The Unknown, Made Known – November 15, 2022 (332-335/365)

Folks, I apologize. I’ve been away, for a very long time. I suppose the past me was preparing for these times that I would be away, without time to even keep to this commitment of typing a thousand words a day.

I mean, I have been deviating on it, haven’t I? I’ve been hitting more than a thousand words on my more recent posts, just so I’d have some sort of buffer; or, really, just to say that I’m ahead of the game. It’s a whole lot more relieving to have in my mind – that is, to know that I have a ‘surplus’ of words, versus the stress involved with having a backlog.

But here I am again. It’s come to a point that I think I have a lot on my mind, on different topics and such. I’ve allowed myself the burden of keeping all of these thoughts in my mind, if only to let them develop there, instead of deeming each and every idea as immediately worthy of being recorded. No, some thoughts needed to mature further in the mind; it needed to age and ferment, perhaps for the resultant ideas to come out more mature, if not degenerated or forgotten.

Some time last week I caught up with a childhood friend, who also happened to be common friends with a high school to college batchmate I had. The former was a media man, shooting photos and videos professionally; the latter was a writer who I assume gets paid by the article. I bring them up, especially the latter friend, because he shared a style with me that he uses – which isn’t all that revolutionary, but an important revelation for me, anyway – that is, to compile ideas which do not necessarily need entire articles to explain, but when grouped and separated appropriately, would serve as an article all on its own… at least, in terms of the number of words per article.

That’s what I’m planning to do here. I’m building all of it up by way of bringing it all together.

/* The following was originally composed on the notebook on November 7, 2022. I’ve added adjustments and embellishments as I encoded all of it. */

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases.

I don’t think I’m going to be sick of proclaiming this any time soon. I’m not necessarily as consistent as I would want to be in my present and personal endeavors to appreciate what value I’ve been given, so as to give value to the world – that is, everyone around me, sure, but more specifically those within my influence. I do appreciate being loved by God, who is no less than Lord; and not just any sort of lord who has influence, authority, and power over me; No, He is the Lord over all these lords.

I’m loved by the Lord of Lords. And not only am I loved, but I have learned, and I have realized that I can also be loved by no less than an everlasting love. Just as Jeremiah proclaimed it over Israel during the days of the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:3), so we can surely claim it for ourselves now, after Christ’s finished work established the New Covenant.

And here’s the thing – we can’t just stop at merely claiming it and be done with it. No, this love we have received, which we would eventually find out to be the only love that matters and the only true love – it’s something that, at the very least, we would be so overjoyed to speak of, and to sing of. And we have been singing of His love, haven’t we? That one song that I’ve tucked in as one of my favorites proclaims – God’s love never fails. God’s love never gives up. God’s love never runs out on me. It’s one of those songs I used to enjoy leading the congregation into singing, and I would take time mid-song to be silent, to listen to everyone singing it out. But recently I’ve seen how I would own it personally, through an approach I’ve seen helped me in constructing my belief system to what it is today – that is, to see the other side of the coin.

What’s the other side of the coin, for the chorus of One Thing Remains? Well, see it for yourself: If I’m to sing that God’s love never fails, then I’m also considering that God’s love always wins. If I sing that God’s love never gives up, then I would consider that God’s love always endures – which allows me to appreciate each and every instance of ‘His lovingkindness endures forever’ in the Psalms from another point of view. Finally, if I sing that God’s love never runs out on me, then not only will I sing the same thing about God’s love enduring; Actually, we see here in the other side of the coin that God’s love does not merely endure us, they way we endure pain as if it was something we didn’t want to have – no, I’d like to think that if God doesn’t flee from us, then I’m to consider that God runs toward us – He WANTS to be with us. Just as we love to sing about our loving to be in His presence, well, I’d like to think that He is just as delighted to be with us.

It’s of personal importance to me to consider and meditate on the Word which sings to me – that this great God, whose love is just as great, whose love for me is perfectly enduring – well, He is always present, always with me, no matter what I do, no matter what I’m not doing, no matter what I have in my mind and what’s beyond my thoughts, and no matter who I’m with, no matter where I am.

