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Monday, January 8, 2018

Going Beyond...


I realized early on in my relationship with my wife that she tended to see things a little differently than most people.  Well… maybe not necessarily differently, but beyond the obvious point of the subject being discussed.  I’ve mentioned before and still stand firmly entrenched in the validity of my comments that Piper, hands down, is the most spiritually sensitive individual that I have ever known.  She has always had the ability to see both the physical and spiritual sides of just about any conversation or event happening around her.

In the early days of our marriage she would always sort of stun my family at family gatherings when she would interject a spiritual aspect to whatever was being discussed around my parent’s large dining table.  Let’s face it, they really weren’t sure how to take Piper.  She fit in well with my gregarious family because of her great sense of humor, constant sweet smile and effervescent personality.  But then again, she stood out because of the way she naturally combined her faith with her daily life.  I was raised as a strong Catholic with the idea that one’s faith is a private matter and not shared in public.

Receiving “that” call from my mother after gatherings where she would tell me how other family member’s complained that Piper spoke about “religion” too much were common during the first few years of our marriage.  But you know, in the last few years of my Mom’s life when Piper was going through some of her most difficult times as the effects of Alzheimer’s was taking its toll on her, my Mom became her greatest champion, in concern, prayer and with daily inquires asking how Piper was that day and seeking to know how they could help us.

I fondly and emotionally remember us visiting my folks one day at the assisted living center they had recently moved to (to which she was not real happy about!), and my Mom immediately put aside her own cares, sat down on the couch, tapped the spot next to her and said, “Come and sit next to me Piper.”

Piper would also surprise her own family with similar interjections of her spiritual insight during conversations around their kitchen table or while sitting on the couches near the fireplace.  They would tend to pause in the midst of the discussion, consider what Piper said and then take on her thoughts and continue down that lane of conversation.

Piper’s life was always a smooth and finely intertwined interaction of the physical and spiritual realms.  She seems to really exemplify a saying our Pastor in Oklahoma always used as he declared something like: “When the natural and supernatural come together there is a mighty explosion for God.”  To tell her to stop interjecting her “religion” into a conversation would be like telling a fish to get out of the lake and live on dry land!

I never really cared for the W.W.J.D. movement in the 1990’s.  It just seemed a little too cliché or commercialized to accomplish the intended goal.  But on the other hand, although I can’t recall a time that she actually said those four words, it was a life style that was deeply imbedded in the internal and external make-up of Piper K. Berruto.

Last week as I was studying the Word one morning, I suddenly began to realize that Piper had some good company in the way she tended to respond to the situations and conversations in her life.  I had been following a rabbit trail in my pursuit of being “Amazed” through the Word when I came upon Matthew 4:4 when Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness by the devil.  After the first temptation I was intrigued by Jesus’ immediate response to the tempter when He declared without much thought, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (KJV) 

My focus of this verse has always been on the teaching that Jesus answered every temptation from the evil one with the words: “It is written” and then went on to quote an appropriate verse from His Word.  And while that is still true, I began to see a few additional points that Jesus was making.  My interest grew as I thought about how Jesus referred to life and bread.  The word “live” in the Greek means “to enjoy real life, to have true life, active and blessed in the kingdom of God.” (Thayer’s)

It began to look to me that Jesus was going beyond the natural idea of bread and was bringing the conversation into the realm of the supernatural.  I got the idea that Jesus was taking the conversation beyond the physical realm that the devil was talking about and seemed to be connecting it with The Father’s kingdom.  The idea of “bread,” and living the “true life, active and blessed in the kingdom of God” caused me to think of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus told us to pray in Matthew chapter six.

My thoughts singled out one verse.  In verse eleven Jesus tells us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (KJV)  A little study of this verse informed me that most scholars believe that the uniqueness the phrase “our daily bread” brings the idea of bread beyond a physical loaf of flour mixed with eggs, water, yeast and oil.  Albert Barnes’ “Notes on the Bible” states that “The word ‘bread,’ here, denotes doubtless everything necessary to sustain life. This petition implies our dependence on God for the supply of our wants.”

So what am I trying to convey here?  Simply that Jesus, like my wife (or maybe that should be turned around to say: Piper like Jesus…) immediately saw beyond what the devil was saying and quickly added the unseen power and truth of the supernatural into their discussion… which caused the deceiver to rapidly back-pedal and move on to his next temptation. 

That truth is then cemented in Matthew 6:10-11 when Jesus tells us to pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread” where He makes the need to see beyond the natural by adding the supernatural to our daily lives.  That was pretty clear to me as He talks about our need to pray His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven and connects it with the idea of bread from both the physical and spiritual sides! 

In I Thessalonians 5:23 Paul describes us as three part beings having a spirit, soul and body.  Therefore I would think it to be natural for us to look for and include the spirit realm, as discovered in the pages of the Word of God, in everything in our lives… Wouldn’t you? 

Some (like my wife) just seem to be more adapt at (or maybe have more practice at) it than others… but I’m working on it!  How about you?

Have a great second week of 2018, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “How AMAZING am I expecting to live as I look beyond the natural into the super-natural in the events of my daily life?”

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