Filtering by Tag: Jude Jean-Pierre

THE HEART

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part Four

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THE HEART

BLOG POST #50

Jeremiah 17:9 "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?”

“The heart has reasons that reason knows not of.” - Blaise Pascal


My heart or my inner life, is among the things in life that I don’t understand. I have asked myself: “Why presume that understanding leads to understanding?” More often than not, I have found the more I know, the more I realize I do not know. Another one of my thoughts: “If I have spent all my life with myself and still haven’t figured me out - how do I figure everything else out?”

Consider the following scriptures:

  • Proverbs 25:2 - “It is God's privilege to conceal things and the king's privilege to discover them”
  • Proverbs 20:24 “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 - “…God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.”
  • Ecclesiastes 8:17 “then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.”
  • Romans 11:33 “O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and untraceable His ways!”

LIFE DEFINED?

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part Three...

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LIFE DEFINED?

BLOG POST #48

 John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 14: 6  “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life…”

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die

In John chapter 1, Jesus is introduced as the Word of God with life in Himself. In John chapter 14, Jesus tell his disciples that He is the life. In John chapter 11, Jesus tells Martha before resurrecting her brother Lazarus that He is the life and the resurrection. In these verses we see that Jesus does not simply provide life independent of Himself, He is life.

Food for thought: The limitations of our modern definitions of ‘life’ is discussed in the Scientific American article discussing “Innovation in Biology”:

“Biologists long ago became convinced that it is not useful to define life. The trouble with any such definition is that one can always construct a model that satisfies the definition, yet clearly is not alive. And of course we do not ever measure life. We can measure many of its manifestations accurately; and we combine those with others that we observe, but perhaps cannot measure, to make up our concept of what it means to be alive. The life itself is neither observed nor measured. It is a summary of and judgment upon our measurements and observations. What biologist do about life is to recognize it.” Scientific American, September 1958, p. 113

I am in the middle of reading ‘Disciplines Of The Spirit’ by Howard Thurman. In the book, the author talks about life this way:

“.. to say that this is a living universe is to say that life itself is alive and that this aliveness expresses itself always in seeking - yes, in goal-seeking. Here the expression is not metaphysically or even morally teleological but connotes, rather, the fact that in the effort of any particular from of life to sustain itself, it does so with reference to ends, at its own level. To state this in another way one may say that life seeks to fulfill itself, that is, to “live itself out.”” Disciplines of The Spirit, Howard Thurman, p. 15.

Last Thought: Taste and see that Jesus is awesome ( meaning: inspiring awe).

 

 

IMAGINE

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part Two...

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IMAGINE

BLOG POST #47

Isaiah 55: 8  "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

Food for thought:

"Let man contemplate Nature entire in her full and lofty majesty; let him put far from his sight the lowly objects that surround him; let him regard that blazing light, placed like an eternal lamp to illuminate the world; let the earth appear to him but a point within the vast circuit which that star describes; and let him marvel that this immense circumference is itself but a speck from the viewpoint of the stars that move in the firmament. And if our vision is stopped there, let imagination pass beyond... All this visible world is but an imperceptible element in the great bosom of nature. No thought can go so far... It is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere. This is the most perceivable feature of the almightiness of God, so that our imagination loses itself in this thought.” - Blaise Pascal

 

 

 

 

WONDERFUL COUNSELOR

Limitations of Human Understanding - Part One...

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WONDERFUL COUNSELOR

BLOG POST #46

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor..”

Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

ThoughtIn the Bible we find that God encourages us to ask Him for wisdom and to seek His counsel and His will when making decisions. Why? When Isaiah prophesied the birth of Christ he said the Son of God would be a Wonderful Counselor. What does that mean?

Definitions

  • Wonderful: Capable of eliciting wonder;
  • Wonder: rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience
  • Counselor: a person who gives advice
  • Wonderful Counselor = A person who gives advice capable of eliciting rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

Conclusion: It’s good to have access to and make use of a wonderful counselor.

 

 

 

A WALK TO REMEMBER

 Power Lines

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A WALK TO REMEMBER

BLOG POST #40

Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…”

Power lines transfer energy from it’s place of generation to it’s place of consumption. The life of Christ was a power line that provided salvation from heaven to a world that needed to be saved. Those who were willing were also allowed access to heaven and are power lines themselves as the are plugged into Christ who is in Heaven.

