Christmas and the God of All

Greetings and Holy Felicitations and Blessings,

I have long been remiss in sending out updates, and for that I give my sincere apologies. The links between me and you, my family of friends, are tenuous, and they should be guarded and tended with greater thanks and care than I have. The hardest part of this trial, by far, is the separation from those I love. The food and lack of liberty I can handle. You, my brothers and sisters in Christ — including those who have been part of conflicts, and for whom I pray continually that God would bring reconciliation between us — are my dearly loved and missed family.

Christmas is one of my favourite feast and celebration times. I love holidays and birthdays and traditions, like the rest of my family. I have so many beautiful memories of Christmases past (like when we got a set of huge dictionaries and screamed like a ‘normal’ family getting a gaming system), of times with my family having fun. And somehow with all the presents our parents were able to keep our focus on the giving, not the getting. We loved the gifts, but the joy of giving is what I remember most. People say that’s what Christmas is about — because it is when we celebrate God giving Himself to us. And they are right. But there is more to that picture…

God is infinite, awesome, and great. The Creator, the King of kings, Lord of lords. God and Father of glory itself. Eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, the beginning and the end. He cannot possibly be arrogant because however much He thinks of Himself, He’s right. He is the only person who is perfectly justified in being selfish and self-centered. We glorify Him and He glorifies Himself and He deserves it. He doesn’t owe anyone anything. He could have wiped out the universe and been perfectly right in doing so; we deserve it.

But Jehovah God is greater than that because He is more than Sovereign. He is humble. He is meek and He lowers Himself to care about us, His rebellious creation. “Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly.” (Psalm 138:6a) He stoops. He brought Himself down to our level and walked in the dirt with us. He didn’t value His Godhead and glory more than His desire to love, to give.

There are other religions with powerful gods, gods who can do great things. But that’s what’s so special about YHWH. He is not only the greatest God, He is also Jesus. He is a person. He loves. He feels. He hurts. He isn’t any less because He gives.

That’s why, in all the honour and glory and praise we give Him as the God whom all things glorify, and for whose glory all things are done, the ultimate standard of worth, and joy, and righteousness, and truth, we must also remember the other side of His amazing greatness. Our God is more than Everything — He is also humble. He accepts us and our infantile, half-hearted, stumbling love, our weak and dust-made efforts, our offerings of service broken and poorly wrapped… He accepts us.

And that is the greatest gift of all. That when He gave us Himself, wrapping His infinite greatness in finite weakness, He was giving us the ability to give to Him. Not in greed, for what can we give or add to Him? But in generosity, opening Himself up to a relationship of love and humility.

And that is something we should celebrate every day. The Christmas season isn’t over, not for my family (we tend to go from the day after Christmas to January 6th), but the time for giving and loving is never over. So give as Christ gave: humbly. And accept His gift of love.

May the God of all comfort grant you the revelation of His nearness and love, opening your heart as a channel to receive and give His passion and affection,
In the name and love and hope and joy of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus the Christ,
Your brother, Jaymes Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

Jay Update: Plans for a Secretary

Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird (Photo credit: siwild)

Greetings and salubriosities,

Now then, it’s time for me to explain a bit of one of my plans: I need a secretary.

See, I only have email access three times a day, 15 minutes per session, sessions need to be at least 30 minutes apart, and it takes a while for emails sent to and from JPay (the email service) to be approved and sent. Useful, but very limited. As such, letters will still play a big role in my communications with you all. Phone calls are expensive and difficult to set up, but not impossible (discussion about that will come later).

Thus, I need help on the outside, as I can’t handle everything I want to do from in here. It’s like I’m a digital quadraplegic… and I need a person to help out. * grins *

My plan is to write things as I can, and have my secretary receive them, edit them, post and distribute them, monitor replies, and ferry responses back to me that I need to see. My secretary would also help get people connected with me, look stuff up I need to find, coordinate my money on the outside, and all in all help keep things running. It will take time, but not all of the person’s time. But when something needs doing, the secretary will need to be reliably and consistently on top of it. I’ll also need to be able to trust whoever it is, of course, not only to have integrity, but to be able to handle things as I would (and not to edit my stuff to the point of non-recognizability, hehe). Most of the details would have to be worked out between me and the secretary, but that’s the gist of it.

