Until that day

Chapter 5

2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of “How Great Thou Art,” and to celebrate the hymn’s legacy, songwriters Matt Redman and Mitch Wong contributed a new verse in a collaborative recording. CT

The original poem, written in 1885 by Carl Boberg, was set to a traditional folk tune and published in the Swedish Missionary Alliance hymnbook as well as a US Swedish hymnbook called Sionsharpen. Subsequent translations preserve Boberg’s focus on God’s power displayed in creation and human wonder.

The version we know and sing now came from British missionary Stuart Hine, who learned the Russian version while ministering in western Ukraine in the 1930s and eventually created his own translation in English. He wrote the fourth verse (“When Christ shall come …”) in 1948, moved by his encounters with some of the Ukrainian refugees flooding into England in the aftermath of World War II.

How Great Thou Art” is an example of a hymn that invites a response of praise—like inhaling and exhaling. It’s a striking “music and mission collide” …. with a forward-looking tone…

Until that day
When heaven bids us welcome,
And as we walk this broken warring world,
Your kingdom come,
Deliver us from evil,
And we’ll proclaim our God how great You are!

Since you know how much I like paraphrased versions of Bible verses, it was interesting what the great-nephew of Boberg writes. “My dad’s story of its origin was that it was a paraphrase of Psalm 8”.

Charles Spurgeon calls this psalm “the song of the Astronomer”, as gazing at the heavens inspires the psalmist to meditate on God’s creation and man’s place in it.

In the insightful narrative of the Midrash Tehillim, sharing from the verses 5 through 10 of Psalms in Hebrew, as a profound dialogue unfolds. The celestial beings inquire of the Almighty during the divine act of world creation, focusing on the esteemed figures among the righteous men of Israel.

The angels query, “What is man that You are mindful of him?”—a reference to the patriarch Abraham. They continue, “And the son of man that You remember him?”—alluding to Abraham’s son, Isaac, born through God’s remembrance of Sarah. The narrative progresses, “Yet You made him less only than God,” signifying Jacob, who demonstrated remarkable prowess in breeding flocks.

The angels observe, “And have crowned him with glory and honour,” spotlighting Moses, whose countenance radiated divine brilliance. “You give him dominion over the work of Your hands,” resonates with Joshua, who commanded the sun and moon to stand still. “You put all things beneath his feet,” reflects the triumphs of David, whose enemies fell prostrate before him (II Samuel 22:43).

The celestial discourse extends to encompass Solomon, noted for his understanding of the language of beasts, symbolized by “Sheep and oxen, all of them” (I Kings 5:13). The angels then evoke “the beasts of the field,” attributed to either Samson or Daniel. “The birds of the sky” are linked to Elijah, who traverses the world with bird-like agility and is nourished by ravens.

The dialogue deepens with “and the fish of the seas,” referencing Jonah’s dwelling in the belly of a fish. The angels acknowledge, “He traverses the ways of the seas,” symbolizing the miraculous journey of the Israelites through the parted sea on dry land.

The heavenly conversation concludes with a reverent acknowledgment: ‘O Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth.’ The angels confirm, ‘Do as You please; Your glory is to dwell among Your people and Your children.’ In this harmonious exchange, the angels celebrate the divine connection with humanity and express awe for the splendor that fills the entire earth.

Somewhat further afield, did you see Coldplay play at the Citadel in Amman, Jordan? It was amazing. In their performance of ‘Arabesque’, a poignant lyric resonates, “Music is the weapon of the future”. This has remarkable resonance in the context of our current conflict-ridden times. In the midst of war, the assertion that music serves as a potent weapon takes on a profound meaning.

Songs endure, unlike conventional weapons, which are quickly used and exhausted. Transcending the ephemeral nature of conflict, these songs endure, outlasting any weapon and the passage of time itself. In this lyrical assertion, a real, tangible force, both in the present moment and for generations to come.

