WHO’S YOUR JONATHAN? You Need A True Friend. WHO ARE YOUR VIPS?

Presented and Journaled by Rivalico Pou

Who’s Your Jonathan? You Need A True Friend

Who Are Your VIPs?

A Jonathan is a true friend. The biblical definition of a true friend, a Jonathan, is someone who loves you as himself or herself.

  1. who is a Jonathan?

A Jonathan is:- 1) Your second self.   2) Not ‘Best’, but ‘True’ 3) Endangered species.

**Your Second Self

The true friend is, so to speak a second self (CICERO). A Jonathan won’t let you surrender to your dark side. A Jonathan has seen you naked in all your treachery and loves you anyway. A Jonathan grants you grace when you take him or her for granted. But most of all a Jonathan sacrifices himself for you. The greatest act of true friendship in history – Jesus death. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.

**Not ‘Best’, But ‘True’

A Jonathan is more than an acquaintance or a companion. We mustn’t fall into the trap of relational hierarchy. We just have to be true. The Irish defined ‘Jonathan’ as the “anam cara”: the true friend.

**Endangered Species

A Jonathan may be the scarcest and rarest species on the planet earth. Like Sweet we should not be blinded by some personal Judas, in the midst of which Sweet fail to see the rare Jonathan i.e. Linda.

What makes having a Jonathan so rare and why can’t we be a Jonathan? Three things. Three syndromes. We might even call them “sin – dromes”. They are:- 1) What’s in it for me? Egosystem   2) No down elevator syndrome  3) What, Me sacrifice syndrome.

**What’s In It For Me? Egosystem Syndrome

We’re highly adapted organisms thriving in the egosystem of “what’s in it for me”. The egosystem is filled with self – absorption, pride, indiscipline, selfish impulses, jealousy, distances, indifferences etc. Rather than what’s in it for me, the Jonathan genome asks, “what’s in it for you?”

**No Down Elevator Syndrome

Taking elevator down is to reach deeper levels of truth and trust in a relationship. There four levels of taking elevator down, they are:-  1) Façade level   2) Acquantance level   3) Friendship level    4) Intimacy level. But people don’t really take down the elevator instead they take it up.

**What, Me Sacrifice syndrome

Jonathan is willing to pay the price of being a friend. Perhaps, the highest cost of true friendship is our most precious commodity : Time. In a culture where time is money and money is time, the cost of friendship requires great sacrifice. A Jonathan says, “Yes, you sacrifice”.

BUT………………….. If you find that Jonathan, that true friend, that anam cara, that sticks closer than a brother, that what’s in it for you – elevator down – lay down their life for you person, then you’ll have something that feels warm.

Who Are Your VIPs? You Need A Lydia And Lazarus, Rich And Poor. We’ve heard it said: it is more blessed to give than to receive, but in fact, as important as it is to be generous giver, it is also important to be a gracious receiver. Jesus was a good receiver as well as good giver.

Who’s Your Lydia? A Lydia is a sponsor, a patron, a partner and a provider. Rich woman like Lydia put their money on their faith. She opened her house for worship and even evangelization. Patrons practices hospitality and philanthropy.

True, the rich have power, prestige and resources. They can destroy whom they don’t want or like. But the poor also have their sins too.

True, even Jesus had problems with the rich. Money is their refuge and strength. The position of wealth moves us further away from God and poverty brings us closer to God. But we do wrong by vilifying the rich. You don’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor. The problem is our failure to address the poverty of the rich and the richness of the poor.

 

Who’s Your Lazarus? There are two Lazaruses in the Bible, one real and one fictional. The real one is Jesus true friend, who was raise from the dead. The fictional one is a character use by Jesus in a parable, the poor diseased beggar who asked alms in the home of Dives (“rich man” in Latin). Wealth is not a problem of these Dives. The problem is they live their life without a relationship with Lazarus or a poor person. His VIPs in life were Very Important Pets, not his fellow human being. Something is awry in today’s society. What makes your heart rip open? Does it bother anyone’s heart that thousands of people especially children die because, water, the staff of life, is for them a drink of death? They die because of poverty. Do we hunger and thirst for righteousness? Are our lives, live for ourselves or live for others?

It is a fact that many rich people help the poor. But they treat the poor as anonymous recipients of charity rather than engage them as equal.

The rich and poor are living geographically separate lives. There is wall between the rich and the poor which needs to be torn down. What the rich need, even more than digging deep into their pockets is a relationship with the poor. We need to know what it means to be human, to be fully conscious beings in a world of unconsciousness.

