Symbolism of Streams

The river is used as a symbol of the passage of time. Its symbolism is centered around nature as a moving body of water. The source of the river is typically small mountain streams that depicts the beginnings of life, and its meeting with the ocean symbolizes the end of life. The river also symbolizes the power of nature. It is a symbol of fertility as it fills the soil surrounding it with moisture.

The symbolism of the river is centered around its nature as a moving body of water. Moving water is able to find its way through nearly any kind of physical impediment until it merges with the ocean. A river’s movement symbolizes life. In literature, cities and towns often spring up on riverbanks brought to life by the its movement. The river is used both as a sign of boundaries and of roadways. As a boundary, it is sometimes showing the difference between civilization and those outside of it. The Amazon or Congo River is a symbolic passageway into the heart of the jungle, and as a descent into the primitive nature of humanity.

Gifts of the Spirit

It’s a joy to be blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Glossolalia – speaking in tongues is alive in some Christian churches.  Some see these occurrences as the utterance of God in his people.  This is a dimension of the breath of life.  However such a gift has to be properly understood.  Some Christians might think these utterances of being a mountaintop experience.  But the fruits of God are centered on a life of the Spirit.  These gifts could be many things – ecstatic, emotional, illuminating, morally transforming, charismatic, miraculous, or a religious awakening.  Ayrton Senna (1960–1994), a Brazilian racing driver said, “Wealthy men can’t live in an island that is encircled by poverty.  We all breathe the same air.  We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance.”  All gifts come from the same source, and are like the air we breathe.  But people must never fall into the trap of making distinctions concerning what gifts are better.  They should promote what’s in the interest of the church.

All gifts come through the Spirit of God.  Prophetic utterances could be in the form of speech or writings.  We know these to be authentic works because they are true expressions.  But the goal of every gift is the same.  It’s meant to proclaim Christ’s power and resurrection.  Christians blessed with such utterances live lives steeped in prayer.  We could usually tell who these Christians are.  Confucius (551 BC– 479 BC), a Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher wrote, “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”  There’s an old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”  Thus, “Show Christians how people live and they will know us what fruits they bear.”

Agents of Salvation

Agents of God are always guided by the Holy Spirit.  Their walk is impacting, shaping, and transforming lives in every place.  They could do these things because they were baptized in the Spirit, and have the power of discernment.  These believers are prudent and gifted in wisdom with the knowledge of what’s right and wrong.  Their dedication doesn’t stop here.  But how do they enjoy God’s freedom?  Ramakrishna (1836–1886), an Indian mystic and yogi said, “A man is truly free, even here in his embodied state, if he knows that God is the true agent and he by himself is powerless to do anything.”  People’s freedom is manifested through their Creator.

Believers are blessed with sacred hope.  Their gifts are from a loving God.  They could be in counseling or administration, but their stewardship is able to provide aid to others.  These believers are propelled by a benevolent Spirit.  They witness in their life’s work.  These attributes are powerful weapons.  Believers know that spiritual force is animated by the Holy Spirit.  Through whom they will accomplish their missions and divine goals.  Donald Miller (b. 1971), a bestselling author wrote, “Sunday morning church service is not an enormous priority; spending time with other believers is.”  The lesson we take away from Miller’s statement is that Christian outreach is more than being in a church, but on the highways, and byways of life.

The Meaning of Life

Let the mountains roar

Let peace reign

Let blessings flow from the sky

Like an abundant rainfall in summer

But what does this mean?

Our Eternal Essence is the One

That feeds the children of every race, color, and creed

Like lilies of the field

Wherever they live on planet earth

Whether in bramble huts, simple homes, or extravagant palaces

But what does this mean?

This Universal Essence is Our Provider

That knows every little breath we take

And as we work at simple and great tasks

The Divine graces us with natural gifts

With which God has endowed us

But what does this mean?

This Everlasting Reality sustains us

Lifts us up when we slumber

And once aroused people venture into the world

To make their mark in our earthly home

But what does this mean?

With these special gifts

People of different faiths –

Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Atheists

Are seeking answers about the Universe’s Big Question:

“What does life mean?

But still, they don’t know the answer

“Universal Essence, you have blessed us with many gifts, but still people aren’t sure about the meaning of life.  Shouldn’t they embrace their gifts to find happiness and fulfillment in their lives?”

Futility of Wars

The Lord said that we must not go up to fight against our kindred (2 Chr. 11:4).  “Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.  I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war” (Ps. 120:6-7).  He however silenced the roaring of the seas and waves, also the tumult of peoples (Ps. 65:7).

President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” 

Gary Zukav (b. 1942), a spiritual teacher wrote, “We are becoming able to see the pursuit of external power for what it is and the futility of trying to escape the pain of powerlessness by changing the world.  When we look inward, not outward, we can dismantle the parts of our personalities that have controlled us for so long – such as anger, jealousy, vindictiveness, superiority, inferiority.”  Finding answers to war should start with self-examination.  People have to know their strengths and weaknesses to have a balanced life.  This is true not only for ordinary people, but for presidents and prime ministers that governs nations.

People’s conflicts show the presence of our sinful nature.  A founder and teacher of and Chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota John Piper (b. 1946) said, “God created a good world that was subjected to futility because of the sinful, treasonous choice of the first human beings.”  This legacy that was passed down through the ages has shaped people’s behavior.  They should therefore embrace the teachings of the scriptural narratives to change their attitudes for the betterment of society.

War & Words

Some believe words are enough to subdue, and enlighten those opposed to the light.  A Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher Sun Tzu (544 – 496 BCE) wrote, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”  Tzu must have been thinking about winning wars by words, and not by physical force.  Yet, wars of words could be as devastating like weapons.  Critics believe that psychological warfare does damage for generations to come.

A Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) said, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”  These gifts form the basic framework in pursuing peace.  Such an alliance should not be rushed, and forged without understanding.  President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) wrote, “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.”  People know what a confrontation between the superpowers would mean in an age of nuclear weapons.  Even today nations wage war against nations.  Herbert Hoover (1874–1964), president of the United States said, “Older men declare war.  But it is the youth that must fight and die.”  This lesson is known to those leaders who are belligerent. So, the question should be asked, “Who will die for their nation’s causes?”  And the answer is always, “Our sons and daughters, who are the innocent ones.”