There is a song that sends out a message and there is a song that answers just the one question that you may be asking. This is where this song resonates in both ways.

“Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”

Until that day … How great Thou art!

Wishing you a good start to this new week
Philemon





Who is writing your story?

Chapter 4

Journaling and writing a diary are amazing activities! How about we write a few days ahead and plan this week this way?

“All the noise in my brain. I clamp it to the page so it will be still.” by Barbara Kingsolver.

“Writing a journal means that facing your ocean you are afraid to swim across it, so you attempt to drink it drop by drop.”

Barbara Kingsolver and George Sand assert that writing can provide solace for the mind. Putting our internal thoughts on paper brings a sense of calmness, as we contemplate the vastness of the ocean one sip at a time.

In the quiet corners of scripture, we find a profound assurance. Psalm 139:16-17 resonates with the idea; You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God, they cannot be numbered.

Diary Entry #22: January 2024

Starting a new year can feel like navigating uncharted waters. Some plans are set, others uncertain, yet there’s a bit of an awkward feeling as if so much depended on ourselves and our performance. Great guidance is found in the following verse;

Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

Diary Entry #23: January 2024

Whose story is it? Is it my story? Do I need to do it all alone?
Guidance through a voice behind me – yes I like it!

Isaiah 30:21
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

In a world that often emphasizes self-authorship, a different perspective emerges. Isaiah 30:21 suggests that, regardless of our plans, a guiding voice directs our steps. It’s a realization that our narrative might be less about self-dictation and more about listening to divine guidance.

Diary Entry #24: January, 2024

Overthinking creeps in my way. They say, “Look before you leap.” So look. But do not look for too long. Do not look into the void of uncertainty trying to predict each and every possible outcome.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1. Peter 5:7

Diary Entry #25: January, 2024

Today’s agenda didn’t go as planned – struggling to make progress, overwhelmed by a daunting to-do list, feeling stressed, and encountering unexpected challenges along the way.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Yes, He will straighten our path, your path, my path!

Diary Entry #26: January, 2024

As the week unfolds, it’s already Friday many rays of sunshine pierce through the circumstances, all the work, all the to-do’s and duties.

Time to get anchored a little more:

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 The Message

In this journey through this busy week 4 of 2024, the pages of our lives unfold, and the divine narrative weaves through our uncertainties, offering a thread of hope and purpose as He writes the story for us, with us, in us, around us!

Have a great week!
Philemon

We who wrestle with God

Chapter 3

“The word Israel, the chosen people, the people of Israel are those who wrestle with God. It’s a fascinating idea. It indicates something, even in many of the deepest religious texts. There is something about the existential conflict, and engaging in that, that’s actually part of the moral substructure of life. Let’s say that the simple belief, whatever it might mean, in a deity isn’t sufficient. There is an active engagement with the infinite. It’s a battle in some sense.” J. Peterson

Genesis 32:22-32 (Jacob Wrestles with God):
“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.”

Hosea 12:3-4: (the all night struggle)
“In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God. He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor.”

Job 23:3-7 (Job’s Complaint):
“Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.”

Psalm 42:1-2: (appearing before God)
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

Matthew 26:39 (Jesus in Gethsemane):
“And going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.'”

Philippians 3:10-11 (Paul’s Desire for Christ):
“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

These verses illustrate Biblical individuals grappling with their faith, questioning God, and seeking a deeper understanding of their relationship with the divine.

The passage above known as the Gethsemane moment, portrays Jesus in a vulnerable state as he struggles with the impending sacrifice. His prayer, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,’ demonstrates a profound engagement with the divine will, highlighting that even the Son of God wrestled with the path set before him.

I trust you will have a great start to this new week as you continue to engage with faith.