 

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Timothy and Deborah

‘Timothy’ is a protégé, an heir, an apprentice, a younger, less mature version of oneself. But Timothy is unlike any other apprentice. He is one true devotee to his master. Timothy knows someone’s mind better than anyone.
It is known from the bible that the historical Timothy was a single parent son of around sixteen unless he first became an apprentice of Paul.
Any master had to be timothy before he becomes a master. Timothy does not clone himself as his master but rather evolved and became a true and better version of him.
The Shunammitism describes two kinds of women. One provides hospitality for prophets and preachers and the other provides warmth and stimulation. The author combines the two kinds and called it shunammitism, the cultivation of leadership by the old and the young through the hospitality of teaching, mentoring and deploying. Shunammitism keeps the old young and give age and wisdom to youth. One who does not inherit any heir is called as sharonism. This is the worst thing that could have happened to master.
It is evolution that brings out originality in the life of an apprentice or an heir. One who would clone his master cannot be called as “Timothy”.
Osmosis is the development of Potentials by learning, watching what their masters do. And it is only developed with the patience of presence that allows the slow labour of apostolic exposure and experience to take place. Listening is a very important task for Timothy. His challenge is to learn how to hear. Jesus did not say “everyone who belongs to the Truth sees my vision” rather he says, “everyone who belongs to the truth hear my voice”. Timothy has to learn to listen to their masters.
Timothy cannot be a mere devotee to his masters but the force of creativity and imagination is also important. Imagination is the root of every crisis that has been happening day to day.
We don’t need more of what we already have. The world needs ‘more as different’. Our current time needs the imagination of conception more than improvement. Timothy has to take leaps into unknown when they go the ‘different’ route to make a different world.
As we need protegees, We also need a Deborah who could be a shield. Deborah is someone who provides cover for you, who will cover your back. Behind every good man and good women, there is someone, a back coverer.
“You are going to get it in the back”
The world we live in is a cruel place if we look closer. There are many kinds of monster, many of them shaped like men and women. It does not matter how well we are, we are going to get criticised and it comes from the back door. There will always be someone who will betray you. Deborah takes an important role here. Some Deborah actually stands and covers your back, but some become back stabber rather than back guard.
Deborah covers you with prayer from a distance. In this text, Deborah did not fight next to Barak, but she covered Barak’s back with the fire of her words, her spirit and her courage. Deborah is needed to protect us against ourselves. Sometimes it is important to listen to someone rather than making our own decision.
There is Deborah who covers your back even without knowing you and we can be others Deborah even without knowing them.
A Deborah has keen radar for any sense of disrespect and danger. Even in death, people are there for you or even before we are born. Our mother becomes a Deborah for us. She prepared everything for us even before our existence in this world. It is quite interesting to know a lot about Deborah. At the end, we cannot live alone. We cannot live without Deborah.

 

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WHO IS YOUR NATHAN? WHO IS YOUR RHODA?

WHO’S YOUR NATHAN?

-You need an Editor

WHO’S YOUR RHODA?

-You need a “little one”

Presented and journal by Haominlun

Just as the best writers in the world need editors, we all need a friend who would scold and correct us with the truth when we stumble into immorality and walk in unjust ways.

Nathan means ‘gift’. Nathan the prophet was a ‘gift’ to King David. Nathan provided him with a vast range of issues ranging from architecture to music to dynastic succession. But he went beyond just advice for the throne. He spoke directly to the heart of the king and confronted him about his sexual relationship with Bathsheba and had the courage to stick his bony finger in David’s face and say, “you are the man”. Without Nathan, David would have continued his adulterous, murderous, lecherous behavior and corrupted the Davidic line.

“If you think you can’t fall into sexual sin, then you’re godlier than David”

– Bill Perkins

Your Nathan is your editor, someone who lifts the veil of your own voice. Nathan is less about pointing a finger than parting a curtain.

You might be blessed with the company of a Nathan in your life but the question remains, are you ‘editable’?  Leonard sweet beautifully summed up the characters of a Nathan by referring to his own editor, which reads, “He labored for hours over my stumbling and mumblings, making sentences less convoluted but without destroying my voice in the process. Whenever we talked on the phone, or met in person, his entire dedication was toward making my voice stronger and helping me speak out of my voice. He often told me what to think about, but never what to think”.

In conclusion, you will know when you’ve been pricked and prodded by a Nathan when you leave an encounter smarting, but thinking, there are kinder words that could have been said to me, but there aren’t truer ones.

