Jesus The Son of Man

For my devotional times I am once again studying and thinking on Jesus’ life as a regular human being. We hear and think a lot about Jesus as the Messiah, the Anointed One from God, who came to save us. [Matthew 1:18-21 I will put the whole verse below] And that is right and good, as the Bible would say. In other words, we hear and think a lot about Jesus’ divinity. But I like to delve a little more into Jesus’ humanity. It is through studying Jesus’ humanity that I have come to know Him more and better, and maybe to understand our own helplessness, despite having Jesus and the Father living in us, as Jesus promised. John 14:23 

However, just to be clear, I believe with all my heart that Jesus was and is all God and all Human. How? I’ll get into that in my next post.

The Son of Man

The Son of Man

Several years ago I wrote a fictional novel based on Jesus’ humanity, ie, his first 30 years as well as the roughly three years covered in the Gospels and the beginning of Acts. I felt God wanted me to write this book and so I persevered through eight years of research and writing. When it was done [the first and second drafts] I had a novel about 700,000 words long [yes, I can hear you laughing]. It was much too long and although I believe I had some brilliant moments in the book, it was also written very badly and naively. I knew nothing about characterization, or plot planning, etc.  The book [which I named The Son of Man] had so many subplots and twists and turns that even I became a little lost at times. It would be impossible to publish as is. Now that I know a lot more about writing, I have revisited the story from time to time and considered rewriting it properly, but frankly I’d have to tear it apart completely and pick out the main plot and maybe three subplots at most and go from there. Although the story is unpublishable the way it is, I am loathe to do anything with it. For one thing, I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to completely fix it…haha [I’m nearing 63 and I think it could very well take twenty years to rework the story.]

So why would God want me to write this book? [And I still believe he did.] First of all it brought my writing out of the closet. I had been a secret writer for years, but too bashful about it to tell anyone except my most immediate family. Even my brothers and sisters didn’t know I was a writer. I felt God wanted me to tell people about my novel, The Son of Man. In the telling [and people were very interested in this angle of looking at Jesus] I would tell them first of all that we need a better understanding of Jewish words, names and culture in the life and times of Jesus. And so we would start talking about Jesus.

About the names in scripture…For instance I had wondered for years why the angel said to Joseph, “You shall name him Jesus for He shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. The sentence seemed to be irrelevant and obscure. But in Aramaic it would read;

20 But while he [ie Joseph] was thinking about this, an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream and said, “Yosef, son of David, do not be afraid to take Miryam home with you as your wife; for what has been conceived in her is from the Ruach HaKodesh. [Ie Holy Spirit] 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.” from the Complete Jewish Bible, written by David Stern, a Messianic Jewish theologian

However, even David Stern avoids saying the literal translation, because as a Jew he believes one should not say [or write] the Name of God. “Adonai” means Lord, but the verse says literally YHWH [which means I Am That I Am]. Theologians are unsure exactly how this would be pronounced so we have two versions; Yahweh [pronounced Yah-way or Yah-vay] or Jehovah. In actual fact in the first century there was no letter or phoneme [sound] as “J.” Jehovah should be pronounce Yeh-hovah. There is a secular discussion of the name YHWH in Wikipedia.  A Judeo-Christian explanation is here. The name of Jesus in Matthew and all the Gospels would be Yeshua, which was a contraction of Yehoshua, which means literally, “YHWH saves.” Yehoshua and Yeshua have arrived by various language routes into Modern English as both Jesus and Joshua. Exactly the same name. The YH or Yah part of YHWH shows up in a lot of Jewish names. eg; John=originally Yochanen=YHWH is gracious.

from Jesus Movie based on Matthew

from Jesus Movie based on Matthew

By now you will have figured out at least two things about me. I relate to people, including God, through my intellect as well as my emotions, and I love history, even the history of words. The third thing, which is in keeping with the theme of this blog, is that virtually everything in God’s creation has connections. I believe God is about connections.

