By Warren Mueller –
In John 14:28, Jesus says “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” The divinity of Jesus is sometimes questioned based on the meaning of “the Father is greater than I.” These meanings were the subject of a debate about the divinity of Jesus known as Arianism. Arius was an elder in the church of Alexandria who lived between 250-336AD. Arius wrote that the Son “is a perfect creature, yet not as one among other creatures; a begotten being yet not as one among other beings.” From this it appears that Arius thought that Jesus was a special creature compared to humans. A key controversial concept about Jesus being a creature versus God revolves around the term “begotten.”
John 3:34-37 says that Jesus is one sent from God who speaks the words of God and has been given the spirit of God without limit. The Father has given Jesus authority over everything such that Jesus has the power to reconcile sinful men to God. The prophets spoke the words of God and were considered to be filled by the spirit of God while doing so but nowhere does the Bible say that anyone received the spirit of God without limit. This implies that Jesus has all of the spirit of God which would not be possible for a creature to attain. Also, the Jews were offended by Jesus and considered it blasphemy when he claimed the power to forgive sins as this was something only God could do (Luke 5:22-24 NIV).
In John 10:30 Jesus claims to be “one” with the Father. The Jews present pick up stones to kill Jesus because they clearly understood that Jesus claimed to be God. In verses 33-38, Jesus says he is the Son of God; that he has been sent by the Father and that the miracles he performs prove that “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” He says that even though there are other humans that are sons of God, he clearly distinguishes himself as unique which further enrages them because they understand him to say that he is God.
Jesus knew his purpose was to die on the cross; that he and the Father would be glorified by his death; that the power of the devil or prince of the world would be broken by his death and that the Father accepts and honors those who follow Jesus. Jesus is God and offered him-self as a sin sacrifice once for mankind. If Jesus is a creature, he would have to make innumerable offerings as did the Jewish priests. Hebrews 10:10 says that “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
In John 14:10, Jesus is astounded by Philip’s request for Jesus to show the Father to the disciples. He tells Philip that “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you say, Show us the Father?” He then again says that the Father is living in him and that he says and does precisely what the Father is doing. This only makes sense if Jesus and the Father are one God.
Christians worshipped Jesus as God for over two hundred years before Arius questioned his divinity. The evidence for Arianism is limited to verses that use the words “begotten” and that the Father is “greater” than Jesus. There are multiple meanings for the Greek words “begotten” and “greater” that can support either view so we must look to other verses in the Bible to help us decide the best meanings of these words. There are many verses in the Bible that support the view that Jesus is God while there are none that clearly support the idea that Jesus is a creature so it is apparent that the Arian view is false. Therefore, Jesus must have meant that, while Jesus was on earth, he was lesser in position not different in essence with the Father.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phillipians 2:5-8 NIV).
By Don Otis –
By the year 2050, the U.S. will have more than 600,000 people over the age of 100. This is more than ten times the number in 2010 (i). Moses lived to be 120, climbed to the top of a mountain (Mt. Nebo in present day Jordan) and died. Deuteronomy 34:7 (NIV) says, “His eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” I like that bit of detail because it tells us that Moses remained vibrant right up to the end.
While living to 100 may not be your greatest aspiration, the bigger question is “What factors determine how long you will live?” Perhaps the biggest factor is your family history or genetic makeup. Routine checkups and preemptive lifestyle choices can quash what might have been an early death sentence just a few decades ago. But here are ten other factors that lead to longevity.
A whopping 37 percent of men are sedentary (ii). Exercise is at the top of the list for those who live longer and healthier lives. The key is aerobic fitness which simply means getting your heart and lungs working through running, cycling, swimming, or hiking. One out of every two men will develop heart disease at some point in his life (slightly less for women). Aerobic exercise helps offset heart disease by increasing the flow of blood throughout the body.
A second and often neglected element of healthy living is how you deal with anger. Are you quick to hold grudges, scream at someone who cuts you off, or react to unpleasant or frustrating circumstances with a rush of anger-inducted adrenalin? Anger raises our blood pressure and places us at greater risk of having a stroke or incurring heart disease.
A third ingredient to longevity is maintaining good relationships. A healthy marriage and the love that goes with it is a major indicator of lasting health. This includes our relationships with children, grandchildren, co-workers and friends. A toxic relationship, especially a marriage, can create stress. This weakens our immune system, which makes us vulnerable to disease.
A forth factor that can shorten your life is stress. Perhaps you have heard the comment, “Stress kills.” The way we learn to deal with the difficulties of life can either add to or detract from our life expectancy. The greatest stressors are often those we have no control over (a prodigal child, the choices of our mate, etc). Learn to control the things you can in life and let God take care of the rest.
Fifth, be born female. Women live longer.
Sixth, have wealth. The more money you have, the better health care you can afford.
Seventh, pray. Prayer is a natural way to relieve stress.
Eighth, maintain a healthy weight. Too much weight, either due to lack or exercise or overeating, is lethal. Obesity will rob 13 years from your life.
Ninth, maintain healthy skin by protecting it from ultraviolet rays. When you are in the sun for extended periods of time, use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.
Finally, eat in a healthy way. This means limiting overall consumption and adding fruits, grains, and vegetables. Likewise, this also means limiting excessive alcohol intake.
