Recently, a young lady, whose parents had forwarded to her, one of the Internet message, ( praise God) wrote:
"I have meditated on Proverbs 31 and desire to be that woman can you give me some guidance on how to know my word as you do and how to build a strong foundation. Faith, Obedience, Balance, Fear of the Lord, all beautiful words but how does one truly learn how be those words and still live in today's society? How does one then take this learning and teach the next person or even your family??? As you can see I have questions and I am hoping that you can help me get some answers. I await your assistance"
I sent an answer after due reflection and we continue to "speak" on-line. However, this enormous task of helping someone seeking a deeper understanding of God, in these challenging times indeed, was too much for me, so the Lord sent additional material for me to consider as the week went by.
First up was a meditation which I had already sent some time ago, but on going back over it, some deeper insights of the need for a mediator were gained. And which need for a mediator is central to the proper understanding of who God is and who we, sinful mankind, are.
It is important, for perspective, to appreciate who Pascal was according to the Classics Devotional Bible.
".....one of the great minds of Western intellectual history, an eminent mathematician and physicist who was at the same time one of the great mystical writers in Christian Literature. By the age of 12 pascal had worked out the equivalent of of many of Euclid's geometrical theorems. At age 19 he invented the first practical calculating machine. Later he verified the theory of atmospheric pressure and formulated the mathematical theory of probability, a fundamental element of modern theoretical physics.
JESUS CHRIST - THE MIDDLE WAY BLAISE PASCAL ( 1623-1662)
Verse Psalm 51: 1 " Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions."
The God of the Christians is not a God who is simply the author of mathematical truths, or of the order of the elements, as is the god of the pagans and the Epicureans. Nor is he merely a god who providentially disposes the life and fortunes of men, to crown his worshipers with length of happy years. Such was the portion of the Jews. But eh god of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God for the Christians is a God of love and consolation, a God who fills the souls and hearts of his own, a God who makes them feel their inward wretchedness and his infinite mercy, who unites himself to their inmost spirit, filling it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, rendering them incapable of any other end but himself.
All who seek God apart from Jesus Christ, and who rest in nature, either find no light to satisfy them, or form for themselves a means of knowing God and serving him without a mediator. Thus they fall either into atheism or into deism, two things which the Christian religion almost equally abhors.
The God of the Christian is a God who makes the soul perceive that he is her only good, that her only rest is in him, her only joy in loving him; who makes her at the same time abhor the obstacles which withhold her from loving him with all her strength. Her two hindrances, self-love and lust, are insupportable to her. This God makes her perceive that the root of self-love destroys her, and that he alone can heal,
The knowledge of God without that of our wretchedness creates pride. The knowledge of our wretchedness without that of God creates despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the middle way, because in him we find both God and our wretchedness.
Then I found some very memorable quotes from reading a section of " The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers - whose devotional " My Utmost for His Highest" is probably one of the best selling Christian books outside of the Bible.
January 4: It is a great moment when we realize we have the power to trample on certain moods, a tremendous emancipation to get rid of every kind of self-consciousness and heed one thing only: the relationship between God and myself.
January 5: Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things that only learned in a fiery furnace.
January 8: The tendency is strong to say - " O God won't be so stern as to expect me to give up that"! But He will; " He won't expect me to walk in the light that I have nothing to hide". But He will; He won't expect me to draw on His grace for everything". But He will.
January 17: If you are a saint God will continually upset your programme, and if you are wedded to your programme you will become that most obnoxious creature under the earth, an irritable saint.
The last one proved very instructive, and reassuring, as last night after having typed the message and tried to copy and paste. It disappeared into cyberspace, lost forever. So I went to my bed and slept, and did not become irritable, and question why!
The messages about God continued with my reading again, a meditation from a saint who paid the ultimate price for being a disciple of Christ during the evil reign of Hitler in Nazi Germany, while the " church" dithered.
A TRUE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
Verse Matthew 9:9 " As Jesus went out from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "
Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him."
When we are called to follow Christ, we are summoned to an exclusive attachment to his person. The grace of his call burst all the bonds of legalism........Discipleship means an adherence to Christ, and, because Christ is the object of that adherence, it must take the form of discipleship. An abstract Christology, a doctrinal system, a general religious knowledge on the subject of grace or even on the forgiveness of sins, render discipleship superfluous, and in fact they positively exclude any idea of discipleship whatever, and are essentially inimical to the whole conception of following Christ With an abstract idea it is possible to enter into a relation of formal knowledge, to become enthusiastic about it, and perhaps even put it into practice; but it can never be followed in personal obedience. Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son. And a Christianity of that kind in nothing more or less the end of discipleship. In such a religion there is trust in God, but no following of Christ. Be cause the Son of God became man, be cause he is the mediator, for that reason alone the only true relation we can have with him is to follow him. Discipleship is bound to Christ as the mediator, and where it is properly understood, it necessarily implies faith in the Son of God as the mediator. Only the mediator, the God-man can call men to follow him
Finally words from a hymn - the first two verses - which brought great joy to my soul this week, as I spent time praying about its message concerning the mediator, and gave thanks as I participated in Holy Communion on Sunday morning.
And now, O Father, mindful of the love
That brought us, once for all, on Calvary's Tree,
And having with us him that pleads above,
We here present, we here spread forth to thee
That only Offering perfect in thine eyes,
That one true, pure immortal sacrifice
Look, Father, look on his anointed face,
And only look on us as found n him;
Look not on our misusings of thy grace,
Our prayer so languid and our faith so dim:
For lo, we set between our sins and their reward
We set the Passion of our Lord.
I pray God that we have learned more about the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, of Sam Sharpe, of Marcus Garvey, of Martin Luther King Jnr. And who alone can create a truly virtuous woman, and righteous man, by providing for the Atonement of our sins, and who chose to do so in and through His Son Jesus Christ, the only mediator betwen man and God.