Focus – Paradigm Shift

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by Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock (R) – 

New words and phrases or recycled versions keep appearing in my reading. “Quantum leap,” penultimate,” “quintessential,” “paradigm shift” and others have caught my attention recently. Like most people, when a new word or phrase comes up in reading or conversation I listen to the context of what is being related to try to figure out the meaning of the word or phrase. Sometimes my guesses are way off the mark!

I’ve tried to use my computer thesaurus to get some alternate words for the above group, but the words it gave me weren’t much help!

I often enjoy taking the test in the Readers Digest, titled, “It Pays to Enrich Your Word Power,” but I’ve never noticed any of the above words appearing in their column.

The phrase, “paradigm shift” has caught my attention several times this past month. In a recent article about Pope John Paul II, the article said that the Pope had “shifted the papacy to “a new paradigm“–to a dimension as a world leader, a towering moral figure and a universal pastor.”

Recently I heard a message using the phrase paradigm shift that was so thought-provoking that I decided it was time to look up the meaning in the dictionary.

“Paradigm: A model, pattern, showing a word in all its inflectional forms.

“Shift: To exchange or replace the place, position, or direction.”

The sermon was on the paradigm shift that we need to make in our understanding of the tithe and the way we give to the church. “God doesn’t need our money, he owns it already.” “The church doesn’t need us to give.” We don’t need to pray because God demands it.” We must give because we need to give. We must pray because we need to pray.

The paradigm shift for the Christian begins when we accept that the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was really for our sins and disobedience.

“God’s put his love on the line for us, by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” ( Romans 5:8 The Message)

Once the spiritual light goes on, and we begin to recognize with overwhelming awe that God loves us–really loves us–then there is a paradigm shift that begins to affect every part of our life.

“Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24 NIV)

The one fear common to most of us is the fear of death. There is a fear of this unknown and even those who work every day in hospitals or hospices feel uncomfortable in the face of death. Death is the one experience that all of us will face one day. Even though the Scriptures give us assurance of life after death when we are saved, there is still an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling that makes us silent on the subject of death.

My wife and I visited Captain James Wilson in Tucson recently. He was at home lying in a hospital bed. His wife Anna was tenderly caring for him, as she has for many months. Jim had a heart transplant seven years ago. When he observed his five year anniversary, there was a wonderful series of celebrations. He often visited the hospital to encourage others who were facing this surgery.

Over the years Jim has been a faithful and effective officer. His life has been a powerful witness to the saving, keeping and healing power of God. Many have been converted under his ministry.

But the news at the time of our visit was sad. The doctors had found malignancies that cannot be operated on and since his kidneys are no longer functioning he requires dialysis three times a week. We expected a sad visit, for we had heard that he had been given but two weeks to live, but we saw a paradigm shift, and he was ready to meet Jesus face to face.

We came away feeling, that even though we might not see him alive again in this world, we will see him again, in heaven!

There is a paradigm shift that is available for all of us, because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. It’s called the new birth!

“Oh the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, just to think that God loves me!”

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