So to continue my story of my story, that is, my novel, The Son of Man, I researched until I was cross-eyed the background of the Gospels and the life and times of Jesus. In doing so I not only discovered how Jesus revealed himself through drawing parallels with the Jewish feasts, but also I realized we have sometimes read the Gospels at face value and not thought about the reality. For instance, John 1:43-50 reads

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe[h] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you,[i] you[j] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[k] the Son of Man.”

Then at the beginning of Chapter 2 John says;

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

Jesus turns water to wine from principlesforlifeministries

Jesus turns water to wine from principlesforlifeministries

I used to think verse 1 meant; “three days later,” but after studying my maps and the times and places, I discovered that was impossible. In Matthew 3:1 , John the Baptist, Jesus, and his new followers are in the wilderness of Judea, close enough to Jerusalem that the Jewish leaders came out to see John the Baptist and ask him if he was the Messiah. John 1:19. From there it would take a week or more to walk to Cana in Galilee, as it was about 70 or 80 miles. see map.  Therefore the reference to “the third day,” has to mean; “The third day of the week, ie, Tuesday.” [More about this in another blog post] This is just an example of how easy it is to get certain ideas in our heads.

[Some other misconceptions; nowhere in the Bible does it state Joseph and Mary had a donkey with them; a manger is referred to but not a stable [Jesus may have been born in a basement of a house, in a cave, of which there were many in the Bethlehem area, or even out in the open] Nor does the Bible number the wise men. There may have been as few as two, or as many as ten or more. There were three kinds of gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh. The wise men also did not come to the stable, they came to the house where Joseph and Mary now lived. Matthew 2:11 Jesus may have been as old as two. [Why else would Herod order all boys aged two years and under to be killed? Matthew 2:16] We don’t know where exactly the wise men or literally, magi, came from but we can infer they came from a place that took about a year and a half to two years to travel from. See here.   [This discussion asks questions about what the star actually was. My thought is; could it have been an angel? More about that in a different blog post.]

This blog post is getting a little long, so I will stop here. But I have felt for a while that God wants me to share, over time, at least some of my thoughts from The Son of Man. So there will be more posts about this fascinating time in history and the background of Jesus’ life.

For instance, some time between Jesus being twelve and about thirty years of age, his father apparently died. Here is Jesus, who would bring healing to thousands, apparently unable to heal his own earthly father, whom he must have dearly loved. [Or possibly God the Father told Jesus, “It is not yet your time,” so Jesus was not allowed to heal Joseph.] Either way Jesus suffered the same helplessness and grief that we do. This thought has ministered to me greatly. Jesus really does know what we are going through.

****************

Matthew 1:18-21 NKJV Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

John 14:23 NKJV; 23 Jesus answered and said to him,“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. [It is a good idea to read all of John 14]

Matthew 2:1-18; After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”[d]

***************

I am looking forward to your thoughts, please comment.

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STHOOMB also known as Mammogram

“I can handle it. I’ve got it under control.” We are a nation of Stoics.

I went for a mammogram on Friday. Another name for this [and excuse my French] is squeeze-the-hell-out-of-my-breasts.

Mammography machine. Image courtesy of Google pics

Mammography machine. Image courtesy of Google pics

I have fibrocystic breasts plus fibromyalgia so the STHOOMB’s is @#%# painful. I know this going in so I just channel my inner male and “man up.” [Can we woman up? I think we should have that in our lexical phrase books. After all we carry for nine months, and then deliver, a baby. Or in my case two babies, and let me tell you it is not a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. More about that in a  different blog.]

Besides a mammogram being painful, or uncomfortable at best, they make you take off all your upper clothes and then give you a “gown” that is basically two or three Kleenexes

Kleenex coverup

Kleenex coverup

glued together. Doesn’t cover much, let me tell you. I may as well have been wearing pasties. I would have felt better. I could wear pasties with a tassel on each one and at least pretend I was having fun. Channeling my inner pole dancer…if I have one. Haven’t discovered her yet but you never know. Maybe she’ll surface when I’m ninety. Watch out world. However, that said, for a sixty-some overweight woman I have pretty nice girls. They don’t hang down to my knees. Unlike their owner they still have core strength.

