A Right Spirit and Clean Heart

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Create in me a clean heart, O God, 

and renew a right spirit within me. 

Cast me not away from your presence, 

and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 

(Ps 51:10-11)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

When we think of the word, “holy”, we usually think of moral purity, but another definition is: “pertaining to being dedicated or consecrated to [set apart to] the service of God” (BDAG 61). The same word for holy in Greek also means saint, as well as morally pure and separate.

Moral purity and separation are fundamental ideas in the Old Testament understanding of God, as seen in Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1) Two acts of separation occur in creation: non-being is separated from being (Gen 1:1a) and the heavens and the earth are separated from one another (Gen 1:1b). Other separations—darkness and light, morning and evening, dry land and water, male and female—follow in the creation account which God declares to be good.

Contemporary attacks on the goodness of God often start by declaring these separations arbitrary and capricious, especially as they pertain to gender. The argument goes that if these separations are arbitrary, they are also discriminatory, hence not good. Therefore, the Bible teaches discrimination and cannot be considered normative for postmodern Christians.

Good separations, often referred to today as boundaries, need to be clear and concrete. In the Ten Commandments (Exod 20), the law sets forth voluntary boundaries defining who is and is not part of the household of God. This covenant between the people of Israel and God begins with a reminder of the benefits of the covenant: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Exod 20:2) The point here is that you were once slaves, but I set you free—you owe me.

A Christian interpretation of this passage takes a different twist. The Apostle Paul talks about being a slave to sin (Rom 7:14). Today we talk about slaves to an addiction, being slaves to fear, or slaves to other passions. God offers us the freedom to escape such bondage, if we seek him. 

The covenantal benefits (blessings) and strictures (curses) were laid out in greater detail in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy, which means the second book of the law, needed to repeat the covenant for a new generation because God cursed their parents (who had lived in Egypt) for their lack of faith to die in the desert (Deut 1:20–37). Here we first read about the benefits:

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field…. (Deut 28:1-3)

Later in parallel fashion, we read about the strictures:

But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field… (Deut 28:15–16)

These blessings and curses are cited again in Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers… (Ps 1:1)

Reminding people, especially leaders, of these blessings and curses was the primary responsibility of an Old Testament prophet. Those that kept their covenantal obligations were considered righteous under the law (Phil 3:6).

If God considered Job righteous, then why did Job end up suffering? (Job 1:1)

One response to the question of suffering is that Job’s faithfulness was tested by evil circumstances (Job 1:9) and confirmed to be true (Job 42:1-7). Another response is that suffering is a consequence of foolishness (Prov 1:7). The best response is that sin brings suffering, is part of our nature, and God’s intervention is required to overcome it, as we read:

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another… (Job 19:25-27)

This theodicy of Job reveals God’s glory and his love for us in providing us a redeemer.

The possibility of a redeemer is prophesied by Moses (Deut 18:15) and expresses God’s forgiveness (Exod 34:7). In praying for God’s forgiveness, King David expressed most clearly God’s intervention in our moral condition, cited above in Psalm 51. David recognized that divine intervention was required for a human relationship with a holy and transcendent God. To be human means to be unholy and mortal, not holy and immortal (transcendent), like God.

Later, God intervened through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to atone for our sin (1 Cor 15:3–10). In Christ and through the Holy Spirit, we can live in obedience to God (set free from the law) and can come before God in prayer and worship.

A Right Spirit and Clean Heart

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Un Corazón Limpio y Un Espíritu Recto

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Crea en mí, oh Dios, un corazón limpio, y 

renueva un espíritu recto dentro de mí.

No me eches de tu presencia, y 

no quites de mí tu Santo Espíritu. 

(Ps 51:10-11)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Cuando pensamos de la palabra, santo, normalmente pensamos de pureza morale, pero una otra definición es: ‘’pertenecer a ser dedicado o consagrado [a separar de] el servicio de Dios” (BDAG 61). Una misma palabra para santo (sagrado) en griego también significa un santo, así como moralmente pura y separada.

La pureza moral y la separación son ideas fundamentales en el entendimiento de Dios en el Antiguo Testamento, como vista en Génesis: “En el principio Dios creó los cielos y la tierra.” (Gen 1:1) Dos hechos de separación  ocurren  en creación: no ser se separaron de seres (Gen 1:1a) y el cielo y la tierra  se separaron uno del otro (Gen 1:1b). Otras separaciones—tinieblas y luz, mañana y noche, tierra seca y agua, hombre y mujer—siguen en el relato de creación lo que Dios declara bueno.

