A DICTIONARY FOR NAVIGATORS ON SPIRITUAL ROUGH WATERS 45: Promises (and Shield)

psalm 18:30
Today’s words are PROMISES (and SHIELD).
The wise poets in ancient days declared:
About God: He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. (Psalm 91:4)
To God: You are my refuge and my shield, and your promises are my only source of hope. (Psalm 119:114)
I have thoroughly tested your promises, and that is why I love them so much. (Psalm 119:140)
I stay awake through the night to think about your promises. (Psalm 119:148)

The wise prophets looked into the future and proclaimed:
About What God has promised: “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land sparkling with happiness. These are the promises of the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:12)
Prophet Daniel’s prayer: “O Lord,” I prayed, “you are a great and awesome God; you always fulfill your promises of mercy to those who love you and keep your laws.” (9:4)
God likes those who keep their promises: Proverbs 12:22
God delights in those who keep their promises and abhors those who don’t.
Prophet Isaiah knows all about how God’s promises can come true:
So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. (30:18)

Here are some Bible verses from the New Testament on “Promises” for meditation and receiving by faith!
Romans 5:1
So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
2 Corinthians 1:20
He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are; and we have told everyone how faithful he is, giving glory to his name.
Galatians 3:29
And now that we are Christ’s we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us.
2 Timothy 2:13
Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, he remains faithful to us and will help us, for he cannot disown us who are part of himself, and he will always carry out his promises to us.
Romans 11:29
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.

The Power of the Holy Spirit is our shield today!
Galatians 3:5-7Living Bible (TLB)
5 I ask you again, does God give you the power of the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you as a result of your trying to obey the Jewish laws? No, of course not. It is when you believe in Christ and fully trust him.
6 Abraham had the same experience—God declared him fit for heaven only because he believed God’s promises. 7 You can see from this that the real children of Abraham are all the men of faith who truly trust in God.

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whose heritage?

heirloom
Heritage
means something that is handed down from the past: as a tradition, a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage; something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; ; something reserved for one: the heritage of the righteous; something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession. any property, especially land, that devolves by right of inheritance.

It is no coincidence that I recently came across a small heritage through a relative. The items are not exactly that old. The original owners lived around the time when the formation of the Republic of China as a constitutional republic put an end to 4,000 years of Imperial rule. The Qing dynasty, (also known as the Manchu dynasty), ruled from 1644–1912. I brought some of them back to the heirs who have confirmed that they are not selling. The above photo shows two Chinese Swatow (Shantou) Pewter Tea Caddy Containers (possibly a hundred or less years old), a Vintage Chinese Hand-carved Cork Art and a collection of modern poetry published in 1987 included because they were found together.

According to China Daily, Shantou people “drink more tea than anyone else in China. Shantou became a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty trading ports established for Western trade and contact, sited both American and British Consulates. Today the historic quarter of Shantou features both Western and Chinese architecture. Online source states that about 2% of the population belongs to an ‘organized’ religion, with 40,000 Protestants, 20,000 Catholics and 500 Muslims.

What are the real values of heirlooms? No one can place any intrinsic value on any item except the heir herself/himself. In this case, I have checked the websites of some auction houses and found varying values have been cited on similar items. But the final word is from the heirs and they say, “No, we intend to just keep them.”

I try reading up the history of those who fled the strategic trading and battle port occupied by the Japanese army during 1939-1945 and moved to the rest of the world. I cannot imagine how they could have carried and preserved heavy tea canisters and other intricate sets of silver and beautiful fragile bone China tea sets which I have also found in that house.

There are many things we do not understand about the generations before us. I cannot understand their values and priorities. Perhaps I am too engrossed in the modern technology-savvy world in which we give high value to anything close to ‘weightlessness’. We grumble about a laptop weighing 3lbs and above. On the other hand, we do not mind going to the gym to lift heavy metal to get our muscles in tune.

