Celestial and Earthy Citizenships: Part Six

The Past and the Future

 

As you recall our discussion in Part Five of the Celestial and Earthly Citizenships, we were describing the use of Christian meditation as a flashback. We will continue by providing a few examples of Biblical flashbacks.

During the Last Supper, Jesus knew of his imminent death and sufferings on the cross. He did not want his disciples’ faith to be shaken in the tumultuous hours that lay ahead. He gave them the promise of peace, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

Since then, we Christians reflect on the mystery of Christ’s Passion by prayerful meditation. Collectively, our penetrating thoughts can be considered as a flashback directed backward to the many events that surrounded that historical time. It has wisely been said that a flashback pulls the past into the present.

Should Christians lose sleep over troubling aspects of their life? As we think about the past, present and future, we can use meditation from the perspective of hope. Keeping hope animated and functional is partially based upon reliving the memories of the good things we have experienced as followers of Christ and the difficult things God has brought us through.
Based upon the gratifying nature of substantive meditation, we should never forget what God has done for us in the past. These blessings that have been bestowed on us can fuel our faith in Him in the here and now (the present) as well as our coming days (the future) while on earth.

Remembrances as Flashbacks

Other Biblical examples of flashback include Gods’ great desire for the Israelites to remember their bondage in Egypt. Moses told the Israelites “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand…” (Deuteronomy 5:15)

Another example of flashback comes from Jesus’ well-known commandment to remember his Last Supper which provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "Holy Communion". In Paul’s letter written about 2000 years ago to the Corinthian church, we read that Christ took bread “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11: 24, 25) This is a clear command for Christians to remember the profound reason why he died on the cross for all mankind.

In the context of our theme on past, present and future we see an interesting verse of this passage. In the next verse (26), Paul states “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” According to analysis of this verse by several commentaries, when the Lord’s Supper is enacted by worshipers, the ceremony proclaims looking back (flashback) on Christ’s life and death and looks forward (flashforward) to his second coming.

More will come on the topic Celestial and Earthly Citizenships as Christians live their daily lives and anticipate what lies ahead.

Stay tuned.
Clay

Celestial and Earthly Citizenships: Part Five

The Past and the Future

 

There are a great number of themes of the Bible, which include God, Man, Satan, Sin, Salvation, Redemption and Love. Merely as literature, the Bible is supreme in its quantity and quality of themes. It satisfies the simple-minded and meets the expectations and desires of those exhibiting wisdom and calm judgment. Not to exclude any underlying topics of a discussion or a recurring idea in Holy Scriptures, the Bible presents facts of eternity-past, the issues of the present, and the realities of eternity to come.

The Past

“I am the Alfa and Omega,” says the Lord God,” who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Backwardness. We begin to talk about eternity-past by being acquainted the meaning of backwardness. It does not mean toward a less advanced state or bashful and shy, but a direction toward the back or past. The past also involves the state of bearing in mind of a retained mental impression, a memory of a person, thing, or event.

Backwardness also can refer to a memorial, which can be an object that serves as a focus for memory of something, usually of a deceased person or an event. A memorial also helps to preserve remembrance, something by which the memory of a person or an event is kept alive. Backwardness can not only be kept alive but viewed as a ‘flash’ occurrence. The word flash means to move or pass very quickly. It is something immediate and intense such as a strike of lightning.

There is a kind of remembrance called a ‘flashback’. In literature, whether its poetry, prose or in television stories, a flashback (also called analepsis) is used. It is sometimes utilized to interject a scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point in the story. In other words, a flashback is action that interrupts the here and now to show a significant incident that took place at an earlier time.

Meditation as a Flashback

Meditation. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in sets of beliefs which guides and governs a person’s attitudes. It is associated with several religions and philosophies of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

What are the gainful outcomes of meditation? In general terms, meditation may be performed for many reasons, such as to increase calmness and physical relaxation, to improve psychological balance, to cope with illness, or to enhance overall health and well-being.

Christians practice meditation similarly but in a deliberate faith-based manner that singularly relies upon foundational truths of Holy scripture. Followers of Jesus consciously flashback on the many spiritual realities and stories of faithful individuals recorded in the Bible.

One of the best examples of Christian mediation is to flashback to Hebrews 11. In this chapter, faith is described by the writer as a reality and proof of things unseen, treating them as if they were already objects of sight. He then illustrates faith’s value and power by reference to numerous instances of troubled Old Testament heroes who gained approval by God. As believers meditate and emulate on these loyal individuals, they too can experience approval as well as security, calmness and peace.