Our bodies are marvelously designed. They are incredibly resilient machines but like all machines, they won’t last forever. Learn to be a good steward of the equipment God has given you. Treat it with respect and you will live longer and find more joy in living.
(i) “This Baby May Well Live to 100”, National Geographic, November 2011
(ii) Laura Roberson, “Your Healthiest Year Ever,” Men’s Health, January/February 2011
By Jarrod Spencer –
“What are you going to be when you grow up?” If you ask my son this question, his answer will be “a fireman.” Over his short forty-seven month life, he has told us that he is going to be a Chinese-food worker, a Pizza Hut worker, and a few other occupations when he grows up. The latest, a fireman, has come after being introduced to the movie “Fireproof.”
Wanting to be a fireman has invoked a wide range of imaginative play. He takes the plug-in side of a cell phone charger to be the walkie-talkie that a fireman uses. He has used his bicycle helmet to be fireman’s helmet. He uses a small oatmeal container with a bungee cord through it as an oxygen container. It is rarely a dull moment when his imagination is in full swing and “Fireman Caleb” comes out to save the day.
Recently, I picked up a play fireman’s hat for him. The other night my son was going through his pre-bedtime ritual when I heard him exclaim, “Uh oh, Dad, your razor is in the toilet.” I ventured into the bathroom to find that one of the attachments to my mustache trimmer was located at the bottom of the toilet. My fourteen-month old daughter decided to exercise her new talent. As I reached into the water my son exclaims, “Emergency, emergency!” He had gone into his room to put on his newly acquired fireman’s hat. Now he came into the bathroom with only a t-shirt, underwear, and his toy fireman’s helmet. As I pulled the attachment out of the toilet, I couldn’t help but laugh.
As I thought about this situation, I think that God must have his moments where He watches us scurry around in our “emergency” situations and is thinking, “Relax, I have this all under control.” Do you go through situations like that? However, in the grand scheme of things they are pretty little? Maybe it is losing your keys, missing a turn, forgetting an assignment at home, or a host of other issues we face.
Does God become worked up over those types of examples? I seriously doubt it. So why do we?
Are you in the middle of an emergency? Remember that God has these things all under control.
PRAYER: Father, may I rest in You. May your Spirit prompt me to rely on You and not me in matters I deem as an emergency.
BIBLE VERSE: “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV).
By Jodi Whisenhunt –
Hemingway’s endearingly tragic infatuation with the sea was unavoidable given the parallels of its ebbs and flows with those of life. Not long ago I spent an entire week at the beach, and I developed a similar consuming respect.
Every day the water was different. One day, it was calm and soothing. The next, jellyfish swarmed. The day after, clear waves chopped. Our final day, rough storms threatened. I was cut by seashells, burned by the sun’s rays, stung by slimy, floating globs of “jelly,” and chased by tiny, translucent crabs. I shared a mother’s panic and prayers for her lost little boy and crumbled in tears of relief when he was found. I watched lightning spark the night sky and stars twinkle from afar. I was lulled to sleep by the steady breakers and laughed at by gulls.
Every day of life is different too. One day, everything flows easily and coherently. The next, nothing makes sense. The day after, choppy but fun! And, of course, some days are dark and dreary. Rejections wound my spirit. They cut, burn, sting, and pinch. Many times I have panicked and prayed over frustrations; others I have wept with joy of discovery. Every now and then, inspiration strikes with great electricity and incites my creative energy. At those moments, my jitters ease and my tensions release with a giggle.
After several days of yielding to the surf, my body adjusted to the habit, anticipating the next surge. I’d find myself swaying with the waves of the sea when I was standing on dry land. And so it is with life, a cohesive oscillation with God that in the end leaves me both exhausted and exhilarated.
And I rejoice that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
By Robin J. Steinweg –
I sat at a table in the food court just after Christmas. Three teen girls squeezed in next to me. I found myself included in their conversation whether I chose to be or not.
“My grandma gave me ten measly dollars.”
“That’s better than what I got. At least you get to pick out something you want. I’m stuck with ugly mittens and a hat—that my grandma made.”
I pictured a gray-haired lady in a tattered shawl and fingerless gloves huddled close to her space heater. She ignores the searing pain in her knotted joints as she knits (having gone without lunch for months in order to afford the yarn), smiling wistfully and fondly praying over this granddaughter with every painful stitch.
Manna. In Exodus 16 God’s people were hungry. He sent heavenly food to them with the dew each night. It tasted “like wafers made with honey.” By Numbers 11, they were tired of manna. They whined about it. And then Moses complained about their complaining. God became “exceedingly angry” and sent quail until they were so sick of it, it came out their nostrils.
The third girl spoke up. “I’d be happy for even a hug from my grandma. She died a few months ago.”
The girls got quiet. They got the point.
Not only they: I looked at the brand-new coat I’d planned to replace that day, complaining it wasn’t quite my style. I thanked God for it, took the money I would have spent on a new one, and tucked it into the Salvation Army bucket. Grateful.
PRAYER: Lord, You’ve caused a one-eighty in my perspective and reminded me to be grateful. Thank You!
BIBLE VERSE: “O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:12b NIV).