It's Pastor's Appreciation Month. So here is a post for the pastors.
I once taught a study on God’s Tough Calls. Decisions that God made which, in my mind and with my understanding would be a hard decision to make. One of these tough calls was the decision to allow the Jewish leaders/men divorce their pagan spouses in Ezra chapter 9. I believe from other verses of scripture that God does not like divorce. At one time the Jews of the Old Testament were marrying women hand over fist and divorcing them quickly after having sex with them; legally whoring themselves out. One particular verse on the topic reveals that God hates divorce and doesn't want anyone to deal treacherously with their spouses or anyone else.
In Ezra 9 God sent the Israelites into the land that they were to possess but gave them strict guidelines not to intermarry and remain isolated from the pagan and sinful practices of the culture of those who occupied the land; the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, and Jebusites. The Israelites disobeyed, and now Ezra was telling them to divorce their pagan spouses and live separately.
"God Love All People. Period."
I won’t spend time going into any apologetical defense of why or how this might have conflicted with what we know of God. I’ll just summarize it and say the Israelite made a mistake and had to fix it. Fixing it meant divorcing their wives and returning to God's law around intermarriage. To dig into that topic more an excellent research paper written by JoeSprinkle, Professor of Old Testament at Crossroads College is “Old Testament Perspectives on Divorce and Remarriage” available at this web address: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/40/40-4/40-4-pp529-550_JETS.pdf
The real point of this article is to discuss what God’s goal/intention was in trying to keep the Jews separate in practices, religion, and relationships. That goal was all about keeping a frame of reference to Jesus. The Old Testament portion of the Bible is a Jewish book which from a Christian perspective points toward the Messiah (Jesus). If the Jewish people completely integrated into all the societies they were introduced to, the context for the story of Messiah would be lost and the biological promise God made to Abraham broken.
Let’s define racism- “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's race is superior.”
Now let’s define separatism- “the advocacy or practice of separation of a certain group of people from a larger body by ethnicity, religion, or gender.”
Ezra’s interpretation of God's law in Ezra 9 was a separatist action, not a racist one. God loves all people. The separation was in preparation for a fulfilled promise, not because the Jews were better or worse than the current occupants of the land. The disease, pestilence and the effects of the inhabitant's many sins were going to wipe out those people, and if the Jews remained separate in practice, relationship, and religion, they would survive and by default come to possess the full territory God promised Abraham. If the non-Jewish people had converted to Judaism; eaten their diet, made their sacrifices, and obeyed Jewish laws, they most likely would have lived too. So no one was being excluded.
The perfect Monday. You wake to the ideal scenery from your perfect bed at the perfect time and with the perfect amount of energy to attack the goals you said you'd attack on Saturday. Today is the Monday you start toward the goal and stick to it because everything was just right.
Sadly, so many of us are waiting on this far off Monday. It is NEVER going to happen. The alignment of the stars is a pipe dream. Your desire to change may be strong, but is the force moving you toward change stronger than the downward pull encouraging the lull of contemporary comforts and pleasantries?
Do you want to accomplish more than ever before? Here is a How! The driving force motivating us to move forward shouldn't be a dull forward action, but instead a strong gravitational pull. Gravity: an excellent motivation method.
Let's quickly examine a couple of principles of gravity that we can apply to achieving our goals and changing our very destinies!
1. Gravity is natural
Gravity is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It's not a thing which is created and became prevalent. It always has been we assume from the beginning of the observable universe. So your goal, your desire, your midnight obsession needs to be something natural. It may not be prevalent and noticeable around you at all times. But it should be natural. For example, it's natural to increase your income over a span of time. It's natural to get healthier and not experience ever increasing illness and poor health.
2. Gravity is consistent
Gravity is so consistent it's a law of nature. So consistent, Sir Isaac Newton formalized gravity's force as an equation: The equation is the following:
F = G (m1xm2/r2) ["Where F is the force, m1 and m2 are the masses of the objects interacting, r is the distance between the centers of the masses and G is the gravitational constant." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_interaction)].
Our movement towards our goals must be consistent—so consistent that we can schedule our days around them. I was speaking with my colleagues just today and this woman's husband of nearly 30 years was a creature of habit—to the extreme. Since they've married they've banked with the same bank, he's worked for the same company, and he's had the same phone carrier. He has always made it home at the same time every day from work. You could stop a clock to this guy! My other colleague jokingly said, "Kind of hard to have an affair with a track record like that!" We all laughed being the faithful spouses that we were. However, the fact remains his observation was accurate. When you are consistent in reaching your goal, it's hard to stray away from your goal for the romantic embrace of a McDonald's burger, or the warmth of your covers or that extra 1/2 hour of sleep. You must be consistently moving toward your goal as a creature of habit, and it should be difficult to near impossible to creep away from your dream.
3. Make it big
Gravity is a byproduct according to Albert Einstein of depressions of time-space. Thus gravity is affected by the mass of objects as you just read in the formula above. The more mass, even if it's dense mass in a tight space—like Mjölnir (Thor's Hammer) which weighs roughly twelve thousand trillion pounds, the greater the effect of the depression and force of gravity. A black hole is such an example, and the cavity creates such a strong gravitational pull that it can suck in light.
Your goals must be dense with imaginations and machinations of fulfillment that it pulls you out of you figurative stupor into real action! Here is the crux of this whole post if you only get one thing from it (even though there are four well-written points). Your goals must be full of desire then you are pulled toward it, and gravity overcomes the force of comfort which belays you.
4. Gravity is weak
Yep, you read that right. Among the Four Fundamental Forces, gravity is the weakest. That is to say that the omnipresence of gravity doesn't make it mighty, it just makes it constant. Thus your desire, your momentum toward your goal doesn't need to be all consuming and stronger than any other desire. It must balance naturally with other priorities in your life, and you should pursue it consistently.
Gravity is weak; it's not the strongest force out there.
I want to continue to lose weight and keep it off. That does not mean that I stop eating altogether. Fasting is great for obvious reasons, but I'm talking about just not eating at all, anything until I reach my goal weight. That's not discipline or consistency. I would add that's not even strength. That's just throwing my hands up and saying "NOPE I won't play since I'm not winning!"
Gravity is weak; it's not the strongest force out there. You should love others more than your goal, and you should invest in things other than your goal. You need to balance your life and the pursuit of your goals or your midnight obsession will become a highway to oblivion.
Too much of a good thing is horrible for you. My wife told me a story about a doctor's visit gone awry. She went to the doctor for a test, but they had instructed her to drink nearly a gallon of water throughout the day to help with the testing process.
She didn't get up to the 1-gallon mark before the visit. The nurse instructed her to have a drink at the fountain. She drank and drank and drank until she became lightheaded and reported to the nurse. The nurse told her she drank far too much water and needed to vomit immediately.
Even something as good as for you as water can be bad in extreme quantities. Remember that in your mad pursuit of your densely packed goal.
Thanks for reading this post. Feel free to subscribe below to keep up with us. Which principles of gravity will you apply toward your goal?
Husband, Dad, Writer, Ex-Pastor, Product Manager, & Nerd