Most theologians believe that God uses situations and circumstances in our daily lives, such as troubles, to rapidly jumpstart our minds to remember God’s Son. If believers are experiencing hurtful episodes or anything that is producing anxiety in their daily life, like the heroes did as noted above, it seems reasonable that these troubling events energizes their thoughts to flashback to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

More on the topic of past, especially the use of Christian meditation and remembrances as a flashbacks.

Clay

God Wrote a Book

A few months ago I received a letter, seen below, from one of my daughters. I want to share it  with my readers and blog members.

Clay

God Wrote a Book

God wrote a book. He chose a book to communicate the feelings of his heart and the truth to be an everlasting testament for his children. Father God wrote one book using more than 40 inspired human writers over the span of 1,500 years. His book has been called the ‘Greatest Love Letter to Humanity’ and would serve as recorded, a permanent guidance manual for his children. Our heavenly father chose written communication that could not be altered as the ages rolled on. It is a book that serves as a path to his children for living a life of righteousness and love. God wrote a book to communicate with his children his love for them and how to be saved by Jesus Christ. God wrote a book to let his children know how to avoid sin, repent from sin, and give them the promise of a life ever-after if they would accept his offer of grace. God wrote a book to deliver his promises to his children. God wrote a book to communicate the gifts that were available to his children if they only asked him. God wrote a book.

 

My earthly father, Clay Henry, singly wrote three Christian books over a period of 10 years to publicize his thoughts and ideas about the ‘Greatest Love Letter to Humanity’. He wrote these books to communicate the feelings of his heart and documented them in a way that will remain with us far after he is gone. My father wrote these publications so that all of us would know how much he and God loves us. My father used this means of communication so that we would have the tools to live a more righteous life and to give us a path to follow. My father’s writings were designed to make it easier for us to understand God’s book, and to reiterate how deeply God loves each one of us. My father wrote his books for readers to perceive the need of grace, love, and forgiveness by God. His books remind us that God has all we need. My father’s writings were intended to encourage us to love, give grace, and forgive others just as Christ has forgiven us. My father wrote these books to help spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the sake of his family, friends, acquaintances and others, I trust that his books will collectively remain as a testament of his heart. Thanks Dad.

Vonna Jo

Celestial and Earthly Citizenships: Part Four

Heavenly Citizenship

The Celestial Citizens of Heaven. (Philippians 3:20-21)

   The Apostle Paul declares to the Christians at Philippi that our “citizenship is in heaven,” (Verse 20) Many students and teachers have placed this four-word phrase as one of the greatest thoughts expressed in the Holy Bible, especially for Christians. Indeed, this idea of Pauls’ can be considered a meritorious spiritual pearl of great value, and exceedingly more so than possessing a natural physical pearl.

   Some versions of the Bible translate the word ‘citizenship’ to “conversation’ is in heaven”. The noun, conversation, was not taken to mean a mere interactive oral communication or dialog between two or more people. It cannot mean that Church members’ speech, discourse or talking was in heaven; nor that their "conduct" was in heaven.

   In the Greek language, the original expression rendered conversation, had a very extensive meaning, implying our citizenship and fellowship, our thoughts, our affections, are already in heaven. We think, speak, and act, converse with our fellow-creatures, and conduct ourselves in all our intercourse with them, as citizens of a transcendent or cosmological place. (The use of the word, conversation, and its meanings were obtained from biblehub.com, an Online Bible Study Suite.)

   Whether we use the word citizen or conversation in connection with heaven, the fact remains that each or these words refer to a celestial existence and are in stark contrast to earthly citizens who “… are enemies of the cross of Christ, (18) whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things (19). Their god is their appetite, a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need, a strong desire or liking for something, a longing, yearning, wanting, wishing, hankering, hunger or thirst. These strong obsessive feelings are derived from biologic or psychological needs such as sex, money or affection.

   Paul tells the Philippian church members, and to all followers of Jesus since that time, not set our minds on earthly things and that we are only strangers and pilgrims upon earth! This view or notion is at odds with the following modern dictionary explanations of earthly strangers and pilgrims, which fail to consider a celestial existence.

Strangers are foreigners and resident aliens who do not belong to or are kept from the merits of citizenship in a tangible sovereign nation or place.

Pilgrims are people who go on long journeys in foreign lands often for religious or moral purposes although they are not natives of or born in those far-off lands.                  Some make these journeys from unfortunate conditions of misery or unhappiness to an experienced state of contentment and happiness.

   We that are true Christians are of a very different spirit from that of earthly citizens, therefore act in a quite different manner. There is a much greater difference between earthly and heavenly citizens than there is between subjects of two earthly nations or governments.

   We therefore endeavor to promote the interests of that glorious society to which we belong, to learn its manners, secure a title to its privileges, and behave in a way suitable to, and worthy of our relation to it.

 

Stay tuned for Part Five of our current blog theme. The subtopic will be on the ‘ Flash-Back and Flash-Forward of Celestial Citizens of Heaven'.

