The First Constant (May Musings, III) – May 5-6, 2023 (127-129/365)

So right now I’m here in what I’d like to call my old stomping grounds – at what used to be my parents’ office for all the business they handled back in the day. The internet is bad to non-existent and I’ve had to resort to using Notepad as an initial medium to record whatever thoughts I have in my mind.

Why am I not in the usual place, over at church? Well, they have things going on there, and let’s just say I don’t want whoever is going to be in those events to see that I’m parked there, or that I’m around. Besides, it’s nice and quiet here.

Another thing to note is that I’d usually be having lunch right now, but someone thought to buy me a coffee, and I’m just riding off of that caffeine high for now.

The Beauty of the ‘Best’

So. Almost 3 hours ago I was spending time with the Junior and Senior High kids, and the usual dynamic presented itself – the weird kids were the ones giving me their focus and attention, while the ‘cool’ kids were just doing their own thing. To the latter, I tell myself, it’s all good, I’m just glad that they’re within the sound of my voice; who knows if whatever I have to ramble about at the time makes its way to their ears and through to their minds, right?

Anyway, after the speaking session, the kids of the former persuasion approached me and started telling me about whatever got them excited. To my surprise, I heard one of them say that I was the best among all the pastors she’s had; Praises notwithstanding (Or who am I kidding, that felt quite validating), I had to tell her that she could do the same thing I’m doing – And now that I think about it, to me it’s just a matter of me caring about them. Or, just so I’m not hogging any sort of credit here, I’m just giving in to the nudging and leading of the Spirit of the Lord moving in me (as it moves in all of us) to give just a little more time, attention or care to focus and meditate on who God is; I care for them out of the overflow of how I appreciate God caring for me.

Right? I mean, it could start from there – from taking even the slightest of moments to think about who God is… Because this is a link, or a small opening to what I’m referring to as the parallels: As we usually say, you can’t talk about God without talking about love, and you can’t talk about love without talking about God. Building on that, we couldn’t talk about God’s love without talking about Jesus Christ, and we couldn’t talk about Jesus Christ without mentioning God’s love. And as I write all of this, I suppose I could add more to that by saying that you couldn’t talk about Christ without talking about His finished work, nor could you talk about the finished work of Christ, without discovering something about who He is.

And putting this together with what I told that one student, I’m led to just say that I’m only the ‘best’ as she claims, only because, again, I give in to the Holy Spirit’s gentle leading to give more time and focus on who God is, and eventually I am brought to appreciating Christ’s finished work. If you were to eliminate the ‘middlemen’, you could say that you couldn’t talk about God without talking about Christ’s finished work, nor can you talk about Christ’s finished work without realizing something about who God is.

Now, in light of all that’s been going on in my personal life – whether it’s moments where it’s near impossible to see any semblance of value in certain circumstances or situations, or whether it’s realizing what seems to remain in times of rampant uncertainty and consequent anxiety – I’m brought to realize something that’s actually been constant and common for all of us through all this time: Anyone that calls himself or herself a member of the body of Christ has had some time to consider and consequently appreciate Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension.

And that… That right there is something that I’d like to think that we’ve had as our anchor, our foundation, and our common ground; and it’s certainly something that propels us, if not something that we find firm ground to stand on; It’s certainly a Truth I’ve come back to, or a Rock I’ve been brought back to stand on, whether I’m here in the Church of the Resurrection or the Good News Church.

Huh. How about that? The Good News is the Resurrection, and the Resurrection is the Good News.

Digging Deeper Down Common Ground

In my previous collection of a thousand words I talked about how the more things fade away, the more things that endure shine. It was a derivation from the French term (which I am not going to quote verbatim here), that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

And as I thought about all this over lunch, I remembered something that kept me sane as I conversed and continued to converse with folk who claim some sort of influence over me (or okay, a certain dude I didn’t agree with on a lot of things, who happened to hitch a ride that one evening): We may have our differences, and its easy for us to keep our sight on these things we disagree on and fight, but what our focus ought to be on is what’s in common, or again, our common ground. In the same conversation, we agreed, just as this man is also a believer in Christ, that actually, Christ IS the common ground.