God is with me, and His love is consequently as present, as well. It is a steadfast love, and one that never ends. Nothing else comes to mind in these moments, especially during these days as we approach the end of the year – in spite of all that has transpired out of my control, and all that’s within my control that I held off on facing, and so on and so forth; I choose to have my mind and all my being focus, and therefore stand on the Truth – That I am loved, deeply loved by God. He loves me with an everlasting love. He loves me with a steadfast love that never ceases.

And while, in my state, with all that’s going on – while I know of this love that is fully present at the present, I know I have even more cause to rejoice. For, behold – God, who is the Lord, and whom we have established as the Lord of Lords – His steadfast love never ceases, AND His mercies never come to an end.

It’s another thing we couldn’t be silent about. When the mercy of God comes to mind, most of the time I’m led to recall another song, whose chorus goes: Mercy comes running, like a prisoner set free.

Oftentimes we imagine ourselves as the prisoner granted freedom, but I like how we see Mercy personified, and given the role of a prisoner, so when He is set free, I’m not looking at why He was kept in any longer, more than I imagine Him unleashed. Mercy, unleashed, unbound, unrestrained, coming at us, going all-in.

Not only is this an unending mercy that runs to us with no chains or strings attached, but as the Scripture continues, it also mentions that this Mercy is new every morning. Again, imagine – Mercy, unending, unencumbered, coming at us; but not just one time, but each and every day, for each day we wake up. Mercy so intense, and new – exclusive for today!

I’ve always seen how this Word is so important to me, if we only base it on these words… But Christ points out just how valuable, and even vital it is for us, as we continue to exist in this reality. He says, in the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Beginning and the End, present on the first and last days, and is present in all time; He says there is trouble in each day, enough that we shouldn’t be worried about tomorrow. Look at the final moments of His ministry, when He was brought to the mercy of the Jews and Gentiles, who not only decided but demanded His crucifixion. Nailed to the cross, He committed His Spirit, and took one final breath. Then the earth shook… but that’s not all that happened. No, at the Temple in Jerusalem, we’re told that the veil separating the world from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom – and I always like to point out, that more than our having free access to the said Holy of Holies, it was the presence of God that was unleashed upon this world, and this finite reality, engulfing time and space.

The presence of God- His complete love, peace, patience, and joy, and His mercy, His power, and His glory – it ALL came running to US, with the same vigor, passion, energy, and intent as a prisoner set free… To think, my God, WE were the prisoners!

And oh, to try to put this all together, and to consider, that against the said troubles of the world, we have our God, whom we have established in the past is visible, detailed and presents… Against the troubles of the world and this reality, are God’s good, great, endless mercies, slamming at us, wave after wave, new each and every morning – what a great, glorious God, what a good God we have, who not only has saved us forever, but still thinks to lavish us with mercy, each and every single day!

Thank You, Lord! Thank You so much!

/* Now, that was what was on my mind for the week leading to last Sunday’s preaching. When Sunday finally came, I scribbled the following here on Evernote as well. Now that I’m putting it all together, I’ll be expanding on the ‘skeleton’ */

I’m pretty set on my approach to preaching to my particular congregation on Sundays, to start everything off with a quick recap of what I discussed the week before.

The ancient Greeks during the times covered by the New Testament had their own outside concepts of deity, apart from the people of Israel. We see an elaborate demonstration of how religious they actually were in Paul’s account of his passing through the Areopagus. Here was where altars, temples and shrines were made to venerate all sorts of gods, big and small.

In our attempt to talk up a significant and memorable perspective of who God is for each and every one of us, we talked about how, in his turn to speak to the people in the square, Paul mentioned that even the ‘Unknown’ god had an altar. This detail was what he used as his entry to talk – or, really, to introduce about the God of all gods; not merely separate from the Greek pantheon, but superior to them, and all other ‘gods’ we could imagine for ourselves.

In the discussion that ensued, which centered on Acts 17, we were led to consider that, on our own, or left to our own devices without any sort of outside intervention, we had the propensity and the natural tendency to venerate and worship anything if only to get better or to get ahead. This prevalent, fleshly mentality had us intentionally denying the Truth of a Creator, and being so active in finding divine inspiration from Creation; much so to the point that we would be so willing to give some space to worship the ‘unknown’, just so that we would cover everything that we haven’t mentioned in the other shrines and altars.