Los ataques contemporáneos contra la bondad de Dios a menudo comienzan declarando estas separaciones arbitrarias y caprichosas, especialmente en lo que respecta al género. Se argumenta que si estas separaciones son arbitrarias, son también discriminatorias, por lo tanto, no son buenas. Entonces, la biblia enseña discrimination y no puede considerarse como normativa por posmoderno Cristianos.

Buenas separaciones, a menudo refieró hoy como límites, necesitan  ser claras y concretas. En los Diez Mandamientos (Éxodo 20), la ley establece límites voluntarios que definen quién es y quién no es parte de la familia de Dios. El pacto entre el pueblo de Israel y Dios empieza con un recordatorio de los beneficios del pacto: “Yo soy el SEÑOR tu Dios, que te saqué de la tierra de Egipto, de la casa de servidumbre (de la esclavitud).” (Exod 20:2) El punto aquí es que una vez fueron esclavos, pero yo los liberé, ustedes me deben.

Una interpretación cristiana de este pasaje toma un giro diferente. El apóstol Pablo habla de ser esclavo del pecado (Rom 7:14). Hoy día hablamos sobre esclavos de una adicción, esclavos de temor, o esclavos de las pasiones. Dios nos ofrece la libertad de escapar de tal esclavitud, si lo buscamos.

Los beneficios del pacto (bendiciones) y las estricciones (maldiciones) se presentaron con mayor detalle en Deuteronomio. Deuteronomio, que significa el segundo libro de la ley, necesitaba repetir el pacto para una nueva generación porque Dios maldijo a sus padres (que habían vivido en Egipto) por su falta de fe para morir en el desierto (Deut 1: 20–37) . Aquí leemos primero sobre los beneficios:

Y sucederá que si obedeces diligentemente al SEÑOR tu Dios, cuidando de cumplir todos Sus mandamientos que yo te mando hoy, el SEÑOR tu Dios te pondrá en alto sobre todas las naciones de la tierra. Y todas estas bendiciones vendrán sobre ti y te alcanzarán, si obedeces al SEÑOR tu Dios: Bendito serás en la ciudad, y bendito serás en el campo . . . (Deut 28:1-3)

Más tarde en forma paralelé, leemos sobre las estricciones:

Pero sucederá que si no obedeces al SEÑOR tu Dios, y no guardas todos Sus mandamientos y estatutos que hoy te ordeno, vendrán sobre ti todas estas maldiciones y te alcanzarán: Maldito serás en la ciudad, y maldito serás en el campo . . . (Deut 28:15-16)

Estas bendiciones y maldiciones se citan otra vez en Salmo 1: ¡Cuán bienaventurado es el hombre que no anda en el consejo de los impíos, Ni se detiene en el camino de los pecadores, Ni se sienta en la silla de los escarnecedores. (Ps 1:1) 

Recordar al pueblo, especialmente los lideres, de estas bendiciones y maldiciones era la responsabilidad principal de un profeta del Antiguo Testamento. Aquellos que cumplieron con sus obligaciones del pacto fueron considerados justos bajo de la ley (Phil 3:6).

Si Dios consideraba a Job justo, ¿por qué Job terminó sufriendo? (Job 1: 1)

Una respuesta a la pregunta de sufrimiento es que la fidelidad de Job fue pruebado por circunstancias malvado (Job 1:9) y confirmó que era cierta (Job 42:1-7). Una otra respuesta es que sufrimiento es una consecuencia de la necedad (Prov 1:7). La mejor respuesta es que el pecado trae sufrimiento, es parte de nuestra naturaleza, y se requiere la intervención de Dios para vencerlo, mientras leemos:

Yo sé que mi Redentor (Defensor) vive, y al final se levantará sobre el polvo. Y después de deshecha mi piel, Aun en mi carne veré a Dios; Al cual yo mismo contemplaré, y a quien mis ojos verán y no los de otro. ¡Desfallece mi corazón dentro de mí! (Job 19:25-27)

Esta  teodicea de Job revela la gloria de Dios y su amor por nosotros al proporcionarnos un redentor.

