Our Holy Dwelling Place

Gods holy dwelling place is in heaven (Deut 26:15; 1 Kings 8:30). In our Fathers house there are many mansions. This is where a place will be prepared for us (Jn 14:2). His kingdom will be in the highest heaven (Mk 11:10). Thats why its wise to store up your treasures in heaven (Mt 6:20). Theres nothing more desirable (Ps 73:25). For there lies Gods throne with the earth as his footstool (Isa 66:1). Let Gods Word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths (Ps 119:105).

Christian author Joyce Meyer (b. 1943) said, “Many people feel so pressured by expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.” Some traditional expectations are detrimental to us. This is what we can expect in our worldly lives. There are however blessings and gifts on the horizon. Just believing in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ well begin to taste the joyfulness of our life to come.

These benefits require preparation on the part of Christians. Gautama Buddha (563/480483/400 BC), founder of Buddhism reminded us: “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do if you do not act upon them.” Buddha was clear about the lack of these gifts. For if we dont believe in his divine message, by letting them pass us by, well be failing to develop the right graces in living out the Scriptures.

People Trust Knowledge

In our societies some people glorify knowledge. We often hear it said, “Get an education. Youll go places.” A German professor of theology and priest Martin Luther (14831546) put it bluntly when he warned: “I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the hearts of the youth.” To live heavenly lives we have to pursue an education thats the best. We can only learn this information when its the truth of divine love. Thats why reading the Bible, meditating, and praying to understand the Word is so vital.

Thats why its important to serve. We should therefore ask ourselves, “Whats my mission?” “Do I have a special vocation?” Christopher Columbus (14511506), an Italian explorer and navigator wrote, “No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of the Savior, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His Holy service.” Columbus did just that when he discovered the New World. Although some may disagree, his main thrust of that exploration was serving Spain and promoting the Catholic faith.

Heavenly Gifts

To be fruitful we have to realize the Sabbath day is holy. James E. Faust (19202007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remarked, “Keeping the Sabbath day holy is much more than physical rest. It involves spiritual renewal and worship.” Listed in the Ten Commandments believers shouldnt shirk their responsibilities of disobeying Gods Word. In some ways people dont acknowledge this key teaching.

Presently, some realize what it means to love and have true friendships. Christians today experience glimmerings of heavenly gifts in their worldly lives. Charles Caleb Colton (17801832), an English cleric and writer said, “Friendship, of itself a holy tie, is made more sacred by adversity.” On earth we certainly continue to bear the brunt of adversity – sickness, pain, calamity, and disaster. But in the world to come these adversities will be no more, for there will be perfect peace and happiness.

Living In Holiness

The spirit of holiness is with believers with the coming of the Holy Spirit. Its receiving God in all of his glory, being guided, and doing his will. These Christians live disciplined lives as they run the race of life. Their taste is true freedom through the Spirit. They declare victory in their actions, for they are entrusted with impulses to love God with their whole hearts. In their lifestyles they find glorification and approach God daily, for they know they live under his rule. They become part of his divine family that God blesses. These precious gifts they accept through Gods gift of Christ who died for our sins, and is risen to new life. These believers are certain of the power of the indwelling spirit.

Shakti Gawain (b. 1948), a New Age and personal development author thought, “Every time you dont follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual darkness.” Christians who are filled with the holy spirit live triumphantly, and even in darkness know their security is with the Lord.

Sickness of the Soul

What are your motives in life? Are you bogged down with everyday living? Are you a victim of universal sin? Do you feel rebellious? Are you living in debt? Are you morally bankrupt? Do you suffer from sickness of the body, mind and spirit? If you are worried about these matters you may be suffering from a sickness of the soul.

Marilyn Monroe (19261962), actress, model and singer said, “I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.” As Monroe puts it, her main motive was to find love. Her focus shouldnt be on false love but about Gods true and abiding love.

Moral Dynamism

By the Creator himself believers are blessed with strong assurances to do good deeds. They will be of service and each day pursue new moral aims. They find richness in the content of the New Testament. By their lifestyles they are enthroning the living God, for they have a childlike trust in him. These Christians obey Gods commandments and are blessed in deciphering the intricacies of life.

Henry David Thoreau (18171862), author and abolitionist observed, “Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.” Thoreau was not prepared to settle on a basic type of morality. He wanted us to to have meaningful lives. People do agree that we should be the best we can, by how we live, what we say, and do.

Friendship with Sinners

Peace and hopefulness should be a way of life for those walking in holiness. These bring self-fulfillment in our communities. Sinners have to be compassionate, repentant, and committed to daily prayer. By the grace of God they will receive salvation and be saved from their misdeeds. For Christ will expiate their sins.

Roman Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.65 A.D.) wrote, “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” Seneca could well be addressing us today, for theres often misunderstanding in our public discourse. To have a true understanding and live in spiritual holiness believers have to turn to God the Provider of good gifts. He loves every sinner whos estranged from him. Such a privilege he extends to all men and women.

The Media’s Role Of Healing

Media is a guardian of healing. Healing is always occurring in society. Ubiquitous media never stops in fulfilling this all encompassing role. Its scope and impact are far-reaching. As an object of our attention it has profound influences on our perceptions; and theres healing of mind, body, and spirit. The mass media is the central nervous system of the world.

It lives up to the description by Henri Nouwen (19321996), a Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor, writer of psychology, who asked, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someones face? Did I say words of healing? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” Nouwens exposition on an individuals social responsibility can be likened to the role of the media in society. Whether it succeeds or fails at these goals is for us to decide.

We know the media has brought about healing to racial conflicts and natural disasters. It has been a benevolent guardian to conflicts during the Civil Rights era, Watergate era, Vietnam War, and Americas involvement in Afghanistan.

