Saturday, August 22, 2015

Simon Says, Listen To The Holy Spirit

It seems for the past several weeks, my thoughts have been focused around the Holy Spirit.  I'm not a theologian, so bear with me.

See image credit below.
The Holy Spirit has other names (I listed some at the end) but in any case, in my world the Comforter is the third, less spoken of Member or Being of what some religions refer to as the God-Head, deity or divine nature of God. Some people see God as the Trinity, some do not.  I'm not going to discuss that part here.

I found this verse that I've been contemplating for weeks - Isaiah 30:21 -  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach the Children’s Moment at church, and we played the old game Simon Says.  Remember that?  “Touch your nose!” or sometimes the leader would say, “Simon says, touch your nose.”  The point of the game, is having the players to respond to an action queue only when the leader says, “Simon says something.  With the children I likened that game to following the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.  Sometimes we’re called to action by a divine voice.  What if we heard a voice that said, “The Holy Spirit says, reach out to your neighbor!” or “Forgive that family member for doing you wrong.” or "Donate more money." or "Say good morning to that stranger."  Would you follow those calls to action?

Sometimes we're called to action by our own voice too, which doesn't always lead us in a positive direction.  When that happens the Voice of Truth can lead us, steer our path and get us back in the groove of a happy, positive, purposeful and meaningful life - if we listen and follow that call.

When we pray, we should thank God for our blessings (show gratitude), and ask our Father In Heaven for guidance of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of our lives.  We can ask for help with specific circumstances and/or in our general walk across this planet.  There have been times in my life where I needed divine guidance in making big decisions.  Most of the time however, I wish to be lead by the Spirit when I don't have time to say a prayer, like when I was a young father making what seemed like hundreds of decisions weekly about my kids; and now my situation at the prison, working with hundreds of inmates where safety and life counseling are what I am concerned with daily.  In both situations I want to be lead by the Spirit of the Most High when I make those decisions, because if I do it my way, there's a good chance I'll just mess things up!

I think I'll call the Holy Spirit, The Great Fixer from Heaven Who Helps Me When I Blow It! - No, that's too long. I think you know what I mean.


Image credit: Used with permission, this image is of Radiant Divine Light, by Angelica Sotiriou-Rausch, acrylic on canvas, 6'x6', 2009., Making art is like touching the hem of God's garment. - Angelica Sotiriou-Rausch.  Thank you Angelica for letting me use this image.  I searched high and low for an image that represented the Holy Spirit to me, and this is the one.

A list of some of the other names of the Holy Ghost found in the Bible. For more, just Google it, or check the Reference Section in your own scriptures...

Breath of The Almighty - Job 33:4
Comforter - John 14:16, 26; 15:26
Comforter / Counselor / Advocate - Isaiah 11:2; John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7
Convicter of Sin - John 16:7-11
Deposit / Seal / Earnest - 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14
Eternal Spirit - Hebrews 9:14
Free Spirit - Psalms 51:12
God - Acts 5:3-4
Good Spirit - Nehemiah 9:20; Psalms 143:10
Guide - John 16:13
Helper - - John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7
Holy Spirit - Psalm 51:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30
Indweller of Believers - Romans 8:9-11; Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 6:19
Intercessor - Romans 8:26
Lord, The - 1 Thessalonians 3:5
Power of The Highest - Luke 1:35
Revealer / Spirit of Truth - John 14:17; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
Seven Spirits of God - Revelation 1:4
Spirit of Adoption - Romans 8:15
Spirit of Burning - Isaiah 4:4
Spirit of Christ - Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11
Spirit of Counsel - Isaiah 11:2
Spirit of Glory - 1 Peter 4:14
Spirit of God - Genesis 1:2 ; 1 Corinthians 2:11 ; Job 33:4
Spirit of God / The Lord / Christ - Matthew 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:11
Spirit of Grace - Zechariah 12:10 ; Hebrews 10:29
Spirit of Holiness - Romans 1:4
Spirit of Judgment - Isaiah 4:4 ; 28:6
Spirit of Knowledge - Isaiah 11:2
Spirit of Life - Romans 8:2; Revelation 11:11
Spirit of Might - Isaiah 11:2
Spirit of Prophecy - Revelation 19:10
Spirit of Revelation - Ephesians 1:17
Spirit of The Father - Matthew 10:20
Spirit of The Fear Of The Lord - Isaiah 11:2
Spirit of The Lord - Isaiah 11:2; Acts 5:9
Spirit of The Lord God - Isaiah 61:1
Spirit of The Son - Galatians 4:6
Spirit of Truth - John 14:17; 15:26
Spirit of Understanding - Isaiah 11:2
Spirit of Wisdom - Isaiah 11:2; Ephesians 1:17
Spirit, The - Matthew 4:1 ; John 3:6 ; 1 Timothy 4:1
Teacher - John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13
Witness - Romans 8:16; Hebrews 2:4; 10:15

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dads and Their Sons, a Snapshot from 1972

We go through life learning from our parents. In the best of circumstances they teach you how to become a whole human being. In the worst of circumstances, they can also teach you what not to do. - actor Bryan Cranston,

From the TLC show, Who Do You Think You Are, sponsored by aired Aug. 2015.