I could see how that’s probably enough for the majority of us in the Body – for us to realize that it’s Christ who is our Rock, and Christ who is our Firm Foundation, and Christ who is our Common Ground. However, I dare say that in our continued appreciation to this general fact and Truth, we would not avoid how we are led to further clarification and specification – a drilling down, a venture deeper into more intricate and intimate details of our Savior – in our meditation. As such it’ll be inevitable for us to add more elaboration to the Common Ground we do share… and I could imagine that it’s automatic that we just look at this Rock from other standpoints, or some other perspectives.

The longer our walk with Christ, the more we know about Him, just as He knows all there is to know about us. It’s like any other relationship, if not the foundation for any other relationships we have.

I know I’m sounding a little repetitive by this point, but I appreciate you bearing with me.

We could look at Christ, and find peace in that. No problem. But in our living Life, and living Christ, I think we would eventually see that part of Christ is His birth, death, resurrection and/or ascension. As Christ endures, so His finished work endures; at the start we see what does endure from a wide point of view – but again, I think eventually we would find ourselves appreciating the small details, just as much.

Now let me be clear: I’m not about to tell anyone and everyone that we ought to be that obsessive with these aforementioned smaller details, but again – the more things change, the more things stay the same. As life happens to each and every one of us, I’m sure that these details of Christ, His salvation, His finished work, His promises – all of these, like facets of a brilliant gem, would come into light, as we walk through the passages of time and space with the Holy Spirit lovingly accompanying us through all we do, and all that is done to us.

I feel as if this same Holy Spirit, whom Christ mentions convicts us of all Righteousness, is the same Tutor we have – Or dare I say, our Curator, to the art of our Salvation; He is our Curator to the features of Christ, our Savior.

Intention In Check

And so I go through all of this and I ask myself, is any of this even worthy of a discussion this coming Sunday? I’ve been pressuring myself to present a theme and a roadmap to what my congregation should expect for the rest of this second Quarter of 2023, and I’m telling myself that I should probably step up in actually getting that done (which also means that no, all of this is far from substantial for this coming Sunday), and/or that I should ease the said pressure.

I think I still would like to stick to what I said I wanted to do, based on what I presented at our last general council meeting – that before I even have people think about holding small groups, I think we should all be in the same page with regards to our constants and competencies – we ought to gather ourselves before we gather together.

And now I ask myself another question – Haven’t I already been doing this, to myself as much as to those who invest their time to hear what I have to say? Is the fact that I’m asking meaning that I haven’t been doing it? Should I add intention and follow through with these constants and competencies…. or am I just padding an impulsive answer out of pride?

Time To Pray

I know enough to say at this point in time, that in the presence of more questions than usual, I have more incentive, more reason to pray. The more questions, and the deeper I go into something, the more I ought to consult the One with all the answers, the deeper I ought to go into His grace.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

In the earlier moments that I decided to take Christ more seriously – Oh, around 10-15 years ago, this verse has been a good guide for me. Especially that second part – I do recall other versions/translations saying, “the effective prayer of a righteous man has great results”. And during those times you could imagine how I thought that the focus was on our end and on our own efforts; I thought that the emphasis was on prayer being effective.

It’s around these times that I do remember a certain Pastor Miles McPherson talking about how our prayers are as bubbles reaching God’s throne. I also remember the late Pastor Charles Stanley giving me (and my dad, as he eventually also shared) a template for prayer, patterned from the so-called Lord’s prayer in the Gospels – Praise, Request, Forgive, Praise.

But see, later on in my learning with the rest of the body of Christ, I was brought to expand my perspective and to appreciate the ‘righteous’ part of the passage – that is, the prayer is effective because we have been made righteous. Or in other words, it’s our being made righteous that makes our prayers effective. It’s our being righteous that causes our prayer to have great power ‘as it is working’.

And with that said, I’m not going to lie – Around this time I did a ‘prayer nap’ of sorts, just now. We all know how there are power naps, but I think those of us in the body of Christ ought to be aware of how there are also prayer naps… I certainly find myself doing more of the latter these days.

Is it so unproductive? Not at all. No matter what’s latched on to our prayer – whether the prayer is done while I drive, or if I’m saying what’s on my mind to God between small snoozes, it never fails: the great results come, the great power is seen.