La posibilidad de un redentor se profetiza por Moisés (Deut 18:15) y expresa el perdón de Dios. En orar por el perdón de Dios, el rey David expresó más claramente la intervención de Dios en nuestra condition morale, como citó anteriormente en Salmo 51. David reconoció que intervención divina se requería para una relación humana con un Dios santo y trascendió. Ser humano significa ser impío y mortal, no santo e inmortal (trascendente), como Dios.

Más tarde, Dios intervinó mediante la muerte y resurrección de Jesucristo a expiar para nuestra pecado (1 Cor 15:3–10). En Cristo y por medio del Espíritu Santo, podemos vivir en obediencia de Dios (liberamos de la ley) y podemos venir antes de Dios en oración y adoración.

Un Corazón Limpio y Un Espíritu Recto

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Water Cooler Observations, July 8, 2020

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

What does salvation really mean?

As an aquatics instructor at Camp Ross in Goshen Virginia, I was confused. Members of the staff would talk at dinner about having rescued a scout or saved another camper that week. I would think to myself: I don’t remember any water rescues? Did I miss something? Several weeks passed before I realized that a rescue involved talking a homesick scout about not calling home for mom and dad to come pick them up.

A rescue at Camp Ross was not a lot different from salvation in the Old Testament. The story of Gideon is emblematic. The people of Israel sinned in the sight of the Lord so the Lord gave them over to the Midianites (Judges 6:1). After seven years of bondage, the people cried out to the Lord (Judges 6:7). The Lord heard their cry and raised up a savior, a young man named Gideon (Judges 6:12). This pattern of behavior is sometimes referred to as the Deuteronomic cycle: sinning, being given over to this sin, crying out the Lord, and sending of a savior (Deut 30:1-3). This same pattern is frequently repeated throughout scripture.

One of my great frustrations over the years has been the need to remind people of their own obligations. The role of an Old Testament prophet as to remind the people of Israel of their covenantal obligations, minimally the Ten Commandments. The role of government lawyers is to remind their agencies of their legal obligations while their economists remind them of their obligations to pursue efficient, effective,  and equitable policies. The role of the pastor is frequently to remind people of their obligations to God, to their families, and to maintaining their own health and safety. still, some people seem bent on their own self-destruction and will not be denied.

In the absence of God, we frequently fall into a pattern of self-destruction. Preventable illnesses, like obesity, suicides, addictions, and corona virus, routinely kill people or reduce their life expectancy. Wanton self-destruction is a sad thing to watch, yet it is as common as dirt.

When we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, we are able to live into our creation in God’s image. God is good; he loves us; and he wants us to live meaningful lives. What we see God doing, we want to do. We want to be good; we want to love those around us; we want to fulfill God’s intention for us to live meaningful lives. In accepting God into our lives, at a minimum we refuse to self-destruct and in providing the Holy Spirit God makes sure that we don’t have to.

Salvation has eternal significance, but it begins the moment we accept Christ and refuse to be given over to self-destruction, as Satan surely intends.

Water Cooler Observations, July 8, 2020

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

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May: Addictions Need not Enslave

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Gerald G. May. 1988.  Addiction & Grace:  Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions.  New York:  HarperOne.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

The goodbyes to beloved actor and director, Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) place the specter of addiction and death in the public eye. This week it is heroin addiction but the drug of choice changes over time.  In a society that has trouble placing limits on personal freedom (boundaries) of any sort, the pain of addiction bites particularly hard because we all share a bit in the blame.

What is addiction anyway?

In his book, Addiction and Grace, Gerald May (June 12, 1940- April 12, 2005), a Christian psychiatrist specializing in addictions, defined addiction as:

Any compulsive, habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire.  It is caused by the attachment, or nailing, of desire to specific objects (24-25).

May notes that true addiction has 5 characteristics:

  1. Tolerance,
  2. Withdrawal symptoms,
  3. Self-deception,
  4. Loss of willpower, and
  5. Distortion of attention (26).

On reading May’s description in 2011, I became aware of my own addiction—stress.  I loved my work too much—it had become an obsession—evidence of tolerance.  Taking time off away from the office was harder on me than the pounding stress—evidence of withdrawal symptoms.  I told myself that I was advancing my career—this was a self-deception.  I could not help myself; I had to work hard—evidence of loss of willpower.  Was I aware of it?  No—I was convinced that other people were the problem in my career advancement.

