Sunday, June 23, 2013

Putting my intellect into overdrive

I have come to believe the preeminent revelation from God to man in this world is the canonized 66 books of the Holy Bible. I do not look at that book through the lens of culture or media or tradition or the realm of man's thinking. Rather, I look at everything the lens of Scripture.

That being said, I like to think. I like to engage. I like to read and listen to things. I like to stretch my brain.

Sodoku? It will stretch your brain. I like stretching my brain, but I like ideas more than puzzles. I do like puzzles, but ideas more. Thinking through ideas, reading books, listening to music, reading biographies and historical accounts are all good for me. Of course, sodoku is good, and I recommend puzzles to everyone.

I had a long week. Well, everyone has 168 hours in each week. Sure. I know.

What I mean to say is that I spent many more of those hours under duress than I do in the normal week. During those times, it's important to have one's intellect stretched and stretched and stretched. We deal with things out of our capacity to relate to them, which flows from our understanding of how God relates to them. In other words, as we grow in our understanding of the world and in God's view of things, we grow in our capacity to deal with the world without being overwhelmed by it.

Don't get me wrong, I truly believe contentment only comes from the Lord, and I truly believe that to be content where we are is one of God's greatest challenges to mankind, and, upon relying on Him to grant it, and in our receiving Him, His greatest gift. The soul set at peace by God cannot be constrained by any man. Likewise, the mind, ceasing to rage, or the mind, ceasing from besetting confusion, is a great gift of God.

Knowing how to exist...
Knowing how to view the world...
Having a heart, a soul and a mind set at ease are true blessings.

We'd do well to seek the help of the Lord to employ these words from Hebrews:
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:1-6, ESV)

See all those commands? Awesome. We should heed them, but right in the middle of doing all these great things, we are told to "be content" with what we have. How can we do all of that? How can we be content? By remembering "The Lord is my helper." That's how.

Stretching our intellect often means thinking through things and seeking the right mind about every situation according to Scripture.

We live in an extremely consumer oriented society, here in the good ol' US of A. Fast food. Media deluge. Cars that zip from one place to the other. Click, click, click go our remotes, pads, smart phones and laptops.
What that does is keep our senses tuned into trivial things; surface things; things that do not require deep thought; things keep us moving along at pretty quick clip.

That's not conducive to deep thinking, you know?

So, this morning, I endeavored to do several things to get my brain cranked up. I listened to an album. I watched a movie. I read two books (well, finished one and read another; both short).

The movie was Lies My Father Told Me. I truly enjoyed the movie. Being a Scripturally minded man, there was much in the movie to make me consider what I knew of Scripture and what I believed about life and the Messiah and Sovereignty and much, much more. Even miracles, and my view of them, were challenged. At one point the little boy, David, asked his grandfather, "Do you believe in
miracles, Zaida?"

To wit, his grandfather says, "No, but I rely on them."

That made me stop and think: Do I really believe in miracles? Do I really rely on them? What is a miracle to God? Wow, He seems to do them the same as a breathe...effortlessly.

At another point, the Orthodox Jewish grandfather uses Jesus as an example, calling Jesus, "a wise Rabbi" and then said, to his friend, "Is he really anything more?"

Wow, that ignited me! While I could have been satisfied that the movie mentioned Jesus, though not even by name, my spirit could not rest in me. Like I said, I was ignited! To accept the wise teachings of Jesus without receiving the deity of Christ dismisses His Person is a mistake of eternal peril!

Folks do it all the time.

I enjoyed the movie, and could write a bit more, were that the point of what I am doing this morning. NOTE: in no way should you count this as my endorsement to YOU seeing this movie. They "bleep" out some language and edited what was clearly nudity, so be careful that you get the "family friendly" version should you choose to watch it. 

I was actually tricked into my next adventure, but I embraced it. I like a band named Disciple. I hadn't listened to them in a while, so I thought I'd enjoy an album. I popped over to Spotify and typed in "Disciple." I was surprised to see Disciple had a new album.

Um, I was wrong.

It was not the Disciple  I know and love, but another group named Disciple, apparently from the psychedelic era of rock music.

Let's see... there is much I could say about the album, but I just don't want to waste my fingers typing it. I did like their cover of Fontella Bass' Rescue Me. I still like Fontella's better, but it was interesting. One song, There Must be an Answer, provoked me to think, There is an answer, but not where you're looking.

Again, folks do it all the time.

Next, I jumped into a little philosophy. I'd been reading The Discourses by Epictetus. I finished that, and picked up Plontius' The Six Enneads. Interesting, to say the least. Without taking up all day, let me say this, knowing a bit of Scripture, it's clear to see those boys were on to some truth, as in, some things they say are clearly revelation from God, for some things agree with Scripture. However, somethings they say are, as the young folks say, wack. 

Again, folks do that all the time.

It's common place to see both biblical and wack matched to the max constantly

We need a renewing mind that weighs everything that comes at us and puts each thing in its proper place and in the righteous perspective.

Think about how much calmer we'd all be if things were in the right perspective...

And, herein likes the lesson for stretching the intellect.
#1 It's just a good exercise.
#2 We need to have the regular habit of thinking through things, digging for the real meaning behind the preparation.
#3 We need to develop the discipline of accepting or rejecting ideas through the light of God's righteousness as revealed in Scripture.

There's where growing our capacity to receive peace comes in. The more we think through the things of life, and stand on the promises of God, and lean into the wisdom of God, the less things cause us to struggle and become mentally and emotionally entangled in frustration or confusion.

So, whatever I do, the Bible is in my hand, and God's word is hidden in my heart, and His truth conversant with my issues. Years ago, I soaked it all in with equal credence. Not anymore; even as I stretch my intellect, God's word is my foundation, my filter, my lens and the Living Word is my Savior. I'm not alone in figuring things out. I'm not powerless. I'm not constantly cast at rage or confusion. I am learning to be content, for "The Lord is my helper..."

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