Beyond Time and Space

Welcome to Journey 3 – Beyond Time and Space

Continue your Omniallinfinitude™ Journey Here

 

Beyond Time and Space is the third of the twelve Omniallinfinitude™ Journeys.  Each Journey is presented through 16 blog posts.  Even though we are now pausing or blogging a different Journey,  we highly recommend completing the journeys in order at your own pace.

Each Journey is made up of Journey Elements  (click for more information).   You can also view or download the PDF version of this Journey by clicking the Beyond Time and Space graphic at the top of the right sidebar.

 

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Read each blog post in the order they were posted.
  2. Complete the Journey Elements contained in each post.  Each Journey covers one attribute group and one spiritual practice.   All of the Elements relate to these in some way.
  3. Return to the Blog Post – we encourage you to comment based on the specific assignment.  Read other’s comments and engage in an online conversation.  These posts and comments are ongoing.
  4. For more information see How Does This Work on the Main Omni page.
  5. Then move on to the next post.  You can access the individual post pages from the top menu bar under Journey Elements,  or by or by clicking the links below in this post.
  6. When you complete a Journey – move on to the next Journey.  The format and Element structure will be the same in all the Journeys.
  7. Each Journey will also have its own blog,  and each post will have its own page,  in addition to appearing in the complete blog.  This will make it easier to complete the blog at your own speed,  as well as for others who start later.   We will eventually have 12 active blogs with people participating in all of them at the same time.

 

Complete the Blog Posts below in this order:

Click on the links to go to the individual blog posts with their respective comments.  Once you click to the Journal pages,  scroll up to get to the beginning of the blog post.  Each Journal post will also appear on the Journey Element Page that it follows.  For example,  Journal 3.1 will appear on the same page and directly under Remember and Read.

 

Beyond Time and Space: What comes to your mind?

Beyond Time and Space 1: Remember and Read

Beyond Time and Space 2: Journal 3.1 – Don’t Stop, Keep Moving On

Beyond Time and Space 3: Analyze – The Big Picture

Beyond Time and Space 4: Journal 3.2 – I Don’t Believe It!

Beyond Time and Space 5: Investigate – Eternal and Infinite and 10 Things

Beyond Time and Space 6: Journal 3.3 – Unlimited Sameness

Beyond Time and Space 7: Practice – Study and Meditation and Why?

Beyond Time and Space 8: Journal 3.4 – The Big Jump

Beyond Time and Space 9: More Cool Stuff – Unshakeable

Beyond Time and Space 10: Journal 3.5 – It’s About Time

Beyond Time and Space 11: Inventory – Your Hopes and Fears

Beyond Time and Space 12: Journal 3.6 – Space Case

Beyond Time and Space 13: Adventuring – Creation Study

Beyond Time and Space 14: Journal 3.7 – Nitty Gritty

Beyond Time and Space 15: Lyrics

Beyond Time and Space 16: Closure

 

While we encourage you to leave Comments,  we totally understand if you want to participate anonymously.  This format also works well for small groups meeting in person.  It’s ok to print out the PDF – just remember to keep a copy on your computer so you can use the links.

 

Credits for quotes,  music,  lyrics and videos appear in the Credits section in the back of the PDF.   Omniallinfinitude™ material may be reproduced as long as credit is given.  There is no fee for using this material.

 

Enjoy the Journey…..take your time….but take the Journey!

 

Beyond Time and Space – What comes to your mind?

 

What comes to your mind?

 

We occupy space as we travel through time,  we can’t imagine any other existence.
Counting the minutes and watching the clock
We lose track of it,  try to beat it,  and sometimes have too much of it on our hands.
We remember a time – and promise this will be the last time.
We have good times,  and bad times,  and buy watches,  calendars and timers to keep track of it.

 

As children,  it passed so slowly,
As adults,  we wonder where it’s gone.
In sports,  we seek the fastest time or watch as the time runs out.
In life,  we want everything in no time,  we mark time,  try to redeem the time.
We look forward to celebrating certain passages of time….

 

We ask “How much longer?,
How fast can it be done?,
When will we get there?”

Time flies, and then, time is up.

It waits for no man and marches on.
We dream of stopping it or building machines to travel through it.
It brings the beauty of the seasons,  and the wisdom of life experience,
But – the only time we really have – is now.

 

We scheme to know the future in order to change the present,  but only one thing is certain –
Change,  aging and physical death will all come because of it – whether we like it or not.

 

Until then,  we believe in Once Upon a Time,  while hoping for a better time.
It provides us memories,  wisdom,  patience and anticipation as we live out our lives,  in our places,  exploring our space.