How is the power transferred to the consumer you might ask? Great question guys!

It’s in our walk. Just like Christ’s walk from Nazareth to heaven transformed the world in three years, the years we spend walking and interacting with the world provides the world with a point of contact where Heaven can be transferred into this world. As the Holy Spirit flows through willing hearts in others, the kingdom of heaven is expanded, a soul is saved, a life is transformed, and another part of the world is redeemed. 

Considering the possible legacy impact of a believer, each believer’s walk has the potential to be a walk to remember.

DIRECTION

Busy vs. Productive

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DIRECTION

BLOG POST #38

Matthew 6:33 "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

We can pursue a lot of different things in life but the achievement of a thing to the detriment of one's soul enslaves the soul for the sake of the thing. God would not have us slaves but rather sons and daughters. From our relationship with God flows the manifestation of God in us and our sphere of influence which would include those things that are necessary for our God given mission.

We follow God and the things follow us because the Lord promises in Jeremiah 1:12 ".... I am watching over my word to perform it." God does the work. When the disciples asked what should we do to do the works of God Jesus responded: John 6:29 AMP “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”

It is wise to understand the difference of being busy verses being productive as illustrated in the following story:

Luke 10: 38-42 "As Jesus and the disciples......came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.......the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.

To avoid wasting time and energy on the wrong things one needs the means to stay on track, direction is a means to staying on track, and the only faithful [never abandon you or let you down] direction comes from God comes as revealed in his Word (Jesus).

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD

The Formula For Success

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MEDITATING ON THE WORD

BLOG POST #37

Psalms 1:2-3 "his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law he [habitually] meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers."

Ever go ten for ten on something. Or a hundred for a hundred. Imagine hitting one thousand three-point shots in a row from all over the court and with all types of defense. That would be a great personal experience and impressive to watch.

The Word of God is like that. The Word of God never misses. The Word of God makes His always successful nature available to all of us via the download of God's nature that occurs when a born again believer meditates and acts on the Word of God.

A 20th Century man of faith by called Smith Wigglesworth believed that Christians should maintain these 4 Principles:

1) Read the Word of God

2) Consume the Word of God Until It consumes you

3) Believe the Word of God

4) Act on the Word

Consider the following, in Isaiah 55:8-11 God says through His prophet:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

Think like God, Become like God, Act like God, and see God like results.

THE IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE

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THE IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE

BLOG POST #36

 

Perspective

Numbers 13:33 - "We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.

"The way we see the problem, is the problem" - Stephen R. Covey

In Numbers 13 - Israel had been brought out of Egypt and had sent scouts into the land that God promised Abraham. When the scouts got back, 10 out of the 12 thought it would be impossible to take the land. They thought themselves too small, they measured themselves then the task ahead and said it was impossible.

The other 2 scouts were Joshua and Caleb and what they reported is recorded in Numbers 14:5-9 "Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Joshua and Caleb saw it from a different perspective. They did not deny that the giants were huge but instead place a greater emphasis on God's ability and not their own. Of that generation of Israelites, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who possessed their share of the promised land.

Application: Let's say I am driving somewhere and I type the destination into the GPS and it says that my destination is 150 miles away by car. Now I can ask Siri for the distance to my destination and her response might be "75 miles as the crow flies." Now is it 150 miles or 75? The answer is: both are right depending on how I choose to get to my destination. The crow can take a direct path to the destination because of it's ability to travel above the typical obstructions a car would have to drive around. If I found a way to fly I would shorten the distance to my destination by 75 miles. My point is, what is impossible on one level is possible on another.

God operates at the highest level. When God walked the Earth he said this in Matthew 19:26 "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." So if you find yourself facing something that is impossible, shift gears and see if God can handle it.

THE VINE, THE BRANCH, AND THE GARDNER

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THE VINE, THE BRANCH, AND THE GARDNER

BLOG POST #34

Grand Designs

 

John 15:1-2 & 5 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful....... I am the vine, you are the branches."

 

We all live and are a part of God's garden. He finished his designs long before we got here. We are walking out what he laid out. I say this to bring the mind of the reader to God's grand design and our role in it.

We all have dreams, goals, and ambitions. In a hundred years, our accomplishments and all the sensations that came with them will mean a lot less to us and most likely mean little to others. Think of Henry Ford, what good is the Model T to him now? What about Steve Jobs, is he looking forward to the next iPhone?

