Always and forever

Our thought processes tend to be restricted by our understanding. We feel safe in accepting scientific proven facts, but it is not until we allow our imagination to adventure into the world of the unknown that possibilities can seem like realities.

We don’t seem to have any difficulty accepting the word ‘forever’ in our language and our understanding. However, the word ‘always’ tends to indicate that there is a beginning which will continue.

Let us focus our imagination on the deity we call God. This spirit exists in whatever form we have accepted as a result of many influences during our lifetime. My exposure to God has been through the Christian tradition and as a result my imaginative processes are flavoured by my knowledge and experiences within this environment.

Because of my belief that there will be an eternity, I have no difficulty in understanding the word ‘forever’. It is my strong conviction that God as spirit has always existed and that ‘always’ means ‘forever’. My God encircles the universe as a ring where there is no beginning and no end.

My idea of God is that this spirit has always been a trinity containing a Spirit of Creation, a Spirit of Life and a Spirit of Humanity. The Bible supports my theory here when the creator made the world and everything in it, the Spirit then breathed life into creation.

We also read how when this creation took place ‘in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God’. The Word has always been seen as Jesus and this was confirmed at the Transfiguration scene when the voice from heaven told the apostles, ‘This is my son, listen to him’.

But I let my mind go back beyond the creation of the world to consider in my imagination God’s plan for the creation of humanity. I think the spirit world was a happy place and the Spirit of Creation had always planned to share this place with other created spirits.

The Spirit of Humanity would enable this to happen because unlike the birds, fish and animals that were to be created with a survival instinct, humans would be given a conscience to help them determine their destiny.

To get a firsthand look at how the conscience concept would work, God created spiritual angels to share the happy spiritual world. We read about how some angels had special duties and Michael was classified as an Archangel, which indicates there was some form of hierarchical structure in place. In Matthews Gospel (Ch. 18) we read how angels get to see the face of God whereas in Exodus (Ch. 33) man cannot see the face of God and continue to live.

These spiritual angelic beings were given a conscience. They could determine the difference between right and wrong, between good and bad. Eventually jealously and envy caused a revolt in the angelic world and Satan and his followers were banished forever from the light of the heavenly existence to the darkness of the void.

God must have been determined to give humanity every chance to spend eternity in a spirit filled heaven because he made sure everything was in place for us within this universe before humanity came into existence.

There is no doubt evolution exists within our world as we follow the historical progress of different species. However, humans were created with a conscience and this to me indicates the difference between animals and humans, irrespective of how closely related we may seem due to the evolutionally process.

Right and wrong

All of creation exists as a result of the intervention of our God. The miracle of human birth is constantly occurring throughout our world with the Creator ensuring each of us is a unique being. As we grow in age and understanding, we mature and become aware of the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. How we choose to honour this understanding generally determines the type of adult we become.

Satan and his followers seem determined to promote evil and thwart the Creator’s concept of having humans know, love and serve their God so they will eventually be happy with him in heaven along with the angels and saints. Hence, we are tempted to see the enjoyment and fulfilment of following the easy pathways in our lives that promote sin and eventual damnation.

Life does become a constant battle and we eventually learn that we need God’s help constantly just to survive.  Sometimes it may take years of seemingly fighting against evil and the temptations that surround us on our own. Sometimes our God doesn’t even feature in our daily lives. We seek to live in a state of happiness which we believe can be obtained with money, enjoyment, possessions and feelings of self fulfillment.

Often, it is not until the occasion arises when our world comes crashing down around us and we end up virtually at the bottom of the barrel, that we learn to reach out in desperation to our God who has always been there for us.  During our lives to that point many of us have never sought God’s intervention as we have always thought we can go it alone in this world.

Of course, this situation doesn’t go down well with the devil who thought he had us firmly in his grasp. Still, this evil spirit has a game plan all ready to enact that will have us rethinking our reinvolvement with our maker.

As we ponder the Jesus of our youth and early church attendance days, we are suddenly confronted by doubts and our unworthiness. It may have been many years since we were inside a church or chapel. We can’t remember the last time we prayed. Our thought processes tell us we would be seen as hypocrites by turning to God after years of spiritual inactivity. As for seeing God in our everyday life, this was just a fantasy.

The words, “Come to me all you who labour and I will give you rest” can become a reality as we reach out in desperation, seeking forgiveness and begging for assistance. Jesus said He is the way to the Father so let us ask Him to show us the way.

As Christians, we are encouraged to develop a close relationship with Jesus. How we go about doing this will vary with every individual but obviously, like any developing relationship, success will depend on the acceptance of each other ‘warts and all’, as the saying goes.

There is certainly enough documented material around to give us a good understanding of how and why Jesus spent His life on earth. He made it quite clear he would ‘never leave us orphans’ and gave us the New Covenant that insured us He would always be around for us. So, it seems it is up to us to fulfill our side of the relationship by allowing Jesus into our lives regardless of whether we feel worthy.