A HWer would be optimum, I don’t necessarily require someone I knew back before the arrest and whatnot, and I don’t particularly care what time zone he or she is in.

The secretary will have to be over 18, of course, since I can’t communicate with minors. Familiarity with social networking is also important, since you’ll be running my streams. With that, a bit of web design and development savvy would be nice, but definitely not needed. :) I’ll want to be able to maintain phone contact with my secretary, so we’ll have to work that out too – willingness and ability to set up and pay for a forwarding number to save on long-distance calls is a plus.

If you are interested, or if you know of someone I might be able to coerce (heehee) into it, drop an email to my brother Patrick (patrick.lauser@gmail.com) to let him know – I’ll be in touch with him. Or drop me a line personally via JPay as well – either are great.

I know that most people who have the maturity and the energy to do this kind of thing are already up to their ears in time-consuming projects (* chuckles * a lot of which are of my own initiation I’m sure), and people with time on their hands are a rarity among those able to do this. Know this: being my secretary can be exhausting. * grins * It’s generally more of a handful than expected. But if you believe you have the time, and the commitment to try, go for it, and we’ll see how it goes. :)

Hope to hear from you soon!

God bless and be with you all in strength and wisdom,
In the name and love of Christ,
Jaymes aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

 

(Posted by Patrick.

Here is Jay’s mailing address:

Jaymes D Lauser 361053
Monroe Correctional Complex
Twin Rivers Unit
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

To email him:

Make an account with https://www.jpay.com/PEMessages.aspx
Search for Jay. Buy stamps.
You need one stamp per “page” of email you are going to send, and it is at least 17 cents per stamp.

Thank you muchly!)

Kitchen Duty!!

Taken around the kitchen in Netherlands.

Image via Wikipedia

I like washing dishes. By hand. With lots and lots of hot soapy water. I don’t care if it’s just one plate, or a mountain of dishes with pans of slop.

I also like using the dishwasher, though. The organizational challenge is enjoyable. Sweeping is fun too, as is mopping. Dusting is loads of fun, as well as cobweb hunting. Polishing is fascinating, and toilet scrubbing is exciting.

Okay, I’ll stop there… though I could go on.

I didn’t use to like cleaning, or chores in general actually. I hated it, and did all I could to get out of it, even to the point of waging a three year war over dishes with my mother. That was the old life. I was lazy, sloppy, and lethargic when it came to work. :P

But the odd thing was… if you gave me a stick and a briar patch to clear, I’d labor with dedication and fervor for hours a day, even for weeks, until I was done. Just don’t call it a chore. Call it a fortress in construction. Hollowing out ‘houses’ in monstrous blackberry patches remained one of my favorite pastimes for the majority of my childhood. Building any kind of fortress, climbing trees, running my feet off, digging holes, lugging logs all over the place, making swings, all were dearly loved pastimes.

But they were all work. Hard, sweaty, grueling labor.

And I liked it.

Why not the others? It’s a mystery of human nature, I guess. It’s more complicated than I’m willing to ferret out. All I know is this: it wasn’t good, and I’ve changed.

I chose to be different, and through God’s Spirit working in me, I became a new person.

I am living proof that it is a choice. You can decide to enjoy practically anything, good or bad. It is a gift that God has given us, the ability to choose our desires.

We can choose to love Him. We can choose to love ourselves. We can choose to love work. We can choose to love chocolate. We can choose to love beans and peas and brussels sprouts and liver and all that delicious stuff.

Is it hard? Oh yes.

But God made us to do hard things. Life is not worth anything without challenge, without difficulty, without pain. Hardness is where we meet the grace of God… where we meet Him.

Honestly though, choosing to enjoy washing dishes once is relatively easy. At least compared to other hard things you could be doing. You don’t meet God much that way.

The real hard thing, though, the bit which makes all these little hard things become one great thing, is to change who you are to become someone who likes things.

Be the person who is content in whatever situation he is in. No matter how filthy, no matter how hard, no matter how ‘undesirable.’

Be the person who is willing to do the job no one else wants to… who is really willing, even eager.

