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(A beam of light)

LIVING A FREE LIFE [20 May 2005|11:38pm]
benjaminjgross
Want to be happy? Are you a Christian? Want the secret? Here it is...

1Co 7:17 And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don't think I'm being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.

-The Message

If your stuck in a rut, stop wishing things were better. Wishing is the lazy way to go about things. God has you where you are for a specific purpose. So stop groaning and start living: in your pain, in your trials, in your crappy life. The fact is, that no life with Christ is crappy. In fact, a wonderfull life without Christ pails in comparison to a crappy life with Him. So don't just admit this truth, embrace it and live! The minute we stop focusing on things like "I wish it was now like it was then" or "No one likes me, I want to go somewhere else" and just start living lives of servitude filled with Christ's love, we are freed. Its because living a life wide open leaves little room for inner focus. Let God focus on you, and start focusing on others...

<3

ben

(A beam of light)

AGH! [16 May 2005|10:07am]
benjaminjgross
Hey,

I've been having some rough times lately. I've been exhausted emotionally and mentally with school coming to an end. I've been helping friends the best I can with their lives, and found myself hanging out with Jesus less and less. It's had a serious toll on me. My prayer life has been good, but lately I've been learning simple prayer without any sort of biblical substanance, is like sitting down to a meal and just drinking juice. It's may be alright the first day, but after that your stomache starts to growl and slowly your body begins to starve. Anyway, I was reading this article that Tony Evans wrote and thought I'd post it. It was truely encouraging...


~Trusting God in the Darkness~
by: Tony Evans

Many of us are currently walking through life confused, weary, tired, frustrated, lost, and perhaps a little bit afraid. The prophet Habakkuk could relate. He was a little confused too, and he had some questions for God that we can understand. He asks: “How long, oh LORD, will I call for help?” (Habakkuk 1:2). He felt that God was taking too long to come through for him. Have you ever felt like that? You believe God, but He sure is moving slow in your life! Not only that, but God’s movements were confusing to Habakkuk. In fact, God responds to his question: “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days--you would not believe if you were told” (v. 5). Habakkuk could not understand what God was doing. In this particular prophesy God gave Habakkuk, God was going to raise up an evil people called the Babylonians who would discipline His people, the Israelites. Habakkuk does not see how God can do this: “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do you look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” (v. 13). In other words, Habakkuk is saying it’s not fair to let wicked people triumph over God’s people.

~We Question~

Habakkuk thinks God is slow to act, hard to understand, and unfair in His actions. We’re not the only ones who think these thoughts about God sometimes! It’s hard to admit these thoughts because it makes us sound so unspiritual. But in our heads, these thoughts pop up. We believe God and the things He says, but there are times that real questions come into our minds. The good news is we aren’t alone. Scripture tells us that Habakkuk faced many of the questions and fears that we are familiar with.

The book of Habakkuk starts out in a pit, but we’ll see that it ends up on a peak. Physically, Habakkuk is a wreck: “I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered, decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble” (3:16). He is falling apart, unraveling.

Do you feel like you are unraveling? Maybe you are facing chaos at home, at work, everywhere in your life. Maybe you’re ready for a change, ready to put the past behind you, but a little scared of what the future holds. That was Habakkuk’s problem. And he had to “wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us” (3:16). The future looked dim and he wasn’t excited about it! But look carefully at the next three verses and what they express about Habakkuk’s faith: “Though the fig tree should not blossom and though there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength. He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me to walk on my high places” (3:17-19).

You see, from a worldly standpoint, there are three ways you can look at negative situations. One way is to resign yourself to the situation, thinking that’s just the way it’s going to be. The second way to deal with negative situations is detachment. In other words, people distract themselves so they don’t have to think about their problems. Detachment doesn’t solve anything; it just keeps problems under the surface. The third way people deal with struggles is with bravado, which means you “take it like a man.” You hold your chin up and handle the situation with sheer determination. The only problem with this is that it never lasts—pep talks can only get you so far.

