Baptism

…baptism whatever else it is, is a sign of the New Covenant…
~R.C. Sproul

Our Daily Bread

I came across a discussion of the Greek word translated “daily” in the Lord’s Prayer, epiousion. Via Challies, the article, “How Do We Define Biblical Words?” pointed out that this particular segment of the Lord’s prayer had some controversy surrounding it. That was news to me, though years ago another part of the Lord’s prayer, “lead me not into temptation”, took on a whole different interpretation than I had expected when a discussion moved me to look into that.

So, in what seemed a simple enough request there is much more to learn about what we are being taught. There some consensus that the word translated “daily” is more the way we would understand a concept like “Superessential”.

Jesus uses an unbelievably strange word that does not occur anywhere else in all Greek literature except for discussions of the Lord’s Prayer. -Bill Mounce

Looking further … this came up in a forum:

But epi + ousia also, literally, means ‘above essence’ or ‘above being’; and so there is a second possible interpretation, which would render epiousion as something akin to ‘superessential, supersubstantial’, etc. This meaning, too, was not unknown to the Fathers; and particularly because it related to bread in the prayer, the Eucharistic overtones of the word were significant. Thus the request in the prayer is for bread that goes beyond that of mere subsistence: the bread of life. We see this, for example, in St Cyril of Jerusalem:

“Give us this day our substantial bread. Common bread is not substantial bread, but this Holy Bread is substantial, that is, appointed for the substance of the soul. For this Bread goeth not into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but is distributed into thy whole system for the benefit of body and soul. But by ‘this day’, he means, ‘each day’, as also Paul said, ‘While it is called today’ (cf. Hebrews 3.15).” (St Cyril, Mystagogical Catecheses, 5.15)

For me, it draws together with ideas on Jesus teaching that He came to give life abundantly. There is a great deal of teaching now on this abundance…just as formerly there was much interpretation given about having only so much as was “needful”.

I don’t think we are looking so much at conflicting ideas as the building of a concept that our own selfish, self promoting natures conflict with. The idea has unity, our desire to rationalize our choices does not. At the root of it is our struggles with learning how to pray. It then makes perfect sense that this would be included in the master pattern on how to pray.

We need more to survive and thrive in each day than some pieces of physical bread, but we do need physical bread. Every day we look to the almighty God, our great sustainer. It evokes the name of God, El Shaddai, Our Provider. With the whole concept of someone who nourishes us in the most elemental way.

It melds with an idea I have thought of lately- that we have not only lost the concept of what it is to “Father”, but what the true picture of “Mother ” is, as well. This is why it is so easy to get mixed up in how we relate on these most elemental levels.

The farther from God, the more lost we are in so many ways.

Surrender

“…who are ‘leaders who walk with a limp’ today, and why is it a critical Vineyard value?

Is it all-night prayer warriors? Perhaps, in part. Is it leaders who are desperate for God’s blessing, and willing to grasp hold of him until he delivers? Maybe, to some extent (although not in the ‘deal or no deal?’ terms Jacob originally proposed in 28:20-22). Or is it leaders whose character has been changed, who have utterly surrendered to God, letting go of self-reliance as their primary resource, and repenting of all scheming and manipulation in the work of the Kingdom? I think so. And particularly so where that character development, that battle of the will, has been a long and painful process in someone’s life, like wrestling all night, such that the scars of the fight are evident.

I submit that this is what it means to “have struggled with God and with men and [to] have overcome.”

Deepchurch blog

Truegrit Prayer Posts

Prayer Posts -What I Understand About Prayer

I seem to have written much about this topic over the years. If you wish to grow your prayer life …I pray… that these essays will help you.

-The doctrine and the doing-


Like I said, I seem to have written quite a bit on prayer, here are some related things:
Opinionating that may or may not relate to prayer life:
Showmanship Religion
3 Kinds of Faith

Ask Mom: Spiritual and Theology Questions R Us

The first question,How can you trust the bible- wasn’t it just written by men? And what about the “missing parts”? had to be first because if the written scriptures passed to us are dubious we really don’t have anything but shifting sands on a flimsy pillar to stand on. Asking me these questions and getting my answers is merely a facetious way to start the conversation. Thinking about serious things and taking kids seriously is the goal.

