The Bible is indispensable in my life. It’s amazing how it’s influence is seen and heard in a thousand different places. Amy Grant’s performance of Breath of Heaven comes to mind as I contemplate these thoughts. Pneuma is the Greek word for Spirit, wind and breathe depending on the context it’s found in the New Testament, and whether or not it’s capitalized.
I know there are those who look at the Bible the way they look at the Iliad or Odyssey, but like the Bible’s own claim I believe it is living and active. The claims it makes, the promises it makes, and the fact that year after year it’s the best-selling book means we can’t ignore it whether we believe it’s from God or not. It addresses every human question, and it reveals the character of God from beginning to end. It shows He has power over death, but he does not save all of us from death because His own Son experienced it.
Thomas Jefferson stopped there in his re-writing of the “Bible.” I’m not sure what his Bible was trying to accomplish because I’ve not studied that bit of history. Maybe you can enlighten us, but I do know that without my Savior’s resurrection I would not be writing this. And if there was no resurrection than those of us who believe in it should be pitied most of all. But you can’t prove faith. You can’t argue another individual into submission into the reality of the resurrection because whether you believe in a Calvinistic righteousness or a free-will righteousness human declaration upon another human is null-in-void. I realize we have laws of the land that can sentence a murderer to capital punishment, but what I’m dealing with here goes far beyond the judgement of a court. I’m looking beyond the grave, and having communicated with the deceased I know there is an after-life we cannot ignore. No, I did not use a ouija board. It’s been through my dreams. I’m not condemning you if you use a ouija board or other necromancy tools, but I’m not going there.
There are so many passages of Scripture I love, but the one that stands out now is John 3.16. You know it. You might have seen it on a sign during March Madness last night on television. Surely every Christian has that memorized. It’s the greatest verse known to man, and it’s the bedrock of our faith.
Our suffering here is extremely painful. Most of us do not know how to console those who suffer deeply, but when we pause long enough to observe the actions of Jesus we get a glimmer into what it means to practice the ministry of presence. When a five-year-old girl passes from a heart defect on the tee ball field God wasn’t calling for another little angel. That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s ignorant. Silence and a hug are better than that ignorant platitude. Whether or not an individual took their own life is none of your business too. They are gone, and the mercy and love of our Father is greater than my theology of “sin.” Get out of the way of your own understanding, and get in the way of being there for those left behind. Don’t be a slobbering leach, but don’t ignore the pain you can address.
The Bible also teaches me how to rejoice when others rejoice. Jealousy is one of the ugliest expressions human beings express. It divides and conquers. God’s calling is for abundance, and that looks different for different people. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a 12k square foot house with a guest house for in-laws. It also doesn’t mean you won’t. It does mean that you will rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
It teaches you how to be single and married. It teaches you how to own up to your sins and mistakes without making excuses for them. You can’t change what you deny. It teaches you how to be a child and parent. It teaches you how to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
And it’s ultimate promise found throughout it’s pages, but especially in Revelation is that God wins.
God is not wringing His hands in the heavens worried sick that everything is not going to be ok. He is patient with each one of us longing for us to put our faith in Him.
He knows our struggles. He co-habited here with us. He ate our food. He walked our soil, and He died like all of us will.
He set the bar high because He was sinless. I strive everyday not to sin, but I do. My anxiety and depression drives me into the throws of sin everyday, and my anger managment is front and center in Satan’s mind. I’m afraid I’m significant enough that Satan knows me personally, but he is still not match for the power God has put in me by His Pneuma.
Gratitude is not enough for that reality.
Thank you Father for your presence. Thank you for the things you continue to reveal to me by your Spirit. Protect me today. Protect my entire family today. Make us part of the solutions you are trying to create in our world. In Jesus name amen.