Medias Message

The media covers diverse religious faith traditions, cultures, and ethnic groups, via newspapers, magazines, books, radio, cable, TV, and the Internet. Although these media are limited in some cultures, its sobering that were able to find commonalities in some major religious. Its clear that through many faith traditions, adherents worship the same God, even if hes called by different names. People attribute healing, peace, prosperity, and personal well-being to being obedient to his teachings.

A message which comes through loud and clear is best captured by Joseph Addision (16721719), an English essayist and playwright, who stated, “If you want to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.” This statement boils down to putting ones trust in God. Undoubtedly, these beliefs permeate many faith traditions, although these concepts may be expressed in different ways. Its media which is the healer and purveyor of this reality.

Secular & Non-secular Media

Its unwise to think that readers and viewers of media will react similarly about medias role in healing. Some argue the media does nothing more than push sensational stories. Its commonly believed by media critics, “if it bleeds, it leads.” But one thing however we tend to forget is the ongoing discussion and analysis in contemporary media. In our nations experts weigh in on the important stories which their audiences are free to accept, or refute.

Taking shape though is the edification of the public and bringing wholeness to the audiences perceptions of stories that are confusing. With this process media can claim impressive results. Whether in secular or non-secular media there continues to be instances of healing. We become aware of suffering patients with diseases and how they were cured via the intervention of media serving as a catalyst for change.

Healing may not necessarily be physical healing, but it may mean emotional stability to communities torn apart. Radio and TV serve as instruments in promoting charitable works in the midst of natural disasters, raising aid for those affected by drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and forest fires. So the next time you read a magazine, flip through the pages of a newspaper, laugh at a situation comedy on TV, or find yourself volunteering for causes you have seen, remember that the mass media plays a role in the healing process of our society.

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

W. Phillip Keller, author of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, grew up and lived in East Africa surrounded by herders. He explains much of what happens resembles those shepherds in the Middle East. For eight years, he was a sheep rancher and was engrossed with the stories of the Bible. He therefore uses natural phenomena to provide insights into supernatural truth. Keller points out that present day city dwellers miss biblical teachings because they are unable to relate to nomadic folks who live in simplicity.

He brings to bear a shepherd’s insight to this Psalm. He empathizes with David himself and refers to Psalm 23 as “Davids Hymn of Praise to Divine Diligence.” With “I shall not want,” God points out that in our lives like sheep, we will be free from friction, for he has prepared an ideal banquet for our every need. God leads us to “still waters.” He doesnt want us to toil on dry, semi-arid soil without having deep, clean, and pure water to drink. A situation which is ideal for sheep thats grazing.

God “restores my soul.” This happens when sheep becomes distressed, but heres God ready to comfort and give them rest. In “paths of righteousness,” he is the assurance that his flock will strive. Even as they “walk through the valley,” is an indication that our savior knows first hand the terrain of our lives, just like any shepherd who leads his sheep in mountainous territory.

“Thy rod and thy staff” brings sheep comfort, as they are guided by a loving, and caring savior. “Thou preparest a table,” Keller feels this is similar to the feast on Table Mountain near Cape Town, Africa. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” is everlasting care exercised over the sheep. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,” climaxes this proud and joyous Psalm.

Psalm 23 is considered the nightingale of Psalms. Its the epitome of feeding, guiding, governing, and defending the sheep. Its climax terminates in everlasting rest not one of sorrow and pain, but joy, hope, and pleasure. We can say, “O death, where is thy sting!” “Thy rod dost comfort me,” as we journey and feed on his Holy Word. Here, we reach the zenith, and are guests of Gods everlasting banquet. Keller captures it all in his wonderful little book.

The Special Gift Of Healing

In his lifetime Jesus Christ performed many miracles (Jn. 7:31). Among them was a leper who was healed by his touch and he told him to tell no man, but show himself to the priest (Mt. 8:4). The Lord promised to heal peoples waywardness and to love them freely (Hos. 14:4). God was going to restore their health and heal their wounds (Jer. 30:17). For healing, we are encouraged to confess our sins to each other, and pray for each other (Jas. 5:15-16).

Dutch Catholic priest, professor and theologian Henri Nouwen (19321996) asked, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someones face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of may anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” Undoubtedly, Christians can do many small things to be miraculous gifts to others. It isnt necessarily to do big things to have great results. Smaller ones are just as important.

Growth is essential in giving. This comes in different forms with many meanings. Max de Pree (b. 1924), businessman and writer stated, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, an inclusion.” Such lasting transformations come in beneficial ways. As they contribute to growth and understanding, healing takes place. These manifestations take time and ought not be rushed. We should persevere in doing good works.

Loving Friendships

The 38th vice president of the United States, Hubert Humphrey (19111978), remarked, “The greatest healing therapy is friendship.” Its ideal to have good friendships. They enable us to interact freely, explain our personal concerns, and solve problems. Good friends are able to give us honest opinions. These are a free gifts that bring joy to our hearts. In times of worry their musings soothe us. They comfort and provide hope about living.

These benefits come to people who appreciate us, for who we really are. They know our faults but accept us and are a blessing to our families. Indian spiritual master Sai Baba (18351918) explained, “Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” In love a healing balm encompasses us. We come to know our brothers and sisters care about what we do. We count on them for their support. These attributes make us realize that they care about our welfare.

Positive Faith

People hear good and bad things about religion. But Author and literary critic Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011) was positive about it. He believed, “Religion is part of the human make-up. Its also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy.” Most people who are healed attribute this phenomenon to their beliefs in a faith and a loving God. As Hitchens explained that the gifts of religion are stupendous with far-reaching implications. People are therefore recipients of these special gifts which continue to shape their lives for the better.