They have questions and they think… and that deserves serious time to answer their questions.

2nd Question in the series

“How can you preserve your integrity as a Christian when in high school, feeling lots of peer pressure? You are already reading the bible and praying, but that doesn’t seem enough”

This is a real life question. It is usually answered by Christian adults with “Read your Bible and pray” more, and I think the person finds they are doing that but “how do you keep yourself from changing to what other people want to see?”.

It’s a fact that our society is increasingly secular in a way that is both more anti-Christian and conformist. People have always struggled with the need for acceptance, especially during their teens. When you add those two pressures together in our present culture how do you keep from going down the moral toilet?

Sometimes we make the mistake of answering old questions with old answers, when really we should take a fresh perspective. It isn’t that the Bible and Christianity are outmoded for today’s culture, but rather that we give outmoded, regurgitated answers… so let me look closer at the question.

In the Christian life there are three supports in a worldly, ungodly society. Why do I label culture that way? Simply because it has its own set of standards and values, thus has a worldly rather than heavenly basis; often those are in direct opposition to how God’s values and standards are represented in the Bible, thus ungodly, not God-like. The three supports are relationship with God through prayer; study of His values and system through Bible reading and study; and fellowship, or close relationship with like minded people. (Those who also love God and follow His ways, as revealed through study of the bible and through direct relationship with God, themselves.)

This is always underlined in discipleship of Christ, whether consciously and formally taught, or by example. Paul, in the Bible said it this way, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” -Philippians 3:17

Let’s say, that you, the Christian in high school, are trying to read your Bible regularly, on top of the homework and studies for school; you are also trying to regularly develop your prayer life, and ask God to help you become true to yourself and Him in your everyday life. You are getting the feeling you are losing ground, and sometimes it just feels like you are swimming upstream against very strong current every day. Why isn’t the effort to read the Bible and pray enough?

There might be several things going on. It might be that third leg of “fellowship”. It might be that you are facing the test and trials that are inherent in the Christian life, but you weren’t prepared for that, and it is taking you by surprise.

Do we really understand how much pressure a person in a high school environment is facing to behave in ways they don’t even have any desire for? It is intense. It comes from all sides, and very few things are in place to give them bulwarks in their faith. Their parents, maybe, their Church somewhat, but how much time, and how much quality are coming from these types of supports and alliance? Maybe not enough. We throw children into a long term, time consuming, peer pressure environment. The answer for young Christians is that they need that third leg of fellowship with other Christians to be strong and of high quality. There needs to be an emphasis on developing relationship with others who love God. As an adult Christian in a predominately Christian culture of home and church I can tell you that this is challenging to find and maintain. How much more for kids whose main church life is spent on empty entertainments? Who aren’t challenged or invited to question, think, and discuss important Christian doctrine and issues in a Spiritual context?

Maybe we have been ignoring the spiritual side of our children in our Churches, and maybe as parents our relationships with our children have been squeezed into small slots of time that are too regulated by our own pressure to cultivate that sort of communication. I’m not trying to condemn anyone, here, I just think we should take a second look about what we are asking of young Christian people, and what sort of support we are actually giving them. Their spiritual well-being is at stake.

So what is that answer to the question for you, that person in High School who is feeling the life smushed out of them? Maybe one thing is to be brave to raise the questions and start the conversations that are needed in your church and with your friends and family. This is part of being yourself. Another is to open yourself to your Christian parents and leaders that you trust, desire to keep the lines of communication open, don’t be quick to get offended. We all need to work at communicating and it doesn’t come easily sometimes. Remember the Bible verse,”Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”” -1 Corinthians 15:33 and work at having close friendships with others who are as interested in following Christ and learning discipleship as you are. Grow your prayer life. Keep studying the Bible, maybe in a group. It all works together.

And trust God that He really does want the best for you, and is with you in even the worst of times of pressure and failure. Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit? Maybe you need more dynamic spiritual power that comes with receiving that gift. Ask God for it. He wants you have His Spirit leading you and within just as He was in Jesus. God wants you to become your full self, and to be true to that self, trust Him.

