God’s light breaking through

And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:13

Usually we all plod along, often struggling to understand, but proceeding from what understanding we have.

Then there are those seasons, usually short times, maybe a bit each day but probably less often when God’s light just seems to flood us and help us see and seemingly understand better many things. When that window is open there seems almost no end to where we might go, what we might explore. Though God’s light is for life, not for our speculation or mere knowledge. Head knowledge by itself is not enough, though it is good to have.

But I’m soon back to where I almost always am. Struggling to understand, but looking to God for the insight only God can give. In and through Jesus.

be careful to do it

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

James 1:22

We need to remind ourselves, but if we fail to, life will. James is a good book to settle into for life, of course always considering the rest of Scripture as well. James and life, life and James together will remind us of the straight and narrow to which Jesus calls us.

It seems to me that a major bent we have is to simply love receiving insight so that our basic stance is to understand. But we often fall short of fulfilling why that understanding is given in the first place. To help us grow and put into practice what we’re told to do. We need to be not just hearers, but doers of the word.

We need a keen sensitivity all the way around. Eager to hear God’s voice and pick up what God is saying to us. And understanding its meaning, how that truth is meant for our lives, for change, that we might confess our sins, repent of our ways, and do not only better, but do God’s will in the matter. However halting and imperfect that may be, so that the difference may become more and more a part of who we are, and of what we do. In and through Jesus.

when do we really “get it”?

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

James 1:22-25

It’s interesting, the wonderful experience we can have when some light of truth among the many truths found in Scripture, dawns on us. It’s just as interesting how short-lived most experiences are. That doesn’t mean they don’t have value, but that in and of themselves they are only a good means to the good end.

We must act on what we see from Scripture, from God’s word to us. We have to put it into practice to really “get it” in having the understanding God wants to give us. That is where the rubber meets the road, when we not only understand an insight given, whether as in like a light shining in our hearts or just rationally in our heads, but when we also prayerfully determine to act on it, so that our lives can begin to be changed.

In and through Jesus.

open to new thoughts, new ideas

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’”

Jeremiah 33:2-3; MSG

I’m more than kind of averse to personality tests and whatever else they’re called. There may be well some value in them, and people who seem to have God’s blessing on their ministry along with other seemingly successful people more or less see benefit in them. I recently took a surely simplified but still rather thorough online test and scored highest in two categories, the highest I think being a category which someone said is made up of people who have trouble fitting into the evangelical world. The idea is that they tend to ask a lot of questions and just keep asking them, along with other characteristics or tendencies. I remember that because that is a big part of my own thought process day after day. Many of my questions lead to dead ends, but I have to look for the bright side, and surely this is part of how God made some of us. And surely part of how all of us need to approach life.

The message Jeremiah received from God quoted above reminds us that we need God’s revelation to us for us to even begin to see and get it. And I’m referring here to what seems straightforward from the pages of Scripture. But to see how this fits into life in this world surely will require some imagination. It comes to us, to each one of us, and to us collectively together, as we sift through what God might be saying to us. What each one of us has to contribute is important, but the whole is greater than the sum of all the parts. God is the one who can bring it all together and help us see what God gives us to see, but that requires us, together. And I think this requires questions we have, and certainly requests to help us see and understand what God wants us to know.

Yes, there are a few prophets out there like Jeremiah who can point us this direction. But the invitation to call to God for needed insight, indeed for something new was given to the people of Judah. It wasn’t given to Jeremiah, but through Jeremiah to God’s people. So the help God desires to give won’t come through just one person, though we can learn a lot from each one of God’s servants. But it comes to and then from us together. God wants to help us today through what God can and will give us. We humbly sharing our part and receiving from others, as we seek to discern the whole, what God is telling us or wants us to know for now. An ongoing process. In and through Jesus.

pursuing, being attentive to, and following the wisdom of Proverbs

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1

I am going through the book of Proverbs right now in my slow ponderings. And I am reminded of a number of things. But I begin with the fact that when we read the Bible, we have to read it first of all in its original context as best we can. That may be limited, though we can get some good helps. But we have to remember it was written at a specific time in a specific cultural context. But if we read it no other way at all, then we have to read it from the context of all of scripture, and especially of Jesus, considering his fulfillment of it all. In Christ we are told are hidden all the treasures of wisdom (Colossians).

But back to the book of Proverbs itself, if we need to err in any way, we need to really seek to take to heart all it has to say. We don’t do everything literally, but the essence or point of every saying, or thought, what it’s getting at, the underlying principle one might say, we do want to understand, and seek to hold on to it for dear life. It is a matter of life and death, but too often we drift away from that, since we either think we know better, or we don’t take it seriously enough.

Proverbs helps us both explicitly and implicitly in giving us direct specific instruction and in helping us have discernment in areas in which it doesn’t directly speak. Proverbs helps inculcate in us a capacity for learning and implementing wisdom for life.

And of course this wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. We don’t trifle with God. God is love, and God is God. That sense of fear has to do with respect which becomes awe for pursuers of God, and dread for those who fail to pursue him. And that is all by grace in and through our Lord Jesus.

