The morning goes by quietly. As I sit here in my main study I can hear the clock above me tick tick tick. Time is flowing by carrying us all into the eternal state.
I have been reading when not wandering the house from a book titled, "God Has Spoken: A History Of Christian Theology" by Gerald Bray. This book would make a great Christmas present. I also recommend these two books for Christmas presents-
"Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years" by Diarmaid MacCulloch
"The First Thousand Years: A Global History Of Christianity" by Robert Louis Wilken
I thought since time is ticking away I would quote something I read this morning in the volume titled, "God Has Spoken" by Bray.
"Here Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, something that was unique to him, but he was also associating his disciples with him in his wider relationship to the Father. Jesus told his disciples that the Father had sent the Son into the world as an expression of his love (John 3:16-17). What did he mean by that? The Father did not love the world only because it was his creation, but also because it contained the inheritance he had promised to his Son. If God had sent his Son to us because of his love for the created order, then everything in creation would have been redeemed. But that is expressly denied in the New Testament, which states at the end of time, the world as we know will be wound up and there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1-4). At a purely physical level, Christians were promised new spiritual bodies that would be quite different from the ones they already had (1 Cor. 15:42-50). God's love for them was not expressed by prolonging or transforming their earthly life but by giving them an eternal relationship with him that transcended material things.
This new relationship was fundamental to the Christian understanding of God. Those who are united to the Son know his Father too, and can rely on him for all their needs (Matt. 6:25-34). That assurance gave the early Christians a new way of looking at their lives. People who did not know God as their Father were lost in a hostile universe against which they had to protect themselves as best they could. Christians, on the other hand, were free to live in the world without fear, because they knew that their heavenly Father was taking care of them.
It was this sense of a new standing before God that made Christians different from Jews. As adopted children of their heavenly Father, Christians had access to him in a way that had not been possible until then. They were no longer dependent on the intermittent and fundamentally inadequate intercession of priests or other mediators, but had a relationship with God that had been lifted out of this world and anchored in heaven. Union with Christ introduced them to an understanding of the Father's will and the importance of the Father's character, which the Bible describes as "holiness" (1 Thess. 4:3). God's holiness had been well known and understand in Old Testament times, but for the most part, it was thought of as something that distanced him from his people. For example, the secret place in the temple where only the high priest could enter, and then only once a year, in order to make the sacrifice of atonement was called the "holy of holies" (Ex. 26:34). The ground surrounding the burning bush in the desert where Moses met with God was "holy," which meant that he to take his shoes off because he could not stand there without humbling himself. Isaiah had a vision of God in the temple, "high and lifted up," in which the angels addressed their Lord as "holy, holy, holy," thereby emphasizing just how far above and beyond the human world he was.
When the people of Israel were called to be holy, it meant that they were expected to cut themselves off from the surrounding nations, so as not to be contaminated by them (Lev, 20:7; 1 Pet. 1:15-16). The Christian concept of holiness was somewhat different from this. It did not involve physical or ritual separation from the world, but a change of heart and mind. As the apostle Paul put it, "to the pure, all things are pure" (Titus 1:15). A Christian could live in the world and associate with unbelievers without being contaminated by them because he had the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in his heart by faith. Rather than put up external barriers to that world that did nothing to lessen the inner sinfulness of those who erected them, Christians were called to experience a spiritual transformation that would enable them to live in God's presence and be made holy by a relationship with him as their Father." pg. 133-135 Gerald Bray
It is now in the flow of my ordinary life on the planet earth 4:17 PM Tuesday late afternoon. It has been a super quiet day for me thus far.
I have been doing the usual things today like looking out windows, watching birds at our bird feeder, talking to our dog Rudy, writing in my paper diary, reading "God Has Spoken: A History of Christian Theology" by Bray, messing with our computers etc. . .
I did leave the house today to visit two nearby thrift stores to look over their used books. I found no used books to add to our library today.
I laid down from 2 o'clock PM till 3 o'clock PM down in the lower level for a power nap.
There is nothing on TV worth watching tonight so I will read my books and listen to music till I feel sleepy. Tomorrow is a Wednesday in the flow. Carol works tonight and tomorrow night then is off five nights. Caleb, Emily and Josie will be here this coming Thursday night and plan to leave Sunday afternoon. Emily has to shadow doctors on Friday in Grand Rapids.
Well, I suppose I will close to drift into the darkness.
This afternoon as I was visiting a local thrift store they were playing Christmas music. The store played this song by Bob Dylan titled, "I'll Be Home for Christmas".
When I first heard the song I thought the singer was Tom Waits, but soon realized it was Bob Dylan singing the Christmas song. I recently read that Bob Dylan is going to release an album of Frank Sinatra cover songs.
It is now 9:30 PM Tuesday night. I have been reading this evening a book that I have been reading all day titled, "God Has Spoken: A History Of Christian Theology" by Gerald Bray. There is nothing on television worth watching tonight so I have been reading the above book and waiting to go to bed. Carol left for work around 7:50 PM and hopefully will be home tomorrow morning around 9 o'clock AM.
Not much else to report this evening. I will close with a quote from the book "God Has Spoken" by Bray-
"Finally, in reconciling the world to himself, the Father has given the world meaning by appointing it for judgment. At first sight, this may seem strange to us, because to our minds judgment sounds negative and destructive. We imagine that when God judges the living and the dead the world as we know it will be destroyed. There is an element of truth in that, but it is not the whole story. To be slated for judgment is to be given a sense that our lives have meaning. Judgment is possible only when there are criteria by which it can take place. If it is true that we have all fallen short of the glory of God and deserve condemnation, this demonstrates that what we do and have done matters to God. There are standards that we are suppose to respect and live up to, even if we cannot. Our lives have meaning and purpose that can be understood only by considering the mind of the Judge. As Cyprian of Carthage explained,
How great will that Day [of judgment] be when it comes! The Lord will begin to count up his people and to recognize what each one of them deserves. . . he will send the guilty to Gehenna. . . but he will pay us the reward of our faith and devotion. How great will be the glory, and how great will be the joy, to be admitted to see God!
That Judge is our heavenly Father. It is his responsibility to pronounce sentence on us and determine what punishment we must suffer for our sin against him. That punishment is death, because to sin against God is to sin against the source of our life and cut ourselves off from it. The Judge cannot waive the sentence, because to do so would be to accept that there is nothing he can do to put right the wrong that has been done. We sometimes do this in human life because we recognize that there are some wrongs that can never be put right and that forgetting about them is the only practical way we can move forward. But God has the power to put things right and does not have to content himself with a second-best solution to an otherwise insoluble problem.
Our Judge has not only decreed the sentence of death but has also carried it out by sending his Son into the world to take our place on the cross and pay the price for our sins. The punishment we deserve has fallen on him and has therefore been paid in full-there is no outstanding debt that we have to make up at some future point. It is in judgment that the work of the Father is seen at its deepest level. By judging the world the Creator give it its value and sets a price on it. By sending his Son to pay that price the Father redeems the world and restores it to what it ought to be. Only the Creator has the authority to judge in a definitive manner, and only he has the capacity to redeem what he has judged. Creation and redemption meet in the last judgment, and it is here more than anywhere else that we see how the two are reconciled in the overarching work of the Father. . ." pg. 173, 174 "God Has Spoken" by Gerald Bray