Inner space and outer space are the new frontiers;  but most of the time we’re just hoping for a parking space,  or a little more breathing space.
We fill it up,  protect it and decorate it,  leaving our mark on our space,  making it our place.

 

It’s everywhere – or at least as far as the eye can see – space just keeps on going,
Black holes and warp speed,  it looks so empty – yet, it’s completely full – of space.
Sometimes we space out or act like a space case
But most of us never . really . even . think about it.
It’s invisible – here,  there,  everywhere,  and yet we feel it when the wind blows.
It confines us,  defines us  – we can’t escape it.

 

The Universe is all the Space ever made traveling through all the Time since the beginning.
So huge,  so fast – and here we are traveling with it – stuck in time,  confined by space – by the ultimate When and Where.

 

But God is not like us – He sees ALL time,  at ONE time,
as He is everywhere in space and beyond.
Time and Space are His creation
While determining our Where and When,
HE is everywhere,  in all time,  at the same time.
And Beyond!

 

COMMENTS:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

Before you begin Journey 3, what comes to your mind as you ponder Beyond Time and Space?

 

Beyond Time and Space 1: Remember and Read

remember

Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and Omega” says the Lord,  “who is,  and who was,  and who is to come,  the Almighty.” (NIV)


We always begin by memorizing the theme verse for each journey  (including Book, Chapter and Verse).  Think of this as the necessary foundation for future excellence – like practicing scales on the piano or doing wind sprints or swimming laps,  or taking your vitamins,  or eating your vegetables.

What is that I hear? – OH NO!  Not memorization….

We actually recall or remember all kinds of things we’ve memorized without really even trying.  Can you think of any?

How about your phone number,  email address,  street address,  zip code,  social security number,  birthday,  names of your family,  how to get to work,  how to drive a car,  that secret recipe….or how to spell or multiply,  song lyrics,  movie scenes,  jokes,  what someone was wearing,  what car they drove,  sports statistics,  what chocolate tastes like,  what the ocean smells like,  and on and on.

That’s why we call this element Remember – it’s the remembering that is important.

 

Why do we remember what we remember?

Actually,  recollection is just the tip of the memory iceberg.  Within our marvelous and mysterious brain the memory works in collaboration with us and the world – it uses all our senses and emotions.  We associate smells, colors,  places,  rituals,  symbols,  landmarks,  even people,  with memories and when we sense the trigger,  we remember.

For now you will just have to take my word for it – there are tremendous spiritual benefits from Remembering Bible verses:

  • Strengthens our faith
  • Shapes how we view the world
  • Makes God’s Word immediately accessible
  • Guards our minds

Here are some hints to help you get started.  We all learn differently – so don’t be afraid to try some of the more unusual methods.  Plus – some of them are just plain fun.   And not only do we need to remember the verse,  we need to remember to work on remembering the verse….double whammy!

  • Write the verse on several post it notes or index cards and put it where you will see it such as the car,  the bathroom mirror,  the kitchen sink,  a bulletin board,  your computer screen saver,  your cell phone,  your Facebook status,  by your bed…..Or use one of the many Scripture Memory APPs now available for phones and tablets.  Scripture Typer is one of our favorites.
  • Make plans to spend five minutes,  twice a day  (usually as you get up and before bed)  to review.  Review often…..
  • Say it slowly, 15 times in a row,  emphasizing each word.
  • If you have already learned it in another translation,  review that one.  Once you know it in one,  look it up in a couple of others to see what is different.
  • Review it when you are waiting in line,  or on hold on the phone.
  • Sing it – make up a tune to go with it,  or say it with an accent.
  • Rap it,  paint it,  draw it,  doodle it,  or diagram it like in Pictionary
  • For extra credit,  add the verse before and the verse after.

I like to think of this remember process as Texting or Tweeting My Brain and then having my brain Text or Tweet me back.

 

Also,  remember there is a downloadable PDF available for this Journey – click on the graphic at the top of the right sidebar.  You can download it and save it on your computer where it will link to the online Bible,  a dictionary,  the videos and the songs for this Journey.  You can also type into it and of course you can print it out.  We highly encourage – however you chose to record your discoveries and experiences – everyone to periodically comment online and read each other’s comments.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

And don’t forget the REMEMBER verses from Journeys 1 and 2 – What were they?   Keep reviewing them daily.  Try and use them in conversation and to encourage others.

 

read

Job 38-42,  Isaiah 40

(you can change translations after you click the blue chapter links to read these in other translations)

 

Please read through these six chapters in one sitting,  on three separate days;  once from a modern translation,  once in a modern paraphrase,  and then finally with a pad and pencil by as you record your thoughts and observations.  It is also helpful to read the selections aloud.  As you read,  underline words that describe who God is or the names He is called.  The blue Bible Chapter links above will bring up an online Bible and you can change the translation to whatever you want.

