Immanuel Kant said, “I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself.” This is a description of what everyone faces in life: the ability to see ourselves clearly and to know what we are to be about. It might be that we can come close to knowing ourselves only when our thoughts are in good condition and are coherent to ourselves. It is the type of clarity and steadiness that comes only when we have an objective standard such as God’s Word to compare what we think and feel with everything else.
A familiar quote by Mother Teresa: “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, much greater poverty, than the person who has nothing to eat.”
Each of us have different angles of observation and we each take in different types of facts and even understanding of what constitutes trouble. At times we need to soften our approach; at other times we must harden ourselves for what must be done. Sometimes we must yield a point and then at other times we must stand firm. This does not suggest that there aren’t proven answers that work if they are fully applied. Some will be satisfied with something that really can’t be known or at least verified. For others, the course of their lives will be determined by how hard they pursue a knowable truth and in finding it, how willing they are to adjust their lives to what they find. There are ways to go about achieving a desirable outcome for life.
The measure of our success is not whether we can predict the future but how prudently we prepare for it. The world may be uncertain but we do not need to share in that uncertainty. The prayer of King Solomon, noted in the Biblical book of First Kings, chapter 8, verses 56-58, offers some solid counsel on how to link the past, present and future for a more certain view of the days ahead. They serve as a good reminder of how all these time lines are linked.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The great innovators of the world have discovered a key to their inspiration: application. The final step in truly understanding anything is the deployment of what has been learned. Those that advocate the Bible as the best path to discovery of the truth must themselves discover that what Scripture advocates does not work if it remains an untested theory or a difficult to define philosophy. The great composer does not set to work because he or she is inspired, but becomes inspired because they are willing to work. Beethoven, Bach and Mozart had a tenacious work ethic. They would settle down day after day to the job at hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration; they got to work and found it.
Last week a collective anguish and sadness has swept across our country like a wave coming up on the beach. No words can suffice to comprehend the suffering of those families who lost their children to a young man that came with guns into an elementary school in Connecticut and killed seven adults and twenty small children. And no words can explain why such a thing happens or what it means.
If we are truly in pursuit of the truth we are obligated to have our minds constantly disposed to entertain and receive truth wherever we may meet it. Such a disposition expedites the discovery of valuable insights quickly, which is of vital importance when we have so little time on this earth to discover it. The extent of things knowable is so vast and our duration here so short that we must be careful regarding that which is not practical to the improvement of our lives in the here and now and our understanding of what may come after this life. Since there is so much to know and apply in such a very short time it would be the best application of our time and talent to take the straightest and most direct road to the truth that we can.
It is clear that “all men are created equal” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. The Bible asserted equality long before the Declaration of Independence. Biblically speaking there is no difference between the sexes (even Jew or Gentile) as far as God our Creator is concerned. This is certainly true when we think about salvation by the Blood of Christ, as whosoever will, may come and partake of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17). Thank God for the grace that is equally extended to all people, regardless of culture, gender or color of skin, etc.
The season of Advent is here — it officially started Dec. 2, 2012. It is the time of year we focus our attention on the coming of Christ. In our culture it has become a very sentimental thing of looking towards the baby Jesus and His birth. However, it should be so much more than that. The sweet baby asks little of us in terms of surrender or sacrifice. We should look at John the Baptist, who really knew what it was to prepare for the coming of Christ. He wore ugly cloths made from animal skins, not sweaters with sequins and gold bells. He ate locuts, not chocolate and homemade cookies. John the Baptist said “prepare,” he didn’t say “Happy Holidays.” John’s call is a call to full consciousness, a forewarning about the high cost of not being prepared for our meeting with Christ.