~We Believe~

So the question we must ask is what do we as Christians do when we face problems or uncertainties, or when it seems that God is taking too long, or our struggles are too big to handle? Habakkuk shows us how he handles it: “I will exult in the LORD” (v. 18). He says, “Even though I have my questions and confusion and I don’t see the first solution in sight, I am going to exult in the Lord. I am going to trust in the reliability of God, even when I can’t see Him or what He is doing.” Habakkuk chose to trust God, to believe God, even in the darkness.

When you are in the dark, you must trust God by faith based on His character and His works. Faith is only meaningful to the degree that its object has meaning. What is the object of your faith? If it isn’t God, your faith is useless. For example, if you say you believe in Santa Claus, your belief is a waste of time because he doesn’t exist. Belief only matters if its object has substance.

Every believer has a choice to make. We all face different circumstances, but each of us must decide whether we choose to believe God. We have to believe two things about God in order to have faith in Him as we walk in the dark. We must believe in His character, or what He tells us He is like. That’s why theology is so important—it teaches us what to believe when hard times come. We’ve got to know that He is true, that He has power, that He has presence, and that He is with us. And we’ve got to believe His works. The Bible is the source; it tells us what God did in the past. Habakkuk spends verses 3-15 of chapter 3 talking about what God has done, alluding to the parting of the Red Sea and David killing Goliath.

Why do we need to know what God did in the past? Why is it important to know what He did in the Bible, in the life of your mother or your friend? Because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God is immutable; He does not change. He can still do what He did before. His methods are different with different individuals and situations because God doesn’t have a cookie-cutter way of doing things. But He is the same in His purposes, and He will accomplish His plan.

When Habakkuk was walking in the dark, he quit trying to figure it all out for himself, and he left it up to God. Some people look to idols when they get desperate, but Habakkuk remembers, “The LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20). God is still on the throne, and no idol can compare to him. We need to be quiet because we know God is with us and working for us. When he wants us to know something, He’ll let us know. In the meantime, we need to quit worrying, whining, and fussing and silence our troubled hearts before God. In other words, let God do what He is going to do. Let God be God.

God is in His holy temple, and what do we do in a temple? We worship. In our confusion, our lack of clarity, our emptiness, our despair, we must worship. We must simply say, “Lord, all I can do is adore you in your temple because I have no explanation for anything that is happening to me.” This is really an act of faith. Exulting in the God of our salvation when troubles come doesn’t look like the obvious thing to do. But in faith, we do it. And it won’t necessarily make everything instantly better, but at least we acknowledge that Almighty God is in control.

Riding in an airplane is an experience that requires faith—faith that the pilot will navigate that huge piece of machinery safely through the air. Have you ever experienced turbulence when riding in a plane? It’s a little unnerving because you don’t know what is going on. It could just be a patch of rough air, or it might not be turbulence at all, but a failed engine or some other catastrophe. When the flight gets bumpy, what you want more than anything is to hear the pilot’s voice come over the loudspeaker and say, “Nothing to worry about, folks. We’ve just hit a little rough air. I will get us through it and the turbulence will be over shortly.”

When we hit turbulence in our lives, the best thing we can do is enter into God’s holy presence. You won’t necessarily stop the bumpy air, but as God speaks to your heart you will know that somebody has your life under control, just like the pilot has control of the plane.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom…” The key word is “though,” which in this context basically means “suppose.” Suppose I get sick, or suppose I lose my job, or suppose we don’t have the rent money, what are we going to do? But Habakkuk, instead of worrying about “suppose,” acknowledges that no matter what happens, he will exult in the Lord. He will make a choice to focus on who God is and what He has done.

~We Benefit~

What will happen if you choose to rejoice in the Lord while facing times of darkness? First, you will be controlled by joy instead of happiness. Everyone in our society just wants to be happy. Happiness is feeling good because our circumstances are good. The problem with happiness is that when your circumstances take a bad turn, you aren’t feeling too happy anymore. Happiness is a roller coaster of ups and downs.

But when we have joy in the God of our salvation we have inner stability and tranquility regardless of external circumstances. Joy is not dependent on what’s happening out in our world, but on what’s happening in our hearts. That’s why Paul says: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). When our joy is found in the eternal God, we always have reason to rejoice.