You see, changing who you are is the greatest and hardest thing of all. Choosing to identify yourself in something you aren’t, crafting yourself, molding yourself into an image of something you want to be. That is what great men do.

That is what God does in you.

I challenge you then, mold yourself into the image of Christ by choosing to enjoy glorifying Him in the little hard things.

Right now.

Ask, Seek, Knock [from the Archives]

Bible

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Sometimes the old things come back to teach us again. This is a message I really think I need to share again with you all. It is a repost from 2009, in my early blog days. Enjoy. :)

Greetings,

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Devotions are important: crucially important. I am ashamed of how often and how much I have neglected to realize just how important they are. Oh yes, I would do them, but they would be more ‘me-time’ than ‘devoted-to-God’ time. Doing devotions right and getting stuff out of them is just as important as doing them in the first place. Time and focus is a major part of our treasure: ask any businessman. But where are we investing our time, and how are we investing it? Are we truly setting aside time out of our schedules and our hearts for God? I was assuredly not very devoted in my devotions before, and it affected every area of my life.

But what good is it to spend two hours in prayer and two hours in Bible reading every day if you get no fresh, new insights, strength or hope from them? Some people would say that it does not matter: read it anyway. But how many of us have considered that it might be that we are reading the Scriptures the wrong way? Practice only makes perfect if you are practicing right: practicing playing baseball holding the bat from the wrong end will not help you much (it actually might for all I know, I know practically nothing about sports, but I needed an example). The Pharisees were experts in the Scriptures if reading it was all it took: they had all of it memorized, with the commentaries. We ought to do more.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them,] because they are spiritually discerned.

So how ought we to pray and read our Bibles? Well, it is evident from Scripture that the unsaved cannot understand the Scriptures, for their minds are corrupted and earthly, and cannot understand heavenly things. When we are saved, we are given the Holy Spirit, which opens up to us the mysteries of God. Without the Holy Spirit we are helpless. But that means that if we do not rely upon the Holy Spirit, then we are just as helpless as the lost in reading God’s Word, which is a very sad condition.

So we see that we must needs rely on God, and not on ourselves in our devotions. And this is where the title of my article and my text verse comes in. I have learned that we can have utter faith that after every devotion time, we can come away with a new, fresh, empowering truth for the day. But this can only happen by faith and prayer. But it can happen every time: it is a promise from God. To expect anything else is belittling and dishonoring to God. So how do we do this? We ask, seek, and then knock!

First, as we prepare for our devotions, before we approach God in prayer or in His Word, we ask Him in faith to guide us by His Holy Spirit, and to open our eyes, that we may behold the wondrous things that He has for us in His Word. Then, instead of just sitting there and waiting for a voice like a trumpet or a still small voice to speak out of the blue and say: “Pray about ***, then go to Philippians 1:7-9 and see the note that I put in there for you,” we go and seek. Go looking for God’s insights in His Word or start praying about your day or whatever is on your list that you need to pray about. But when something seems to stick out off the page, or if you do not understand something: stop, for you might very well have found it. Then knock, asking God to open it up to you. Sometimes He will use one thing to get you to somewhere completely different, but He always will show you something. And it will be what He knows you need.

This is a Biblical pattern, and the promises are true and faithful, but I will not be so prideful as to say that this is the only way to do your devotions. I am only stating that it has transformed my devotions in the past two days. If you have any other tips, mindsets, Scriptures, experiences, or insights, please feel free to comment (comments are better because others get to see what you say as well) to let me know. This is something that we can all grow in, and I am finding that I need to grow in it especially.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Christ in Pain

Holy Spirit painting

When the chips are down. When the rubber meets the road. When all hell breaks loose, literally. When “things don’t quite turn out.” When your life is wrecked, devastated, turned upside down. When your heart is torn into shreds and fed to the dogs. When the worst thing you could imagine… happens. How is God glorified in that?This is really a re-phrasing of the age-old question: How can a loving God allow death and suffering in His world? And although the answer to that is inestimably crucial, the answer is too much for the scope of this article. If you don’t know the answer, please, please email or comment and let me know, and I will be more than happy to explain it. Knowing this is vital, absolutely critical.