 

Clay

 

 

Celestial and Earthly Citizenships: Part Three

Earthly Citizenship

In the Apostle’ Letter to the Philippians, (the paragraph of Chapter 3:17-21) Paul presents the idea of the future has been that he is a citizen of heaven and is conducting himself daily as one who belongs to that better country. But, while advancing to the statement of this celestial citizenship, he pauses parenthetically over the state of those whose homeland is of the earth and earthly. The contrast in this paragraph is between the earthly citizenship of the world and the celestial citizens of heaven.

The distinctive difference of these citizenships can be viewed as pearls for us who seek of wisdom or insight in this portion of Holy Scripture. So, in this post let us take a deep look at the citizens of the world.

The Citizens of the World (Verses. 18-19) Here we have several things to notice.

● A citizen of the world can be defined as a heathen or pagan which denotes “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible”. (Merriam-Webster) In heathenism the aim of life is for the most part to adore and gratify the flesh. Appetite is master. The mind and heart are simply the slaves of craving.

Now as a worshipper, the heathen can never rise above the object of adoration. The man who worships appetite sinks into a mere quivering mass of appetite. Lust calls for satisfaction. Eating, drinking, and the gratification of the fleshly lusts become the total of life. A consequence of this devotion is the degradation of the earthly man to, or even below, the level of the wild animal.

● Their glory is in their shame. Instead of being ashamed of their lustful courses, they glory in them. They parade their degradations. It is a terrible descent when men lose the sense of shame and brazenly manifests their state of depravity.

● Their mind is wholly centered on earthly things. That is, they look no further for their rest. They settle down in this plague-stricken land. They allow their notions to be bounded only by the horizon of the seen and the temporal. They take no broader view than this life affords them.

● They are consequently enemies of Christ's cross which is the great foe of worldly mindedness. The cross of Christ opposes the adoration of the appetites; it opposes self-indulgence in every sinful form; and consequently, the citizens of this spiritual darkness are its adversary.

 

Having gained some wisdom or insight about the earthly citizens of this world, we will in the next post, discover a few spiritual pearls that pertain to celestial citizens of heaven.

 

As always, all readers of the blog section of this web site are cordially invited to make comments on each post.

 

Clay

Celestial and Earthly Citizenships: Part Two

 

 

Become a citizen of the Spurs Nation

What Does it Mean ?

Question: What does it mean to “Become a citizen of the Spurs Nation”? (See earlier posts on this subject)

Answer: There are many ways to answer this question concerning earthly citizenships. May I suggest that it means that an individual is somehow dissatisfied with his/her boring interests and keenly desires an affiliation with a community of animated Spur fans.

Question: "What does it mean that our citizenship is in heaven?"

Answer: A celestial citizen legally inhabits a place beyond time and circumstances as well as limits and boundaries of an earthly domain. This answer is brief and biblically based but does not give justice to the deeper meanings of a heavenly citizenship. To do so, lets begin by looking at the New Testament book of Philippians.

In the letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul states that “our citizenship is in heaven,” (Philippians 3:20). Of course, to better understand this five-word phrase, we need to place it in the context of the whole chapter or, at a minimum, verses 17-21.

“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. (17) For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, (18) whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.(19) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (20) who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (21)”

At the time of Paul’s writings, the Jewish aristocracy and teachers had no locale or city but what was on earth; no rights but what was derived from their secular connections; no society but what was made up of men like themselves whose minds were focused only on earthly things, and whose appetites were their god. This same description could be made of the citizenry of non-Hebrew Gentile nations living in the 1st century as well as 21st century non-Christians.

 

Spiritual Pearls

There is a wealth of spiritual pearls to be found in Philippians 3:17-21. In the physical realm, pearls usually symbolize something of great value, such as purity, wealth, generosity and integrity.

If you describe something that someone has said or written as a spiritual pearl, you mean that it is divine in nature and sounds very wise and helpful. The parable of the pearl is one of the great stories of Jesus. It illustrates the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 13:45-46)

In the unseen realm, the spiritual meaning of pearls varies depending on Judeo-Christian perspectives. Later, we’ll look at a few spiritual gems as they pertain to this portion of Scripture and to practical truths applicable to our own spiritual journeys.

Please stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celestial and Earthly Citizenships: Part One

As you may recall from the last two posts, the story “Becoming a Citizen of the Spurs Nation” had a so-called theme which we can similarly use as the subject matter for our blogosphere’s platform. As we will see in upcoming entries, the idea that recurs in this story has features about citizenship in the tangible realm that can be applicable to citizenship in the supernatural domain.

Before we get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the parallelisms between tangible and intangible citizenships in differing nations, it is prudent to come to a common understanding of these two terms.