The second benefit of choosing to worship God in the darkness is that you receive strength for the journey. Habakkuk says: “The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places” (v. 19). A lack of joy and hope certainly saps your strength; it makes you want to stay in bed all day and stay in a perpetual state of depression. But God makes our feet like “hind’s feet,” like the feet of a mountain deer, nimble, quick, and strong to make it up and over the mountains we face.

Habakkuk earlier asked God how long he would endure his trials and told God he didn’t understand what God was doing. Now he tells us that he has joy and strength from God to face whatever obstacles come his way. He is able to walk on high places; steep mountains that would seem impossible to climb were it not for God’s strength and equipping.

As we consider how to trust God in the dark places in our lives, let’s also think about the story of Peter as he saw the Lord walking on the water. Jesus told him to come out on the water with Him. Peter stepped on the water, but the Bible tells us he began to get distracted by the wind and waves whipping around him. In other words, he began to focus on his circumstances. When Peter took his eyes off the Lord and began to focus on his situation, he began to sink. Just like Peter, we will sink every time if we are focused on our circumstances instead of our solution, Jesus Christ.

But as Peter began to sink, he realized he had to change his focus. He looked up and said, “Lord, save me.” And the Lord saved him and allowed him to walk on the water again.

God is inviting us to look up, to keep our eyes on Him in the midst of our storms and trials. We can make the choice to trust Him and worship Him no matter what happens in our lives.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

(1 Brings Bliss | A beam of light)

Beautiful One [06 May 2005|09:09pm]

nvrbnkissed
In the song Beautiful One by Jeremy Camp this verse really made me think
You opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on Earth is as beautiful as you are


Im sure most of you had heard this song before and probably sang it in church many times as i have. But this is the first time that line in that song has stuck out to me. nothing on Earth is as beautiful as you are . I have never really thought of God as being beautiful before. But think about it, nothing on earth is a beauftiful as He is. So the prettiest most beautiful sunset is nothing compared to him. The flowers, the birds, nature, girls, boys, etc etc. God's beauty surpasses them all. Its amazing, i cant wait to get to heaven so i can worship him with all my heart mind soul and strength.

I recently read a book called She Said Yes. Its about the a girl in columbine, the killers asked her if she believed in God, and she said yes, and the killed her. It is writen by her mom and tells the story of columbine and her earlier life. Its a real eye opener, sad, and encouraging all at the same time. I highly reccomend that you all take a chance to read it. its a very short book and i managed to read it all in one day.

In christ
<3 Kristen

(A beam of light)

[03 May 2005|09:23am]
benjaminjgross
1Save me, O God,
For the waters have threatened my life.
2I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.
3I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched;
My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
4Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;
Those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies;
What I did not steal, I then have to restore.
5O God, it is You who knows my folly,
And my wrongs are not hidden from You.
6May those who wait for You not be ashamed through me, O Lord GOD of hosts;
May those who seek You not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel,
7Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;
Dishonor has covered my face.
8I have become estranged from my brothers
And an alien to my mother's sons.
9For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
10When I wept in my soul with fasting,
It became my reproach.
11When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12Those who sit in the gate talk about me,
And I am the song of the drunkards.
13But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time;
O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness,
Answer me with Your saving truth.
14Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink;
May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.
15May the flood of water not overflow me
Nor the deep swallow me up,
Nor the pit shut its mouth on me.
16Answer me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good;
According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,
17And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
For I am in distress; answer me quickly.
18Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it;
Ransom me because of my enemies!
19You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor;
All my adversaries are before You.
20Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick
And I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
And for comforters, but I found none.
21They also gave me gall for my food
And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
22May their table before them become a snare;
And when they are in peace, may it become a trap.
23May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see,
And make their loins shake continually.
24Pour out Your indignation on them,
And may Your burning anger overtake them.
25May their camp be desolate;
May none dwell in their tents.
26For they have persecuted him whom You Yourself have smitten,
And they tell of the pain of those whom You have wounded.
27Add iniquity to their iniquity,
And may they not come into Your righteousness.
28May they be blotted out of the book of life
And may they not be recorded with the righteous.
29But I am afflicted and in pain;
May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high.
30I will praise the name of God with song
And magnify Him with thanksgiving.
31And it will please the LORD better than an ox
Or a young bull with horns and hoofs.
32The humble have seen it and are glad;
You who seek God, let your heart revive.
33For the LORD hears the needy
And does not despise His who are prisoners.
34Let heaven and earth praise Him,
The seas and everything that moves in them.
35For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah,
That they may dwell there and possess it.
36The descendants of His servants will inherit it,
And those who love His name will dwell in it.