God's agenda is beyond us. That is to say, his plan leads up to and beyond our lives. We take part in his work as He works through us. Things in life can seem unfair. But life is not about us. We aren't built to enjoy life on this earth once we leave. Jesus was and is able to, not us. Our lives have ramifications that echo into eternity for us, those we come in contact with, and those we may never know. That is too great a responsibility for any person to handle. It's a good thing we are not required to. We have a Vine that provides everything we need to be fruitful and a Gardener dedicated to the task.

Food for thought: What if this life was meant to give temporary satisfaction by design? What if existential crises are God's way of getting us to spend time on what really matters? What if love, sacrifice, family, service, and friends are the tools God uses to teach us his language? What if part of God's agenda was to make us more like Him and to make the Earth more like heaven? What if it takes God to do the only things that matter and the only things that last?

"Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it which strikes me most I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ” - Napoleon Bonaparte

Genesis 22:2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac--and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."

As I write this I find myself waiting. Waiting on a promise. I want to give up but my doubts have not been able to kill my hope. Beyond the senses into what might be considered nonsense, I find myself waiting with expecting something good. I've taken steps in this new direction but I can't see my way clear yet. At times it gets frustrating; but try as I might, I can't shake the hope. I can sense something coming. Deep down. If feels big. Thought I don't know what's coming I'm excited. The excitement drowns frustration and carries me to joy.

Ever get excited and not know why? Find yourself smiling, laughing, talking about things that haven't happened yet. That you can't shake even when you can't see, taste, smell, or hear it. But you feel it where it matters.

Zechariah 9:12 "Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."

Despite all the reasons I have come up with to give up on this hope, I can't. Well crafted arguments give way when a text comes in at just the right time, a certain song plays unexpectedly, or any one of the many ways God reminds us that he is in this situation. That this is his doing. There is a degree of discomfort. I've come to realize those feelings to be the signs of something dying in me that needs to go.

John 15:1-2 & 5 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful....... I am the vine, you are the branches."

IN PURSUIT

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IN PURSUIT

BLOG POST #27

Note to the backslidden

I have a painting I keep on my wall to remind me who is holding on to who. I was raised in an environment where I thought that there were things I needed to do to keep God’s affection and that I was more interested in God then He was in me. I would then develop and try and maintain a discipline of working for God’s affection and would inevitably fall short. After falling I’d be ashamed and backslide. The mistakes I have made could have easily landed me in jail or the morgue. 

I remember one incident where my car bounced off the guard rails on a highway and while in mid-air, thinking to myself: “hmm.. I guess this is how I die.” My car continued to flip several more times before crashing into a tree but I walked away without a scratch. At another time in life my when I thought God wanted nothing to do with me, a minister I had never seen before walked up to me and started to speak to me about God’s plans for my life (I’m a big guy and people don’t usually walk up to and start talking me), using the exact words my mother has prayed over me my entire life. I remember incidents where God used me to show up at a courtroom to advocate for a young man I had never met - keeping him out of jail. I remember that same young man shouting “man of God” while I was at a gas station at a time where I felt far from God. 

Most of my posts involve my thoughts while driving, this will be no different. During a drive I realized I hadn't prayed my morning prayer yet and so started to pray. During and after the prayer I reflected on my life to that point. I reflected on the many times God snatched me back from the precipice, guided me down a right path, put the right words in my mouth, the right people in my life, etc. I then looked at Krystal, thought about how deliberate God’s pursuit of me has been and said of God what David said in Psalms 139 v. 5 - 10:

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”

I continue to have misses and near misses though in my heart I want to be perfect. I share these things because I wish that when I was younger I had more elders to let me know that it is God who initiates the pursuit, God who maintains the pursuit, and God who apprehends and perfects the believer.  

In John 15:16 Jesus says: “You didn’t choose me, I chose you..” and in Philippians 3:12-14, the Apostle Paul writes : ”Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

LESSONS FROM ROUTE 7

Following the road

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LESSONS FROM ROUTE 7

BLOG POST #22

Proverbs 20:24 (NLT): “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

Traveling on Route 7 on my way down from Danbury a thought crossed my mind. I had driven down this road before. I have come to trust this road. I now trust this road to the point where I no longer look for landmarks to determine where I am, I no longer get nervous on the stretches without street lights, I no longer worry about the bends in the road that make it impossible to see more than a few yards ahead. I was simply enjoying the ride. This road had taken me home before and I figured it would do it again.