This element is about reading what it says – try to put aside any preconceived ideas about what you think it says, or what you may have concluded based on other studies or classes.  We are not saying those ideas are wrong,  but for this Element,  we just want to read it as if for the first time.  Please read for the storyline – and see if you can then faithfully retell it in your own words.

 

Since you cannot type into this blog – we suggest you record your answers in a journal or download/print the PDF version.

First Reading:  Modern Translation – which one did you use?

Second Reading:  Modern Paraphrase – which one did you use?

Third Reading:  Reading Notes

Job 38:

Job 39:

Job 40:

Job 41:

Job 42:

Isaiah 40:

Descriptions of God:

Names used for God:

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Share with us any names or descriptions of God you discovered.  Also share any personal observations or experiences from just reading to see what it says.

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 2: Journal 3.1 – Don’t Stop! Keep Moving On.


Beyond Time and Space 2: Journal 3.1 – Don’t Stop, Keep Moving On….

 

Because God is transcendent – there is much about Him we can’t know or understand.

He knows this and provides us Proof of Life;

Through creation and it’s physical and moral laws,

Our own soul cravings,  math,  music,  and so much more.

 

As we investigate this Proof of Life,  or God’s general revelation about Himself,  we are forced to make choices about if we believe in God and what kind of God He is.

We go God Shopping.

Some of us actually create our own gods,  gods in our images,  ones that look like bigger and better versions of ourselves.

 

This results in our Worldview,  the framework through which we each make sense of life and the world around us.  Based on this general revelation God provides it is possible to grasp the Truth that there is One and Only One God.

Truth excludes and this exclusivity rubs many of us the wrong way.  Our own limited human perspective is uncomfortable with a God who excludes,  why can’t we all just celebrate each other’s differences,  agree on principle and get along?

The danger is to stop here,  to dwell on this,  to make ourselves judge and jury while we have only a portion of the evidence.

 

God is so much more.  We need to finish the journey and come to an understanding of all his attributes,  the totality of all the Proof of Life He has provided….yet even at this point we will need something more.

We need more information.

And God already knew that.  He provided what is called Special Revelation,  two very extraordinary means of communication to man about His most marvelous and glorious Self.

 

He wrote us a Book,  and He came on a Visit.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

In your journey to and with God,  what additional evidence would you like about the truth of His Being and Existence?

How has your view of God changed during this journey?

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 3: Analyze – The Big Picture.
 

Beyond Time and Space 3: Analyze – The Big Picture

analyze

The Big Picture

 

Part of your reading assignment for Journey 3 is Isaiah 40.  Please reread verses 21-31 in the two different versions below and then summarize in a couple of sentences what you think is going on.

 

Isaiah 40: 21-31 – New International Version (NIV) 

21 Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Has it not been told you from the beginning?  Have you not understood since the earth was founded?  22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,  and its people are like grasshoppers.  He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,  and spreads them out like a tent to live in.  23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.  24 No sooner are they planted,  no sooner are they sown,  no sooner do they take root in the ground,  than he blows on them and they wither,  and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?  Or who is my equal?”  says the Holy One.  26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:  Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one,  and calls them each by name.  Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say,  O Jacob, and complain,  O Israel,  “My way is hidden from the LORD;  my cause is disregarded by my God”?  28 Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God,  the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary,  and his understanding no one can fathom.  29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  30 Even youths grow tired and weary,  and young men stumble and fall;  31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary,  they will walk and not be faint.

 

Isaiah  40:21- 31 – The Message

 21 Have you not been paying attention?  Have you not been listening?  Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?  Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?  22 God sits high above the round ball of earth.  The people look like mere ants.  He stretches out the skies like a canvas — yes, like a tent canvas to live under.  23 He ignores what all the princes say and do.  The rulers of the earth count for nothing.  24 Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.  Like seeds barely rooted,  just sprouted,  They shrivel when God blows on them.  Like flecks of chaff,  they’re gone with the wind.

25 “So — who is like me?  Who holds a candle to me?”  says The Holy.

26 Look at the night skies:  Who do you think made all this?  Who marches this army of stars out each night,  counts them off,  calls each by name— so magnificent! so powerful!  — and never overlooks a single one?

27 Why would you ever complain,  O Jacob,  or,  whine,  Israel,  saying,  “GOD has lost track of me.  He doesn’t care what happens to me”?  28 Don’t you know anything?  Haven’t you been listening?  GOD doesn’t come and go.  God lasts.  He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.  He doesn’t get tired out,  doesn’t pause to catch his breath.  And he knows everything,  inside and out.  29 He energizes those who get tired,  gives fresh strength to dropouts.  30 For even young people tire and drop out,  young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  31 But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength.  They spread their wings and soar like eagles,  They run and don’t get tired,  they walk and don’t lag behind.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

Summarize what you think is going on in these verses.  What is Isaiah talking about?