I remember when I was a young boy I had a mixed relationship with my father. (I am speaking of Karl L. Koerner 1918 to 2000.)  I highly respected my dad yet part of me was afraid of him. He most always seemed distant and out of reach, but there were times when he was very supportive and kind and fun to be around. As I look back, the overall memory I have of my dad is a good one.  He was a good example of a man to follow who kept family and professional life balanced and who supported my mother and tried to do the best for us kids. Me being the last of six kids, I think he mellowed somewhat, or he just ran out of energy. Either way I understand how that can be.

My dad had a temper and when he would get angry you did not want to be in the room, but he also had a sense of humor, and could tell a corny joke and laugh at one like the rest of us. That part of me remains from his DNA.

As part of my job at the prison, I have the opportunity to counsel inmates.  Twice this past week, I spoke with incarcerated dads, trying to rekindle relationships with their sons.  After the conversation I thought about my relationship with my dad and sons. I ask myself what did I do right? What could I have done better with?  How can I improve?

Recently I found a notebook in the garage with my Dad's notes from our trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in July of 1972. In this particular slide (left), my dad is commenting on me and Chuck hanging our camp food between trees for the night to keep the bears from getting it.

Some quotes from his notes: July 5, 1972 - Gus and Chuck (Jaecks) putting up a Bear Pack something like this. I imagine if the Bears saw them do these things they would die laughing. I'm sure if they were hungry or they would get it down.

Notes like these from our parents are precious to family history.  I urge all my readers to keep them safe.

So how is this going to make me a better father?  I'm going to keep loving my kids, just how they are and supporting them in the paths their on.  If they want my advice I'll give it to them, otherwise I'll continue to urge them to do their best, stay close to God and honor their spouses and children.  I hope my kids can take my good qualities and emulate them, and my less desirable traits and be careful not to follow them.  Either way, in that way a dad can have a positive influence on his children.

- gus

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Meaning Through Being

About two months ago I had the opportunity to spend some time in the waiting room of the doctor's office. So rather than go complete nuts with boredom,  I jotted down the thoughts that were going through my head. Most of the time my they come out in sentence form, but this time graphically. I didn’t know what it was about at the time, and just being scribbled on some scratch paper, I didn’t know what to do with it. Today I found the page folded up in my lunch box, stained with water, potato salad and crinkled, so I decided to finish and post it. For what it’s worth, here it is (see pic, click to enlarge)

The circles are not necessarily prioritized or strategic in size or location. They just fell where they did, and I’ll let some future psychologist tell me why.

What does the title mean and what do I wish to say? My point is, that I get meaning in life by being the person I am - nerd and all, sinner and saint, old but young, suburbanite and staunch independent leaning conservative.  I am blessed daily by doing what I do, being a husband, a dad far from his adult children, working a 9-5 job in a prison, making the mortgage payment and attending the neighborhood church on Sunday. Need there be more?

And yes, the racism in our nation makes me sad.  All lives matter.

The quote at the bottom of the picture reads, As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." - Carl Jung, 1962.

- gus

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Song That Knocked My Socks Off, Way Back When

As some of my readers know, I teach at a state prison. I was talking to one of my best Inmate Teaching Assistants today who is an excellent and published writer. He's been incarcerated for 30 plus years with a life sentence to go, so he's not real tech savvy. Our inmates have zero access to email or internet.

Today he asked me what a blog is, and why people write them. To make a long story short, I told him people write blogs with different themes, thoughts, purposes and passions; but I write mine so someday my children and their children (and beyond) will know what their Papa Gus was like. I have my own Papa Gus, whom I know nothing about. He passed away shortly before I was born.

This song popped up for me this week from out of nowhere, and I just had to mention it. The first time I heard it, it knocked my socks off - significant for me, therefore I write about it. My son Chris introduced this to me back in (like) 2003 and it rocked my spiritual world. It still does with the memory of me being far from God back then, and this brought me to my knees in surrender. If you know it, you'll agree.  If its new to you, I think you'll like it.  The lyrics are still profound to me, so I included them below, and of course linked associated sources.  The genre is Christian Ska.

Here it is...

World Without End (YouTube) A Must See!
by Five Iron Frenzy
Album (wiki-link): The End Is Near, 2003.

For all the deepest thought compiled, philosophy
to laws of physics,
no one's ever heard or seen,
a more beautiful thing,
than this love that saved us.

In the soundless awe and wonder,
words fall short to hope again.
How beautiful,
how vast your love is,
new forever,
world without an end.

The very spark that burns the stars,
drew near to me today,
the God of everything that is,
whispered in my ear that His love is boundless.

This last verse of the song reminds me of what I experienced in, Return To Escalante, Moments of Solitude. "The very spark that burns the stars, drew near to me today, the God of everything that is, whispered in my ear that His love is boundless." Boundless as the stars in the heavens.

If you like this, I'm glad.  Please share it with your friends and join me on Twitter @guskoerner