Sustainability–Here and Hereafter

Phyllis Nissila

HERE

Sustainability,” as in environmental management, is The Cause of the day. We have mucked things up pretty good on our planetary home and it’s time to correct, if we can. On our campus, we’ve been “going green” for some time, now.

 

We have a recycling system that has greatly reduced the negative impact of garbage on the grounds.

 

Inside, recycle stations with repositories for trash, cans and bottles, and paper/cardboard discards help keep classrooms and hallways clear.

 

Departments count paper and paper clips carefully and employees are encouraged to keep information in the “virtual cloud” instead of stacking reams of hard copy in crowded storage units.

 

We even have a building with several “green offices” for employees who suffer from allergies to perfumes and other chemicals added to everything from carpets to shampoo.

 

Much effort has gone into the overall project for quite some time, but the rewards are evident and contribute to everyone’s well-being.

 

HEREAFTER

This leads me to thinking about another kind of sustainability.

 

When it comes to following the “spiritual sustainability manual,” the Scriptures, if you will, some say we should be able to “do our own thing,” toss aide antiquated moral codes for dogmas du jour.

 

But, like ignoring the manuals for preserving the material realm, is this “spiritually “sustainable”? Consider:

 

In the physical world, God set an ecosystem in motion that despite frequent mismanagement by the human element, still ticks.

 

Trees and birds and cattle still propagate after their own kind, oceans ebb and flow on sandy shores, and people, the creatures with the highest level thinking skills (but sometimes lowest level applications) continuously try to change what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell, mostly for good, but sometimes, not.

 

For example, through human industry that beach sand can become eye glasses, windows, and champagne flutes or material to sharpen weapons and blow things up.

 

But back to “spiritual sustainability.”

 

Just as there are immutable “material laws” that help us preserve flora and fauna, campus and farmlands (and remember the old ad campaign that suggested we’d better not fool with Mother Nature?) the power to choose wise stewardship or foolish exploitation, good or evil, was given us in the spiritual realm, too.

 

And it’s not a good idea to mess with that, either.

 

Think about love, for example, the spiritual force thought to power everything (for evil seeks only destruction), the kind of love, that is, that sustains through good and bad, thrills and spills, health and sickness.

 

And think of how some abuse it.

 

But better yet, think of love of a higher order altogether, a power that caused the One Who designed both the tangible and the intangible and Who gave us the free will to choose both material and spiritual “sustainability” even though He knew full well all of our choices would not be for good.

 

Think of how He set in motion the visible world that speaks of beginnings and ends, of good propagation techniques and destructive practices, a physical “metaphor,” as I often think of creation, that illustrates how to thwart and how to sustain both the seen and the unseen although He knows it is also impossible to achieve perfection in either realm.

 

Not only that, think of a love that knows we can’t achieve perfection, in the end, given our challenges and limitations; we cannot, ultimately, perfectly, please either Mother Nature—or Father God.

 

And yet, He lets us choose.

 

Of our own free will.

 

Knowing full well.

 

Cruel?

 

Or, could there be some other plan, here? Something else in the works by the One who designed even love?

 

Consider:

 

THE PLAN

After providing the instruction manual, as it were, of “spiritual sustainability,” His Word in the text, God also sent His Word “in the Flesh,” Jesus, as the solution to the damage done to both worlds.

 

As the only “perfect One” Jesus was also able to pay the complete “price” for the damage by donning not only the flesh of man, but the sins of man, that day, on the cross, to suffer the price we owe—in our stead—for damages rendered.

 

To the literal last drop of his blood.

 

The Perfect One—Indeed, God’s own Son—paid the perfect price. But not for Himself, for there was no need.

 

For us.

 

Jesus Christ gave His eye for our eye, His tooth for our tooth, figuratively and literally, so that when one day we stand accountable for our choices He, our advocate, Who sits at the Father’s right hand, will say of us: “Account paid in full.”

 

By putting our faith in Him we can anticipate spiritual “sustainability” in that place where rust, worm, moth, heartache, and tears are no more in a life “re-purposed” if you will, through Christ Jesus.

 

What a plan…

 

WHAT a plan.

 

But why, after we have done such damage “down here”? Some ask.

 

We don’t deserve it, say others.

 

True.

 

But that’s Who made us; that’s Who loves us.

 

As St. John put it: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (chapter 3, verse 15).

 

And that is the cause not just of the day but of eternity.

 

THE SOURCE

This post, in part, is the product of years of pondering the answer to the riddles in the old Peter Paul and Mary tune, “The Wedding Song,” featured below. Paul Stookey, who wrote it, said once that he felt the lyrics were Holy Spirit inspired. As time goes by, I grow deeper into the meaning.

 

The “reason for becoming man and wife,” that which both “brings you here and brings you life,” all “the loving “ and “the giving” are answered in this word: love.

 

Love is the reason for both the genesis and the generations, the source and the sustaining.