 

Putting things in context

Part of the process of analyzing a portion of scripture is putting it in historical perspective and knowing a little bit about the author:

 

Isaiah was a prophet appointed by God to the Southern Kingdom, Judah, from about 745 – 695 B.C.  At this time the Northern Kingdom, Israel, had already been destroyed and carried off into captivity by the Assyrians, who were now threatening to do the same to Judah.

 

Prophets were never sent when Israel was walking with God.  True to form Isaiah brought a message of rebuke and judgment on the then current climate of idolatry, corruption, wickedness and rebellion that was widespread in the moral and religious life of Judah.  They were prime targets for the doom and affliction that was promised through captivity.

 

But, that is not where the story ends.  As the Assyrians picked off one city after another, they eventually camped outside the walls of Jerusalem.  And that is where they were stopped by God with a grand stroke from heaven.  The Assyrians never came back against Jerusalem.  Unfortunately in 586 BC, well after Isaiah’s death, the Babylonians fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy and Judah fell and was carried off to captivity.

 

There are many prophecies in Isaiah not just about the immediate situation in Judah, but also about the future restoration of Judah when the Messiah King comes to set up His kingdom on earth.

 

Chapter 40 begins the second part of the book, where the author moves from rebuke, punishment, and affliction, to a message of hope and redemption.  The people needed a fresh reminder of the truth about God.  There was hope, and it would come in the form of the Messiah King.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post.)

How does this information help you better understand what is going on?

Pick one verse from this section that either rebukes you or encourages you.  What is it and what’s your next step?

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 4: Journal 3.2 – I Don’t Believe It.

Beyond Time and Space 4: Journal 3.2 – I Don’t Believe It!

 

To many of us,  that is our first reaction to news or information that doesn’t line up with what we already think we know,  expect,  are comfortable with,  hope for,  enjoy,  desire,  etc.

We don’t want it to be true,  so it can’t be true.

But how do we really know?

How do we sift through all the clamor?

 

In the era of the internet and 24 hour news,  we are overwhelmed with data and information,  as well as propaganda,  ads and gossip,  all coming at us at the speed of light through our TV’s,  computers,  and phones.

Can you believe everything you read or hear?

  • How do you know if something contains the truth or not?
  • Are we being brainwashed,  being fed propaganda,  only getting half the story?
  • How do we know history is correct?
  • What about things that happened,  not yesterday or last week or even last year – but 100’s and 1000’s of years ago?
  • Is there reliable evidence or proof?
  • Did it really happen?
  • Can we trust the sources – were they biased,  with hidden agendas?
  • Was there a conspiracy?
  • Did the story change over time?
  • Are we being messed with?

 

 

Did you ever play the telephone game?  You know where you whisper something in one person’s ear and then they pass it on to another,  and so on.  Here’s an example of an actual game we played with 40 people.  The initial information to be passed on was the following:

The last time I saw Barry,  he was sharing the bread and money he’d stolen with crazy Larry,  pretty Mary,  and hairy Terry.

 

After 40 people listened and passed it on – this was what the last person heard.

Last time I saw Larry,  he was thinking about Larry. 

What got lost in the transfer or changed over time?  Any ideas why?

 

COMMENT:

 (In your own journal, the downloadable PDF for this blog, or in the Comment section for this post)

How do you determine what information to believe when you are watching or reading or listening to something or someone?

Explain how the passage of time could corrupt or clarify the accuracy of information.

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 5: Investigate – Eternal and Infinite.

 

Beyond Time and Space 5: Investigate – Eternal and Infinite and 10 Things

investigate

Eternal and Infinite

 

Define:  Please write a brief definition for each word below in your journal or the PDF using a regular dictionary,  not a Bible dictionary.

(Click on any word to link to dictionary.com for the word’s definition

 

∞     Infinite                                 

∞     Eterna

∞     Immutable                             

∞     Omnipresent                          

∞     Spirit                                   

∞     Time                                    

∞     Space                                   

∞     Everlasting                            

∞     Change                                 

∞     Same                                    

∞     Always                                 

∞     Everywhere                            

∞     Immortal                               

∞     Ubiquitous                            

∞     Consistent          

 

Now write your own definition for Beyond Time and Space.

Share it as a COMMENT.  


Review:  Read the verses below and then respond accordingly in your own journal or the PDF.

Decide which of God’s attributes below each verse describes.

Immutability – unchanging,  consistent,  immortal
Eternity – beyond time,  no before or afters,  always at once
Omnipresence – infinite space,  everywhere at once
Infinity  freedom from all limits and a descriptor of all the other attributes.