When I became aware of this addiction, I took it to the Lord in prayer and committed myself to practicing Sabbath rest.  May advises—the only cure for an addiction is to stop the cycle (177).  Not working on Sunday (not even for God) has freed up time for family; other interests; and self-respect.  I continue to feel the urge to work, but with God’s help my stress addiction is over.

What are you addicted to?

Notice that May’s definition of addiction talks about freedom.  May writes:

Free will is given to us for a purpose: so that we may choose freely, without coercion or manipulation, to love God in return, and to love one another in a similarly perfect way…addiction uses up desire…sucking our life energy into specific obsessions and compulsions, leaving less and less energy available for other people and other pursuits.  Spiritually, addiction is a deep-seated form of idolatry [idolatry is anything that substitutes for God] (13).

Psychologists talk about addiction as an attachment disorder.  In order to be free in any sense of the word, we need to be detached from our desires enough to regulate them (14).  This is why the first of the Ten Commandments reads:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:2-3 ESV).

The other gods here are things that we become addicted to.  What the Bible is saying is that addiction is a form of slavery from which God can free us.  In my experience, freedom is harder than slavery for many people because they are enslaved to their passions—work, bad relationships, substances, expensive toys, compulsive sex, money, and so on.  My stress addiction is a typical case because our minds are rigged to facilitate habit formation—we all have addictions, albeit not all addictions are life-threatening (57).

Addiction and Grace is written in 8 chapters:

  1. Desire:  Addiction and Human Freedom.
  2. Experience: The Qualities of Addiction.
  3. Mind:  The Psychological Nature of Addiction.
  4. Body: The Neurological Nature of Addiction.
  5. Spirit: The Theological Nature of Addiction.
  6. Grace:  The Qualities of Mercy.
  7. Empowerment:  Grace and Will in Overcoming Addiction.

These chapters are preceded by a preface and followed by various notes.

Clearly, I have left out many of the details that May generously supplies.  Anyone struggling with addiction (or who cares about someone who does) will find this book a godsend.  I clearly did.

May: Addictions Need not Enslave

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Holiness: Monday Monologues (podcast) July 6, 2020

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Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on holiness. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Holiness: Monday Monologues (podcast) July 6, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

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Prayer for Greater Holiness

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Holy and Eternal Father,

We praise you for your mercy and grace through Jesus Christ, who died for our sins before we were even born.

We confess that you alone are holy.

From our mother’s womb we have tried your patience and even now come to you with blood-stained hands.

Forgive us in our rebellion against your covenant and against your son.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, cleanse our hearts and minds that we might become fit stewards of your mercy and grace to those among us who have not heard the good news or have rejected it on account of our sin and folly.

Draw us to yourself today across the gaps that separate us that we might have new life in you, this day, and forever more.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Prayer for Greater Holiness

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Oración por una Mayor Santidad

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Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Padre Santo y Eterno,

Te alabamos por tu misericordia y clemente a través de Jesucristo, quien murió por nuestros pecados antes de que aún naciéramos.

Confesamos que solo tú eres santo.

Desde el útero de nuestra madre, hemos probado tu paciencia e incluso ahora venimos a tí con las manos manchadas de sangre.

Perdónanos en nuestra rebelión contra tu pacto y contra tu hijo.

En el poder de tu Espíritu Santo, limpia nuestros corazones y mentes que podamos convertirnos en mayordomos aptos de tu misericordia y gracia para aquellos entre nosotros quien no han escuchado las buenas noticias o han rechazado lo por causa de nuestro pecado y locura. 

Llévanos a ti mismo hoy sobre las brechas que nos separan para que podamos tener una nueva vida en ti, este día, y para siempre.

En el precioso nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración por una Mayor Santida

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

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Be Holy For I am Holy

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Honored are the pure in heart, 

for they shall see God. 

(Matt 5:8)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

God is holy; we are not. Our tension with God a menudo starts with guilt over this holiness gap. This gap, which is more of a chasm, points to our need for Christ, who is our bridge to our Holy God, being both hoy and divine.

The Greek word for pure means: “to be free from moral guilt, pure, free from sin.” (BDAG 3814.3c) The expression pure in heart appears only in Matthew 5:8 in the New Testament but occurs in the Old Testament:

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. (Ps 24:3–4)

This Psalm tells us how to worship in the temple in Jerusalem. In view is the holiness code of Leviticus where God admonishes us many times to “be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:44).

