that if you think about strength and song they reflect male and female characteristics.  Strength is masculine and denotes the ability to take initiative.  Responding to others  a feminine characteristic and the use of song reflects that.  So the song really points to God being our initiative and response. In Him alone is totality and the source of all strength. 

In this is His Joy,  God’s initiative and response, including Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Godhead fully engaged, fully relating to us.  There is nothing that can stand, ever.  This is the source of Joy in the Lord.  Nothing can stand before Him. Not mountain, not sea, not armies, not disease, not sin, not suffering,  not anger, not hate, not a thing. If we grasp even a wisp of the totality of God and His initiative and His response we have no other response but to rejoice.  In God alone is victory and it has been declared and demonstrated with All that God is, His entirety. 

Now, these thoughts come at an interesting time here.  Prayer and thought has been going into writing an article on coping with acute stress relation in part to minister to the Livesay’s and others.  The writing has not come easy, the words have not yet really flowed.  The thought is that may be in part because the starting point is the Victory Song.  That whatever we have endured, gone through God has been there.  He has been our strength and song.  In the midst He is there.  So whatever words I say that point to skills and means of coping, they would be empty without first this recognition.  For the Joy of the Lord is our strength. The Joy of the Lord is in His Victory and His Victory involves His totality in both initiation and response.  It is His Love which is so Amazing. So take time and Rejoice and Rejoice again.  For YHWH is our Strength and Song.  He is our victory.

Labor Day Musings: Need for rest

Today is Labor Day. It is a national holiday in the United States since 1882 when the first Labor Day was celebrated.  According to the governmental history on Labor Day the idea of the holiday was proposed Peter McGuire who also was a primary founder of the labor/union movements in the United States of America.  The day was all about taking a day to acknowledge the American worker. It was one of many reforms to the American workplace.

Essentially labor day is centered on the principle of rest. It was recognized that Americans put in long hours for little pay and bad conditions in the late 1800’s.  Taking a day to set aside all work each year was found to be a valuable, no better way to recognize those that do hard work but to give them an extra day of rest.  And so we have this day in the United States where rest is encouraged.

It is noticeable that while the late 1800’s focus worked hard at reducing the work day and improving working conditions that people are voluntarily doing things that folks like Peter McGuire fought to change.  We care more about expanding our own personal kingdoms that we willing work long, hard hours at times even without pay. The focus is on expanding self and making sure all ends meet, and we will do whatever it takes.  Most often at the expense of rest.

Rest is important.  God rested. God in his instructions as found in the instructions of law known as Torah emphasized rest.  God even emphasized rest in the Ten commandments.  God made it clear rest is important.  God not only pointed to a day of rest from self and focus on God known as Sabbath but He also prescribed rest for land and rest for debt.  God set up a perfect system of rest designed to work in accordance with the nature of creation. Yet, those principles have not been followed. Israel failed to follow the principles of resting land and debt and part of why they paid huge consequences.   If we do not take rest, it impacts us and impacts creation. 

So the question here than is if rest is so important and God set up directives to rest what do we do.  Well, we need to build and incorporate God’s principles into our lives.  We need to take weekly rest and focus on God.  We need to take time to cease from striving.  We need to take rest important. 

The emphasis God placed on rest is really a picture of redemption. It is about not striving in self and depending on God. It is giving people  a chance at restoration when things got difficult.  Sadly God’s principles of rest were ignored and set aside while folks seek to expand self and continual seek expansion of their kingdoms.  We fail to turn our hearts and minds to God, much less seek to depend on Him.  Ongoing surrender to God is the perfect rest and is made available through Jesus the Messiah.  God made clear that work and rest need to go together and that true rest is found on dependence on him.  However, rest comes difficult so much that the majority of people reject God’s rest found in Jesus the Messiah and continue to work toward that which benefits self.  Israel paid a great price for ignoring the Jubilee and for those that reject the true rest found in dependence and surrender to Jesus, the consequences will also be severe.  Yet, the choice is for each person either continue with self-striving or turn to God’s rest.

An possible answer to swine and other Influenza’s? Sambucol

     Well, just recently was directed to this article: http://israelity.com/tag/sambucol/. The article hi-lights the discovery of Israeli scientist Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu. Sambucol is an herbal extract from elderberries that contains AntiVirin, isolated from the black elderberry, and three flavonoids according to this article: (Study shows Israeli elderberry extract effective against avian flu). A quick perusal of www.amazon.com shows a range of pricing with a top price of about $30.00 for 7.8 ounce bottle.

    Upon reading about Sambucol, it strikes me the amazing goodness of God, who has placed things with in nature that can combat things like viral infections.  Here is a product, in nature that really does fight viral infections. It is also interesting that in a day and age where the potential for disease and illness and the prospects increase for a global pandemic, a simple answer is found by an Israelite scientist.  God is good and He is faithful.  Learning of this just draws me to praise God.