Citizenship A citizen is favored person owing allegiance to a state in which sovereign power is retained by the people and sharing in the political rights of those people. The ‘rights’ of a free citizen implies loyalty to a personal sovereign such as a monarch, king or president. In addition,
● the word citizenship properly refers to a government, administration, or form of a republic or state.
● it can signify a city, the inhabitants of a place or society of persons living under the same rules and laws of the same place or society.

Nations A nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, ethnicity or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. Also,
● a nation is distinct from a people, and is more abstract, and more overtly political than an ethnic group.
● an aggregation of mankind, existing in the form of an organized domain, usually inhabiting a distinct portion of the earth, speaking the same language, using the same customs and possessing historic continuity.
● a cultural-political or religious community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests.
With these features of both citizenship and nation in mind, readers should be aware of both the identity of platform of our blogosphere and especially learning about “Celestial and Earthly Citizenships”.

The next post will start to get us into the nuts and bolts of Becoming Citizens in a new domain by focusing on Philippians 3:19.

The Blogosphere’s Platform: Citizenship In A New Nation

It should be abundantly clear to those who visit this web site that they will be furnished titles and pertinent information about each of my available Christian books. Should they wish, they can order any of them from well-known book stores or the publisher.

It also should be obvious that the platform of the blog feature in the site will also be Christian in scope. This means that the platform for our blogosphere or platform will purposely focus on several Christian related topics which are both informative for fellow bloggers and hopefully have the potential of generating comments, both pro and con.

In our last post entitled 'An Analysis of Blogging'', the term blogosphere was defined as a networking facility in which authors and blog readers can interact by expressing their own opinions on certain issues. Like all blogospheres, each one, including ours, will possess a detailed platform.

So what is the initial and platform of our blogosphere? To begin to answer this question, lets highlight the story mentioned in the last post. As you may recall, an announcement made in a local news-paper was entitled “Become a citizen of the Spurs Nation”. It is easy to see that it really was an analogy of contrasting differing domains of interest. The analogy was intended to entice people to choose citizenry in a new sphere, the Spur Nation.

As we will see in subsequent posts, this short story of attracting persons to choose citizenship in another ‘nation’ will set the tone of our blogosphere's platform. The specifics of the platform will be revealed in the next post.
Stay tuned.

An Analysis of Blogging

Several years ago, I saw a subscription announcement on the front page of a local news-paper. The headline read “Become a citizen of the Spurs Nation”. (The Spurs are a well-known and a predominate basketball team in the NBA) By becoming a so-called ‘citizen’, an individual then has an opportunity to relinquish control of any other demanding interests or having a humdrum life in order to affiliate with a new and more exciting ‘Nation’ of Spurs.

 

In several ways, this particular advertisement is an invitation for a person to attain the status of a person, as being a legal member of a new and different nation. We can think of a so-called nation as a large body of people, associated with a particular territory or sphere of existence. This line of thought is intended to lead us to understand the meaning of a ‘blogosphere’.

 

In recent years many users of the internet have treated blogospheres as a gauge of public opinion or as limited spheres such as a devotion to foods, travels, gaming, health, clothing etc. It is not surprising that each blogosphere has a narrowly defined platform that attracts individuals having commonality with a stated platform and with each other. Thus, any given blogosphere implies that blogs exist as a connected community or as a networking provision in which authors and blog readers can publish their opinions.

 

In the next post, entitled ‘The Platform for our Blogosphere’, I will expand on the subject of a blogosphere as it directly applies to our weblog site. As we begin to understand the nature and details of our soon to be developed platform, it may attract others to become fellow bloggers and ‘citizens’ of a new domain.

What is a Blog and What is a Post

I am strongly hopeful that my three published books, which includes my newest book, “Beyond Wondering about Murder from a Judeo-Christian Perspective”, will ignite real discussion in the Blog feature of my recently designed website, www.clayahenry.org.

However, some of you may not be familiar with a blogging and even may not know what a post is. If so, allow me to give you an abbreviated description and functionality of these two terms.

A blog is a type of website. It is a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. Blogs are usually sustained by an individual with periodic entries or observations or other material that might be of interest to readers.
Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects. On a blog, the content consists of articles, sometimes called entries or posts that the composer owns and manages.

My particular blog includes an interactive format that not only allows readers to leave comments and questions, but also permits the host blogger a means to respond to a reader. It is this last feature of my blog that I wish to emphasize. It is easy for the reader to respond to each and every post by simply checking the ‘add a comment’ noted near the post. A window will appear in which the reader can type his/her comment. Later, the comment can be observed adjacent to the post in the blog site.

Now that you know more about blogs and posts, you are sincerely invited to become a fellow blogger on my web site.