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Monday, April 27, 2015, 4:36 PM
It cannot be stressed enough that when you study the Bible (the Scriptures; God’s Word) you cannot be too quick to assume that you know what is said based simply on the dictionary definitions of the words. Words often mean different things to different people and many words are used in a figurative sense. The Hebrew word tov means ‘good’ or ‘not bad’. The Hebrew word ra means ‘bad’ or ‘not good’. If you see good or bad, do not necessarily assume ‘evil’ or ‘wicked’. An apple that is good is edible, but not righteous. An apple that is inedible is bad, but not wicked. When the Scripture says that there is no one who does ‘good’, it is translated from the same Hebrew word ‘tov’ which means ‘good’; but it is something of a common expression people understand that it does not mean that the person may never do something that is good. It means that as some time in one’s life, every person does something that is ‘not good’. People are sometimes prone to doing something that is ‘not good’. Human nature involves drives and desires that are often driven by selfish motives, and not necessarily for the ‘good’.
1st Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
When Jesse presented his sons before Samuel so the Lord would indicate to Samuel which of Jesse’s sons were to be anointed to be king of Israel, Jesse presented several sons before David who was the chosen one. The others were rejected. Some would say that if God rejected someone, it meant that that one would never be one of God’s children, because he was rejected. Common sense tells people that this ‘being rejected’ simply means that they were not the ones who were chosen to be anointed. Yet many may read in the Bible that someone was rejected, and make it mean more than it means. Sometimes it may say that one was ‘loved’ and the other ‘hated’. This is where sometimes understanding that expressions don’t always mean the same to everyone. The expression that one may be loved, and another hated may not have anything to do with some general understanding of love and hate, but used as an expression that one was accepted and the other was rejected. Now to say that one may be rejected does not mean that a person is ‘totally’ rejected in the sense of ‘will never be acceptable’. It often simply means ‘rejected for a certain task or purpose’.
The same applies to many words in the Bible. The word ‘aph’ means ‘nose’, but also means ‘anger’, and comes from the idea that when one is angry, his nose flares. Someone (from the Hebrew language) who has a ‘long nose’, does not necessarily mean that his facial feature is long, but likely means that it takes him a long time to get angry (‘longsuffering’ ‘he is slow to anger’; ‘he is patient’; or ‘he can take a lot of abuse without an adverse reaction’). Likewise, the words love and hate may be translated from a number of words or expressions. (In someone’s eye or face may mean ‘love’ as in someone’s heart.)
2nd Samuel 1:25 "How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! "Jonathan lies slain on your high places. 26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.
The passage above is used by some to support homosexuality, supposing that this was David’s love for Jonathan. Though David had several wives and children, he clearly showed heterosexuality when he saw Bathsheba and desired her. His love for Jonathan was based on that brotherly sense of loyalty and standing by one as a brother, in spite of the fact that Jonathan’s father had been seeking to kill David. The Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality goes against natural order (in several verses). I am not judging homosexuals. God is the ultimate judge. I myself am too far from perfect to cast stones at anyone else’s imperfections. I do not understand the ‘x’ and ‘y’ chromosomes, the hormones, or the emotions or feelings. God knows what is in any person’s heart. Even so, sin is sin, and I am a sinner in need of His mercy. But if anyone hears someone saying that they can show that the Bible is not against homosexuality, do not listen to them. Listen (not to me but) to people who really understand the language and the culture and the interpretations of the language and not just ‘dictionary definitions’ of words.
I know this post is getting long, but there is one other related example about language. There are some who will not use any translation of the Bible but the King James Version (and that is fine, I love the King James Version), but one example they use for their reason is incorrect. Some say that there are versions that do not say that Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin. Actually, in this respect, the King James Version is ‘incorrect’ in actual definition, but still ‘correct’ in interpretation. The actual Greek words declaring Mary a ‘virgin’ is accurately translated as ‘a young maiden’. This is according to dictionary definition. Still, the culture into which Mary and Jesus were born, if Mary were not a virgin, then she would have been called something other than ‘a young maiden’. From the true and pure understanding, she was a virgin, and it was prophesied in the Old Testament that it would be so. However, the translation ‘a young maiden’ is an actual dictionary translation of the Greek, though most translations use the translation ‘virgin’. I’m not certain which versions may not use ‘virgin’, but I am sure it is not more than a very few.
Friday, April 24, 2015, 7:36 AM
John 16:26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
Why would Jesus say that in that day He would not ask the Father on our behalf? For those who prefer the King James reading here it is- “…and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: …” Because it would not be necessary for Him to ask on our behalf, because we could come to the Father ourselves.