But when I phrase it this way… the question opens itself up to being rephrased again, and to really reaching into the heart of a struggle that I see many Christians battling with. A turmoil I see in the lives of people I love. So… you know who you are… this is for you. * smiles *

When everything is against me. When the world opens up at my feet to swallow me…

How do I glorify God in that?

You see how it’s connected? Think about it. God hates sin. He hates evil. He hates death, suffering, misfortune. He uses it, yes, but He doesn’t like it. It is not a part of His perfection which He wants for us (and which He will give us in heaven).

So how is He glorified in it on Earth? And as Christians, where do we fit into that? We are commanded to glorify Him in everything we do, in every circumstance. And really, if you think about it, what else should we want to do?!

So… how do we do it?

It’s hard.

No… scratch that. It’s not.

It’s impossible.

Really. It is. It is superhuman, supernatural — absolutely completely a miracle.

And that is the key. See, in our own strength we can’t glorify God in circumstances like that. We can’t do anything that would bring Him honor or praise or bless Him in any way. So… we do things we can’t do. Impossible things. It’s really as simple as that.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

What is peace?

Look at a glass of water or a still lake. Look at it… placid… smooth… unrippled. Untouched, unbroken. It is at peace.

Drop a pebble in. It breaks, the surface begins going everywhere, reacting to the stone. It is troubled.

God’s peace is this: Doing what is right regardless of circumstances.

Some people say it is freedom from harm. Which isn’t true. The Holy Spirit brings about peace, as well as troubles and harm (unless being stoned and drowned and beheaded and robbed and broken and tormented doesn’t count as harm…). If peace is freedom from harm, then He contradicts Himself. God forbid.

It might be more accurate to say that it is freedom from fear of harm. But even that isn’t true, because fear is not something you can really get rid of. It is a God-given impulse of our flesh, and we can’t rid ourselves of it any more than we can remove our need for water and food. What really matters isn’t being unfearful, but being courageous.

Courage is doing what is right despite being scared.

That is peace. It is choosing not to let circumstances control you. It is not reacting to things that happen to you — but choosing to respond instead. It is not letting your heartbreak determine what is on your heart’s throne. Doing that is impossible.

The pain is there. It will be there.

But that pain isn’t bad. Not if you glorify God in it. Then it becomes a wondrous thing.

When the very thing which is a punishment and consequence of rebellion against God brings glory to God, when imperfection blesses perfection… that is glorifying God.

So in essence, the way you glorify God in trials is simply to do what you would have done if you didn’t have trials. Make sense?

You still love. You still have joy (not necessarily happiness, though). You still serve. You still forgive. You still trust. You still pray. You still draw closer to God. You are still a little Christ, a little light of His.

And the very fact that you are doing all that while being tormented is what brings God ten-fold glory. Because it is impossible.

Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t give any Scripture references in this whole blog post. It quotes from the Bible extensively inline, refers to Scripture constantly, and is built solidly upon multiple studies of several topics, but I didn’t give any references. So, I am curious if any of you have any Scripture quotes which apply to this which you would like to share in the comments. Or even if you don’t want to share them, go ahead anyway. ;)

A comment form is right below, and you can get Scripture here: www.sir-emeth.com/bible

Have at it. :)

Eccentricity, Mathematics, and Peculiar People

Examples of orbital trajectories with various ...

Image via Wikipedia

I am eccentric. Quite so. In fact, almost invariably so. And I quite like it.

Now, when most people notice my eccentricity (and they do), they generally comment on how weird it is, and then make some comment about fitting in or having to still be able to communicate with people or something along those lines.

They miss it.

Totally.

Why? Because they have a messed up perception of eccentricity and weirdness in general.

What does eccentric mean? What does it really mean?

Well if you go back to the roots, you find that it is founded in mathematics. An eccentric circle is a circle with a different center from another circle.

Not having the same center; — said of circles, ellipses, spheres, etc., which, though coinciding, either in whole or in part, as to area or volume, have not the same center; — opposed to concentric.

This is still a valid definition in use, and it directly affects the other definitions.

Not terminating in the same point, nor directed by the same principle.

So someone who is eccentric isn’t random, arbitrary, or capricious at all. Being eccentric means living with a different set of life principles than those you share company with (either by being in the same circles, or by working on the same things, whatever). You share some things in common with them, but you don’t share a common starting point or worldview.