The expression, “pure in heart”, is incomplete in the English translation. The Hebrew word for heart means “inner man, mind, will, heart.”` (BDB 4761) that includes emotions but also things not included in the English. For example, immediately following the Hebrew prayer, the Shema (Deut 6:4), we are commanded—”You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut 6:5)—that emphasizes the unity of heart, soul, and might through repetition (Benner 1998, 22). Jesus repeats this reference in Matthew 22:36–40 where he commands us to love both God and neighbor.

The Sixth Beatitude’s promise of seeing God, if we remain pure, is also a promise of forgiveness (Ps 51:10–12), salvation (Job 19:26–27), and the opportunity of ministry. Seeing God figures prominently in the call stories of Moses (Exod 3:6), Isaiah (Isa 6:5), and Ezekiel (Ezek 1:28) whose experience parallels that of Paul (Acts 9:3, 22:6, and 26:13). Paul is blinded by the light of heaven—an allusion both to God and to the call of the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezek 2:1). As unholy and mortal beings, seeing God blinds us and threatens our very existence.

The promise of seeing God is also a promise of restoration of the relationship with God, seen first in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:8-9). It also anticipates heaven, as prophesied in the last chapter of the Book of Revelation:

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Rev 22:3-4)

Holiness is the mark of God, not only on our foreheads, but also on our souls, as we read in Genesis:

Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, She is my sister’? And she herself said, He is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this. Then God said to him in the dream, Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. (Gen 20:4-6)

Abimelech speaks directly with God who works in his heart to keep him from sinning even though he is a gentile and not a believer.

Seeing Jesus, a “friend of . . . sinners”, value and teach about holiness is indeed ironic, as we read:

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, He has a demon. The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is justified by all her children. (Luke 7:33–35)

Still,  the Sixth Beatitude anticipates our conversion and commissioning, much like that of the Apostles:

As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21–22).

The call of an Apostle clearly required a purity of heart which the Holy Spirit brought within their reach.

References

Bauer, Walter (BDAG). 2000. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. ed. de Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <BibleWorks. v.9.>.

Benner, David G. 1998. Care of Souls: Revisioning Christian Nurture and Counsel. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged.

Be Holy For I am Holy

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Sean Santos, Porque Soy Santo

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Honrado los de limpio corazón, 

pues ellos verán a Dios. (Matt 5:8)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Dios es santo; no somos. Nuestra tensión con Dios frecuentemente empieza con la culpa sobre esta santidad brecha. Esta brecha, lo que es más un abismo, apunta a nuestra necesidad por Cristo, quien es nuestra puente hacia  nuestro santo Dios, siendo ambos santo y divino.

La palabra griega para puro significa: “estar libre de culpa moral, puro, libre de pecado.” (BDAG 3814.3c)⁠1 La expresión puro en corazón aparece solo en Mateo 5:8 en el Nuevo Testamento, pero occura en el Antiguo Testamento:

¿Quién subirá al monte del SEÑOR? ¿Y quién podrá estar en Su lugar santo? El de manos limpias y corazón puro, El que no ha alzado su alma a la falsedad Ni jurado con engaño. (Ps 24:3-4)

Este salmo nos dice cómo adorar en el templo de Jerusalén. A la vista está el código de santidad de Levítico, donde Dios nos amonesta muchas veces a a sean santos, porque yo soy santo (Lev 11:44).

La expresión puro en corazón está incompleta en la traducción al inglés. La palabra en hebreo por corazón significa hombre interior, mente, voluntad, corazón (BDB 4761)⁠2 que incluye emociones pero también cosas no incluido en el inglés. Por ejemplo, inmediatamente después de la hebrea oración, la Shema (Deut 6:4), se nos ordena—“Amarás al SEÑOR tu Dios con todo tu corazón, con toda tu alma y con toda tu fuerza.” (Deut 6:5)—que enfatiza la unidad de corazón, alma, y fuerza mediante la repetición (Benner 1998, 22). Jesús repita esta referencia en Mateo 22:36-40 donde nos ordena que amemos a Dios y al prójimo.