Everyone will go about this in their own way. I spent some considerable time seeing Jesus as the suffering saviour. The crucified martyr, in pain caused by our sinfulness. This vision only gave me much sadness and I had considerable difficulty even trying to form a balanced relationship. Perhaps Jesus was suffering for the harm and pain we would cause each other during our lifetimes as we failed to heed His message to ‘Love one another.’

It was not until I allowed my imagination to see Jesus through the various phases of his life from conception to death that I came to feel comfortable with the mature man with whom I feel I can easily relate.  He is aged around 29 years, just prior to His public life commencing. He is fully versed in the ancient scriptures. He has been raised by Joseph and Mary and understands the ways of the world. He is a bloke who listens.

While everyone’s imagination will be different, I find it helpful to seek out my Jesus in a quiet restful situation. Perhaps a bush setting in the shade under a tree where there is no interference from noise other than what might generally be heard in a natural environment. This type of location can be conjured up irrespective of where you might be at the time. Perhaps, lying in bed, sitting on a bus or walking in a park. Obviously, the least distractions around you will make it easier to meditate in this way.

I find a wonderful way of experiencing the greatness of our God is to just look up at the night sky. The stars, planets and even the circling satellites seem to put our existence into perspective. We are but a speck of dust compared with the enormity of God’s creation. Yet, we are part of that creation. We are loved as individuals and have been given complete access to our God at all times. How amazing is our God!

As an aside, I enjoy taking on small challenging building and construction projects and often refer to ‘my Jesus’ as son of Joseph the carpenter and a good general tradesman who can assist me in so many ways with thoughts and ideas that make the completion of my projects so much easier. From my experience it would seem that ‘my Jesus’ has kept up to date with modern trends, equipment and materials and also seems to have a fair understanding of today’s technology as well. It just seems less complicated completing tasks when He is around.

For me, it seems so much easier having a close relationship with the spirit of the 29 year old Jesus as a human concept. With hindsight I have often seen how events have turned out opposite to the ways I envisaged or wanted them when I prayed earnestly for what I thought was required. So, it seems that if my prayer requests are just a simple asking for help with specific problems, I can let God determine how that help might be administered.

However, we must always be aware that in talking with our God we need to do more than just keep asking for help in the way we think we need it. In our relationship with Jesus, we always need to recognise that we are relating to Jesus the Christ as a spirit and as such the spirit of the Father and the Holy Spirit are also present as one God.

Jesus told us that He was the way to the Father so we should ask ‘our Jesus’ to take us to the Father and ask the Holy Spirit to come as well, for we are told the Holy Spirit makes intersessions to the Father for us with our prayer. As we kneel at the Father’s feet, we can offer glory and honour to our God and ask forgiveness for our sins and apologise for causing Jesus to suffer.

It is interesting how the Blessed Trinity (or 3 components in our God) can be more easily understood when viewed as part of the spirit world rather than in human terms where we refer to the Trinity as ‘three persons’. Being Spirit, our God can be available to everyone at the one time and can take on many forms both seen and unseen. The apostles on the road to Emmaus walked with Jesus for the whole day and didn’t recognise him. Jesus appeared in locked rooms after His resurrection and had meals with His friends. He appeared in the human form they all recognised.

As Spirit, Jesus the Christ can converse with us through our thoughts, imagination and even those people around us. So often I have been engrossed in a handyman project and seemingly have the processes I will use all worked out when out of the blue, my wife might offer, to her, what might be a seemingly unimportant suggestion.  Providing I am prepared to consider this suggestion and alter my already firm plans, I might never get to realise that perhaps this suggestion may well have come via ‘my Jesus’.  After the idea is   incorporated into the project it often makes it easier to complete and even gives a better outcome. I have stopped questioning these occurrences and just accept them as an intervention by Jesus.

When these situations occur, I often think of the Transfiguration and this time the Father saying, “This is my daughter, listen to her.” Other times, information can be obtained from articles you might just happen to read, people you might meet or even media stories that all just happen coincidently.

Ha ha! I really don’t believe in coincidences.

I mentioned above how the Apostles on the road to Emmaus walked all day with ‘a stranger’ who turned out to be the resurrected Jesus, for ‘they recognised him in the breaking of the bread.’ This story is always in the forefront of my mind when meeting unknown people for the first time.

I find I am constantly asking myself the question, ‘is it possible that Jesus walks among us and we just don’t recognise Him?’ Perhaps, if we have this in mind, we might be more likely to treat others as we would like them to treat us. Perhaps we might be more intent on listening to what others have to say rather than promoting our own thoughts and actions. The Father made us all in His own image. He has only love to give to us.

Our individual Jesus is waiting for us. Maybe it’s time to say G’day.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s how I feel.

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