The modern definitions of eccentric have become synonymous with unpredictable heterodoxes. The whole concept is one of any deviations from the societal norm being wrong by default.

So… which is good? To be eccentric, or not eccentric?

To be eccentric of course! We’re commanded to!

Or are we?

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

What does peculiar mean?

Appropriate; belonging to a person and to him only. Almost every writer has a peculiar style. Most men have manners peculiar to themselves.

It means you have something unique and special about how you do things… another way to say you have a different set of principles. You have a different center and goal.

So now we know we’re supposed to be eccentric, peculiar, and odd, at least as far as the world goes. Our goal is to have Christ and His Word as the center of our lives, wherever that leads us. Even if it means we disagree with other Christians… if God’s Word is our reason for it, then it isn’t a sin to disagree: the Bible is our center, and that’s what matters. Listen, test your center, always, but don’t be afraid for it to be different from other centers.

So what about communication then? If you’re so off-the-wall that no one can relate with you… what then? How do you impact them?

Good question. :) I’ll write about that later, but for now, you can get started with your ideas in the comments. Go!

A little writing… what is love?

What is love?

 

The first cry of a newborn child, echoing in her mother’s heart like the ripples of a new fountain, which never cease to tremor and fill her life with the simple joy that now, she is a mother.

 

The beauty of a rose on a hillside, the grass nestling it against your cheek.

 

The tired ache of a husband, old beside his wife’s grave, longing for the vanished part of him which he will never have again.

 

The joy at the end of a new book, which is now a part of your soul, the people within it, a part of your life.

 

The still shifting of the wind against your frame as you stand on a hill, gazing out over the nation which you have called your own.

 

The slow rising of warm tears, melting your sight as you fall into the depths of her smiling eyes at last.

 

The blood falling to the ground from your friend’s throat, bubbling with the last breaths of the life he gave for you.

 

The pressure of a father’s head against his son’s shoulder in the last embrace of his boyhood, on the threshold of his first step into marriage.

 

The soft touch of a girl’s hand on her baby brother’s sleeping cheek, preceding a small, clumsy kiss through which her soul pours.

 

The sweat loosening the grip of the hand holding the sword between the tyrant and the enslaved.

 

The grume of the earth falling from the pick, the torn hands bringing bread from toil for another, a beloved, to eat.

 

The shrinking of a heart from an invader, saving the promised treasure for another.

 

The pain of a blow struck in the face of a mocker, defending the right and preserving the pure.

 

The glint in the eye over the grim smile of the man who turns away and doggedly chooses yet again the path of righteousness.

 

The tender and committed smile as the ring slips on the young girl’s finger, never to be removed.

 

The shaking hands clenched in prayer, drenched in tears for the sorrow of another’s toils and trials.

 

The comforting word returning upon the bitter lash of a weary tongue.

 

The hope pouring from the crushed visage of a man hanging and broken into the heart of a weary child, seeking rest.

 

The gentle word reaching into my secrets, laying bare to my shuddering sight the vile, mired flesh of my failures.

 

The strong voice beating into a rebel’s heart, washing and driving against his fears to turn him from death.

 

The touch of the creator’s hand on a broken life, never to leave it again.

 

Love is…

 

Oh God

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Image via Wikipedia

“Oh god that’s so funny!” Phrases like this, using the words “oh god” in a light and jocular fashion, are commonly seen and heard in normal conversation and in media.

“Oh god…” Phrases like this one, using these words as an expression of horror, shock, terror, or awe, are also commonly encountered, especially in movies.

And in general at least, Christians decry these usages.

Why?

If you ask someone about it, they will point to the Ten Commandments, in particular the third one:

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

They will also often equate taking God’s name in vain with blasphemy. These two are not identical or interchangable, however. They are very closely related, but not equivalent. Blasphemy is only one way someone can take God’s name in vain.

Blasphemy attacks God. It is an action in the opposite direction of reverence God – it slanders Him.

Taking God’s name in vain is much broader than this, though. To take God’s name is not limited to merely taking it into your speech. It includes your life.