Philemon

For we walk by faith, not by sight

Chapter 2

Good Monday Morning to this second week of 2024

For we walk THROUGH faith, not THROUGH sight. LSV

Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle walk into a tavern. They start discussing the nature of happiness. Aristotle says, “Happiness is the highest good, achieved through virtuous living and the cultivation of the soul.” Aquinas nods thoughtfully and replies, “But is happiness the ultimate end, or merely a glimpse of the Divine?”

Or another more conceptual joke referencing Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schleiermacher

Why did Kant and Schleiermacher avoid playing chess together? Because Kant always wanted to stick to the categorical and moral rules of the game, while Schleiermacher preferred to interpret the moves based on his “feeling of absolute dependence” on the board!

In a hypothetical debate, I welcome Markus Gabriel and the Apostle Paul, with Philemon presiding as the moderator.

Markus Gabriel: “Ideas are not powerful because everyone knows where they come from.”

Apostle Paul: “Ah, but consider this: ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ The source of ideas might be known, but the transformative power lies in transcending the ordinary and aligning with a higher truth.”

Markus Gabriel: “We cannot be free if we are not able to think beyond what we are taught to think.”

Apostle Paul: “Indeed, yet there’s a paradox. ‘For freedom, Christ has set us free.’ True freedom lies not just in thinking beyond teachings but in being liberated from the bondage of self-serving thoughts and desires, embracing a truth that surpasses mere human teachings.”

Markus Gabriel: “Meaning doesn’t come from somewhere out there; it’s something we create in our lives.”

Apostle Paul: “Yet, ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ Meaning is not merely a product of human creation; it’s discovered in the context of a larger, divine purpose. It’s found in aligning our lives with the eternal truths and love revealed to us.”

Markus Gabriel: “But how can we be certain of these eternal truths?”

Apostle Paul: “Through faith. ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ It’s in this belief, this assurance, that we discover the everlasting truths that surpass our limited human understanding.”

Apostle Paul relishes the spirited exchange with Markus Gabriel, finding joy in the intellectual discourse that has unfolded. As the debate nears its conclusion, Paul, filled with contemplation, seeks to encapsulate the essence of his profound insight into faith. In a hushed yet deliberate manner, he addresses the room, filled with an attentive audience.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Markus Gabriel ponders intensely in a soul-searching way and answers;

“While faith undeniably opens our vision beyond the tangible, let us cherish the profound gift bestowed upon us—our human faculties, enabling us to inquire, explore, and grasp. We do not dismiss the realm of the unseen; rather, we embrace the boundless potential of our rational minds in pursuit of profound insights. Our capacity to reason, to question, and to confront challenges stands as a testament to the unyielding pursuit of knowledge and the quest for profound meaning within the human spirit.”

As the discourse between Markus Gabriel and the Apostle Paul draws to a close, the room hangs in contemplative silence, resonating with the echoes of their profound perspectives on faith, reason, and the pursuit of meaning. The audience, enraptured by the philosophical exchange, finds themselves at the cusp of a thought-provoking conclusion.

Amid this contemplative atmosphere, a gentle smile graces Philemon’s face as he offers a few concluding thoughts.

In the dialogue between faith and reason, let us not see them as adversaries, but rather as complementary aspects of our pursuit of truth and understanding. While within our human sphere, they might appear as allies guiding us through life’s challenges, they embody more profound distinctions. Faith holds within it an essence of the Divine and the supernatural, evading complete comprehension by reason alone. It beckons us to transcend the tangible and place our trust in the Divine.

However, as reason illumines our path through these spiritual revelations, we recognize the limitations inherent in our understanding. Our unwavering quest for God and knowledge, harmonized with the grace of faith, weaves a tapestry that interlaces the visible and the unseen. This fusion cultivates a richer understanding, inviting us to embrace the mystery and the known, bridging our human limitations with the eternal wisdom of the Divine.

Wishing you an enlightened start to his new week.

Philemon

Harmony of time and faith

right time, right place?