Hebrew 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We can go with confidence (boldly) to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace because Jesus Christ has interceded for us and made the way by His death on the cross for our sins. We are to pray to no god or spirit or angel, because doing so would be turning aside from that throne of grace that Jesus made possible for us. Those who seek angels are substituting angels for our Heavenly Father. Those who seek instructions or advice from angels or spirits are turning aside from our Creator. There are those who worship angels and/or spirits. This is gross wickedness. There is to be nothing between us and our Heavenly Father, and there is to be nothing substituted for our Creator. Those who do so are denying our heritage made possible in Christ. Also, lest we forget, Satan and his demons have the power to disguise themselves as angels, spirits, and are very crafty in deceiving human beings. Take you burdens of this life to the Lord, and not into the hands of spirits, angels, or witchcraft. Going any way other than the Way that Jesus showed is denying the work of our Savior, and evidence of unbelief. Be ye therefore believing unto the salvation of your soul.
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 8:11 AM
John 14:1 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going."
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them. Each Christian should have this faith that once he/she becomes a Christian that Jesus Christ is preparing a place for him/her. Now for those who believe that one may lose His salvation, which is a gift from God, then would you believe that Jesus would go to the trouble of preparing a place for you, if He knew that you were not going to use it, because He knows the end from the beginning?
He also tells them that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. This parallels His earlier teaching that He is the door to the sheepfold, with Him being the Good Shepherd. He is the only Way. People who think they can “work” their way into Heaven will be sorely disappointed. Those who think they can “confess” and do “penance” to find the way to Heaven will be sorely disappointed. Those who think they can “meditate on spiritual enlightenment” to get into Heaven will be sorely disappointed. Those who think that they can “follow spiritual guides and angels” into Heaven will be sorely disappointed. Only through Jesus, and Jesus alone can one find the True Way to our Creator and Heavenly Father.
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 7:50 AM
Jesus refers to the church as a sheepfold for which He is the Good Shepherd.
John 10:1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Jesus taught that the only way into that sheepfold was through the door, and then (below) He tells them that He is the door. There are those who come into the sheepfold (the church) who are not truly a part of the church. These are called thieves and robbers because they seek to lead the church astray by false teachings and thus to rob some of the hope of entering the sheepfold (church) by teaching other ways than the true door, Who is Jesus Christ alone- the True Door and the True Way.
John 10:7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus said that those who enter the sheepfold by Him (the True Door) WILL BE SAVED. He didn’t say, “You might be saved as long as you never lose that salvation that you were just given to you as a gift from God.” He said that YOU WILL BE SAVED. But be aware that not everyone says “Lord, Lord” will be saved, as Jesus had said at another time. These are those ‘thieves and robbers’ who sought to enter the sheepfold by another way (figuratively- climbing over the fence, rather than through the door). Be very careful about your teachings to make sure that you are not led astray by false teachers, because they are the ones who “climbed over the fence” (figuratively speaking).
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Jesus was born into the Jewish line of Judah from which David descended. This line from David was to be the eternal kingly line from God, consummated in Jesus. Jesus is the eternal king, and from the earthly standpoint, He descended from the line of David (from Judah). From the Heavenly standpoint, Jesus pre-existed David and Judah, because He was with God and was God from the beginning, and through Him all things were created (from John chapter 1). In the Jewish line, Jesus came to the Jews first in faithfulness to Abraham who obtained God’s promise. However, Jesus ministry was for the whole world, so whereas the disciples saw Jesus as to be the King of the Jews, in telling them that He had other sheep, not of this fold, He was telling them that He was to reach to all nations beyond the Jewish nation. The disciples saw “this fold” as the fold of the Jews, but Jesus came also for those not of the Jewish fold; these were those Jesus spoke of as “not of this fold”.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 7:20 AM
Anyone who thinks that following Jesus is supposed to be a bed of roses does not understand His teachings when He said to “deny yourself” and “take up your cross”.
Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Are you willing to lose your own earthly life for the sake of Christ?
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Do you believe that Jesus is powerful enough that He would lose none of any who should come to Him, and that once you are saved, you will be raised up on that day?
John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
The saying is true that as we judge, so shall we be judged. So if we judge others with harsh judgments, we will be harshly judged, but if we judge with mercy, we can find mercy for ourselves, because we are all sinners. Jesus said that we are to set aside the earthly appearances of things, but to judge with right (true and faithful) judgment. Judging with right judgment means that sin is sin, no matter how you dress up its appearances. Judging myself, I deserve eternal separation from God, so if I judge others, then I need to be very careful to learn the mercy that my Heavenly Father is showing me in regards to the judgment I deserve.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 9:25 AM
2nd Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
This treasure we have in jars of clay is that eternal life granted by our loving Heavenly Father, not because we deserved it or earned it, but because He loves us enough that Jesus came and died to take the penalty that our sins had brought on us. But Jesus was more powerful than death and rose again to bring us to that eternal home He has prepared for us. (That is ‘us’ who have believed and accepted Him as our Savior. To believe and not accept is not how it works, because who could believe such a wonderful gift from God and not accept it. That is what is mean by accepting God’s precious gift.) The jars of clay are these earthly bodies that we now live in, being tried by the cares of this world and attacked by the ruler of this world, Satan. So these tribulations, these attacks by Satan are symbolic of the death that Jesus Christ suffered for us. That is what Paul means above in saying that we carry in the body the death of Jesus.
Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:33 PM
2nd Corinthians 3:15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Paul is here speaking to the church (specifically in Corinth, but applications are to the church as a whole). The “their” in “… a veil lies over their hearts” is a reference to those who are outside the church (those who haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior). The “freedom” here could be taken in two ways: First, the church is free from the “veil” of darkness that lies over the hearts of those who are outside the church. Second, the church is free from the judgment of the law whereas those outside the church will all be found guilty, because all have sinned and come short of God’s law (from Romans chapter 3 & elsewhere in the Scriptures). Those in the church are free from that judgment not because they are not “guilty”, but because they have been declared “not guilty by virtue of acceptance of God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ”.
2nd Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The “gospel” that “is veiled” is that good news regarding God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ, Who died for the sins of the world, but only those of the world who believe in Him (in the strong sense of ‘believing in Who He is and all that He taught’) are accepting of that saving faith. Those who haven’t seen the Light of God’s glorious mercy have the veil placed by the god of this world over their eyes.
Some may ask, “If God’s Light is shining on the whole world, isn’t that Light bright enough that those of this world should clearly see it? Isn’t God’s Light more powerful than that veil that is over them?” This is where man’s free will comes into play. Our Creator did not create us to be puppets pulled on a string. Those who come to Him must come according to their own free will. They avoid the Light because as John 3: 19- 20, the people of this world avoid God’s Light because it exposes their guilt before their Creator. They are trying to avoid the exposure and shame of their human failings and shortcomings. They prefer to believe in this world and that humans can evolve into pure spiritual beings in their own rights. This accounts for why some who are not in the church can seem to live by such high moral standards and ethics, yet they will not stand before the Creator in their own rights, because even the finest moral standards and ethics lived by humans falls short of our Creator’s standards, and they will be found guilty.
Monday, April 20, 2015, 10:29 AM
2nd Corinthians 3:4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
People can place confidence in any number of people or any number of things. People are not perfect, and people can let you down. I am not perfect, and though I should never want to let people down, there may be times that I may let someone down by thoughtless or careless actions. Things may be prone to break down at any number of times. Am I saying to never put confidence in people or things? No, I’m not. I’m saying that you should always remember that there will always be let-downs in this world. But you can always put confidence in Christ, as Paul says above, but remember, that confidence in Christ is TOWARD GOD. We do not put confidence that Christ will supply all of our “wants” as often “wants” are based on selfish motives. We can put confidence that our “sufficiency”, as Paul says above, that is our “needs” will be available through Christ for all that we “need” towards fulfilling our lives towards God’s purpose for us. Very often we confuse our “wants” with our “needs”.
Sunday, April 19, 2015, 9:21 AM
Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
1st Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Romans 5:3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
2nd Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Sunday, April 19, 2015, 8:48 AM
1st Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
The words to the elders applied to the highest, most experienced leaders in the early church, but not just to them only. It also applied to those who were mature in the faith and even though not necessarily pastors, evangelists, or of similar function, but also those who were simply members at the assembly of believers who had the maturity, knowledge, and experience. That is the essential meaning of elders, and one must be an elder before becoming a higher position. As Paul had clearly instructed earlier not to allow those who were novices (new, young, and inexperienced) to be placed in positions of leadership, so here Peter instructs the elders of the assembly. They were not to be “compelled” (under compulsion) as though the others in the assembly urged them to service, but were to be “willingly” available for service and in service. That willingness does have a “compulsion” of its own, as being motivated by that inner drive and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Too often young people get excited in their zeal and run out to take positions of leadership without having the proper maturity, experience, and training in the knowledge of the deeper teachings of the faith. Too often people may rally to these ‘overly young and inexperienced leaders’ and these ‘leaders’ become puffed up in their own pride, yet they are not prepared to fully counsel with experience and compassion the trials and tribulations that the New Testament teaches to be a part of the Christian faith. The reason for these trials and tribulations is primarily that the Christian faith is not conformed to the worldly view as the worldly view is ruled by the ruler of this world, Satan/Beelzebub/the Anti-Christ. Also there are some trials that are because even Christians have not yet reached that level of perfection and whom the Father loves, He chastens.
Also that willingness does not come with the desire that Peter calls “shameful gain”. That willingness comes from a love with a pure heart that seeks for the betterment of others without regard for the ‘shameful gain’. Out of love the assembly should see that their leaders are not doing without, but too many ‘self-appointed’ leaders choose to accumulate rewards in this world. So they call themselves prophets, and enjoy being called prophets by others, and instead of teaching how to deal with trials and tribulations, they teach how “God” (as they see ‘God’) is going to bring prosperity to the church. There will eventually be that prosperity for God’s children, but it will come in the eternal life. Those who choose their rewards in this life have traded their hopes for the next life with earthly rewards in this world. Never forget, Satan is the ruler of this world. Those who cherish their rewards in the next world are the ones who, as Peter says above, will receive “the unfading crown of glory” from the “Chief Shepherd”.