Themes & Memes | Christian Readings

Themes & Memes | Christian Readings February 11, 2020

Last week I wrote about the voice of many waters.[1]  It’s just a way that I sometimes view the direction of the Holy Spirit.  This week, I’m offering a rare glimpse into my Christian readings and responses.  I’m not completely inviting you into my devotional life because the vast majority of that is known to no man.  So I will just share some snapshots for the sake of showing you that over time, God can and does do what I proposed last week.

I’m piecing together these readings and responses to show that there are themes that the Spirit will lead you to consider, if you allow Him.

Themes & Memes
Christian Readings

Bear in mind that I’m following a reading schedule with more readings.  So I’m not looking up Scriptures to build a theme or to post a meme.

If you happen to enjoy peering into my prayer life this week, don’t get used to it.  Rather, accept it as a rare transparent encouragement from me to pursue an active devotional and prayer life of your own in the Spirit.

If my memes are not that great, take it easy on me.  I’m working with a free phone app.

FYI: You’ll have to look up some of the Bible Passages on your device or something.




1 Peter iv.3-4
(02.06.20, 10:38 pm)

Today, I did an extra reading, 1 Peter 1-5 in the NRSV.  There’s a lot that I love about the book, Peter’s words about angels being one of them.  Certainly he speaks from experience [if you look to his stories in Acts], being chained to a Roman soldier with two Centurions at the gate.  People are praying for him, an angel shows up in brilliant light, and he seems to be sleeping through it, laying naked on the floor.

Wake up Peter, deliverance from maximum security has come.

I didn’t meditate on it all too much.  However, I feel like I may be sleeping at times when God wants to walk me out of something miraculously.

For the record, I made another meme on the theme of purity from 1 Peter iv.3-4.

JVI | 1 Peter iv.3-4 | 02.03.20

That’s for tomorrow.  I don’t know how long this will keep up, and I blogged about it today.  I just read James, so I see the importance of faith plus works, and I pray the Lord accepts the efforts of this penitent.



2 Peter i.19
(02.07.20, 9:22 pm)

Today I posted the meme from last night.  This reading is from 2 Peter and John 1, NRSV.  There are other passages to consider with this theme of purity: 2 Peter i.3-4; iii.14; John i.4-5, 47.  All are giving me ideas to pray about, and could lead me somewhere in my interior life.

However, I chose to prepare a meme for 2 Peter i.19.

JVI | 2 Peter i.19 | 02.07.20

Is there a dark place of the soul?

Could a location, a geographical location, be dark?

If darkness prevails, what is the nature of prophecy?

The “morning star” is not just a poetic device pointing to the sun.  It’s a Messianic reference, in a tone that echoes Malachi’s refrain [Malachi iv.2].

In contrast to the dark place of our interior life, a “prophetic message” gives us a new hope . . . “a lamp shining . . . the day dawns . . . the morning star rises.”

Let Him rise and may His brilliance illuminate our lives and all within our reach.



John iii.20-21
(02.08.20, 10:15 pm)

Tonight I read John 2-4 from the ESV.  I like John ii.13-17 as a possibility because of how Christ cleans and protects the Father’s House.

John ii.23-25 are great if I want to study the interior life, possibly original sin or original guilt.

I’ve actually been thinking of John iii.6-8 recently, but I don’t want to keep moving around here, and I’m sick of voices on the wind . . . random people who show up and try to speak into my life . . . old friends calling out of nowhere, or new people.  They don’t know me.  They’re not walking with me like a friend does.  They’re not speaking as the Spirit does in these verses either, even if they think they are.[2]

In line with the theme, the verses for tonight seem to be John iii.20-21.

JVI | John iii.20-21 | 02.08.20

People seem to know my business.  I’m not sure I have much of a secret life.  It’s not quite The Truman Show, but sometimes it feels like it.  Maybe it’s a small town after all.  Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace it a little more and more.

There’s accountability in the light.  There’s usually a feeling of more vulnerability than safety.  At times I long for sanctuary.

If I’m in the Light, and can call others around here into the Light, then I think conversations will happen that will propel us all forward into the works God has for us.

If we hide our hopes and motives and vision from each other, then we might as well be walking in darkness.



John vi.18-21
(02.09.20, 10:05 pm)

Tonight I read John v – vi out of the NRSV.

There really was no other passage to consider other than John vi.18-21.

JVI | John vi.18-21 | 02.09.20

I feel the freedom to expand the theme I’ve been chasing, since I’m praying about so many other elements of my life and family.

It’s rough, but Jesus still walks on water, calms storms, and He can miraculously get us to our destination.[3]



John viii.12
(02.10.20, 8:02 pm)

Tonight I read John vii – viii, NRSV.  There is a lot of dialogue in these chapters about the identity of Christ, so it’s not easy to select a verse for a meme without being misunderstood.

John vii.18 is really resonating with me, but I don’t want it to come across as a form of self-promotion.  I see it as a love for the study of God’s Word and the pursuit of Truth, for the glory of God.  I can only pray that my sons continue to develop a love for the Word.

This pursuit frees us up to chase all that Christ has for us, John ix.31-32.  It’s unmistakable how great a factor this becomes when considering life decisions.

The Scripture for the meme that encapsulates all this, and connects with previous memes, is John viii.12

JVI | John viii.12 | 02.10.20

If I pursue Truth, the Word, and follow Him, I may wake up one day and realize I’ve been living a completely transformed life.  I’ve stumbled into a new lifestyle.  After all, that’s one way that walking in the Light can happen.

There’s also a hint that I can reach the point of no turning back.  Is it too much to assume that there’s a point of no turning back?  Maybe.  On the other hand, I think we often live like either we didn’t get the memo or everlasting life is a distant point in the eschatological future.

However, Jesus is promising something in the now, an in-breaking of Light, that transforms our life ontologically.

To say we’ve just made some good lifestyle choices is an understatement.  A drastic change of the interior life could indeed give us the confidence to proclaim there’s no turning back.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.




Rev. Jared Ingle

Pastor: Long Lake Friends Church
Supervised Therapist: personal, couples, families
Traverse City, MI

Meet Jared

notes:

[1] The voice of many waters vs. moral norms?  CLICK HERE

[2] Just to provide a little context, let’s look at the verses in question, since this turned out to be a bigger deal in the writings than I anticipated.

What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’  The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  – John iii.6-8, NRSV

The reality is that we live in a society of relationships that are generally built on roles or functions.  There are seldom whole relationships anymore.

In the church we may often know each other through our structure, which is a little less organic than was originally intended.

From a psychological viewpoint, I can share something we often talked about in seminary.  As counselors and marriage and family therapists, we were taught that we must be careful that the role does not define the relationship.  We also have to realistically guard against the money controlling the relationship.  The code phrase we used to shock ourselves back into a proper mindset was “emotional whores.”  We don’t want to ever get to the point when our role, function, or money controls a relationship.

I was surprised myself at the raw written word from that journal entry.  However, I share it to show that I’m human.  We all long for authentic, face-to-face, whole friendships.  Anything less is a bastardization of the Spirit’s true empowerment for us to connect with each other.

[3] In fact this Scripture on the calming of the storm has become the major one for me this week, even again last night.  It’s a little different than the main themes I’ve been chasing, but sometimes I believe the Spirit throws a curveball.  I will remain quietly within this Passage, allowing Christ not only to calm the storms around me, but also to allow Him to navigate and bring us to the destination.  This speaks to multiple contexts that we’re involved with as a family.


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