Chapter 01/2024

A Calvinist is never late nor early; they arrive precisely at the time predestined for them. (Just a humorous twist on the theological concept of predestination)

Happy New Year to you all!

Reflections on a timeless Journey.

In the symphony of life, timing is an elusive conductor orchestrating the symphony. As we step into the new year, the concept of being in the right place at the right time resonates deeply.

Life unfolds not only in the ticking of seconds but in the poetic interplay of Chronos and Kairos. Chronos, the measured time, and Kairos, the opportune moment, intertwine to create the cadence of our narrative. The dance between routine and serendipity shapes our destiny.

The dance between Chronos and Kairos!

The past and the future are but specters compared to the vibrant canvas of the present. To be fully present is an act of profound mindfulness—an acknowledgement that every heartbeat is a note in the celestial composition of our existence.

Immersion to the Here and Now!

Oh yes indeed, we know perpetual distraction, in this, the commitment to presence becomes a revolutionary. To be there, here, now is a testament to connection we share with the moments, the people, who accompany us as on our journey.

Navigating presence!

Within life’s intricate dance, intuition emerges as the silent conductor of the soul’s orchestra, guiding us through the nuanced crescendos and diminuendos of our existence. By entrusting ourselves to this inner symphony, akin to God’s orchestrated and predestined masterpiece, we gain the finesse to navigate the complex labyrinth of will, choice, predestination, acts of faith, divine will, and the spiritual values woven into the tapestry of our journey with our community and family.

Unveiled navigation – just intuition or guided and orchestrated masterpiece?

A divine choreography is described in Romans 8:29-30: “For those God foreknew he also predestined … and those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Romans 9:16, So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has Mercy. This verse reinforces the fundamental concept that our life’s journey is not contingent upon the sheer force of human will or strenuous efforts. Instead, it underscores that the trajectory of our path finds its foundation in the profound and unmerited mercy extended to us by God.

In essence, Ephesians 2:8 encapsulates the essence of divine Grace as the transformative force in our lives. It articulates that our salvation is not a result of our individual efforts or achievements but is, in fact, a gracious gift bestowed upon us by the divine.

Divine Choreography, Mercy, Grace, Faith and maybe some predestination after all?

Why don’t Calvinists ever play hide and seek?
Because good luck hiding when you’re already predestined to be found!

How many Calvinists does it take to change a light bulb?
Busy debating whether the light bulb autonomously chose darkness or if its fate was predetermined, Calvinists find themselves in a theological quandary.

Some approaches to this very difficult quandary;

None. The bulb was predestined to be changed from the beginning.
None. The light bulb , it seems, was ordained for transformation from the very beginning. It will self-heal and turn back on without being changed.
None. Because God predestined that darkness would reign until the appointed time.
None. Because it was predestined that the The Light would never go out.
None: The light bulb was never God’s plan.
None. Because Calvinists don’t walk in the dark.
None. God’s sovereign plan for the light bulb was set before the foundation of the world, and who are we to interfere?
None. Why do they need a light bulb it they they believe in the perseverance of illuminated saints.
None … yet!!! They’re waiting for God to send them a sign that it’s time to change the bulb.

Here are a few takeaways from this passage in summary.

Chronos and Kairos perform an exquisite dance, each note resonating with the divine choreography described in Romans 8:29-30.

Our journey, guided by the silent conductor of intuition, echoes the divine orchestration mirrored in Ephesians 2:8 and the unmerited mercy underscored in Romans 9:16. In navigating the labyrinth of will, choice, predestination, acts of faith, and divine will, we find ourselves immersed in a tapestry woven with threads of His Grace.

Whether we find ourselves immersed in our theological quandaries with or without the light bulb joke regarding Calvinists, humour woven into these reflections helps with understanding some of the twists and turns in our spiritual journeys.

In the end, the dance persists—a dance where mercy, grace, and faith intermingle, and
here, even predestination finds a rightful place, echoing our shared acknowledgement that He is Almighty while we are but travellers navigating the ever-changing landscapes of spiritual seasons.