Just though some might need encouragement as of late. This verse really touched my heart last night, it's incredible to be reminded that nothing stands in God's way. He loves us more than anyone, and ALWAYS does whats best in our lives. Sometimes, we want for things to work out our own way so badly that we are not aware of His work untill later. I would encourage everyone to daily throw aside your own perception, and your own desires and live openly towards God's instruction. Give everything up on a consitant basis. Take stand and accept that God loves us more than we could ever know, His love is not a conditional love, His love always will be there, because of this we know that His way is best for our lives. Let us not focus on ourselves, and instead focus on Him. Even in this verse, you can sense David's spiteful attitude towards his foes. You can sense that David wanted things to work out a certain way. But towards the end of the Pslam, he gives it up in light of something better. Living openly and abundantly, praising God with his life. Note that this is not merely a change of actions, but a change of motivation for how we live our lives.

God Bless.

<3

ben

(A beam of light)

something i've been studying lately.... proverbs [26 Apr 2005|10:55pm]
benjaminjgross
Proverbs

Proverbs was written by Solomon a.k.a. “the wisest of all men” as a letter to his son on how to live life. It is said that what Psalms is to prayer, the letter of Proverbs is to everyday life.

--Chapter 1--

Chapter one was written as in introduction to knowledge. It tells of what to avoid and what to look for in persons of true wisdom. It is a basic introduction to discernment and logic as well as a foundation for chapter two, which highlights a differentiation between a fools knowledge and true wisdom. The verse that especially stuck me however was verse seven - “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (NASV) The phrase that captured my interest was “the Fear of the Lord.” All my life I had heard this phrase but without understanding. So I consulted my electronic Easton Reference via E-Sword and it said this

Is in the Old Testament used as a designation of true piety (Pro_1:7; Job_28:28; Psa_19:9). It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence. (Compare Deu_32:6; Hos_11:1; Isa_1:2; Isa_63:16; Isa_64:8.) God is called “the Fear of Isaac” (Gen_31:42, Gen_31:53), i.e., the God whom Isaac feared.
A holy fear is enjoined also in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion, and as an incentive to penitence (Mat_10:28; 2Co_5:11; 2Co_7:1; Phi_2:12; Eph_5:21; Heb_12:28, Heb_12:29).

That was interesting to me, but didn’t really capture why the word “fear” was used. So I consulted my Strong’s Reference once again via E-Sword and it said this

yir'ah
yir-aw'
Feminine of H3373; fear (also used as infinitive); morally reverence: - X dreadful, X exceedingly, fear (-fulness).

--Reverence--

So now I know that it’s a complete embodiment and definition of what reverence for God is. I took a second to look up where else “reverence” was used in the bible and I found that in the Old Testament it was used in reference to God. It was always reverence to the Lord. In the New Testament it held the same meaning, but also was used to describe religious actions. It was as if our actions within religion must be an overflow of the reverence we have for God; or “the Fear of the Lord” we posses through our relationship.