La promesa de la Sexta Bienaventuranza de ver a Dios, si permanecemos puro, es también una promesa de perdón (Ps 51:10–12), salvación (Job 19:26–27), y la oportunidad del ministerio. Ver a Dios figura prominentemente en las llamadas historias de Moisés (Éxod 3: 6), Isaías (Isa 6: 5) y Ezequiel (Eze 1:28) cuya experiencia es paralela a la de Pablo (Acts 9:3, 22:6, and 26:13). Pablo está cegado por la luz del cielo—una alusión tanta a Dios y como al llamado del profeta Ezequiel (Ezek 2:1). Como seres impíos y mortales, ver a Dios nos ciega y amenaza nuestra propia existencia.

La promesa de ver a Dios es también una promesa de restauración de la relación con Dios, vista por primera vez en el Jardín del Edén (Gen 3:8-9). También anticipa el cielo, como se profetizó en el último capítulo del Libro de Apocalipsis:

Ya no habrá más maldición. El trono de Dios y del Cordero estará allí, y Sus siervos Le servirán. Ellos verán Su rostro y Su nombre estará en sus frentes. (Rev 22:3-4)

La santidad es la marca de Dios, no solo en nuestras frentes, sino también en nuestras almas, como leemos en Génesis:

Pero Abimelec no se había acercado a ella, y dijo:“Señor, ¿destruirás a una nación aunque sea inocente? ¿No me dijo él mismo: Es mi hermana? Y ella también dijo:Es mi hermano. En la integridad de mi corazón y con manos inocentes yo he hecho esto. Entonces Dios le dijo en el sueño: Sí, Yo sé que en la integridad de tu corazón has hecho esto. Y además, Yo te guardé de pecar contra mí, por eso no te dejé que la tocaras. (Gen 20:4-6)

Abimelec habla directamente con Dios que trabaja en su corazón para evitar que peque aunque sea un gentil y no un creyente.

Al ver a Jesús, un amigo de . . . pecadores, valorar y enseñar acerca de la santidad es realmente irónico, ya que leemos:

Porque ha venido Juan el Bautista, que no come pan, ni bebe vino, y ustedes dicen: Tiene un demonio. Ha venido el Hijo del Hombre, que come y bebe, y dicen: Miren, un hombre glotón y bebedor de vino, amigo de recaudadores de impuestos y de pecadores. Pero la sabiduría es justificada por todos sus hijos. (Luke 7:33-35)

Aún así, la Sexta Bienaventuranza anticipa nuestra conversion y comisión, al igual que la de los Apóstoles:

Jesús les dijo otra vez: Paz a ustedes; como el Padre Me ha enviado, así también Yo los envío. Después de decir esto, sopló sobre ellos y les dijo: Reciban el Espíritu Santo. (John 20:21-22)

El llamado de un apóstol claramente requería una pureza de corazón que el Espíritu Santo traía a su alcance.

Notas

1 The Greek word for pure means: “to be free from moral guilt, pure, free from sin.” (BDAG 3814.3c)

2 The Hebrew word for heart means “inner man, mind, will, heart.”` (BDB 4761).

Referencias

Bauer, Walter (BDAG). 2000. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. ed. de Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <BibleWorks. v.9.>.

Benner, David G. 1998. Care of Souls: Revisioning Christian Nurture and Counsel. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged.

Sean Santos, Porque Soy Santo

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Water Cooler Observations, July 1, 2020

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The Other Stephen Hiemstra

In honor of Father’s Day, I would like to devote this post to my father, Stephen J. Hiemstra. Dad has been on my mind a lot this year because in the middle of the Corona Virus Pandemic, my dad suffers from Alzheimer’s and I worry a lot about both him and my mom. Locally in Fairfax County, two-thirds of the corona virus deaths are of people over the age of eighty. My parents will be ninety this year and still live in their home in Falls Church, Virginia with the help of caregivers.

The remainder of this post will be essays taken from my father’s memoir, My Travel Through LifeMemoir of Family Life and Federal Service (2016) published in Centreville, Virginia by T2Pneuma Publishers. Check Amazon.com for copies.

Synopsis

In this rags to riches story, read about how an Iowa farm boy finds love, earns a doctorate, serves his country, combats hunger, advises presidents, and starts the first doctoral program in hospitality anywhere. 

Foreword by John E. Hiemstra

I am pleased to introduce my brother, Stephen’s, memoir from the days on our family farm through his service as an economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Although I was 3 years older than my brother, Stephen was clearly the brains of the family. This became obvious when our family moved from one farm to another in March of 1936 and our mother, Gertrude, took me to enroll in the area’s one room school house, Walker No. 6 of Spring Creek Township which was 3 miles south of the County Seat of Oskaloosa, Iowa and about a half mile from our new home. At the time, the school enrolled about 10 or 12 students in the eight grades offered.