Well, here are some realistic observations from a book I am reading, by a futurist.
“…For example, today’s high school students have a hard time understanding why Columbus risked life and limb to find a shorter trade route to the spices of the East. Why couldn’t he simply go to the supermarket, they ask, and get some oregano? But in the days of Columbus, spices and herbs were extremely expensive. They were prized because they could mask the taste of rotting food, since there were no refrigerators in those days. At times, even kings and emperors had to eat rotten food at dinner. There were no refrigerated cars, containers, or ships to carry spices across the oceans.) That is why these commodities were so valuable that Columbus gambled his life to get them, although today they are sold for pennies…”

Yet, on the other hand, the futurist admitted this, “…The point is: whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time. That’s the Cave Man Principle.” ”
― Michio Kaku, Physics Of The Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives By The Year 2100

Agree. I would rather take a cup of hot tea with a spot of fresh milk than staring at the cold laptop in the cold, unheated cave. You know, the value of a laptop easily depreciates to zero within a couple of years. But a tea canister appreciates its value with decades/centuries and is still going strong.

his web blog frozen in a time and space

Cherry On Top2007 Fuji Mt n structureThe day was like any ordinary day. We were all set to go to a hot spring and this picture was taken from a coach. The guide said we would go near the mountain but not too near. At that time they were speculating that it might have some volcanic activities unsuitable for travelers. It had not erupted since the 18th century. But we were told to be cautious. Anyway we had a good ride to the place famous for its hot spring. The idea of a sleepy mountain suddenly woke up and erupting into an inferno was a bit unsettling for the travelers.

But the company was good and some sang songs to cheer up the rest.

We started early in the morning but arrived in the evening due to slow traffic and closure of certain stretches of the highway. There was no road rage even though traffic was crawling and we moved practically in terms of inches. I looked out of the window and saw other drivers and passengers unperturbed and calm sitting in their cars and waited to inch forward. As a mere traveler I could only look at the people superficially. The mountains looked beautiful from afar. And we were told not to go near. I did not visit the country again after December 2007. In 2011 it was struck with the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.

I quote below passages from the wikipedia: “Japan has also been the site of some of the 10 worst natural disasters of the 21st century. The types of natural disasters in Japan include tsunamis, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. The country has gone through many years of natural disasters, affecting its economy, development, and social life. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami were devastating.On 10 March 2015, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,894 deaths,6,152 injured, and 2,562 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 228,863 people living away from their home in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation. The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, and the associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents.”

An internet blogging Japanese friend who used to work and stay in Tokyo lost contact after the disaster. We used to share one common interest: We were both avid fans of Kazuo Ishiguro (who created remarkable stories of love, loss and hidden truths in The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.) and we both liked the movie  Australia. His  website remained the same as many years ago and froze in a space and time. I gave up visiting his web blog eventually.

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters 38: more words for hard times

time square hilton NYThis traveler continues this journey on spiritual rough waters with a positive word. Not smooth but it’s worth it.

F= FIRST

‘First’ is a word commonly associated with performance superiority. Where an individual considers a thing of positive value to him, he wants to be first, to gain an advantageous position, and it means acting before all others. In a competitive environment he wants to be the winning one when compared to others in the same arena. The competition may be real or imagined on the part of the person who is required to perform, often with a stated corporate goal (with his own personal agenda) within stated corporate parameters. In a modern competitive economy based on scarce and limited resources, there is no way anyone who wants a reasonable and sustainable living without being measured by parameters set for performance in a corporate society.

In summary, often we (earth dwellers) want to be first only when there is a competition for scarce resources. There is a finite limit no matter how advanced we may currently are in ‘creative’ technology and science. The resources of the earth are finite. Parameters set by human and enforced by those with authority and power can restrain mankind from harmful ‘excessive consumption’ within the known and predicted limits of time and space and power. Increasingly the ‘war’ to control resources will intensify in quantity and frequency.

Enough for the discussion of physical natural ‘doom’. How can Christians be hopeful for exemption from this inevitable natural constraint for all earth-bound mankind? For the spiritual (supernatural) Christian, the word ‘first’ could mean quite opposite in the spiritual dictionary. The focus makes a paradigm shift to a set of limitless parameters. Parameters not bound by scarcity of resources. Let us read some positive meanings of ‘first’:

First thing first: Whom we believe (limitless and preeminent -above all)

and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

[ The Last Enemy Destroyed ] But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,”

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
Christian’s strategy in a physical world:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (physical and other things to meet all your needs) shall be added to you.

The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
Matthew 20:26-28  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Revelation 2:5

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

1 John 4:19

We love Him because He first loved us.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Two role models who scored ‘first’ in faith in action:
[ Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord ] Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.

———————————–

Warning:
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

(to the church) Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.