--The Fear of the Lord--

The Fear of the Lord is something we posses. It is not an action, rather our actions flow out of it. Before I surrendered I misunderstood what this truly meant. My misconception was then carried over when I entered a relationship with God. I had always perceived it as being defined by our actions, that if we did something wrong it would not show very good “Fear of the Lord” or to rephrase it as the way I understood it “Fearful actions that show respect for the Lord.” It’s a slippery distinction isn’t it? But the distinction is imperative; that our actions must flow from our possession, not that our possession is dependant on our actions. This is also a common misconception about our relationship with God. That we do something to show that we have a relationship with the Father; it’s not so much that Christians who attend church feel that they must “earn” a relationship with God, no, that distinction is clearly made to almost every consistent church attendee. However, the distinction that is quite commonly missed is that our actions alone don’t stamp us as Christians. This notion is truly quite foolish isn’t it? That somehow our good actions will make others aware of our Christianhood and this is the purpose of salvation. No, I tell you the truth; our actions flow from the relationship; that we do certain things because of an innate desire that comes with Christ’s creation of a creature that is completely new, that we are new through Christ’s death. (Romans 6&7)
So now we know that our relationship with God is not defined by actions, but rather a struggle, an internal debate that our actions then reflect. Why then would I presuppose that possession of “the Fear of the Lord” was any different? I think the answer lies within the context of the phrase. I never understood that it was a possession, I assumed rather it was an attitude that somehow we shaped by acting a certain way. Thank God nothing depends on me, but rather how I am shaped through God. Total submission is the only requirement of me. Something I not only desire but constantly pray for improvement upon, that I would be aware of any lack of submission, and nothing could be greater. He is our great reward.

--Chapter 2--

Wisdom will protect you. If you seek wisdom so that we may revere God, it will not be empty. Empty wisdom is wisdom for wisdom’s sake. Fulfilling wisdom is wisdom that seeks after the Father. This wisdom will bring our discernment, and bring you happiness. It will prevent failure, pain, and scars. It will bring you prosperity and understanding of the world.

*Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-GOD will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God. And here's why: GOD gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He's a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere.
He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones. So now you can pick out what's true and fair, find all the good trails! -Proverbs 2:5-9 -The Message-


--Chapter 3--


The Fear of the Lord (reverence and the relationship) cures all that ails your soul.

Proverbs 3:7-8

*Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. NASV

*Do not assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health; your very bones will vibrate with life. –The Message

*Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel and marrow to your bones. –KJV*

The King James Version is the closest to capturing the whole picture of these verses. When I dissected the verses and dove into the Hebrew language I found that health was the word *Riputh* which literally means cure, and the word navel is *Shor* which is a direct reference to the umbilical cord. So we are able to derive that this verse can read as:

The Fear of the Lord is like a cure nourishing you like an umbilical cord does a child in the womb.

Shor is also referred to as the center of all strength.

More later

<3

ben

(3 Brings Bliss | A beam of light)

Long Time No Update [14 Apr 2005|12:14pm]
benjaminjgross
Sorry about the lack of updates... School's been kickin my butt like woah. Anyway,


I've been reading through the book of proverbs lately and in the first few chapters Solomon basically outlines the way to start living a sucessfull life. In Provers 1:7 He notes to his son that the beginning of all knowlege as to proverbs (the book and other ways of instruction) is "the fear of the Lord" and I thought to myself, "I've heard this a lot, but what does it mean?" I went ahead and consulted my Strongs Reference (you can look up words and phrases and it outlines greek words as well as other uses of the word or phrase go to http://www.e-sword.org and download the program and you can add on the strongs guide for free) and it stated a meaning along the lines of reverence for God. I thought, "Hmmm" and continued on reading through chapter 2 of Proverbs and in the first 6 verses it talks about seeking wisdom, and how if we consistantly seek wisdom we will understand what the fear of the Lord means.

So I broke it down like this

To gain complete understanding of Godly instuction we must possess the fear of the Lord and in seeking wisdom it will become abundantly clear what the fear of the Lord is.

I thought it was very interesting that there is a definite distinction between being wise, having knowlege, and having knowlege with understanding. The only commonality between any of these things is that God grants us clarification. That simply learning and reading about Him means nothing. If we simply sought after pure knowlege for knowlege sake we would have no true understanding. But if we sought after knowlege to be wise in the ways of God and understanding who He is, God would show us just how amazing He is. Then all knowlege would become like this. So that the more we understand about the world, ourselves, and God, we would have more and more reverence or "fear of the Lord." That the key is desire, and not a mere empty act. Something only God can create in us.