Then describe what each verse says about how this impacts you. See the example below.  

Example

Joshua 1: 9 talks about God’s Omnipresence.
Personal impact:  Because God is always with me I can be strong and courageous instead of afraid and hopeless.

 


Verse

Joshua 1: 9
I Samuel 15: 29
Psalms 33: 11
Psalm 48:14
Psalm 100: 4-5
Psalms 103: 17
Psalms 119: 89-91, 151-152
Psalms 139: 7-10
Psalms 145: 13-20
Eccl. 3: 11
Isaiah 40: 28-29
Isaiah 57: 15
Jeremiah 23: 23-24
Malachi 3: 6-7
Matthew 1: 23
Matthew 24: 35
Matthew 28: 18-20
I Timothy 6: 16
Hebrews 4:13
Hebrews 13: 5-6
Hebrews 13: 8
Hebrew 6:17-18
James 1: 17
Revelation 22: 12-13


COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section for this post.)

Share your definition of Beyond Time and Space.  Then share the how and why of two or three of the verses that impacted you the most.

 

 

10 things

Beyond Time and Space 

 

  1. El Olan is the Hebrew name for God translated,  the Eternal or Everlasting God.  It refers to the fullness of the experience of time and space.  This is the God whose son is the Alpha and the Omega,  and whose plans,  covenants,  purposes and love endure forever.
  2. Yahweh Shammah is the Hebrew name for God translated,  the Lord is There.  It originally was the name of a city in Ezekiel 48:35,  but now is usually associated with Immanuel or “God with Us”,  the name given to Jesus.  This affirms the promise that God is always with us,  all the time and everywhere we go,  for each of us, individually.
  3. A. W. Tozer – “Time marks the beginning of created existence and because God never began to exist it can have no application to him…God lives in the everlasting now.  He has no past and no future.”
  4. David Hocking – “At this very moment God exists,  and at the same time He exists at the time of Abraham and at the time of His future Kingdom on earth.  His presence fills it all,  and His nature transcends its dimensions.”
  5. Arthur W. Pink – “He cannot change for the better,  for he is already perfect;  and being perfect he cannot change for the worse.  Altogether unaffected by anything outside himself,  improvement or deterioration is impossible.”
  6. J. I. Packer – “What God does in time,  he planned from eternity.  And all that he planned in eternity,  he carries out in time.   And all that he has in His Word committed Himself to do,  will be infallibly done.”
  7. Stephen Charnock – “As eternity is the perfection where He has neither beginning nor end,  immutability is the perfection where he has neither increase or decrease,  so immensity or omnipresence is that where he has neither bounds nor limitation.  As He is in all time,  yet so as to be above time;  so He is in all places,  yet so as to be above limitation by any place.”
  8. Eternity is more than just an elongation of time.  Time implies a moment by moment successive state of being that involves change.   Eternity is changeless.  It is now,  forever.  Time involves now and then,  past,  present and future.  Eternity has no beginning and end.
  9. God cannot change,  improve or grow,  since that would imply that at some point He was less than perfection.  Everything else is composed of what changes and what does not change.
  10. God is separate from the universe He has created and in which He chooses to dwell.  Nature is not God.  God is above nature and uses it to accomplish His purposes.

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Beyond Time and Space.

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section of this post.

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

Continue to review the Remember Verses and make sure you are up to date on all the prior postings.

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 6:  Journal 3.3 – Unlimited Sameness.

 

Beyond Time and Space 6: Journal 3.3 – Unlimited Sameness

 

Let’s review.  Earlier in our Journey we said  that an attribute not only describes God but also applies to all His other attributes as well.  We also said there are two kinds of attributes:

  • uncommunicable:  the ones that only apply to God
  • communicable:  the ones He has extended to us in a finite portion when we were made in His Image.

 

Think a little about the attributes we’ve discovered in this specific Journey.

 

Lest we think that from our perspective……

a limitless,

timeless,

ever present,

never changing God

would be boring,  scary,  intrusive,  out of control…

Remember – we aren’t finished yet.

 

These uncommunicable attributes are foundational to all the attributes to come.

We can only imagine how we might act if they applied to us…..and that is a scary thought!

 

COMMENT:

(In the PDF,  your journal,  or the Comment section for this post.)

Which of the four attributes above is the most mystifying or mindboggling to you? Why?

Do any of them make you feel more uncomfortable? Or more secure? Why?

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 7:  Practice – Study and Meditation.