Luke 11:13
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Acts 2:38
Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

John 14:26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

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Series:

  1. How can you trust the bible- wasn’t it just written by men? And what about the “missing parts”?

Easter Catechism

Reposting this reflection on why Jesus had to die on the cross. There has been no greater gift to mankind than the remittance of sin, new life, and hope of heaven… all purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.
=================

Beginning in a slightly different place: with us.
We start out in our lives and after not too much time
problems become obvious. Some things are wrong….
somewhere we start to question: is it me? is it you?
is it the natural world? is it the system? and it
escalates from there. Something is faulty, and worse,
it looks like a fatal flaw. Yeh, death and decay,
everywhere; we block, we hold the line, but for some
of us we start to understand: nothing we do is enough,
nothing is really working in a lasting way. We’re
stuck. And at this point we begin making a decision.

We make a decision about what tack we will take and
where we will look for answers. For those who look to
the God account as related by the traditional Jewish
and Christian communities here is the explanation (of
how we got here):

(concept 1) There is a God who created everything, and
it was quite different from what we now see. It was
good. This God kept an ongoing interest and
relationship with His entire creation.

(concept 2) There was a part of creation that was in a
spiritual dimension. This was evidenced by beings
called angels. There was, already present, forces of
good and evil (represented by the fact that one could
know both good and evil, if one chose).

At this point, a number of facets begin to arise,
some inferred here and elaborated elsewhere. The first
problem is that when everything was created good,
where did the evil come from? Free Moral Agency makes
its debut.

God says some things about Himself: He compares
himself to light. And what is darkness, but the
absence of light? Evil is simply what you have when
God is removed . Free moral agency is the real ability
of a creature of God to refuse Him access and
interaction. God shows His ability to take this kind
of risk. But why?

The New Testament has the explanation that God was
willing to suffer with a great deal to have something
very worthwhile, and valuable in His estimation- but
back to the free moral agents. These are of two types:
the temporal and the eternal. The temporal is man -he
was booted out of the garden that he might not have
what would eternally solidify him in a state apart
from God; the eternal is the devil, otherwise known
as an angel of the highest order (one who covers) who
as an eternal being remains in the state of evil and
rebellion that was once chosen. We are not told alot
about that,but we are told more about us and that is
where we turn our attention.

The problem of evil and how it affects man, and what
God decided to do about it (and when) is where we get
into the beginning of the question of why a Christ
that had to die and how does that make a difference to
us?

There is a Christian idea called predestination and a
lot of philosophy has come out of that idea, but the
account simply says that God knew ahead of time how
man would choose to eat of knowledge of good and evil,
and that a decision was made within the inner counsel
of the Godhead that a remedy would be in readiness
(that is why it is expressed that the lamb of God was
sacrificed from the foundation).

Now a timeout:

Many balk at the idea of the trinity, but they have
absolutely no problem seeing humans at least in two or
more parts. The account looked at here says man has
three parts: body, soul, and spirit, in an
image(representation) of God. It says God has a
plurality in one. Elohim(plural) says “Oh, Israel, The
LORD is one”.

Second thing is that the choice of the knowledge of
good and evil was one which excluded God because it
was in disobedience to His *one* expressed command,
and was presented as a way to become God, oneself
(seeming to not need Him anymore).

Some of the problems here: Original man, Adam, did not
become god of this world…he managed to trade his
elevated position of being in dominion to the Tempter.
Guess who? He died in that part which funneled the
life giving sap of God into his life, the spirit.
After a spiritual separation from God all the rest
(body and soul) could not sustain itself. The rule of
sin and death begins.

This is where we came in. Death and decay of ourselves
and what we love, and even of our experience of the
capacity to love. And nothing lasting that we can do
about it.

That takes us to the next two concepts: the order of
Justice and Mercy as it is in the Person of God. What
demands those make and what this has to do with us. OR
Why Christ came and what is the importance of Jesus?

To be continued…..
Continue reading Easter Catechism