Life’s road twists up, down and all around. I haven’t made sense of it and don’t know anyone who has. The Bible says “the just will live by faith.” Faith in what/who? Faith in God. Ever hear someone say “Lord knows.” Well he does.

I’ve been down roads I liked and roads I didn’t. The upside to traveling the roads God has laid out for me is that they’ve always lead me home. I subscribe to home being where the heart is - so wherever God is, there’s home.

IT'S ALL GOOD

Lessons From A Dead Tree

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IT'S ALL GOOD

BLOG POST #21

Looking out my window on a winter morning I saw snow covered trees without leaves. I concluded that the trees were dormant. Towards the end of spring I noticed that one of these trees had not produced any leaves.  I am no dendrologist (tree scientist - I looked it up) but I concluded that the tree was dead. Over the months that followed I thought about this tree from time to time and learned the following lessons.

Lesson # 1 - The winter season hid the dead tree but the spring season exposed it. 

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT says: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

In life we can have seasons where everything looks okay and our familiarity with the season can cause us to be unaware of and hold onto things (e.g. attitudes, relationships, activities, etc..) that are no longer producing, no longer valid or no longer working for us. Sometimes it isn’t until the season changes that we learn that a particular thing is dead and that it’s time to let go and move on. 

Lesson # 2 - Since God dresses the season in which a thing comes, God plays a huge role in the definition of a thing and my perception of that thing.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT says: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time… but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

Thus far my life experiences have taken place within the confines of time. Within the confines of time things change. A truer understanding of things would have to come when I see the whole mosaic and not just the piece that I am currently experiencing.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am know.”

1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV says: “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time…”

Given my limitations as a human being I am in no position to make judge a thing independent of God. I am not equipped to call a thing, a season, or a person, good or bad aside from God’s judgement.

Lesson # 3 - Though things change, who I am to God does not. So it’s all good.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28 NLT says: “…we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

From God’s Word we know who we are. We are the ones He has good plans for. We are the ones called according to His purpose. Therefore, whatever comes changes come our way, be it a trial or triumph - Its all good!

FAITH IS EVERYTHING

Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns

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FAITH IS EVERYTHING

BLOG POST #18

According to NASA, more is unknown than is known. Dark matter and dark energy makes up more than 95% of the universe and what dark matter/energy is remains a mystery. (click on link for more info about dark matter/energy: 

https://tinyurl.com/zxw9y3s  

What has been observed and measured makes up less than 5% of the universe. With an understanding of 5 percent of the universe, the laws of physics (a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions) were written. Knowing so little about the universe we just have to hope that the scientist are right.


Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”; in verse 3 we find that “by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
 

The writer of Hebrews wrote what 2000 years and billions of dollars later would confirm; that the visible universe was formed by the something/someone invisible. Faith is required to make sense of the universe. There is no empirical data to explain the universe. Everything we believe we understand, everything in the universe, secular or nonsecular requires faith.

GUIDANCE

Lessons From The GPS

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GUIDANCE

BLOG POST #14

On our way to a get together earlier this week Krystal and I were swept away by the beauty of the day. It rained the day before so we especially appreciated the sunshine and the warm weather as we drove up the Merritt Parkway. We so enjoyed the ride that we drove past two exits that would have taken us to our friend’s house. How was this possible? The last time the GPS was on we turned the volume of the GPS down because it was interrupting the music we were jamming to. The GPS was giving us directions but the volume was so low that we could not hear it. As a result, in took us a few minutes longer to get to our destination.

In life we can get distracted by the things that are going on around us both good and bad. Psalm 37:5 says “Commit your way to the LORD; trust him and he will help you.” Though we got distracted we committed to following the GPS; so though we got off course we knew where to go to get back on track. In the same way it is really important that during life’s journey that we commit our ways to the LORD and trust Him to keep us on track. Proverbs 3:6 says to “Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” I believe that it is also important that we don’t drown out God’s voice by looking to do our own thing. Seeking His will causes us to listen for his voice for direction. I learned this to be critically important because as Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Which could be the death of a dream, a relationship, or an opportunity. In Jeremiah 29:11 God assures us the he has good things in mind for us. Given that God, like the GPS, is working with a lot more information than we are it would be in the best interest of anyone on life’s journey to tune into His voice.