Wishing you all an enlightened start to this New Year 2024!
Philemon

52nd Sabbath of 2023

Chapter 52

As we stand on the brink of the year’s conclusion, the imminent arrival of the 52nd Sabbath beckons us with a call to reflect and anticipate. This approaching Friday, the 29th of December, 2023, serves as a reminder of our journey through 52 intervals this year. This symbolic convergence encourages us to pause, carefully survey our experiences, and brace ourselves to step into the 52nd Sabbath—a threshold that not only concludes this year but also marks the transition to a new year, with countless new Sabbaths awaiting us in the new year ahead – 2024.

The significance of the number 52 reverberates across our world, weaving a narrative of completeness and unity in diverse realms. From the 52 weeks that delineate our annual journey, guiding the ebb and flow of time, to the mosaic of 52 countries in Africa—a canvas painted with a rich tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and beauty—the number encapsulates a profound sense of variety and totality. In the realm of music, the 52 white keys on a piano orchestrate melodies that span the spectrum of human emotion. Moving to the sacred pages of the Bible, we discover that Deuteronomy 32, 1 Samuel 14, and Psalm 89—each comprising 52 verses—contribute additional layers to this numerical tapestry, infusing deeper meaning into the spiritual narrative.

A man named Nebo was recorded as having fifty-two descendants during the period of Ezra and Nehemiah. Led by figures like Zerubbabel, this lineage returned to the land of Judah after enduring Babylonian captivity. Notably, upon their homecoming, seven individuals among these returnees were advised by the prophet Ezra to part ways with their foreign wives. This counsel aligned with the biblical directive to prevent God’s people from intermarrying with non-Israelites, a precaution intended to safeguard against the risk of straying from exclusive worship of God and succumbing to idolatry. The advice given by Ezra reflects the biblical directive to maintain separation and holiness. In a metaphorical context, the Sabbath is a designated time of holiness, set apart from the rest of the week. Just as Ezra advocated for the separation of the returnees from foreign influences, the Sabbath serves as a period of spiritual separation, emphasizing a distinct and sacred connection with God.

In the New Testament, I want to mention three chapters with verse 52.

Luke 2:52; “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
This verse provides a glimpse into the early years of Jesus’ life.

Mark 10:52 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Go, for your faith has healed you.’ Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” This verse is part of a narrative involving Jesus and a blind man named Bartimaeus.

Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” This verse is part of the narrative describing Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey in Pisidian Antioch.

These verses collectively emphasize growth, positive change, and the transformative power of faith and the Holy Spirit in different aspects of individuals’ lives—whether it’s the developmental stages of Jesus, the healing of Bartimaeus, or the spiritual joy of the disciples. Each verse contributes to the multifaceted richness of the Sabbath experience, highlighting its significance as a sacred and distinct period in the lives of believers.

In a traditional Jewish setting, the Sabbath, concludes with a ceremony called Havdalah, which means “separation” in Hebrew. Havdalah marks the end of the Sabbath and the beginning of the new week.

The Blessing over Havdalah “Baruch atah, Adonai, hamavdil bayn kodesh lechol.”
Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who separates between the holy and the profane; between the light and dark; between Israel and the other nations; between the seventh day and the six days of the week.

As in this week we’ll end the 52nd Sabbath of 2023 let us raise the cup of wine or grape juice high when the last sentence is recited and then proceed to the blessings, a collection of Biblical verses.

Behold, the God who gives me triumph! I am confident, unafraid; for Adonai is my strength and might, and has been my deliverance. Joyfully shall you draw water from the fountains of triumph, deliverance is Adonai’s; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.
Adonai Tz’vaot is with us; the God of Jacob is our haven. Selah.
Adonai Tz’vaot. happy is the one who trusts in You. O Adonai, grant victory!
May the Sovereign answer us when we call.
The Jews enjoyed light and gladness, happiness and honor. So may it be for us.I raise the cup of deliverance and invoke the name of Adonai.