 

Beyond Time and Space 7: Practice – Study and Meditation and Why?

practice

Study and Meditation

 

The Spiritual Practices put us in a place where we are better able to interact with our environment and God.  Then God can reach inside our spirits and transform them.  Just as our body needs to eat,  breathe,  exercise,  drink,  sleep,  etc.,  so our spiritual self needs to make sure it is being sustained,  cared for,  and trained.  The results include spiritual growth,  a life controlled by the Holy Spirit,  evidence of the fruit of the spirit,  and the ultimate goal – living life like Jesus did.

The Spiritual Practices are not:

  • Meritorious laws that earn favor with God
  • A way to show how spiritually mature we are
  • Unpleasant or difficult

Instead, they are: 

  • Intentional
  • Activities we do that when practiced allow us to do activities we cannot now do.
  • Adaptable to work with our temperaments and gifts
  • Adjustable according to the rhythm and seasons of our lives

 

There are two kinds: 

Practices of Abstinence –  when we stop doing something that is perfectly normal to allow ourselves to focus more on God,  His Word,  and growing in godliness.  These also help us resist our tendency toward sins of commission  (when we do something we shouldn’t do).  We withdraw to breathe in all that God can provide to us,  breaking the hold that the world has on our lives.  Practices of Abstinence help ready us and create room for the Practices of Engagement.

Practices of Engagement – when we do certain activities that help us grow in Christ and obey his commandments.  The Practices of Abstinence have opened up the time and broken up the preoccupations so we are now free to learn of,  focus on,  and practice those things that God commands us to do.  These assist in keeping us from our tendency toward sins of omission  (not doing the things we should do).  We engage to breathe out all that God commands us.

This Journey Element requires more time than most to complete so break it down into sections.  The five opportunities to Comment provide obvious breaking points. 

 

Study

Going Deep over Time

 

We are already practicing Reading,  Analysis and Investigation in our weekly Elements so the following information is for you to use at a over time.  These are all parts of Study.  The purpose of Study is to know and understand the material studied to the extent you can explain it to someone else.

 

Take it Slow

Study goes in depth and requires time.  It is helpful to block out a couple of hours of time periodically to dig in.  Don’t be in a hurry.  It is ok to spend weeks studying a book,  character or theme in the Bible.  Some of the books are long and it is profitable to begin by just reading them from start to finish – becoming familiar with their overall flow.

 

Resources

Study requires you have some resources at your disposal.  Many of these are now available to use online at no cost.  A good personal study library would include a Study Bible with concordance,  an alternate Bible translation,  a Bible Dictionary,  a regular dictionary,  a good one volume Bible commentary,  and a Bible Handbook or Encyclopedia for historical information.

 

Context Needed

It is helpful when studying God’s Word to understand the historical context and culture in which the passage was written,  the meanings of words then and now,  what specific situations inspired the writings,  who the people were,  and so on.

 

And Style

It is also helpful to understand the literary style  (poetry,  history,  parable,  prophecy,  etc.)  being used as well as any figurative use of language such as:

  • simile  (I send you forth as sheep amongst wolves)  comparison of two unlike things,  typically marked by use of “like”,  “as” or “than”
  • metaphor  (You are the salt of the earth)  direct comparison between two or more seemingly unrelated subjects as being equal to each other in some way
  • analogy  (For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God)  the comparison of two pairs which have the same relationship.
  • hyperbole  (Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?)  exaggeration to make a point or for the sake of emphasis.
  • anthropomorphism  (For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.)  ascribing to God human physical characteristics that He does not actually possess in order for man to understand God’s divine policy,  character,  and function on man’s own finite level of understanding.

 

Many Ways

There are many different ways to study the Word.  The key components usually include:

Reading – Investigating – Analyzing – Understanding – Making it Personal

Many people describe Study as answering the following questions in this order:

What does it say?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me today?

The ultimate goal is to understand what God was communicating then,  accurately interpret its meaning today and then be able to explain it to someone else.  It goes without saying,  always pray first and seek the Holy Spirit’s assistance.

 

Personal Reflections on Study:

Study is a practice of engagement – which means we are to do something we normally would not do.

  1. What are some subjects or Books of the Bible you would like to study?
  2. Are there other things you would like to also study?
  3. What kinds of subjects or activities do you already know well enough to explain to someone else?
  4. How did you obtain this expertise?  What motivated you to get started?
  5. What excuses or rationalizations do you come up with to put it off studying or not do it at all?
  6. What are or would be some of the benefits of having Bible knowledge that you could explain to someone else?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Record any insights or struggles, any new things you learned from this practice of Study as Comments.  Also share some of your answers to the Personal Reflections on Study section.

 

Devotional Reading

Daily

 

Devotional reading is reading the Word looking for spiritual inspiration for today.  Look for application points,  for God to speak to you regarding your life,  usually around one of the following possible areas.

