Monthly Archives: October 2011

Christmas is coming

JUST A WORD….

            The Last Lecture, a book by Dr. Randy Pausch, is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read in my life.  At the age of forty-seven, Dr.Pausch discovered he had pancreatic cancer and very limited time to live. Perhaps by divine coincidence, at the same time Carnegie Mellon Institute of Pittsburgh, presented an opportunity for a professor to deliver a lecture, assuming it would be the last he ever delivered.

Having gotten married only ten years earlier, Dr. Pausch had three children under the age of ten.  Children who would never really get to know their Dad, what he valued, what kind of man he was, and what his hopes and dreams might be for them.  There were also his students, who could never again learn from him.  So, with his wife gently protesting, he went ahead and delivered the lecture. If you’ve read his book, or seen his lecture, you probably feel the same awe, admiration, and respect I do

There were just words on the pages.  Just words.  But what emotions they created.  How well we were able to get to know such a beautiful person, when most of us never had and never could have had opportunity to meet him personally.  Words.  Written words, help us find out a lot about him and will continue to do that.

We also recently lost one of the most brilliant men of our time, Steve Jobs.  More than anyone alive today, his life and work have impacted us.  All of us, and in ways we could not have imagined even a decade ago.  After he discovered that he, too, had pancreatic cancer, Jobs contacted one of the most accomplished biographers our country (or any other) has ever produced.  Jobs contacted Walter Isaacson and asked if he’d write his (Steve’s) biography.  Some may have viewed that as presumptuous.  But Steve Jobs had a driving compulsion to let people know what Steve Jobs was about.  I’m sure he felt the same way Randy Pausch felt: He had something important to say, and a book. . . just filled with words. . . seemed to be the most effective way to do that.

Words.  Just words!

Believe it or not, with the coming Christ mass season, that has been the way my mind has been working.  Personally, I believe the Incarnation of Christ, the Nativity, was God’s dramatic attempt to introduce us to His Son, so we can see what He’s like, what He thinks, how He lived and died, and how He treated others.  No one else has ever even come close to Jesus in the beautiful, simple, profound way He demonstrated the perfect ideal of life.  If we want to know what God is like, how He thinks, how He works, what He’s willing to give because of love, then we should know Jesus.

When you read the opening chapter of the Gospel record of John, you run immediately into these words: “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God.  And the Word was God. . . the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, as of the only begotten of God, full of grace and truth.”

Most people who study Scripture even halfway seriously know that the Greek word used in that paragraph is “Logos.”  That was the Greek’s attempt to put a name to God, or whatever they perceived as the most lofty, elevated idea of the Reason for existence which We translate Logos as “Word,”

If you think you’d like to know about such outstanding people as Steve Jobs and Randy Pausch, I’d suggest that you read the books (the words) about them.  If at Christmas, or any other time, you have a desire to know God, I’d suggest that you read about Him in Scripture.  God has spoken to us in His written Word, and through His Son, the Living Word.

Just a word?  No, I rather think not.  HE IS THE WORD.

I believe God still is speaking and in this coming season, especially, my prayer is that the Glory of the Lord may shine on you.  Joy to you, too!

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student  donkimrey

 

A Fellow-Student’s Response

 (It is my good fortune to have some very good friends, who’ve understood what I’m trying to do.  I ran the earlier post by one to get a reaction.  Here’s how she responded.  If you read the earlier post, you’ll probably understand this one was very difficult for me to do. I will continue to pray for my friend, encourage you to do likewise, and would welcome your thoughts.  donkimrey)
          I read the Jacob/Israel post you sent via email; and as always it’s in-depth and heartfelt. (I did recognize that it was very personal to you because of your very selfish friend.) I think the difference between your friend and Jacob (and David and Moses and all the others who made a mess of things!) is Jacob was willing and ready to accept the changes God offered and made in his life. Apparently, your friend is not.
  Crudely put: God will not mess with our freewill.
            He wants pliable, teachable hearts; not puppets on strings that He can control. God isn’t in the business of manipulation, is He?
            You posed the question: “Do I give up on such an apparently lost cause from a purely human standpoint? How can I do that unless God does?” My answer would be you are not the Sovereign Almighty Limitless God. We are made in His image, but we are also humans with limited capabilities.  You also commented that “he (your friend) continues using, hurting, disregarding and discarding those who really love him, moving on from one duped victim to the next.” Continue to lift him in prayer, certainly, but I would Really Encourage you to prayerfully consider the bruised, battered and bloody hearts of those victims of which you spoke. AND all of the ones he’s not yet met and duped. Perhaps it’s just me, Don, but my heart goes out to those folks. But you know, Don, one can only cry “victim” for so long. After a while “duped-victims” become “self-pitying-enablers.” And they become as diseased (perhaps even more so!) as the one victimizing.