Lesson learned. The more we learn about God, the more we realize how amazing He is and how hopeless we are without Him. When we realize this our desire to know Him more is strengthened so that we can be changed.

<3

ben

(A beam of light)

Hey [15 Mar 2005|11:11am]
benjaminjgross
First things first. Check out this link, it's really funny.

http://britneyspears.ac/lasers.htm

I will be posting rules and regulations for this community within the next week. These are things that I think will help conversations evolve with a smoother feeling than posts as of late. It's nothing radically new or difficult, but its nice to be on the same page. I appreciate everyone who has been consistently reading and commenting on posts that have been made. You are the breathing members who make this community relevant and worth while to my day. So thank you for your consistancy. If you have been readin this for a while, but have not joined (I know there are several of you) then do so! It's not a painful process I promise!


Anyway,

I was having a quiet time the other day and while spending time in prayer I was thinking about the habits I had carried over from before I was a Christian. Habits that I just couldn't seem to kick. While spending time in the word and in prayer God really moved within me with this awesome analogy that I believe really drove home the point.

We are all like little children. Do you remember when you were a child and it was the dredfull bedtime, or naptime? You would notice the clock, and would be anxiously awaiting those awefull words: "It's time for bed." Frantically we would come up with any excuse not to have to go to bed "I'm thirsty", "I'm not tired", "Can you read me a story?", "How come he gets to stay up?", or even the rebelious cry or "NO! I Don't want to!" Often times we would then find ourselves being scooped up by our parents and carried off to our beds. I remember clinging to the door fames, grabbing passing furniture, or even seizing fragile things so that I wouldn't have to be forced into rest. Thats when I realized, this is kind of like us with God. These old habits and things we cling to are like God trying to carry us off to bed. He knows that going to bed is the best thing for us to do. We need rest in order to be healthy and awake for the next school day. But so often times, as He is carrying us off we are clinging to door frames, passing furniture, and fragile objects to delay a change of pace. We don't want to change, even if staying awake makes us sick. It doesn't matter. Lucky for us that we have a father as dedicated as Him. Lucky for us, His love is so abundant that our actions do not determine wether He cares for us or not. Lucky for us he is perfect, because we are far from it.
 
Now that we have imagined the reluctancy, imagine when you were a child and you were tired. You wanted nothing more than to have your father carry you, you desired nothing more than to be picked up and held. Next time we think about letting go of something, in fear of how awefull it will be not to have it around. Think about how important it is that we sleep and be rested for the next day. The battle of the flesh and spirit is nothing more than us learning how to rest and be calm in the fathers arms as he takes us to bed. Realizing this we should wait patiently with open arms and excitement for the father to scoop us up, so that we may rest in his arms as he carries us away, no matter where that may be. We can rest easy because we realize that He knows best.

God is awesome.

Here are a few verses I've been readin lately. (again in the message version. A version not good for study time, but good for post-study time)

"If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth--we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin. If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins--make a clean breast of them--he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God--make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. 2When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good--not only ours, but the whole world's.
   
The Only Way to Know We're in Him
   
Here's how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words. 5But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived. My dear friends, I'm not writing anything new here. This is the oldest commandment in the book, and you've known it from day one. It's always been implicit in the Message you've heard. On the other hand, perhaps it is new, freshly minted as it is in both Christ and you--the darkness on its way out and the True Light already blazing! Anyone who claims to live in God's light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. 10It's the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God's light and doesn't block the light from others. 11But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn't know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

Loving the World

I remind you, my dear children: Your sins are forgiven in Jesus' name. You veterans were in on the ground floor, and know the One who started all this; you newcomers have won a big victory over the Evil One. And a second reminder, dear children: You know the Father from personal experience. You veterans know the One who started it all; and you newcomers--such vitality and strength! God's word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One. Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world--wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important--has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out--but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity."

1 John 1&2

<3

ben

(2 Brings Bliss | A beam of light)

[11 Mar 2005|01:14pm]
benjaminjgross
Someone shared a thought with me the other day, so I thought I'd post it here.