Read Proverbs slowly. The best reading is slow reading, I think. We need to let it soak into our bones, into our heart, and out from that, into our very lives day after day. An essential part of our growth in and through our Lord Jesus.

flashes of insight

There are times when some needed light of truth flashes into our consciousness to help us see something we either didn’t see well before, or see at all. And such insight occurs in the context of life to help us live well in the way of Jesus.

Surely God grants such to all of humankind, but especially so to those who have the indwelling Holy Spirit through faith in Christ. And it’s a reminder of not only the light we can receive, but the darkness in which we can dwell. Although for the believer, the follower of Jesus, there’s is not complete darkness, unless one is referring to “the dark night of the soul,” there are often needed insights we have yet to receive by hearing and understanding, or simply seeing. We certainly can receive them by word of mouth from others in witness and teaching, and especially from scripture reading and prayer. And some insight may seem to dawn on us simply out of the blue. If from God it will be supported by scripture, in fact it will be a staple of scripture in some way, either in precept, or as part of scripture’s theme.

When we do receive such, we need to hold on to it, and really meditate on it, prayerfully thinking it through, and hopefully letting its truth sink into our bones, into our very lives to change us. And we need to test such insights by running them past others, and especially by thinking of them in the context of scripture. It is the Spirit who gives insight. Therefore it’s an insight from God and a gift, something we need to hold on to and cultivate and make our very own. In the truth as it is in Jesus.

for Epiphany season: Jesus giving sight to us who are blind

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Matthew 20:29-34

According to scripture, we are all blind as far as the light of God and of God’s will is concerned. We can’t not only see straight; we can’t see at all, blinded by our sin, as well as limited in our creaturely perspective. By God’s grace, we can receive glimpses of this light, by which we are to live even beginning now, the eternal life of the new creation in Jesus.

The above account in scripture is one instance of many when Jesus opened the eyes of the blind. Such are signs of what God wants to do, which while certainly including the physical side, gives us, as it gave them, a new awareness and insight spiritually. And through that light, like the previously blind men of old, we seek to follow.

the Spirit’s insight

The Spirit of God knows and reveals the depths of God. And the Spirit gives us insight into others, so that we might better minister to their true need.

Of course this is all in line with scripture, God’s written word. None of this excludes our need to work hard at doing our best to handle accurately the word of truth, which is a big topic by itself. The Spirit will help us in that as well, but such help does not exclude serious attention on our part given to the work we must do to understand the word. In the end, the Spirit gives us the insight from the word to apply to our own lives first of all, as well as to the lives of those we seek to serve in the ministry of God’s word.

While the Spirit gives us insight to help people, similar to what has been said about the word, this does not exclude our need to get to know the people. That we spend time with them, and are committed to them. We need to understand something of the nature of their particular situation, to get a sense of where they live. As we make that effort, the Spirit can help us.

In all of this, we need to consciously and consistently seek the help of the Spirit of God. Sometimes that help comes in ways that we can hardly tell until perhaps afterward. But we will sense the help of the Spirit at times as well. Helping us to better apply God’s word to the people’s situation. We need to keep our contact with them going, along with our contact with the word, and with the Spirit of God.

Together in Jesus we do our part in this for each other and ultimately for the world.


Imagination seems controversial in some circles among evangelical Christians. Granted that Jesus nowhere tells his disciples to sit down and close their eyes, and use their imagination. We don’t read that elsewhere, though I think some of the gifts of the Spirit involve one being open to hear a word, or see a picture from God, looking to God for its interpretation, or meaning.

If we’re thinking of our own imaginations, then yes, that spells trouble. Scripture warns in the Old Testament of prophets who spoke out of their own imaginations, rather than from the Lord. But if God awakens our imagination through his word, and by the Spirit, to think of how something might be, I think that is entirely different.

The vision we have should be something of shalom, and according to God’s revelation given to us in scripture and realized in Jesus. What we imagine for a given situation may not work out that way, but it might surely have an impact on it. In ways we can’t see or imagine.

Of course we should never pretend to have the full picture, or even the right one. What we do have may come in part from our own imaginations. Enter the problem of those who are learning to prophesy, to really hear from God by the Spirit, to speak words into a given situation. There was even a school of the prophets in the Old Testament, I think during Elisha’s time, at least. People surely learning to hear from God so as to be able to speak God’s word. Prophecy in the New Testament is related though a bit different. But enough on that.

Actually I don’t think our human imagination is necessarily evil in and of itself if we submit it to God and to his word. Our own imagination since we are sinners can indeed be evil or skewed, but in Jesus, it would seem that imagination as part of our redeemed humanity can be a tool to help us see another possibility of how life could be in God’s will in Jesus, in a difficult situation.

When we read God’s promises in scripture, we need to be in prayer, asking God for insight as to what their application might be. And we need vision as to how this could bring change. And at least quite often some of the significant change will be in us, in own hearts, and out from that in our lives and actions.

Yes, an imagination in regard to a given situation, but also in regard to the bigger picture in some scenario. We seek to imagine from God God’s will for the here and now. A will we’re to live out together in Jesus in and for the world.