We need a little one in our lives as well. Do you have a Rhoda? Children are just people in process of getting older yet it is the baby face that is chosen as faith’s gold standard.

Rhoda was a doorkeeper in the house of Mary in Jerusalem. Even though a servant girl, Rhoda participated in family prayer. During one late-night prayer meeting, the adults were praying hard for an imprisoned Peter. In the midst of all this praying, there was a knock at the gate. Rhoda went to answer it, and “in her excitement” from hearing Peter’s voice, hastened back to the meeting without opening the door for Peter.

They laughed and mocked “Crazy Rhoda”, but she persisted. A determined Rhoda finally convinced the adults to break away from their prayer exercises and see their prayer take flight. It took a child to point out to them the reality of answered prayer. Sometimes it takes a child to point out the obvious.

“Children first” was the Jesus motto because in the kingdom of God the last are first. Put away childish ways but not children, for children keep you in childhood all your adult life. Jesus weaves three mantle of spiritual maturity around our Rhoda relationship:

“Let the children come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”

“Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”

“It would be better for you if a great millstone was fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea”

Rhoda’s keep you scared: Fear is the dark room that develops negatives into positives. The older we get the easier it is to pretend to be something other than we are, and Rhoda’s scare the real you out of you.

Rhoda’s keep you small: Most people simply don’t know how beautiful the world is and how much splendor is revealed in the smallest of things. Grown up people, who have occupations and cares and who worry themselves about mere trifles, gradually lose the eye for these riches, while children, if they are observant and good, quickly notice and love with their whole heart.

Rhoda’s keep you light: A Rhoda’s world is filled with lighthearted, even light-headed airborne characters who are enchanting to the prosaic, predictable, grounded, weighed-down world of adults. General Douglas MacArthur is known for the quote, “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul”.

In the end, our childhood character of possessing intense curiosity shall bear the light towards our walk to humility.

Genius Isaac Newton humbly confessed, “I know not what I appear to the world, but to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me”.

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Acts

Presented by Caroline

Journal by

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Matthew

Presented by Rajiandai Bariam

Journal by Rivalico Pou

The vocation of mankind starts in a garden to be cared and looked after. But soon mankind forgets the vocation and fall for their idols of selfishness and pride. With mankind’s disobedience and arrogance came the fall of mankind and the consequent exile from the garden.

The story of Noah, Abraham, Moses and all other patriarchs in the Old Testament were pointing towards Jesus with a sense of desperation. Jesus was the long awaited Messiah in whom the scriptures find fulfillment. In him, the redemption story finds completion.

 Mathew has beautifully and carefully arranged the list of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the promised Savior that God made to his people in the Old Testament. The list of ancestors has been divided into three parts of 14 generations each. They are :- 1) Abraham to King David

                                                     2) From David to the time of Exile

                                                     3) From Exile to the birth of Jesus.

A jubilee comes after the seventh seven week of years. So from Abraham to Jesus is sixth seven weeks of years. So Jesus is the seventh seven week that brings the jubilee. So Jesus is the jubilee in person.

After Jesus was born, the Spirit told Joseph to take the child and stay in Egypt until the right time. After Herod’s death, Jesus was called out of Egypt just as Israel was called out of Egypt as fulfillment of the scriptures.

The massacre of infants in Bethlehem after Jesus fled to Egypt was again a repeat of history. The pernicious purging of infants under Herod was the ugly truth about how the dark powers of Pharoah still operate the world. Jesus came to the place with a dirty history and a place of reckless power abuse and rampant corruption and decay. He faced the persecutions and the rampant evil first hand.

After the baptism, Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tempted. Jesus’ life had full of foreshadows. Jesus’ 40 days of wilderness is like Moses’ 40 yrs of wilderness. Jesus’ temptation was :-  1) To turn stone into bread    2) To throw himself down from the highest point of the temple    3) To give all the kingdoms of the world if he bow down and worship Satan.   All these temptations represent the desire to fulfill physical need, the need of ego, self recognition, power and fame above God. After the temptation, Jesus began to preach in Galilee. Jesus’ first disciples were Simon(Peter) and Andrew followed by James and John. Like these disciples, it is also our duty to put aside our needs and put Jesus first.

Jesus preached the kingdom manifesto. He preached that the kingdom of Heaven belonged to the righteous, peacemakers and the merciful. Israel was called to be the salt that gives taste and the light that shine, to people. This is an unfulfilled vocation of Israel but Jesus is the fulfillment. Jesus also preached to offer reconciliation, not to fall to adultery, not to divorce and not to break oaths. He taught to love enemies, to give to the needy, to give thanks and pray for the forgiveness of our sings and the sins of others, not to fast by looking somber, not to fall for the treasure of this world but build treasures in heaven, not to worry about life or what to eat or drink or wear. God will provide everything that is necessary.