Imaging someone really famous. Your favorite movie star, your favorite musician, whoever. Now imagine reading everything about this person. Knowing their favorite ice cream, the names of their kids, who they are married to, where they just recently vacationed, who inspires them, etc. Now imagine seeing this person in real life. If you went up to them and just started talking to them, you'd probably feel like you knew who they were, but if you were talking to them as their friend, they probably would be a bit confused and maybe even uncomfortable. Why? Because although you've read about them, studied them, knew who they were. They have no clue who you are. This is the way it is with God. We can read about Him, study Him, try to justify his existence, accept He exists, accept His son existed, yet without a relationship with Him. He cannot truely know who we are in such a context. There is a seperation of ourselves. If God simply made us choose Him, it would not be a relationship, it would be a spiritual rape. He may change our hearts, He may change our lives, but unless we are willing to humble ourselves before Him and not choose against who He is, we can never have a relationship with Him. Let it be known however, that this state of humility is only available through God's work. Although ultimately a choice by most of us to follow, we cannot know who we truely are without God first showing us who He is.

<3

ben

(2 Brings Bliss | A beam of light)

[10 Mar 2005|10:55am]
benjaminjgross
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. 2You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble." So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?

James 4 In "The Message" version of the bible.

There's really nothing left to say.

"Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet."

Insane! May this be our constant goal and theme of our lives.

<3

ben

(5 Brings Bliss | A beam of light)

Just Felt like sharing [28 Feb 2005|10:40am]
benjaminjgross
a few tidbits i've picked up lately

-if everyone was honest would honesty exist?
-through great tragedies and tribulation we are broken and healed, emerging as a new creatures with
provisions for the future.
-sometimes the greatest act of love, is getting out of the way

"Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."

-Psalm 90:2


<3

ben

(9 Brings Bliss | A beam of light)

[23 Feb 2005|12:44am]
unrxmedical
Genesis 1-2


20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was
good.
22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.


Extrapolations:
1) " Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl..."
2) "...every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth..."
3) "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."

These three sentences, or statments all make the a unique identification. Life came from the waters [ oceans] and then spread/ migrated to land. This identification seems to have been directly stated in the first two sentences and indirectly stated in the third.

1) Sentence one clearly states that water brought forth creatures that had life and then brought fourth fowl. It can then be deduced that water gave rise to life, which eventually gave rise to fowl. Fowl is being interpreted as a bird or creature of flight that exists outside water. Notice how fowl was lised last. Water first gave rise to creatures that had life inside the water, and then the creatures that had life inside the water eventually gave rise to fowl. This can be deduced from the order in which the previous elements were listed. This leads to deduction number one.
A. Deduction I
i) Water gave rise to all life. Organisms that live outside the water came after the life that originated inside the water.
a) order of appearance of elements.
i) Water
ii) Organisms inside water
iii) Organisms outside of water.

2) Sentence two states that God created every living creature that moved, and that every living creature that moved was brought fourth from the water. This seems to strengthen sentence number one. It seems to repeat, or at least, try to replicate the themes that are presented in sentence number one.
A. Deduction II.
i) Living creatures were created from the waters because of the will of God. Waters brought fourth life.

3) Sentence three makes the same identity as sentences number one and number two , except it does so in a indirect manner. According to an opinionated interpretation God blessed the creatures and told them to fill the waters, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. The order in which the elements are listed ( element 1 being water, element 2 being creatures of flight existing outside water), implies that the creatures would first fill the waters, and then the creatures of flight would fill the earth.
A. Deduction III.
i) Living creatures first filled the waters, and then creatures of flight filled the earth. Creatures of water came before creatures existing outside of the water.

Deductions
A) Water gave rise to all life. Organisms that live outside the water came after the life that originated inside the water.
B) Living creatures were created from the waters because of the will of God. Waters brought fourth life.
C) Living creatures first filled the waters, and then creatures of flight filled the earth. Creatures of water came before creatures existing outside of the water.
D) All of these procesess were the will and creation of God. God was responsible and was in complete control.