  • A sin to confess
  • A promise to claim
  • An attitude or behavior to change
  • A command to obey
  • An example to follow
  • An encouragement to receive
  • An error to avoid
  • A truth to believe
  • An insight to gain
  • A reason to worship
  • A new thing to learn about God

There are many devotional books,  journals and even apps for your various devices or phones available that are wonderful tools if you are just getting started,  or stuck,  and need to get restarted.  Or you can go it on your own and just start reading the Word until the Spirit stops you.  Then find out why.  Don’t forget to pray first and seek the Holy Spirit’s help.

The ultimate goal of Devotional Reading is practical application of God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Personal Reflections on Devotional Reading:

  1. What time do you find is best to regularly do your Devotional Reading?
  2. Are you reading a devotional book,  the Bible or both?  What are some good devotional books that are meaningful to you that you would recommend to others?
  3. Some people find journaling helpful and others don’t.  This is just a matter of personal preference.  Do you Journal?  If yes,  what benefits do you derive from it?  If not, why not?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Record any insights or struggles, any new things you learned from this practice of Devotional Reading as Comments. Also share some of your answers to the Personal Reflections on Devotional Reading section.

 

Meditation

Daily 

 

Meditate each day as you review your Remember verses.  Note any insights you receive.

 

Misunderstood

Meditation is one of the most misunderstood of Christian practices.  It has been confused in recent years with the meditative practices of Eastern religions.  While Eastern religions practice meditation to empty their minds and detach from the world,  Christians practice meditation on the Word to fill their minds and attach to God.

 

Do You Know How To Worry?

It’s not hard,  and can’t be learned from a book.  It can only be practiced.  If you know how to worry,  you know how to meditate.  It’s simply thinking about something over and over,  processing the same thought or idea.  It should be prayerful,  and in connection with God,  but can be done anywhere,  anytime,  any place.

 

Transformation

The goal of meditation is to receive the mind of God,  hear the voice of God,  applying scripture correctly in our lives and gaining guidance.  It is the means to appropriating the transforming power that renews our minds and souls.  It cleanses us and brings us to a point of decision which leads to application and action.

 

Use Your Imagination

It can involve using our imagination through visualization.  This has also been misunderstood as many fear the evil one will distort our understanding through our imagination.  Yet,  done prayerfully,  in the correct attitude and spirit,  God can sanctify and use our imagination for His good purposes.

 

Getting Started

  • Concentrate on your selected passage by committing as much of it to memory as possible.
  • Paraphrase it in your own words.
  • Personalize it by substituting your name in place of pronouns and nouns.
  • Speak the passage out loud many times with emphasis on different words each time.
  • Visualize the passage in some way,  either substituting yourself in the scene for the main character,  or seeing the scripture come true in your life,  coming face to face with Jesus,  putting yourself in the place of those who received the original words.  What is going on,  how would you respond,  what do you feel,  what would you do?
  • Pray the passage back to God,  amplify the passage in your prayer.

These are just ideas and not all will work with every passage.

 

Remember,  the goal of Christian meditation is transformation,  the renewing of our minds so we begin thinking the thoughts of God.  This will eventually change our actions as we apply the thoughts of God to our human actions, attitudes and emotions.

 

Personal Reflections on Meditation: 

  1. What are some ideas you have or have had about the practice of meditation?
  2. What is the goal of Christian meditation?
  3. What kinds of things do you worry about?  Do you have to plan to worry?
  4. What excuses or rationalizations do you come up with to put off meditation or not do it at all?
  5. What is an area of your mind or thinking that needs to be transformed?
  6. As you begin to meditate on the attributes of God through your Remember verses,  what ways do you think this could impact your life?  How would your “worry time” change?

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Record any insights or struggles,  any new things you learned from this practice of Meditation as Comments.  Also share some of your answers to the Personal Reflections on Meditation section.

 

why?

Study

 

Paul  – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.“  2 Tim 3:16-17  NIV

Unknown “For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword,  it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,  joints and marrow;  it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Heb 4:12  NIV

Richard Foster – “In the study of Scripture a high priority is placed upon interpretation:  what it means.  In the devotional reading of Scripture a high priority is placed upon application:  what it means to me.  All too often people rush to the application stage ….they want to know what it means to them before they know what it means.”

Rick Warren – “Probably one of the best keep secrets in Christendom is the availability of practical Bible study helps.  This is comparable to a carpenter who sets out to build a house without knowing that hammer and saw are available to him.”

Calvin Miller – “Mystics without study are only spiritual romantics who want relationship without effort.”

Dallas Willard – “Now disciples of Jesus are people who want to take into their being the order of The Kingdom Among Us.  They wish to live their life as Jesus himself would and that requires internalization of that order.  Study is the chief way in which they do it.”

