Friday Coffee with PJ

It's yet again Friday morning. So I invite you to join me over a cupof your favorite java for a few random thoughts. Thoughts which, I hope, will bring some enlightenment to your mind and strength to your faith! 

1. We can learn a lot about history (and the people of history) through letters written in their particular time. So what were Christians like in the 2nd century? Here is an excerpt from a letter written by an unknown letter writer ... sent to an individual named Diognetus. In the letter, the writer describes how these early Christians lived out their faith in their culture: 

"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language, or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. . . . With regard to dress, food, and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not [kill] them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the law, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. . . .

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world."

Let's pray that this description of 2nd century Christians would become true of us who have chosen to follow Jesus here in the 21st century! 

2. When Eve reached out and grabbed the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, took a bite and then gave the fruit   to Adam who also took a bite, together they plunged humanity into a world of pain, grief and incalculable suffering. The fruit they ate was the ONLY fruit forbidden BY GOD for Eve and Adam to eat. They had all the rest of the fruit of the Garden to choose ... but yet, in a moment of defiance and rebellion, they took, they ate, they
died. Oh, of course they did not immediately drop dead, but the seeds of physical death was now planted within their DNA. They also ... in that awful nanosecond, died spiritually within. And the impact of their decision reaches us thousands of years later! Just take a look around  you. Human autonomy is raising its ugly head all over the place. Increasingly people are rejecting any concept of absolute, objective truth. Truth is now something for every man and woman to decide for themselves!

Shortly after the mass shooting in the Orlando nightclub in June of last year, I was watching a news report on the incident. As an individual walked behind the camera, he shouted out, "No one can tell me my sexuality is wrong!" This is human autonomy at its best ... or better said, worst! Humanity is NOT autonomous. We will indeed one day give an account to the God who made us (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15). Are you ready for that day

What we see unfolding in our increasingly secular culture is nothing new. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Back in the days of ancient Israel, there was a time when there was no king ruling in the land. No king to call the people back to their covenant with God. What was the result? Twice the writer of the book tells us that the people were doing what was right in their OWN eyes (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Hmmm . . . sounds a like an accurate description of our days! 

So what should we do as followers of Jesus? We are a people who recognize that objective, absolute truth does indeed exist (which we believe is embodied in the Bible). So in light of the growing relativism growing around us, how should we then live? Let me suggest for starters you go back to the beginning of today's post and re-read the 2nd century description of Christians. And then go live what you read! 

3. Here's a quick update on my wife. Sharon was released from physical therapy this week. She was given several exercises to work on ... most designed to strengthen the muscles in her leg. She still suffers from pain, some days more than others, but all in all she continues to make progress. She is still unable to sleep in a bed the whole night through, so please pray that she will sooner rather than later get to the point where she can kiss her lazy boy goodbye (at least for the overnight hours!). So thanks for your prayers. She will have a follow up appointment with the surgeon in late June. Hopefully that will be the last for a while!!! Thanks for ALL  your prayers! 

Thanks for stopping by . . . 
pj


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