Point of Reference

The Mona Lisa is a marvelous work of art.  It conveys a beauty though its subtlety and understatement. She seems to have a hint of a smile and you just know that she is thinking about "something"; but what could it be?  She seems almost "alive"!  I wonder, I wonder, Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?  What really is reality?  Since we are created beings and art is created, at what perspective do we understand the point of reference to be?  Today, I read that "performance art" is going to new "heights": a woman is actually going to have her baby in a public exhibition of "art".  Pretty messy performance!  Conceiving (no pun intended here) of art like this can lead to absurdity.  What's next, a hemorrhoidectomy at your local library?  Now, apply these things to the concept of religion and you come to this chapter of the book of Colossians.

Colossians 2:1-23 (WEB)
1) For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
2) that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,
3) in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.
4) Now this I say that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech.
5) For though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and seeing your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6) As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him,
7) rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving.
8) Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.
9) For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily,
10) and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power;
11) in whom you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ;
12) having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13) You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14) wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;
15) having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16) Let no one therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day,
17) which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s.
18) Let no one rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19) and not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth.
20) If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances,
21) “Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch”

22) (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men?
23) Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but aren’t of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.

How do you balance what you do to serve God, how you feel about HIM and what you think about him?  People come up with all sorts of standards of behavior and make that the overriding feature.  Others say that the mind is everything and even the pain of something like the pain you experience with a broken leg is all imaginary.  A different group looks to the emotions we experience and place an emphasis on "speaking in tongues".  The correct balance is found in the example of Jesus.  Read Matthew chapters 5 to 7 commonly referred to as the "Sermon on the Mount" and you will see a logical progression of thought interlaced with both real life feelings and expected actions.  First the thought, second the feeling and lastly the action.  We are thinking, feeling, real life people.  God designed us this way.  Remember, Jesus told someone to Love God and your neighbor.  Both involve thought first and a decision (both mental and emotional) and then an action to be complete.  Jesus just didn't think about loving us, He taught us how to by his own example.  We are made in the image of God, so why not act like him?  What is reality and what is religion?  There is no difference.  What?  Think that doesn't make sense?  Look at Jesus, HE had a practical understanding of concept, feeling and action; and so should we.  People will come up with all sorts of Philosophies and ideas of how to please God (religion), but I say... listen to Jesus.... remember this:

Matthew 17:1-5 (WEB)
1) After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.
2) He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.
3) Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.
4) Peter answered, and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let’s make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

Point of Reference is Jesus; listen, learn, do.  Enough said.

