Sunday, September 09, 2007

The dualisms of life

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Amos 4, 5, 6

Amos 5:14-15 (NIV)

14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

Matthew 7:9-12 (NIV)

9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Good morning!

I am a collector of many different types of memorabilia. I place scraps of paper and notes I’ve taken into Creative Memories® scrapbooks. I have a bookshelf full of scrapbook photos capturing places I’ve been throughout my life’s journey and the stories I share with family and friends. Do you collect sentimental relics that help convey who you are - something that you may one day leave as an heirloom for your children or grandchildren? I have a Bible that is literally falling apart at the seams. I have marked in it for over ten years now. It was a gift from my husband when I took my first Disciple Bible Study class in Salem, Missouri. I carry it with me each week to church and school, but it is becoming unmanageable, as the pages are literally beginning to fall out of its binding. A lot of time has been spent pouring over its pages, marking the text, and taking notes during worship. Someday I will need to retire this book, especially if I intend to pass it along to my family. Until then, I need to put it in a zippered case, simply to keep it all together. Do you have a Bible that is precious to you? Scripture is a precious treasure containing love letters from God. It is a wonderful gift worth passing from generation to generation.

My New Testament professor has a unique and unusual collection to share. He looks for dualisms in life, and keeps a notebook filled with words illustrating this philosophy. Every week in class, we embark upon a study and reflection of various dualisms jam-packed throughout Scripture. Prophets conveyed the Word of God through the variety of dualisms spoken to the people of Israel. Amos urges God’s people to seek good rather than evil, for goodness would bring life, but evil would render death. Good versus evil – life and death issues; the dualisms we continue to struggle with everyday. Brilliant philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Renè Descartes helped unpack some of the questions dualistic living raises. Cartesian dualism suggests that the mind and body, two distinct substances, can and does interact with one another.

Jesus Christ knew a lot about genuine goodness and the evil intentions buried in the hearts and minds of people. We are a mix of good and evil, mind and matter, spirit and body. Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” How I long to give good gifts to my kids, but sometimes I fail. Even the best intentions can be laced with ulterior motives, such as bribery. Have you never offered your child a little incentive if they would bring home a good grade on a test or as a special reward for picking up their room? To become a person full of goodness is the legacy I want to leave, knowing that I must have Christ’s perfecting touch to reach it one day. You see, only perfect goodness exists in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are created in the image of God, and God sees His creation as good. Our goodness is not yet perfected, but through Christ’s amazing grace, we can move closer toward His holy perfection and goodness each day.

Do you struggle with dualisms in your life? My desire to live in the Lord’s daily presence can only come through seeking His way, which is the only way to the Father. The words of the Prophet Amos remind me today that I must embrace God’s goodness over evil, checking out my ulterior motives, and relying completely upon the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ alone.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: the desire to strive toward perfection in Christ Jesus. He can take the dualisms and contradictions in our lives and wash us clean by the power of His precious blood. Come into His presence today and worship the Lord. I’ll see you this morning at Faith Church, a community of faith where you will always be welcome.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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