After enrolling me in the third grade, the teacher turned to my brother, who was standing quietly alongside my mother, and asked: “Who is this?” She was told that Stephen would be five years old next month in April. With a gleam in her eye and perceiving a bright, young man, she said: I can enroll him in kindergarten now and in the fall he can start the first grade. Stephen’s academic pursuit took off from that moment forward. As the brightest of the three sons in the Hiemstra family, he went on to high school, college, and graduate school where he earned a doctorate, always at the top of his class.

One of three boys, Stephen grew up on the 160 acre farm that our father, Frank, worked hard to support us. And it was hard. When the crops failed in the depression, our Dad had to surrender his other farm east of Oskaloosa. Having lost much of his investment in the first farm, he moved to the less expensive farm in 1936 where he was able to start over and provide for his family—without the aid of tractors and power machinery—having only his own manual labor. As boys, we learned to plow and cultivate fields behind a team of horses. But we never felt poor having the example of a dedicated and hard working father and a loving mother.

Not only were we well taken care of physically, we had the gift of God’s love. The focal support point for the family was the Bible and the Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa, a protestant church of mostly Dutch heritage members. The church was one of about 20 Dutch churches, descendants of a colony of Dutch immigrants who founded Pella (16 miles West of Oskaloosa) in 1847. 

Church life had a strong influence on our family. We attended Church twice on Sundays—Sunday school and worship on Sunday mornings and worship again on Sunday evening. We also attend weekly Bible study and catechism on Saturdays. Sunday afternoons were spent reading or taking a nap, unless we were visiting our grandparents.

The Christian faith deeply affected our father and our family. He prayed with us every day and urged us to maintain a deep commitment to Jesus Christ. As a youth, my father wanted to become a minister and started attending the Central Academy to pursue this dream, but family obligations forced him to drop out. So he encouraged his sons to enter the ministry, which I did—as a boy of seven or eight I took his dream as my own and studied to be ordained later as a minister in the Reformed Church in America.

This deep religious surrounding and commitment also impacted my brother, Stephen, but his faith took him in a different direction. Stephen wanted to be a farmer, like his father, but he wanted to be a more informed and educated farmer. His academic bent therefore took him to enroll in Iowa State College at Ames, Iowa. But, having experienced the academic life, he never returned to the farm.

After completing a two year degree aimed at farm operation, Stephen switched to a four year program in agricultural economics. Ironically, his love for agricultural economics led him to his other love, the lovely Hazel (Billie) Deacon, who he met while attending an agricultural economics conference in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. They were married during his last year at Ames. After attending the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in college, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and was sent to serve as a communications officer at a base near Seoul, Korea. After completing his military service, he returned to Iowa State to complete a master’s degree and, later, to the University of California in Berkley to complete a doctorate (Ph.D.) in agricultural economics. 

After graduate school, in 1960 Stephen accepted a position with the in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In USDA, he distinguished himself in research, publication, and administration. From 1960 to 1969 he wrote numerous articles for the National Food Situation (NFS), but in July of 1969, he and a colleague, Al Egbert, published a study, “Shifting Direct Government Payments from Agriculture to Poor People: Impacts on Food Consumption and Farm Income,” which set the stage for the rest of his career. He soon joined the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) where he worked on: Food Stamp Program, the Child Nutrition Programs, the School Lunch Program, the Child Care Food Service, and the Woman, Infants, and Children Program (WIC). Stephen details the research and implementation done in these programs in this book.

Following his years with the FNS, Stephen served as an executive in the new Council on Wage and Price Stability created by President Jimmy Carter in October 1978 and later dissolved when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. At that point, Stephen returned to USDA. 

In this book Stephen chronicles experiences that he had, including an invitation to an event with his family in the White House with President Carter. In 1983 Stephen retired from federal service and moved to West Lafayette, Indiana where he accepted a teaching and research position with Purdue University. There he founded and directed a doctoral program in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, which was the first such program in hospitality anywhere in the world.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Stephen remained devoted to his faith and his family. He was baptized and confirmed at the Central Reformed Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa and was later ordained as an elder by the Presbyterian church, another denomination in the reformed tradition.

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

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