And, again, not necessarily according to our expectations. See, most people who care enough to listen to me or read these ramblings (again, thank God for them) know that I am not one for setting my own expectations and being overly specific with what prayers I want, but I will say this – and one thing I am sure about regarding said ‘effective’ results and said ‘great power’ is that oftentimes they come in the form of revelation, and in the form of Word – it’s just proof of our proclamation that Christ is our Living Word, and the Life to the Words we read and speak, just as He is our Word of Life, or the Word that comes to mind as we continue to enjoy Life.

And right now, in light of everything that I’ve just squeezed out of my head, I’m not necessarily remembering a Scripture directly – no, as I continue to type all this in Notepad, here in this Office where my parents were once very active, I’m led to proclaim – That as the Housefires sang at one point, deserts will bloom in the light of His love, and valleys make room to the river of God.

The Spirit At The Start

Now I’m forced to find the Scripture reference to this wonderful lyric, and this is what I find:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.

Isaiah 35:1-2

For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted;

the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks;

until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,

and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

Isaiah 32:14-15

I haven’t seen much about the said River of God, besides that which was mentioned in the book of Revelation, but I think we already have a lot going on for us here. In these derived Scriptures, I see two things involved as deserts are brought to life – The Glory of the Lord (from Isaiah 35), and the Spirit poured upon us (Isaiah 32).

Now, it’s at this time that I’m brought to recall something we talked about when I was guest speaking at an online Bible study that transpired, oh, more than a week ago – Putting Scripture together we all came to agreement regarding the following statement: Stand still, trust in the Lord, and you will see His salvation, for yourself and for your household.  I remember this statement because I believe I could say that the Salvation we have from the Lord is a demonstration, or THE demonstration of His glorious goodness, and His good glory. And speaking of parallels, there’s no chance of us talking about Salvation without talking about Christ, just as it’s inevitable for us to talk about salvation eventually when the topic of Christ comes to mind. Besides, Christ’s name in the Hebrew is ‘Yeshua’, close to ‘Joshua’, which means Salvation.

And I just noticed there, that the glory of the Lord is seen after the fact, or after the deserts blossom, and after the wilderness becomes fruitful. So, to clarify: The Spirit of the Lord is poured out, deserts bloom, and the glory of God is seen, God’s salvation is seen, and most of all… Christ is seen.

Romans 11:36 says that from Him are all things, through Him are all things, and to Him are all things. In the same light I believe we could also say, from Him is the Spirit, through Him is the Spirit, and to Him is the Spirit.

Another Coin

In the said earlier days when I chose to go to church more regularly, I also noticed how there was much ado about our worship. There was a lot of talk about how the church I went to and eventually served in displayed their excellence in musical worship, and how we were the cutting edge, the forerunners, the trendsetters when it came to worshipping in the city we were primarily based in. There was a lot of adherence to standards – some practical, others more spiritual in nature (like that time I wasn’t allowed to provide back-up vocals because I was in jeans and rubber shoes).

I bring all this up because, sure, there ought to be some standards in the glory we give our God, but we should never forget that it’s the glory He gave to us that came first. We loved to sing those songs that insinuated that God responds to our worship, and now we’re still learning how our worship is a response to God’s goodness. Truth is, we don’t project excellence for the Spirit to be poured out; No, it’s because of Christ’s excellence that the Spirit was poured out onto us, and we respond accordingly. And it really doesn’t matter if it’s the best audio quality or in line with what all them megachurches are doing – whether it’s a one-man acapella song or a full band with all the best equipment, it’s all made excellent because of Christ. Boom.

My point in all this is that, this relationship we now have with God is not a one-way thing, where we work up for God to be glorified – no, through Christ, God has been glorified, and the Spirit has been poured down upon us. You can’t enjoy one side of the Truth without the other.


I wanted to go further. I wanted to force a point further than this, but I’ll stop here for now.

Besides, it feels as if my prayers have been answered. I asked for what I should be talking about this coming Sunday, as a lead-in for the rest of the Sundays we have for this second Quarter – and I was keeping the theme in mind.

But this is nice. The Spirit of the Lord is who comes first. The first and foremost feature of God’s love for us is the Holy Spirit Himself – gentle and faithful. He is our Constant, and He is who comes before our so-called Core Competencies.

I thought I’d be more specific, but the Holy Spirit isn’t exactly vague when you think about it. As such, I’ll go ahead and keep talking towards that, for the Sundays to come.

Let’s stop here, and ruminate on what we have up to this point.

The rest will follow.

Until the next post, God bless you.

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