When someone claims to follow God, whether he says he is a Christian or not, he is taking God’s name upon him and his life. This is even more true of someone who claims to be a Christian. And if you claim the name of Christ in this way, and you then view or treat or speak of His person as if He is somehow light or ineffectual, then you are taking God’s name in vain. You aren’t blaspheming, not necessarily, but you are violating the third commandment.

God is. God’s name is His personhood, His attributes, His very being. Every part of His majesty, glory, power, love, and Godhood is in His name.

Thus to reject His ability to change and transform your life and His promises of reward and blessings for those who submit to Him is taking His name in vain. God is worth it. God is able.

And now, take a step back and think…

We are created in the image of God!

That means that we all bear the name of God in our nature – in our very bodies, whether we like it or not. And so anyone rejecting or neglecting Him is taking His name in vain.

But wait… can any of us truly and completely accept every part of God into our lives? That is the definition of perfection! And we cannot be perfect, so this command is impossible to obey!

Yes. It is.

Just like the first command is impossible. Just like every command that God gives us of this sort is impossible. We can’t do it.

But God can. And He does. And He will.

It will take all our lives, but we’ll get there. In heaven, at last, the work will be complete. And we will rest from sin and failure for eternity. Think about it!

Here on earth we strive towards that goal. We struggle, we fail, we yearn, we mourn, we falter, we continue, we fight. But through it all we are living and breathing obedience to this command: Take not the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

For it is our hope, our faith, and our love for God that keeps us going. It is our desire to fulfill these commands, and God counts that to us for righteousness… the fulfillment of those commands.

Isn’t that awesome?!

A lot more than a couple words dropped carelessly, isn’t it?

Every idle word that men let fall from their lips without thinking about it will be called into judgment, because those words come out of our hearts. God will not judge people because they used the words, but because they slighted Him.

So instead of throwing a fit about someone using two words, be saddened by the heart behind those words, and from your own heart, say the same, but with the truth of God behind it. When tragedy strikes, and you cry out, Oh God! When sorrow fills your heart, and you whisper, Oh God… When you look up at the glory of the heavens, and you sing out, Oh God! When you are full of joy and merriment, and you laugh, Oh God.

Mean it.

Who is More Spiritual?

On the Rebelution forums I recently replied to a thread asking about spirituality and what it means. The starter of the thread pointed out that people often use the word ‘spiritual’ in a derogatory way (either in the sense of “I am more spiritual than you” or “he is so spiritual”), and was wanting to discover its proper use. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, and posted the following short word study on the subject. * grins *

Great conversation, and great questions. I was very pleased to see the depth of thought expressed here. Defining your terms on these kinds of things can make a huge impact in your life.

Pardon me as I rearrange and edit your questions a bit to better fit with the flow of my thoughts on this. Smile

What do you understand as being spiritual, and what do you think it SHOULD be?

Whenever I want to define a word, I always do research beforehand, and I always go to Webster’s 1828 dictionary in my research. I firmly believe that his is the best English dictionary ever created, especially because he based it off of the Bible, and so is actually one of the most powerful study helps you can have for studying the Bible.

Anyways, to paraphrase what he says about spirituality that is germane to our discussion here, to be spiritual is to be holy, and to follow after spiritual things. Which makes perfect sense. (You can look up the full definition here.)

If you really think about it, there actually only two definitions of spirituality that make sense: 1) to walk in the Spirit, or 2) to look like you are walking in the Spirit. This differentiation is vital to our discussion.

Are there any Bible verses/passages we can use to address this issue? Do they help tell us why this issue matters?

There are quite a few, as it turns out. Just do a search for ‘spiritual’ in the Bible (check it out here) and you will find a slew of passages talking about this concept. And in fact I could only find one that might have had a bad connotation with the word. All New Testament mentions contrast spirituality with evil, darkness, carnality, the unsaved, and sin.

But here are some highlights:

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Obviously, from the above passages, some people are more spiritual than others, and that is a good thing. We ought to all strive to become more spiritual: that is our goal. And some have gone farther along that road than others.

What does being biblically spiritual look like, in private and public?

In both cases, being spiritual is being Spirit-led. And what is being Spirit-led? It is being Christ-like. Quite simple, really.

John 15:26-27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Romans 8:1-6 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

What are some common misconceptions about spirituality? What kinds of standards do these misconceptions flow from?