From the three deductions it can be assumed that water first gave birth to life. The organisms that first formed inside the water, evenually gave rise to organisms that live outside the water ( fowl). Organisms formed inside the water before organisms formed outside of the water. Organisms moved, or evolved, from the habitat of water to the habitat of land. This was the will of God


It is importatnt to note that the views and interpretations expressed in this paper are known to be the sole views and interpretations of an opinionated individual. The views and interpretaions may in fact be completely wrong and filled with error. They are only given to give rise to novel cognitive thinking. God knows the true meaning and true interpretaions of His words. I acknowledge the views and opinions may be completely wrong, or even partially wrong. If such is the case, I apologize and ask for forgiveness from God.

The versus were taken from the King James Version Bible.

(A beam of light)

Communion Exposed [22 Feb 2005|10:44am]
benjaminjgross
In the jewish culture during Jesus' life it was a common practice for a man interested in marrying a woman to offer up a glass of wine. If the woman accepted this glass of wine and drank it this meant she promised to be with him. With the acceptance the man would then leave and go home to build an addition onto his place of residence(his fathers house). When the addition was completed he would then work whatever trade he was trained in and wait for his father to approve of him being married. When the father approved he would send his son back to the woman so that they might be married and live in the place he had prepared for them.

This is the understanding the disciples had when they took part in the last supper. They were aware of the customs but unaware of what exactly Jesus meant. This realization became evident when Jesus died and returned to tell them what was to take place.

In many ways, when we take communion we are making a promise to God, we are becoming engaged to him and he is preparing a place for us in His Father's house.

Communion is not a "rememberance" in our sense of the word. Communion is a promise to remember him in our actions, to remember that we have promised to be His to the fullest extent of our capabilities.

<3

ben

(A beam of light)

A Comprehensive Explanation of Matthew 5:3 [21 Feb 2005|10:58pm]
benjaminjgross
Matthew 5:3 - Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When analyzed, we find that the word “Blessed” is a poor translation of the Greek word makarios which was used in three different contexts. The first context in which makarios was used was to explain the Joy experienced by the Greek gods, because they were unaffected by human concerns. The second context in which Makarios was used was to describe Cyprus, and island the Greeks thought no one would ever want or need to leave. The third context in which Makarios was used describes a Joy that is independent of chance and change, a Joy that is absolutely self-contained.
It is imperative to note that the word “are” has been ADDED to this verse; it is not in the Greek text. This is deceiving because the word “are” connotes that it is a statement of fact when indeed, it is the exclamation of an exciting reality. So, we can derive that I literal translation of this verse would be, “Oh, the incredible joy of those who are poor in spirit!”
Jesus chose the word Ptochos, instead of the word Penes to describe poor. The word Ptochos refers to abject poverty and it conjures up images of a man cowering and crouching in a corner. When a man was described as being this poor his only means of survival was to cover his eyes, look away, and lift his hand as people passed by.(Luke 16:20) If you were in this state of poverty you were not allowed to look a higher class citizen in the eye. This person has absolutely no means to support himself. Penes on the other hand refers to a man who has nothing superfluous. He is able to support himself, but lives from one dollar to the next. (Luke 21:2). The picture painted because of this specific word usage is that “poor in spirit” means having no pride, no self-assurance, and standing empty handed before God.
So now we can derive, “Oh the incredible joy of standing empty handed and completely humbled before God realizing that we have absolutely nothing of value to give him, and covering our eyes while lifting our hand towards him in hopes that we might gain just a little bit of what he has.” Coming to this state of mind(complete spiritual humility) is in no way a human work that makes us somehow worthy of heaven, it is a divine work that makes us aware of our unworthiness. However, we are not to focus on our own faults, but rather focus on His holiness. When we focus on Him, it is hard to imagine anything else. We find ourselves becoming immersed in His holiness, and leaving everything else behind.

More biblical examples: (Luke 5:8; 18:9-14; Romans 7:18-20: Philippians 3:7-9; 1 Timothy 1:15)

Personality Characteristics That Reflect being “Poor in Spirit”: View yourself as nothing, and Christ as everything; Lost in the wonder of Christ (Matt. 18:1-4); Spending much time in prayer; Viewing scripture objectively and not subjectively; Exuberant praise of God.

Note: The kingdom of heaven is inferred to be now at this present time, not the future.

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