 

It is that which comes at “the calling of your hearts.”

 

It is that which causes two to leave mother and home and travel together to where they “shall be as one.”

 

It is that which gives life and that which gives life back.

 

And love is the cause of the “union of your (our) spirits” both “here” and “there,” both bride and bridegroom at the altar and, one day, the Bride of Christ and Christ, Himself, at the Wedding Supper of The Lamb.

 

But perhaps the most important line is, “Do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before?”

 

And The Troubadour whispers,”Would you?”

 

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Prophecy Puzzle Pieces: Moving Forward

puzzle

For those with eyes to see, ears to hear, daily news to read, and a Bible to study (The books of Daniel and Revelation in particular), these are days of a remarkable confluence of events, patterns, cosmic phenomena, and geo-political machinations unparalleled in human history.

 

Many serious Bible students have shared teachings and understandings on several seemingly disparate yet interconnected prophetic markers that are “fitting” closer and closer together as we glean the bigger picture of an era numerous Bible scholars deem the “end of the Church age,  “end times,” and/or “the last days.”

 

gearsI often picture in my mind’s eye two well-oiled gears meshing together when I think of the “fit” of this and that “tooth,” to use a gear term, of discreet prophecy as it locks into its proper place with the other parts, thus moving the engine of events forward.

 

Offered here is yet another collection of several of the elements currently under discussion and study by the church at large. These topics, presented in notes and graphics, are, as researcher Claire Gumbs puts it, “Only a few of the ‘prophetic puzzle pieces’.”

 

In view of what many believe is the “shortness of time,” Claire shares her work when many Christians are earnestly seeking to comprehend what God may be telling us now. She shares them as an encouragement, as confirmation, and as a reminder to “be about God’s work” in the ways He has called each of us. She welcomes those with further insights to comment.

 

The reader may note the alignment her work has with other “watchers” of prophetic topics and events whose videos, books, sermons, and research reports comprise a growing list of teachings available on the Internet, in Bible believing churches, and in bookstores. I believe her work will enable readers to “view” certain prophetic elements in a unique, perhaps freshly relevant way, particularly those whose learning style is enhanced by visuals. The “slide presentation” includes notes and charts touching on:

  • The “moedim,” or God’s appointed times, i.e., Jewish feasts

  • Significant months (e.g. May, November)

  • Significant numbers (e.g. 19, 40)

  • The metonic cycle

I realize I don’t present all the pieces of this puzzle,” Claire says, “but by putting it out there, I believe others might be able to add to their own studies and to the whole picture of prophetic fulfillment in our time.”

 

See also Claire’s downloads on “Time, History and Messiah the Prince,” “Feasts of the Lord,” the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” Jesus as “Son of God and Son of Man,” along with “text tracts,” featured on my “free downloads” page.

THE SLIDES:

Prophecy Puzzle Pieces slides

***

 

Images from the public domain

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On the Seventh Day… (Encouragement)

Phyllis Nissila

 

rest areaCome with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Jesus).

 

Sometimes Jesus sought solitude to escape His enemies, sometimes to commune with His Father, sometimes to pray for strength, and sometimes to rest. He encouraged His disciples to rest, too, as noted in the Mark 6:31 verse above.

 

However, I imagine this was as hard a message for disciples of His era as it is for us today. Continue reading

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“Eye in the Sky” (Comfort)

Phyllis Nissila

the eye of God

This photograph, often referred to as “The Eye of God” [1], brings to mind Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (KJV). It also reminds me of the old hymn, “His Eye is On The Sparrow” [2], a comforting song for him or her beset with sorrow, loneliness, or pain. Continue reading

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On “Mental Hoarding” (Encouragement)

Phyllis Nissila

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

TOXIC STOCKPILES
Recently, I caught a few minutes of a “reality show” on hoarders. Hoarders are people who stockpile, save, and collect things, but to the point the stuff takes over their homes and their lives. Continue reading

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On Shame and Redemption (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila

SHAME

His job was to find out what caused the major production error in the company’s overseas affiliate placed under his management.

As he walked down the main factory corridor to meet with the local management team he noticed a wall filled with employee pictures captioned in the regional dialect. He wondered, in passing, if this gallery featured honored workers similar to employee recognition wall displays found in many companies in the United States.

But he soon found out it was not a wall of honor, rather, what the locals called “the wall of shame.” Continue reading

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On Witnessing to a Roman Catholic: an Explanation, a Story, and An Exposition

Phyllis Nissila

On the hearts and minds of many former Catholics I know is a sense of compassion coupled with urgency to reach out to loved ones still involved in Roman Catholicism. This is a three-part offering that, I pray, will be of assistance in this ministry field. May you be edified, encouraged, and informed, and find something here that will help you in the three very different yet complementary presentations.

The third section, “An Exposition: ‘Out of the Fire’” is a guest contribution, included with permission, by Dale Rudiger, who blogs here:  http://xcjournal.org/ Continue reading

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