I’m pretty sure Paul had a trace of this collective propensity of the flesh in his own mind, but I could probably agree that the Holy Spirit was alive and kicking in him at the time, even as he continued to share in the Areopagus. As such, it’s important for us, yes, even so many centuries later, to consider what he had to say, as recorded in Scripture – and in my own personal perusing, I’ve come to find out, or more to imagine, that (2) this God, who is God of all gods, has made Himself known as Creator in all of His creation, and (3) He is nowhere near reckless; not leaving anything to chance, I’m sure we can all agree that our God was very, very detailed in His creating.

God truly is a detailed and visible Creator.

Friends, if we’re going down the line of discovering who God is, there’s always going to be the need – if it isn’t already automatic, anyway – to also talk about what God did, I can give you the answer right here and right now:

This ‘unknown’ God has made Himself known.

And I don’t necessarily mean that our God has made Himself known through His being visible (by way of the glory seen in all of creation), like I mentioned last week. For the record, let me say that, yes, God’s glory is seen in all of Creation, but we also mentioned that God is a detailed Creator, which implies that He is meticulous and therefore does not leave anything to chance. Sure, we can see glimpses and small details of the glory of God in all that He has made… but what I’m trying to point out here is that God has made Himself known – more than the skies, more than the heavens, more than the earth and everything in it – He has made Himself known through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Sure, we understand that some people see Jesus Christ as a good teacher, or a powerful man, but not only do we see Him as such, but we see Him as Savior. Why is this important? Well, I suppose it’s a bit of a necessary thing for us to understand our own state before Christ came into our reality.

Let’s go to the very first chapter of the DVD – back to the Garden of Eden, right after God created all there is to be created. Yes, back to when God, as Paul said, created the heavens; back to when He created the earth, and everything in it. After each and every day He was creating, He surveyed all that came into being, all that came forth – the stars, the clouds, the firmament, the birds, the beasts, the fishes, flora and fauna, and yes, even Man and Woman; He created, then looked, and then saw that it was good.

But as we all know, unfortunately, a line was drawn, between Adam, Eve and all of their descendants, and the thrice holy God. The sin of Adam and Eve rendered all of us as sinners. This is the sin that entered the world, and the sin that entered in us and infiltrated and infected all aspects of our being.

Paul points out in his epistle to the Romans that the wages of sin is death. It was therefore inevitable that, on a long-enough timeline, death and oblivion would overtake and consume all of finite creation, simply by way of sin which separated us from God. We were sinners, doomed to die.

Fast forward to the chapters on the same DVD of our existence, where Christ was born of the virgin Mary, and started His ministry when He came to age. For all the miracles He performed, we can go ahead and revere Him as a miracle worker and an extraordinary human, an exceptional creation; But one thing was on His mind, one act that would set Him apart from the most benevolent of human beings, from the most powerful of rulers, or the wisest of human counsel:

Christ, self-proclaimed Son of God, walked the talk; Demonstrating exactly how much we are loved and are continually loved by God, He lay down His life. The song ‘Above All’ says that He took the fall, thinking of us – considering the sin we had, and all the sin and death we demonstrated in our own lives, Christ demonstrated the great grace of God, and His superior glory – not by way of earthly conquest; no, quite the contrary: Jesus Christ became sin and died.

And though Christ has already been subjected to ridicule by those of us who would claim and profess that they are wise by their own doing, to offer Himself up as a sacrifice, to willingly bring Himself to be at the mercy of those who have intentionally and publicly proclaimed themselves to be His enemies – well, I suppose I understand that this is surely a sign of weakness.

But that’s precisely what Christ wanted; He lay down His life for us to live. He took the fall for us to rise. In one of Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians, Christ became sin for us to become His righteousness.

Beyond the ridicule, Christ was focused on the prize – you and me. He became sin – the sinners we were – that we would become righteous – the righteousness that He had. Why? Well, more than the title of righteousness being upon us, and born within us, and… well, taking the place of sin in being infused in all of our being… He gave us His righteousness, knowing that this righteousness is unto eternal life.

By Christ’s finished work we see the absolute love of God towards us. It’s higher than the heavens. Stronger than the seas. Mightier than mountains. It’s a love greater than death, and as such, it is just so amazing. Love never ending.

And it’s by His unending love that we understand that His mercy never ends as well. Christ guaranteed, by His finished work, that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Consequently, no life, no death, no sin, no height, no depth – NOTHING can separate us from His mercies as well. None of the trouble present in each and every day can separate us from His love, simply because of His mercies towards us, that overflow and overwhelm us with each and every day we exist in this finite world, and beyond. The mercy that overwhelmed us yesterday was for yesterday. The mercy that overwhelms us today is for today. The mercy that overflows for tomorrow, is for tomorrow.