Wishing you all a good week and great transition to 2024!
Philemon


Anticipating The Light

Chapter 51

Good Monday Morning to this week 51 of 2023

Isaiah 9.2

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! sunbursts of light!” The Message

People who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. The Passion

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. KJV

Hebrew (ישעיהו 9:2):
עָם הֹלֵךְ בַּחֹשֶׁךְ רָאָה אוֹר גָּדוֹל; יֹשֵׁב בְּאַרְץ צַלְמָוֶת, אוֹר נָגַהּ עֲלָיו.

Amharic:
ሰማይ ሲል ድንግል ሰው እናደርጋለን; በሰፊው አሰፋላሊ ምሳሌ እንዲደርገው, አንደ መሠረት እንዲወገድላቸው ነው ይላል።

German
Das Volk, das im Finstern wandelt, sieht ein großes Licht; die da wohnen im Lande des Schatten, über die strahlt ein Licht.

French
Le peuple qui marchait dans les ténèbres a vu une grande lumière; sur ceux qui habitaient le pays de l’ombre de la mort, une lumière a resplendi.

Swahili
Watu waendao gizani wanauona mwanga mkubwa; wakazi wa nchi ya kivuli cha mauti, mwanga umewaangazia.

Spanish
“El pueblo que andaba en tinieblas vio gran luz; a los que moraban en tierra de sombra de muerte, luz resplandeció sobre ellos.”

Portuguese
“O povo que andava em trevas viu uma grande luz; sobre os que viviam na terra da sombra da morte, raiou-lhes a luz.”

Russian:
“Народ, ходивший во тьме, увидел великое светило; живущим в земле смертной тени свет взошел.”

Arabic:
“الشعب السائر في الظلمة رأى نورًا عظيمًا، على الذين يعيشون في أرض ظل الموت قد طلع النور.”

William Wilberforce, member of English parliament at the end of the 18th century who fought for the abolition of slavery, once took his friend, the Prime Minister of England, William Pitt, to hear a famous minister preach. During the service Wilberforce had felt, as he said, his soul rise to heaven, but Pitt said he had not the faintest idea what the preacher had been talking about. Light had shone into Wilberforce’s heart; but Pitt’s heart remained darkened.

In the realm where the light illuminates, our course is beyond our control.
The manner in which it graces us remains beyond our sway.
Whether we find ourselves in its radiance or shadow, influence eludes us frequently.
However, our response to The Light — that is where our role unfolds.

Wishing a great week anticipating The Light of Christmas

Philemon

Your love chases after me


Chapter 49

Good Monday evening to this new week 49 of 2023

The LORD is my shepherd. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me .I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (6b)

The hermeneutical lens of Enlightenment has proven rathar ineffective in an certain context, primarily due to its emphasis on textuality rather than orality. Many here, keenly recognize the dislocation that occurs between the text and the context. When individuals engage with the Bible, a profound “dislocation” occurs, and the emphasis shifts away from the inherent meaning of the text to the significance it holds for the readers.

The performative, oral roots of many biblical psalms can be inferred from the dynamic language of the psalmic rhetoric and from ritual literature found throughout the ancient Near East which has greatly expanded our understanding of the possible use and setting. They were chanted, and sung on a regular basis by the early third century c.e. The dramatic rise of monasticism in the fourth century, moreover, gave the Psalms additional attention: ascetics recited and chanted the psalms as daily prayer not only for personal guidance but also for spiritual warfare against demons. Much of the early Christian exegesis was, in fact, aimed at enabling the clergy, particularly monks, to sing and recite the psalms.

Those who recount Palm 23, and of course, some other specific Psalms, by writing, singing, chanting and wearing the words of this Psalm on their bodies take up the identity of ancient Israel who was the first receiver of God’s miracles. and actions. This brings out the possibility of receiving the same action of God in the history of healing, protection, provision and success.