Those who maintain a Pharisaical attitude towards others, seeking their own righteousness, not the righteousness of God, behaving in a way that is contrary to the true law of God in order to make themselves look more righteous than others, will often call themselves spiritual, and others will do the same in a derogatory way. But they are the farthest people from true spirituality, for the are not following the Spirit of God, but rather their own fleshly desires.

We only perceive it as spirituality because they, like the devil, make themselves look like angels of light in order to deceive others.

2 Corinthians 10:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

What are some things that people do that make others consider them to be spiritual, or more spiritual than others?

Legalism is actually the correct term for this attitude, but unfortunately people misuse it so much, I hesitate to promote using for its right use. I wrote an article on it here, if you want to find out, in depth, what I believe on the issue:

http://siremethmimetes.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/legalism/

What steps can we take to work towards the right kind of spirituality, and avoid the wrong kind?

Meditate on God’s Word with the motive of becoming more like Him. Pray to God with the motive of learning to love Him more. Consider things in light of the eternity of God. Learn to see yourself in your proper position, from the eyes of God. Study to see God for what He is, truly. Then you will have the true humility that starts you on the path to true righteousness and a spirit-led life.

Honor vs. Respect

Greetings,

I recently wrote a post on the Rebelution forum in reply to a question about respecting and honoring our parents. I thought you all would like to read it as well.

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Respecting and honoring your parents is inextricably connected with obeying them. To refuse to obey is to refuse to honor and respect them as God commanded. This is because they are our God-given authorities, and to reject that authority is to dishonor them. This only changes when they are no longer our authorities (i.e. after marriage), and thus honoring and respecting them no longer requires obedience.
But for now, obedience is crucial. And rebellion is to be rejected with all diligence. I talk about rebellion further in a blog post I did on my blog a while back, check it out if you want my biblical case on the issue.

I just wanted to make that point, because so many people think they can just “respectfully decline” to obey their parents when they disagree with them. You can’t. It is an oxymoron.

What are some areas that you struggle to respect your parents in?

I used to struggle to respect my parents in everything, in anything. I was horribly, wickedly rebellious, and took every opportunity to live it out. When I became saved, my life radically changed, and I devoted myself to respecting and honoring and obeying the authorities in my life, particularly my parents. It was the first stronghold in my life that I conquered for Christ, and I am ever thankful that I did.

God has given me victory in this area, almost completely. I still have qualms where I see their mistakes and humanness and want them to do better, but I turn it over to God and pray for them. But primarily, I focus on the huge, incredible, vast majority of things that they have done for me, and which God has blessed me with in them. Their few weaknesses are nothing compared to the evil that still lurks in my life.

How are you striving to not only respect your parents, but go a step farther and honor them?

There is an important difference between respect and honor.

You can and should respect all men: because it simply means to give due diligence to them. You give them the regard due them as a human being to measure their worth, and then give them that level of value. You examine their wisdom, to see how much credence you should attach to their counsel. You examine their strength, to see how much trust you can impose upon them. You examine their love, to see how much you can open yourself up to them.

(Respect can also mean to give credence to someone, which is synonymous with honor. That definition is used in the Bible several times, but this is not the primary definition, and not the one that is contrasted with honor, because it is identical with it.)

Honor means to reverence, to submit yourself to, to treat with deference and dignity. It means to show respect, and to give value to the other person regardless of whether they deserve it or not.

God commands us to honor our parents, because they are our parents. That is all the credentials they need to merit our honor. To judge them worthy of less than honor is to put yourself above them and God, which is rebellion, and hateful to God.

My pastor once said that you can only honor your parents to the depth that you honor God! How are you going to draw closer to God so that you can honor your parents on a whole new level?

This is absolutely true. You cannot give something you do not have: and the only source of true love is God. And since you get love from God to give to others by loving God, and since honor is a form of love (i.e., charity in 1 Cor. 13), we cannot show true honor unless we honor and love God.

And we definitely cannot honor and respect and obey our parents when it is hard for us to do so without His divine strength and help.

Matthew 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

If we are to love those who hate us and who are our enemies, how much more should we love our parents, who give themselves for us daily? What excuse do we have?

None.

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