So it turns out, it’s not just for us to understand what God has done. No, we can’t understand what God has done without understand what God is doing. That’s what He’s done for us. He loved us, and is loving us. His mercy was poured out then, and His mercy is for us now.

God may have been known to many as the unknown God, but we now know that He is a visible, detailed Creator who has made Himself known through Jesus Christ.

It was through Jesus Christ that we know that God has loved and is loving us with an everlasting love.

It was through Jesus Christ that we know that God showers us with mercies, each and every day.

If you forgot anything that I mentioned today, but if someone asks us what God has done for us, or even if someone asks us who God is, let’s keep the following Scripture close to our hearts:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

So you see what I wrote beforehand and what eventually transpired, what I eventually explained last Sunday. But now that I’m going through all of it again, well, I couldn’t help but share how one old song came to mind. Well it’s not Hymnal-old, but it’s certainly been more than a decade since it was composed and introduced:

Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed,

The Son of Man, the Son of God,

His Kingdom come.

Jesus, redemption’s sacrifice,

Now glorified, now testified

His Kingdom come.

And this Kingdom will know no end,

And it’s glory shall know no bounds.

For the majesty and power

Of this Kingdom’s King has come.

And this Kingdom’s reign,

And this Kingdom’s rule,

And this Kingdom’s power and authority

Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed.

Jesus, the expression of God’s love,

The Grace of God, the Word of God, revealed to us.

Jesus, God’s holiness displayed,

Now glorified, now justified, His Kingdom come.

And this Kingdom will know no end,

And it’s glory shall know no bounds.

For the majesty and power

Of this Kingdom’s King has come.

And this Kingdom’s reign,

And this Kingdom’s rule,

And this Kingdom’s power and authority

Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed.

Thanks for bearing with me so far. I WILL be finishing all 365 days, I promise. Then there’s the pet project I have of going through all the supposed 365,000 words, and doing a merciless proofreading of it all – to reminisce, and to collect all the thoughts that I’ve recorded since the start of the year as we observe the turn of this year to 2023. It’ll also be very interesting to know, after all the filler is cleared, and after all the revelations have been collated: (1) How much words remained in style and substance, versus all that’s been laid down to merely count as words, but serve more as drivel; and (2) What revelations stood out more than everything else, in terms of personal impact and frequency.

I also have to mention that some of the words I’ve typed within these past recent weeks did not make their way here, but in my side project; My venture into expressing myself through the visual arts. It started off as just photography and an outlet for what I have in my heart and my mind. I mean, it’s remained as such and I don’t believe this core principle behind the venture would change any time soon (or ever); No, instead of that foundation changing, a lot has been built on it. And in all that’s being built I’ve seen the need to write a little bit on the side to accompany any of the recent photos I’ve been taking. It’s challenging me because I used to say that my photographs were me writing without words, and preaching with pictures – But I suppose there are words that could only be read, just as there are colors that could only be seen, and not elaborated.

Come to think of it, I should probably share a little more photography here as well? Or no, I think we’re doing pretty well with the integration of WOMBO Dream, and then Midjourney, into what I have to share in this space.

So see, a lot going on. And I haven’t even touched base on what professional writing I intend to be doing – no articles, more of what my Dad was apparently doing when he was still with us – that is, contracts of lease, and composing or completion of said documents. Definitely not going to be adding any of that to count as my thousand words, but I see that it’s something I can’t hold off on any longer.

I haven’t touched on what I’m planning for topics, to talk to the schoolkids I’ve been assigned to minister to. For the record I’ve just set them off to ‘pay it forward’; that is, to love one another as God loves us, to give to one another as God has given to us, etc.

God-willing I get things started on both of these things before the end of this week. I don’t want any of this to bleed over to December – or, I at least want to minimize the load.

Finally, don’t think that after I publish this that I’ll be gone again for the next few days. No, I’m thinking I want to blaze through all of this, and get 365 done by the end of November as well.

Again, I thank you, if you’ve reached this far. Not sure why you did, but hey, I appreciate it. I pray that everyone is blessed. Until the next post, later.

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