In the words of Nasuti. One of the most important sources of the peculiar power of the Psalms lies in their ability to situate those who used them in a relationship with God because worshippers appropriate the words of the Psalms as if they were those Psalms first-person speakers.

I think Peterson understood as he wrote The Message;

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction. (Verses 1-3)

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life. Verse 6

Wishing you a great start to this new week!

Many greetings from Addis this late evening.
Philemon



Divine Judge – God is not a DJ

Chapter 48

Good Tuesday Afternoon to this week 48 of 2023

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV): “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

An interesting discussion unfolded yesterday. A friend decided to plant his manioc for the second time on his plantation this year, despite the approaching dry season. Despite knowing the dry season was imminent, he had observed consistent rainfall and deemed it worthwhile. He planted his fields again and prayed for four more days of rain before the dry season set in. Remarkably, this weekend brought two consecutive rainy days.

Despite many predictions of the upcoming Harmattan season, characterized by colder temperatures and winds from the North, his prayers seemed to hold power – the rain arrived as he had wished. Now, as the heat returns in full force, it marks the optimal time to plant and witness growth. During our discussion, we dug deep into the question of where the prayers of others go when they’ve been seeking an end to the rain, hindering business and flooding roads.

His response; – “God is a judge; He will hear all prayers and judge wisely in the best interest of all!” Amen!

Wishing you all a fantastic week!

Philemon @Lomé, Togo ????☀️????️





God’s mercies – Gifts of grace

Chapter 47

Good Monday Morning to this new week 47/2023

Your accumulated offences do not surpass the multitude of God’s mercies: your wounds do not surpass the great Physician’s skill.

Hesychius lived during the fourth and fifth centuries and was a priest and a monk. He also wrote about many different things in the Church. He wrote on the Church’s history and about the problems of his day (including the Nestorian and Arian heresies). He wrote commentaries on some of the books of the Bible, meditations on the prophets. It is said that Hesychius was known to deliver Easter homilies in the basilica in Jerusalem, which is thought to be the place where Jesus was crucified. Hesychius died in 450.

The crises that the Church faces today may seem minor when compared with the threat posed by the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ and almost overcame Christianity in the fourth century. Raised in Jerusalem and well-educated, especially in the Scriptures, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem and given the task during Lent of catechizing those preparing for Baptism and catechizing the newly baptized during the Easter season. His Catecheses remain valuable as examples of the ritual and theology of the Church in the mid-fourth century.

A few more quotes by Hesychius of Jerusalem;

For the kingdom of heaven is not the reward of our work, but it is a gift of grace from our Lord, prepared for His faithful servants.

The wider our contemplation of creation, the grander is our conception of God.

In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.

Drink from your own cistern, and make use of your own resources. You are not merely watering the earth but enlightening human souls.

Come hither, eat your bread with joy, that is the mystical bread.

In the person of Christ a man has not become God; God has become man.

In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures.

About the end of 350 A.D he succeeded Maximus as Bishop of Jerusalem, but was exiled on more than one occasion due to the enmity of Acacius of Caesarea, and the policies of various emperors. Cyril’s writings are filled with the loving and forgiving nature of God, which was somewhat uncommon during his time period. Cyril fills his writings with great lines of the healing power of forgiveness, such as “The Spirit comes gently and makes Himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for God is light, very light.”

Let us then, my brethren, endure in hope. Let us devote ourselves, side-by-side with our hoping, so that the God of all the universe, as he beholds our intention, may cleanse us from all sins, fill us with high hopes from what we have in hand, and grant us the change of heart that saves. God has called you, and you have your calling.

Wishing you a good start to the week, drawing inspiration from a bygone era that mirrors our current times—navigating conflicts and grappling with the challenges faced by the church and faith.

Philemon