Let’s Talk Some more about Jacob/Israel

l

          (The story of Jacob/Israel spans decades and is spread out over a vast area. It is recorded, with no holds barred, between the twenty-fifth and fiftieth chapter of the book of Genesis.  In this instance, I haven’t tried to identify specific verses.  This represents a sort of overview on my part, taking into consideration his entire life.  Doing that, necessarily you see one very flawed, selfish, self-centered man whom you probably would not have trusted or even liked very much. This is another case where the wonderful grace of God rescues, cleanses, and uses someone who just as easily could have wound up in the garbage dump of wasted humanity.  I can’t honestly tell you to “enjoy” this study, but it seems to be a crucial piece if you view the entire picture of man’s need and God’s grace.  Please pray for my friend, and rest assured I’ll pray for anyone in your life who resembles Jacob. ~dk)

Sorry I’ve been sort of out of touch lately.  Health issues, mostly.  In addition, I’ve really gotten stymied in my attempt to understand Jacob, another Biblical figure whom I’ve designated as one of God’s “Comeback Kids.”  Working on my book, some personal matters, and the health issues with my wife and me have been only a partial explanation of my absence.  To be very candid, in considering Jacob I’ve struggled.  It isn’t an easy study.  I find him to be one of the least likeable (yet one of the most important) of the Hebrew “heroes of faith.”  In fact, early on I consider him to be almost contemptible.  He’s a con man.  He was incredibly  selfish, apparently incurably narcissistic.  Routinely, he lies and cheats, defrauds and uses even his closest family members, friends, and strangers and is always on the take and on the make.

Apart from those considerations, I have a friend whom I’ve considered almost as close as a brother to be a modern day clone of Jacob. Seeing him waste himself and leave scars, heartbreak and carnage in his wake, has really  troubled me. And my pain is nothing when compared to those who’ve been closest to him.

Sorry.  I’ve dragged my heels.  I’ve not felt like a judge, condemning, criticizing.  I’ve felt more like a doctor looking carefully, with some understanding of human nature and a very heavy heart at a patient whom I happen to love and having to deal with the fact that a cancer is gnawing voraciously at his vitals, growing daily and inevitably leading to no good end.  And the patient, his friend, is willfully ignorant of his danger, dismissive of any attempts to block his descent,  and takes no steps to face reality and the pain he causes those who love him.  They still believe, and still hope against all odds.  He continues using, hurting, disregarding and discarding those who really love him, moving on from one duped victim to the next

The reality is there is people today just like my friend, and just like Jacob.  And, because they have such high opinions of themselves and such little regard for anyone else, they are perhaps among the most difficult to ever recognize their need to humbly, honestly seek God’s wisdom, forgiveness and grace.  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. They deceive themselves when they think otherwise.

So, through several months now, I’ve thought about “Jake the Snake.”  Wondered how he could be so  blind. So unaware or uncaring that others can see through the veneer.  How can he be so careless with his own great gifts, and trash the trust and love of those whose love he should have treasured. . . using them for his own advantage? How or why does he savage their lives with such apparent impunity?

Do I give up on such an apparently lost cause from a purely human standpoint?  How can I do that unless God does?  God saw things in Jacob that I missed. How can you explain a transformation of one so selfish and deceitful into a tower of  strength and an admirable example of faith? How could anyone except God break through such a barricade of selfishness and create a heart and life devoted to serving Him and becoming the Father of a Nation?

My guess would have been this guy, Jacob, was a lost cause.  Who knows what God can do with someone whom we regard as a lost cause?

I will say this, though: If anyone “lives for self and none beside, as though Christ had never died,” they do so at their own great peril.

God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student,                                                      ~donkimrey