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Showing posts from June, 2009

Words--What Power?

“‘In the beginning was the Word (Logos),’ hearkens back to memories of God speaking the universe into being, God calling Abraham to leave his homeland, or Isaac uttering a blessing over Jacob instead of Esau. As these examples indicate, words had great meaning in the Jewish world. Once a word was spoken, the event was happening. Words couldn’t be taken back.”1
Few have this view of words today. There was a time when a man’s word was as good as a signed contract. In those days, the idea of words not able to be taken back was understood. Today, it seems like words have little power—often because there is little meaning behind them. Yet I have no trouble understanding the power of words that affirm or reject—especially when directed at me. Far too easily, they make my day or ruin my week.
What power do my words have? Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea and it would. I can’t imagine my words ever having such powe…

Breathing the Spirit

A week after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples, commissioned them to go as God the Father had sent him, and then "breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" John 20:20-22 NIV As I looked at that passage yesterday, I wondered: What happened when he did that? So today I went hunting.
The word "breathed" in Greek is emfusao, which means "to blow or breathe upon." It is used only here in the New Testament and, according to "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon," is used only once in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament used in Jesus' day) and that in Genesis 2:7 where God "breathed into [Adam's] nostrils the breath of life." God emfusao into Adam's nostrils the breath of life. Jesus emfusao on his disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." John would have known the use of emfusao to describe that first breath from God into man and intentionally chose it instead o…

I Am on the Cross

One year in (Christian) high school, our class was sent into the neighbouring town to knock on people's doors, hand them a tract and initiate discussion about Jesus. The one couple I found most interested in discussion was Jehovah's Witness and after we had talked at length, they invited me to return and continue our conversation. I was young and naive and so confident about my faith and biblical knowledge that I had genuine hope of converting them. They, older and wiser, had the same design on me and were better equipped. After meeting weekly for some time, they successfully planted a kernel of doubt regarding Jesus' divinity--a doubt that continues to haunt me.
Yesterday's study time focused on this. In an attempt to wrap my mind around three paragraphs from Augustine's On the Trinity I did some googling and came across the following statement: “...there would have been no cross without Jesus’ claim to be equal with God the Father...”* Is this true? I wondered…

Sick Again!

Nine days after my visit to Emergency for a migraine, I was there again, this time for what turned out to be an intestinal viral infection. Being sick is no fun. Neither is being chained to the toilet, so full of gas that the tummy is bloated and rock hard nor pain so severe that it prompts the patient to rock back and forth for hours, crying out for Mommy despite her advanced age. There is nothing one can do for a viral infection, except to treat the symptoms. "Take Tylenol and drink lots of water," the doctor said.
A Google search produced information about the BRAT diet for those with upset tummies: Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast. These are the foods that are easiest on the stomach, apparently, and have binding properties. Thankfully, the predicted one-week duration of said infection was shortened to three or four days and I was able to eat my first proper meal last night in celebration of Father's Day.
I'm so glad I didn't miss it. Tom wanted a barbeque …

Water vs. Spirit

I may tread on toes with this post, but please bear with me. I want to explore a bit. "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come.... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Luke 3:16 NIV What would this statement have meant to John's listeners? What would have come to their minds as they considered baptism with water? with the Holy Spirit and fire?
The Archaelogical Study Bible that I read has a short article entitled "Baptism in the Ancient World." It connects the idea of baptism to some of the temple rituals given by God through Moses to his people at Mt. Sinai. Water was an integral part of much that the people of Israel had to do in order to remain holy, a people separated from others. So many things made them "unclean" and therefore unfit to go to the tabernacle or temple or celebrate feasts like Passover. When someone became "unclean" (having sex, women having their period, touching something …

"...when you come into your kingdom."

While reading Luke last night, I was struck by the request of the thief on the cross: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus was hanging on the cross, dying. Who expects a dying man to "come into" a kingdom? Those who have kingdoms relinquish them at death yet the robber, who had mocked Jesus just a bit before**, suddenly realized Jesus was no ordinary man. This man, Jesus, would gain a kingdom with his death. Curious, that.
Regardless of how the insight came to him, it took a great deal of faith to make that request to a dying "criminal."
God, I want to have faith like that thief.

*Luke 23:42 **Matthew 27:44


Let it be noted for the record: I hate migraines.
Tuesday night I had one so bad Mikael (24-year-old son) took me to Emergency--the first migraine-induced-visit in ten or fifteen years. He was a sweetie--supportive, caring and encouraging--and stayed beside me the whole time. I was taken to a less-brightly-lit examining room nearly right away but it took more than two hours before the doctor showed up. Taking one look at me pressing a pillow into my face, without further examination, he ordered the meds. Thirty minutes later I was discharged.
Perhaps I should have stayed longer (to let more medicine drip into me) because the symptoms didn't go completely away. Last night I thought I might have to return but felt well this morning--until I made breakfast and all the wooziness returned. I had been very sick with nausea and dizziness in the days leading up to Tuesday so now I'm wondering if that was the lead-in to the migraine.


I had never heard the word "dysthymia" until two weeks ago when the psychiatrist I've been seeing for an hour each week for the past two and a half years used it to describe what I've been experiencing.
Dysthymia is a milder yet more enduring type of depression [than major depression].... The diagnosis is given when a person has had continuous depressed mood for at least two years.... Dysthymia is a condition that tends to develop early in a person's life.... At any point in time, 3% of the population may be affected by dysthymia. Within a lifetime it appears to affect approximately 6%.... Having dysthymic disorder increases the risk of developing major depressive disorder. Of those with dysthymia approximately 10% will go on to develop major depression. The presence of both conditions is sometimes known as "double depression."
Interestingly, my doctor told me that the death of a parent before the age of twelv…