So, anyway, having given you the Kleenex “gown,” as soon as you’re in the STHOOMB room with the medieval torture machine looming over you they tell you to take off your Kleenexes. Why did we bother with them anyway? The little changing room [you know the kind with a curtain that always gaps open a few inches] is right across the hall, so I could have simply “streaked” across the three foot wide hallway.
So I long ago decided I would not be embarrassed or bashful of my nakedness, and I simply chucked the paper thingy and “strut my stuff.” Then of course you not only have to be squeezed to $%%# you get to be manhandled [fortunately I have always had female techs so I guess it would be woman-handled. Once again our lexicon lets us down.] So it’s, “Lean forward a little, I just have to stretch it a bit.” [Read twist and stretch a lot]. “No, let’s do that again. Just a little more stretch [read twist and mangle]. Okay, now hold still.” So, finally, having shoved and stretched and twisted my girls to heck and back I finally get to put my “gown” back on and go get dressed.

Whew, that’s over for the next, what year? Or I think they’re saying we only have to get it once every two years now, unless we have a family or personal history of cancer.

But you know what? I’d rather have the crap squeezed out of my breasts than risk getting cancer. And all that brings me to my point. Life is like a mammogram in many ways. It’s better to go through whatever discomfort or even pain it takes to prevent something far worse. For instance, going for counseling if you’re struggling with something, whether it’s an addiction, or anger issues [as I had, ie, the anger] or secret pain because of past sexual trauma. There are a whole host of things that we try to stuff down or cover [usually with something like my mammogram “gown”]. We so often think we can handle something alone, or we’ve got it under control. Newsflash—in our lives we have very little under our control. We need to give it to God and go talk to someone. Ever bruise yourself and it hurts like heck but on your skin there’s nothing to see? Inner pain or anger, shame, self-hate, etc is like that. On the surface there’s nothing to see but if someone accidentally touches or bumps it we react. And our reactions aren’t pretty. There have been a number of times in my life when I’ve had to ask for help, go for counseling, and/or prayer and/or some kind of medication to help me through.

God is our refuge and strength, very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.  Psalm 46:1-2

As a post-script I’ll mention this; I was going to post a chart for Breast Self Examination but I discovered it’s no longer recommended here in Canada. The rationale being; 1. We lay people aren’t skilled enough to really tell what’s going on in our breasts. 2. It “alienates” us from our breasts, making us feel anxious and looking for something wrong when we touch them. 3. Most questionable changes in women’s breasts are noticed accidentally while showering. From Canadian Women’s Health Network website

The upshot of all this, so far, is that BSE has become controversial. I personally have never done it regularly because I have fibrocystic breasts, meaning there are always lumps and bumps palpable in the tissues.

In the USA BSE is still recommended see here

Image courtesy of Google images

Image courtesy of Google images

Mammography is the most effective means for finding possible cancer. Here are the current Canadian recommendations. Age 40 to 49; Discuss with your doctor about your risks for breast cancer and need for mammography. Age 50 to 69 we are recommended to get a mammogram once every two years. Age 70+ discuss with doctor.  From Canadian Cancer Website 

In the USA women 40 and older are recommended to have a mammogram once every 1 to 2 years depending on what your doctor says. Women younger than 40 –at your doctor’s recommendation.  From National Breast Cancer Foundation  

I’d love to hear your comments 

 

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I’m Just Fine. Am I Fine?

So often people come up to us and ask, “How are you?” and we answer, “I’m fine, thank you.” Yet we’re not fine. We’re sick. Struggling. Worried about all kinds of things. Stressed. Depressed. Trying to do our best, yet feeling as if we’re failing. And on and on.

14 08 Di Phone 292

When people ask us that ubiquitous question; “How’s it going?” or some derivative of it, how should we answer. I know I get worried they’ll get overloaded if I answer honestly. If I say, “Not great. I’ve been sick since Christmas.” Or worse, “I’ve been depressed for the past three weeks, or months, etc.”