Many were healed because of their faith in Jesus. The Kingdom of God is even for the outcast i.e. the sick or unclean, demon possessed and tax collector (Mathew). Jesus way of bringing the kingdom of God was through the inclusion of the outcaste and sinners as partakers of the kingdom. It was a blow against the hypocritical self righteousness of the religious and national leaders. Chapter 10 :- Jesus sends out the 12 disciples to teach and heal people. Jesus is sharing the mission in order to be in the kingdom of God together.

Jesus is closer with the law breaker than the law observer. Jesus said to the teachers of the law that they will be condemned or judged for their careless words and wicked thoughts.

The parable of sower talks about two people :  1) People who prioritized themselves instead of God because of their lack of faith    2) People who listen and understands God’s word.  The parable tells us to pay attention to what God is doing.

On regard to washing of hand while eating, Jesus taught that unwashed hands do not make a man unclean but things like evil thoughts, slander, murder, theft etc. that comes out of the heart makes a man unclean. Like the older prophets said, God had finally come to correct the disease of the heart.

When the disciples reached the other side of the sea, Jesus warned his disciples to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees. They thought they had brought no bread. But He was speaking of the wickedness and the corruptions of the Pharisees. Because the disciple’s were too short sighted or flesh minded that they weren’t able to see the important lesson that Jesus was delivering. It is important to be willing to see the greater truth that Christ delivers by laying down our own assumptions.

Jesus turned the whole value system upside down when he said that the greatest in the Kingdom of God is one like a little child. It wasn’t just a moral example to be like a little child. In fact he told the parents to literally bring the little children to him. That is the start of a moral and a cultural revolution.

Peter question Jesus about the extent of forgiveness he must show to his brother. Jesus said ‘Seventy times seven’. He wasn’t saying that after that number of times Peter patience can get over. Jesus was using the theme of the Jubilee in terms of forgiveness. If you forgive, you must forgive completely like the jubilee that comes after seven times seven years.

Jesus used the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard to explain of his graceful nature. There is no social status in the Kingdom of Heaven. God opens his kingdom both to the Gentiles and the Jews but the Pharisees and the Jews expect higher grace for them.

As his time draws near, Jesus came riding on a colt witnessing a triumphal entry in Jerusalem. The colt was a symbol of royalty and peace. The king of peace had finally visited Jerusalem. He cleansed the temple like only King or priest can do. Finally his actions vindicated that he was the Messiah. He asserted that he was the temple in person when he judged the temple that it will become rubble.

Jesus used the parable of the Wedding Banquet to teach that the Kingdom of Heaven belong to people who would heartily accept the invitation of the kingdom that had been inaugurated. But the responses were very little. So Jesus said “For many are invited but few are chosen”. On the same day, When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind”. And the second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. The interesting part here is how Jesus gives two commandments when the question is about one greatest commandment. Literally the two commandments cannot exist apart from the other so Jesus said these two is one greatest commandment.

And Jesus put the service for God equal to service to man. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.” If we don’t serve the poor and the needy, we aren’t serving God.

After the Lord’s Supper, they went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus was praying to his Father to take away the cup of death but asking that his Father’s will be done. And he showed obedience to the point of death. It was a reversal of the First Adam’s arrogance and disobedience in selfish pursuit. The second Adam obeyed God to the point of complete annihilation of the self.

Even at the cross- the epitome of suffering and shame, Jesus didn’t turn bitter or selfish. In the midst of that severe helplessness, his heart and soul wasn’t crippled. Even in times of outright experience of the crucifixion, he was still able to graciously assure the brigand on his right of a place called paradise. Jesus in the height of hopelessness still infused hope to the dying.

What a great Lord he is. What a good God we have! King of Kings is HE!

As promised, Jesus rose on the third day after his death. His resurrection was the greatest miracle. A victory over death is finally proclaimed. It has no hold over mankind among those who followed him. But the religious leaders and the political bosses still don’t want to believe after what had happen. It shows their unwillingness to repent and still seek for fame, respect and all the evil practice they are into. After the report of the resurrection from Mary Magdalene and Mary, the 11 disciples went to Galilee and saw him. There he gave the great commission, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Finally the reign of the Son of Man as depicted in Daniel 7 had begun. Hope for the world started at the foot of the cross.

 

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