The questions of how to interpret the Bible is not a minor issue.  It is,  in a sense,  one of the battlegrounds for our souls.  If Satan had a list of what he does not want us to do,  Bible study would be at the top,  along with prayer and worship.

Through study of Scripture we learn who Jesus is and are enabled to become like Him.  How can we become like Him,  if we do not know what He is like?  Devotional studies are important,  but they must result from a serious study of Scripture.  (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Every Christian with the Bible in hand is rich whether he knows it or not.  Let him search and find hidden treasures.

The Psalmist  – “I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.  I have not departed from your laws,  for you yourself have taught me.  How sweet are your words to my taste,  sweeter than honey to my mouth!   I gain understanding from your precepts;  therefore I hate every wrong path.  Your Word is a lamp to my feet,  a light for my path.”  Ps 119: 101-105  NIV

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Beyond Time and Space.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

 

why?

Meditation

 

Dallas Willard – “Our prayer as we study meditatively is always that God would meet with us and speak specifically to us, for ultimately the Word of God is God speaking.”

Paul“Finally,  brothers,  whatever is true,  whatever is noble,  whatever is right,  whatever is pure,  whatever is lovely,  whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.   Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me,  or seen in me — put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.“ Phil. 4: 8-9  NIV

THE LORD – “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;  meditate on it day and night,  so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1: 8  NIV

John Ortberg – “The purpose of knowing Scripture is not to help us get 100% on the heavenly entrance exam.  It is to help us become equipped for good works.”

Meditation is where Bible Study and Prayer meet.  It links the Bible knowledge we have with our desire and will to produce application.  It moves us.

Richard Foster – “Christian meditation,  very simply,  is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word.”

Rick Warren – “Meditation is essentially thought digestion.  You take a thought God gives you,  put it in your mind,  and think on it over and over again….Scriptural meditation is reading a passage of the Bible,  then concentrating on it in different ways.”

Meditation helps us fine tune our spiritual hearing so we can recognize the voice of God over our own selfish desires.

Begin your day in the evening.  Go to sleep meditating on God’s word and it will set your mental attitudes for the next day.

Meditation renews  our soul and enhances our spiritual discernment,  sensitivity to others,  our conscience,  increases our wisdom and our creativity.  It will slowly replace our mind with the mind of Christ.

References for the above quotes can be found in the back of the PDF version of Beyond Time and Space.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the PDF,  or the Comments section of this post)

Pick one or two of the above quotes or statements and share any insights or challenges it presents to you.

The next post is Beyond Time and Space 8: Journal 3.4 – The Big Jump.

 

Beyond Time and Space 8: Journal 3.4 – The Big Jump

 

So how do we make the jump from Theism  (belief in the one and only transcendent god who interacts with his creation)  to the belief in the Triune God,  God Almighty,  The One and Only Yahweh God of Christianity?

 

God is not a triplex,  but a triunity.

Instead of 1+1+1=3,  think 1x1x1=1.

The Trinity cannot be proven by human reason,  but just because it goes beyond human reason does not mean it goes against human reason.

 

God has one essence  (What)  and three persons  (Who) .

The three Who’s each share the same What,  all the while remaining ONE.

 

This sounds crazy,  we can’t really understand it.  We would have never created a God like this.

It is one of many truths about our transcendent God that remain just out of our mental reach.

So God provided more information and that comes through what is known as Special Revelation,  found in the Book called the Bible.

 

The Bible contains the core message of Christianity,  breathed by God Himself through men and onto paper so you and I can read its inspired message 3000 years later.

My own personal journey included a period in time prior to my becoming a Christ follower,  when I had to validate for myself that the Bible was indeed reliable,  true,  and accurate – before I would believe it and do what it said.

 

The basis for this study is the Bible.

We are looking up verses and reading chapters to learn more about God.

How do we know this isn’t just some myth?

Someone’s primitive wishful thinking?

I set out to find out – as many,  many others have before me,  and it changed my life.

 

The Bible stands up to scrutiny,  as it has for generations and as it will until the end of time.  (Make sure to review the More Cool Stuff section in this Journey to see what I found out.)

My ultimate conclusion:  the Bible is indeed worthy

Of study,

Of trusting,

For direction and truth.

God’s instructions,

Encouragements and rebukes,

Everything we need to know about Him,

And His plans for our lives and our world.

 

We can believe it – It’s inspired by God.

 

COMMENT:

(In your own journal,  the downloadable PDF for this blog,  or in the Comment section for this post)

What kinds of things would you want to know about the Bible to validate that what it says is true?

What excuses do people use to not believe in the Bible?

Our next blog post will be Beyond Time and Space 9: More Cool Stuff – Unshakeable.