Yikes. Depressed. What are they going to say? “Uh, sorry to hear that.” and then they drift on by to the next person. Or, maybe they’re courageous and answer, “I’m so sorry, can you tell me more?” and you start to list all the reasons why. You’ve been ill for weeks/months/years and you just can’t take it anymore. Or you have bills piling up and you don’t know what you’re going to do, you can’t pay them. Or your husband, child, mother is sick and you’re scared and worn out. Scared of the future. For all of the above reasons, or for other reasons. For reasons that seem reasonable or reasons that seem foolish.

I know I have a hard time with the question; “How are you?” I have a chronic disease–Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so at any given moment i might be  in a lot of pain, or have spent several nights awake with severe pain, and/or I might be terribly fatigued, the kind of fatigue you get when you have the flu. If I say those things I sometime see people’s eyes glaze over, and I feel like they’re thinking “Too much information.”

Or I feel they will think I am not “answering in faith,” or “thinking positively.” I do know that in Jesus I am healed, etc, but I may still not be fine at that moment. I may be experiencing such severe vertigo I walk like a drunk, or have bruising falls.

I really don’t want to be needy. A “black hole” that might suck the energy out of others.

Or we’re afraid we’ll be compared to someone else whose problems are so much harsher than our own, eg, my fibromyalgia compared to someone else’s cancer or loss of a loved one. My “problems” are hardly worth mentioning in light of those other huge crises. Yet, despite someone else’s monumental problems I still feel terrible. One can drown in four inches of water as in an ocean storm.

I think we’re sometimes also afraid of being too vulnerable. Of maybe starting to cry [and if you can’t cry in church amongst friends who will pray for you, where can you cry?]

So how do we answer truthfully, honestly, yet without being a heavy weight in the moment?

I recently watched a documentary on rock climbing and when you rock climb you often have to rely on a partner, a friend, especially if it’s a difficult part of the climb, or a technique that’s not familiar to you. Rock climbing is actually a good metaphor for our Christian journey. We have to be connected to a partner, and they are connected to us. and it’s not a question of if I might fall, but of when all rock climbers fall at some point or another. And not only are you connected to your friend, you are both anchored in the rock. Our rock is Jesus

Rock Climbing

Image from Google Images

I guess it comes down to being willing to be honest and transparent, but also to give short answers and allow the other person to  ask for more info as to why you’re not totally fine right now.  2 Corinthians 12:7

I’ve had to learn this, especially as many people forget I have fibromyalgia and when I mention that’s the reason I don’t feel well they seem to have no memory of what I’ve said in the past. Which makes me wonder how many times I’ve forgotten something someone else has told me about their struggles.

Mercy, grace, patience. We have to always have these qualities with others and ourselves.

God bless your journey in Christ, whether it’s a difficult climb, a free-fall, or a smooth walk [for now].

I welcome all your comments

 

 

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The Manger Is Empty.

The Manger Is Empty.

Photo from heritagebooktalk.com

Photo from heritagebooktalk.com

Although it is wonderful to celebrate the coming of the baby Jesus at Christmas, there is an important thing to remember. The manger is now empty. Jesus the Messiah is now not only grown to be a man, he sacrificed himself for us, died on a cross and rose again. He is now seated in glory at the right hand of God the Father. Yet, defying our imagination, he also comes, with the Father, to make a home in our hearts when we love him and obey him. What does obedience on our part require? To believe in him above all else in our lives, to put him above all else in our lives. This leaves me speechless [almost].

But let’s back up to the manger. It was an incredible miracle for Jesus to be born in a lowly manger for our salvation [and according to scripture we don’t know if there was even a stable…scripture makes no reference to one.] The biggest, most amazing miracle for me happened nine months earlier. Jesus, the son of God, who, according to the Gospel of John, was with God in the beginning and was God, and through whom all things were made, Jesus became a tiny human single cell in Mary’s womb.

Human fetus at 12 weeks gestation; Photo from Google Images

Human fetus at 12 weeks gestation; Photo from Google Images

Did the Father say, “We need a human savior who is also God, a savior who will come to earth in all aspects as a human, including starting human life as a tiny cell. And Jesus the Son part of God the Trinity, said, “Pick me, I’ll go.”

