11 Years Ago Today – Thanking Our Father in Heaven for Yet Another Year

Originally published  in 2014, following is an edited version with new observations.

Am thankful that today marks another milestone for which God Himself only is due praise and glory. Here is the recap from a few years ago. Please make sure to visit the testimony link. 11 years!! It is overwhelming to recount the benefits this far down the road.

Now for a 2016 reflection on the continuing blessings of my 2005 cerebral hemorrhage.

1) The swiftly sudden onset of this terrifying illness continues to remind me of the boundless preciousness of life.

2) Even bad moments in life contain untold worth, and, gathered together in concerted contemplation, lead a person to realize how very truly present God always is in the lives of His children. All of life’s moments are of inestimable value.

We do very well to recall the truth of truths of the presence. Scripture references are plentiful, i.e. Psalm 16:11, 23: 5, 51:11, 90:8, 95:2, 105:4, 114:7, 139:7, Jeremiah 3:17, Jonah 1:10, Matthew 28:20, John 14:6,23, Hebrews 9:24, Revelation 7:17 among many more. Examine these, and you will be humbled and thankfulness will build in your heart and mind.

3) It is impossible for me to overemphasize the always quality/quantity of God’s presence. Turns out this is an expansion of the wonder of the above observation.

At the beginning, middle, and end of every day, the LORD is with his beloved children! AMEN!

4) The LORD’s presence is marked by the overwhelming awareness of a simultaneous, phenomenal manifestation of ἀγάπη and holiness paired and inseparably interwoven together. Two attributes that are in actuality one. All of a single piece.

5) Reality without God is an utterly ruinous, dark state of being.

6) Reality without the acknowledgement of God’s presence is a soul-destroying existence. Seek (in prayer and ἀγάπη) the welfare of your soul and that of others.

7) Reality with the active seeking of God’s face is of greatest preciousness. The pearl of great price.

Seeking, being loved by, and loving God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit is our greatest occupation. Loving (ἀγάπη) all others is the true and necessary consequence of our being loved by God.

Thanks be to the Holy and Loving God!

It is my fervent prayer that you be blessed throughout the whole of the year of our Lord 2016!

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Praying should take ALL our energies

In what appears below, please note the use of the koine Greek word ἀγαπήσεις translated shall love. Because of the ambiguities that profligate from 21st century notions/concepts/applications of the English word love, I use the Greek to convey the overwhelming richness of the source of love who shows us the vastness, depth, height, breadth, and enveloping quality of the wholeness and holiness of Godly love. See 1 John 4: 7-12.

Mark 12:30 (ESV) >  And you ἀγαπήσεις (shall love) the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

It is a glory-filled privilege to pray.  With that in mind, and with a focus upon how much we involve ourselves in the ἀγαπήσεις of the Lord our God, the following came to me during what I would call a personal episode of contemplative habitude.

with a heart filled with devotion, mind replete with wisdom from God’s Holy Word, spirit abounding in the Holy Spirit, a soul full of joy! Pray with all that makes you you. ~the Reverend Michael Trent Shaw

Grace, mercy and peace,

Michael+

Uncomfortable Words about Conduct, Critical Analysis, and Be-ing

Dear ἐκκλησία,

We live in the midst of a time in history where myriads upon myriads of voices are competing rather cunningly not only for our attention but more importantly for the most prominent places in our decision making, advisory, and influential capacities. Constitutive Christian doctrines, tenets, principles, teachings, ethics, practices, and beliefs suddenly become negotiable to the point of being unrecognizable from divine design and purpose; or optional; or even archaic.

At the following link, Dr. Wayne Grudem sets forth  a “reminder of what God’s Word has to say about homosexual conduct, a teaching many believers increasingly prefer to forget”.

It is an uncomfortable reminder that is nonetheless crucial and imperative. Please consider prayerfully and reflectively.

An admonition, if I may: please walk (and pray, think, be, and act) in αγάπη as Christ ἠγάπησεν us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Please note the word αγάπη. The love we be and do toward God and others is the love to which I’m referring. Got that?)   ~Ephesians 5:2

Link to Grudem’s article.

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη

In re: Matthew 5 and the Several Blessings

Beloved in our LORD Jesus Christ, for background to my little reflection, open your Bibles to Matthew 5: 1-12.

My reflection:

The LORD Himself, I believe, enlivens my awareness of being blessed even when I may not sense it during times of stasis, stress, sorrow, sickness, or separation. I submit that He uses every avenue of approach at His disposal to reassure us of His being the one and only source of all blessing. He may do this at the biblical/intellectual/theological level in bringing to our minds the truth of God’s blessings through His covenants and myriad promises. At other times, our no longer hardened hearts become aware of an inexplicable provision or miracle or the unmistakable, solid, really real presence of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. At still other times, our LORD sends us messengers -some heavenly (angels), most walking around this earth with us (our Kingdom family members) – to be conveyors, ambassadors, sub-contractors of His blessings. There are times, I strongly believe, He uses all three at once. Mountaintop moments, we are prone to call them.

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Messiah, Be Blessed by the One Who Blesses!

 

Jesus’ Summary of the Law

To me, the two “Great Commandments” are the touchstone of living as an individual Christian and as Christ’s Church. If we all, each and every one of us, would truly live with loving the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and with loving our neighbors as ourselves at the forefront of our daily lives the effect, in my not so humble opinion, would likely be an adjuvant for a worldwide revival.

Take a contemplative read of this article from Creedal Christian.