OT Bible Reading 10/11

Oct. 11
Proverbs 5-8

Pro 5:1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Turn your ear to my understanding:
Pro 5:2 that you may maintain discretion, that your lips may preserve knowledge.
Pro 5:3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey. Her mouth is smoother than oil,
Pro 5:4 But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a two-edged sword.
Pro 5:5 Her feet go down to death. Her steps lead straight to Sheol.
Pro 5:6 She gives no thought to the way of life. Her ways are crooked, and she doesn't know it.
Pro 5:7 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me. Don't depart from the words of my mouth.
Pro 5:8 Remove your way far from her. Don't come near the door of her house,
Pro 5:9 lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one;
Pro 5:10 lest strangers feast on your wealth, and your labors enrich another man's house.
Pro 5:11 You will groan at your latter end, when your flesh and your body are consumed,
Pro 5:12 and say, "How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
Pro 5:13 neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor turned my ear to those who instructed me!
Pro 5:14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, in the midst of the gathered assembly."
Pro 5:15 Drink water out of your own cistern, running water out of your own well.
Pro 5:16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares?
Pro 5:17 Let them be for yourself alone, not for strangers with you.
Pro 5:18 Let your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
Pro 5:19 A loving doe and a graceful deer-- let her breasts satisfy you at all times. Be captivated always with her love.
Pro 5:20 For why should you, my son, be captivated with an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another?
Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of Yahweh. He examines all his paths.
Pro 5:22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare him. The cords of his sin hold him firmly.
Pro 5:23 He will die for lack of instruction. In the greatness of his folly, he will go astray.
Pro 6:1 My son, if you have become collateral for your neighbor, if you have struck your hands in pledge for a stranger;
Pro 6:2 You are trapped by the words of your mouth. You are ensnared with the words of your mouth.
Pro 6:3 Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself, seeing you have come into the hand of your neighbor. Go, humble yourself. Press your plea with your neighbor.
Pro 6:4 Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids.
Pro 6:5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
Pro 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider her ways, and be wise;
Pro 6:7 which having no chief, overseer, or ruler,
Pro 6:8 provides her bread in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.
Pro 6:9 How long will you sleep, sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep?
Pro 6:10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
Pro 6:11 so your poverty will come as a robber, and your scarcity as an armed man.
Pro 6:12 A worthless person, a man of iniquity, is he who walks with a perverse mouth;
Pro 6:13 who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who motions with his fingers;
Pro 6:14 in whose heart is perverseness, who devises evil continually, who always sows discord.
Pro 6:15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly. He will be broken suddenly, and that without remedy.
Pro 6:16 There are six things which Yahweh hates; yes, seven which are an abomination to him:
Pro 6:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood;
Pro 6:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief,
Pro 6:19 a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.
Pro 6:20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and don't forsake your mother's teaching.
Pro 6:21 Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck.
Pro 6:22 When you walk, it will lead you. When you sleep, it will watch over you. When you awake, it will talk with you.
Pro 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light. Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
Pro 6:24 to keep you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the wayward wife's tongue.
Pro 6:25 Don't lust after her beauty in your heart, neither let her captivate you with her eyelids.
Pro 6:26 For a prostitute reduces you to a piece of bread. The adulteress hunts for your precious life.
Pro 6:27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap, and his clothes not be burned?
Pro 6:28 Or can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be scorched?
Pro 6:29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife. Whoever touches her will not be unpunished.
Pro 6:30 Men don't despise a thief, if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry:
Pro 6:31 but if he is found, he shall restore seven times. He shall give all the wealth of his house.
Pro 6:32 He who commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding. He who does it destroys his own soul.
Pro 6:33 He will get wounds and dishonor. His reproach will not be wiped away.
Pro 6:34 For jealousy arouses the fury of the husband. He won't spare in the day of vengeance.
Pro 6:35 He won't regard any ransom, neither will he rest content, though you give many gifts.
Pro 7:1 My son, keep my words. Lay up my commandments within you.
Pro 7:2 Keep my commandments and live! Guard my teaching as the apple of your eye.
Pro 7:3 Bind them on your fingers. Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Pro 7:4 Tell wisdom, "You are my sister." Call understanding your relative,
Pro 7:5 that they may keep you from the strange woman, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.
Pro 7:6 For at the window of my house, I looked out through my lattice.
Pro 7:7 I saw among the simple ones. I discerned among the youths a young man void of understanding,
Pro 7:8 passing through the street near her corner, he went the way to her house,
Pro 7:9 in the twilight, in the evening of the day, in the middle of the night and in the darkness.
Pro 7:10 Behold, there a woman met him with the attire of a prostitute, and with crafty intent.
Pro 7:11 She is loud and defiant. Her feet don't stay in her house.
Pro 7:12 Now she is in the streets, now in the squares, and lurking at every corner.
Pro 7:13 So she caught him, and kissed him. With an impudent face she said to him:
Pro 7:14 "Sacrifices of peace offerings are with me. This day I have paid my vows.
Pro 7:15 Therefore I came out to meet you, to diligently seek your face, and I have found you.
Pro 7:16 I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, with striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt.
Pro 7:17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Pro 7:18 Come, let's take our fill of loving until the morning. Let's solace ourselves with loving.
Pro 7:19 For my husband isn't at home. He has gone on a long journey.
Pro 7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him. He will come home at the full moon."
Pro 7:21 With persuasive words, she led him astray. With the flattering of her lips, she seduced him.
Pro 7:22 He followed her immediately, as an ox goes to the slaughter, as a fool stepping into a noose.
Pro 7:23 Until an arrow strikes through his liver, as a bird hurries to the snare, and doesn't know that it will cost his life.
Pro 7:24 Now therefore, sons, listen to me. Pay attention to the words of my mouth.
Pro 7:25 Don't let your heart turn to her ways. Don't go astray in her paths,
Pro 7:26 for she has thrown down many wounded. Yes, all her slain are a mighty army.
Pro 7:27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.
Pro 8:1 Doesn't wisdom cry out? Doesn't understanding raise her voice?
Pro 8:2 On the top of high places by the way, where the paths meet, she stands.
Pro 8:3 Beside the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entry doors, she cries aloud:
Pro 8:4 "To you men, I call! I send my voice to the sons of mankind.
Pro 8:5 You simple, understand prudence. You fools, be of an understanding heart.
Pro 8:6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things. The opening of my lips is for right things.
Pro 8:7 For my mouth speaks truth. Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Pro 8:8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness. There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.
Pro 8:9 They are all plain to him who understands, right to those who find knowledge.
Pro 8:10 Receive my instruction rather than silver; knowledge rather than choice gold.
Pro 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies. All the things that may be desired can't be compared to it.
Pro 8:12 "I, wisdom, have made prudence my dwelling. Find out knowledge and discretion.
Pro 8:13 The fear of Yahweh is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
Pro 8:14 Counsel and sound knowledge are mine. I have understanding and power.
Pro 8:15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
Pro 8:16 By me princes rule; nobles, and all the righteous rulers of the earth.
Pro 8:17 I love those who love me. Those who seek me diligently will find me.
Pro 8:18 With me are riches, honor, enduring wealth, and prosperity.
Pro 8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold; my yield than choice silver.
Pro 8:20 I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice;
Pro 8:21 That I may give wealth to those who love me. I fill their treasuries.
Pro 8:22 "Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his work, before his deeds of old.
Pro 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before the earth existed.
Pro 8:24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.
Pro 8:25 Before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was brought forth;
Pro 8:26 while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the beginning of the dust of the world.
Pro 8:27 When he established the heavens, I was there; when he set a circle on the surface of the deep,
Pro 8:28 when he established the clouds above, when the springs of the deep became strong,
Pro 8:29 when he gave to the sea its boundary, that the waters should not violate his commandment, when he marked out the foundations of the earth;
Pro 8:30 then I was the craftsman by his side. I was a delight day by day, always rejoicing before him,
Pro 8:31 Rejoicing in his whole world. My delight was with the sons of men.
Pro 8:32 "Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, for blessed are those who keep my ways.
Pro 8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise. Don't refuse it.
Pro 8:34 Blessed is the man who hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my door posts.
Pro 8:35 For whoever finds me, finds life, and will obtain favor from Yahweh.
Pro 8:36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul. All those who hate me love death."

NT Bible Reading 10/11

Oct. 11
Ephesians 2

Eph 2:1 You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience;
Eph 2:3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;
Eph 2:8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, that no one would boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.
Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "uncircumcision" by that which is called "circumcision," (in the flesh, made by hands);
Eph 2:12 that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition,
Eph 2:15 having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace;
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby.
Eph 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone;
Eph 2:21 in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord;
Eph 2:22 in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.