The Father said, “You will have to divest yourself of all your glory. No God-attributes until you are 30 some years old and are baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Jesus; “That’s okay, pick me.” The Father adds, “You will have no autonomy even as a human until you reach human adulthood. You will rely entirely on your parents, and they may not always have all they need to provide even a good human life. You will have times of being poor in human terms. They may also make mistakes as all human parents do.”

Jesus; “That’s Okay, pick me.”

So The Father said, “I choose you. You are the chosen one.”

And so it happened. The embryo grew in the womb of an unknown, unmarried young girl who was probably somewhere between 12 and 14 years old. The baby was born in a dark corner of the world and laid in a manger, a feeding trough. His arrival was not announced to kings or religious leaders, but to the lowliest in human terms, shepherds. But his glory was revealed then, in the visitation of myriads of angels saying [and likely singing] Glory to God in the Highest and the good will of God towards humans.

This is Christmas, the Celebration of Christ our Saviour and Deliverer.

Scripture references; Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:2-4, Hebrews 4:15-16, John 14:6-7, 9, 23, John 1:1-5, John 5:24, Luke 1:26-38

Please share your thoughts with us; leave a comment

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A Weighty But Delicate Subject

Hi. My name is Diana and I’m addicted to M&Ms and almost all forms of chocolate, as well as cheesecake, and anything creamy and sweet, etc. But with the help of a Higher Power I am going to overcome…

Okay, this is hard…fessing up here for God and Everybody to see. But I have to do it. Challenge myself.

Yes, I conducted a personal and private “intervention” for and with myself [took a lot of selfies over time as well as combed through my past pictures] and made a personal photo album that spans the past ten or twelve years. I can see where I’ve been, where I am now, and face my weight. Ugh.

Me with my little, ie much younger, sister.

Me with my little, ie much younger, sister.

I tried to be positive about it. I reminded myself that recently when I posted a nice current pic of myself on Facebook I was hit on by three different guys [who looked to be in their late 40s to mid 60s]. They all wanted to PM with me [I didn’t know them, they weren’t even FB “friends”] and one wanted my phone number. Wow. Haven’t had that happen for years. Now, mind you, it was a head and shoulders pic. But I can safely say, I have a nice, even pretty, face. [My dear hubby has said it, but it’s nice to get supportive evidence. “smile.”] Being able to say anything positive is very helpful. I also faced that I am very overweight.

Now, in the back of my mind i knew I was overweight, but I was so frustrated with all the diets that failed, all the exercise programs that failed. Okay, at first I lost weight. Then I plateaued. Then I began slowly gaining again [Sound familiar?] If I didn’t rigorously watch what I ate and how active I was, I gained. I’ll be honest with you. At the beginning of this summer I was so discouraged I said F#@$ it, I don’t care. And over the summer I gained. And gained. And gained.  Finally a month ago I had my little “intervention.” I am now back to watching what I eat rigorously. But not so rigorously that I can’t maintain it. At first I lost 5 to 8 pounds. Then a week ago I put on about 4 pounds. Argh!. But I will keep on keeping on. I have combed the internet for info about diets and exercises, especially for overweight people. For instance, I know I can’t right away start with exercises like “The Plank.” I did that a year ago and wrecked my back. Because I carry too much weight in my middle. But I have found some info. I will share it with you here and in upcoming posts, in case you need the same thing.

One of the things that throws a spanner in the gears…oh, I mean a wrench in the works [spanner–my NZ background coming out] is my Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Almost any challenge to my body noways puts me in bed with severe fatigue and malaise, as if I had the flu, as well as severe pain, for the next few days. So I have to approach exercising very carefully.

But, I will do it. I have faced that I have to always watch what I eat and how much activity I have. I cannot just let it go. I know God will help me with this.  I also have the goal of fitness at least as much as losing weight. Research has shown that being “fat and fit” is healthier than being slim and flabby.

I can do this.

Me in 2012, in Meaford. Pic taken by my son. I weighed 50 pounds less here.

Me in 2012, in Meaford. Pic taken by my son. I weighed 50 pounds less here.

I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here. 

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