Coloring Inside the Lines

Why do we want to see children color inside the lines in a coloring book? When a 2 to 3 year old first puts crayon to paper the results are a bit chaotic; a lot of scribbling and sweeping the crayon back and forth with no regard for the image printed on the paper; and, if we aren’t careful, the walls get decorated, too! But, with some guidance and practice, building hand-eye coordination, beginning to see the lines on the paper as a picture that needs color, they start putting colors in place within the framework of lines and eventually a beautiful picture emerges. It has order and symmetry. It turns out to be a work of art of which the child can be proud. The color edges are sharply defined by the black lines and there are no stray overlaps marring the work.

What has this to do with knowing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and His Son Jesus Christ?

Well, just as there are lines that are meant to bound the colors on the pages of a coloring book, there are rules established for us so we can properly interpret and come to a correct understanding of the written word. There are rules of grammar. There are rules of sentence structure. There are words whose meanings are established and given to us in dictionaries, lexicons, and thesauri. There are literary genres which, by their very structure, are meant to be understood in different ways.

These are the lines within which the purity of our understanding is meant to flourish. These are the lines within which, when all put together, form all of our understanding; the way we see the world; the way we perceive truth, know right from wrong, know who we are, know Who God is, and hopefully, what our purpose in this life is.

The written word does not have the tone, inflection, body language, facial expression, or the myriad of other tips and cues which can shade the understanding of the spoken word. We must rely on established standards; rules created specifically so a proper and correct interpretation of it can be attained. Sadly, in today’s world, many think that we can play fast and loose with the written word and still get what was meant to be conveyed to us. That is like taking crayons, sweeping them randomly across the page and expecting the intended picture to emerge pure and true.

The standard for written communication in the English language at the time the early English Bibles were produced was ‘Logic’ by Isaac Watts. It was the standard for nearly two centuries. The text has, of course, been replaced, but the rules laid down in it have not substantively changed, merely the methods of presenting them. And, as I said, it was the standard for how to express ideas in written form so the reader could get, as unambiguously as possible, what the author intended.

A second text, ‘Protestant Biblical Interpretation’ by Bernard Ramm, gives us the rules established over the millennia for properly interpreting God’s Word. Ignoring the very first rule in it has brought Christianity to the confused and impotent condition in which it is found today! What is that rule? Simply put, it is this: ‘On any given topic in Scripture, the implicit is to be understood in light of the explicit.’ That is to say that the passage which more clearly deals with a particular subject is to govern how we understand a passage that is less clear.

At this point, I am going to give examples that have very far reaching ramifications theologically. There are three passages I would like for us to consider. The first seems, on the surface, to be perfectly clear and yet, if this first rule is implemented that is absolutely not the case.

The three scriptures are from and Job 1:6-12, Jeremiah 17:9-10 and Mark 7:18-23. All are considered to point directly to the source of evil. First Job 1:6-12: * Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. *

This is one of the proof texts for the existence of Satan as the fallen angel, father of lies, Lucifer, deceiver of Eve, instigator of the Fall, etc. There is a small book called ‘Why America Is Not In the Bible’ by Glenn Dawson that lays out this most widely held doctrine of Satan. There is only one small problem with this passage used as proof text for this almost universally held doctrine. Whether Job is a real historical person or not, the book itself is written in the genre of a play. To interpret it as historical narrative, which using its passages as proof texts proving literal truths requires, is to twist the Scriptures to support an idea that may not be true!

I guess this would be a good time for a side trip into the definition of truth. Can we all agree that truth is that which accurately relates reality? When we speak truth we are either speaking or writing something that is true according to our knowledge and belief, according to our point of view. There is a problem with this definition of truth. Do you know what it is? Our knowledge and beliefs are imperfect, so that which relates truth, true truth, as Dr. Sproul put it, is that which relates what is true, relates reality, in the eyes of God, from His perfect point of view! And since the Bible is the Word of God, we should, as believers, be about seeking the truth from His point of view, revealed in it to us. I believe that is part of the reason Paul told Timothy to ‘study to show thyself approved, a workman rightly dividing the word of truth.’

Now, back on track! Since Job was written as a play, the characters in it, whether real world figures or not, are used to portray traits of character and circumstances for us to examine in ways that are otherwise difficult or impossible. Good and evil have always been grist for playwrights. Characters are created with these traits portrayed in ways that make them appear as good characters in terrible circumstances or evil, dastardly characters we love to hate. But since evil is many times visited upon the ‘undeserving’ from sources beyond control or understanding it is easy to create an evil character whose sole mission is to visit affliction on the ‘undeserving’.

Job is not written as historical narrative, that is, a telling of actual historical events, but there is much to be gleaned about God and man from Job, however, it should not be considered a proof text for the existence of a spiritual being named Satan. We should look elsewhere for the source of evil in this world. Job suffered theft, vandalism, natural disaster, death of his sons and daughters, the scorn of his wife, disease, the ridicule and misunderstanding of his friends, all of which we classify as evil and all of which are known to be part and parcel of the condition of the fallen world in which we live. He suffered and could not understand why. He hated himself and his life and even cursed the day of his birth, but not once did he blame God for his misfortune or his pain and suffering. There are lessons about character and enduring trials to be learned from Job; but as a proof text for the existence of Satan? No. It is the ideal example of an implicit text on the source of evil. It is implicit, not because it is unclear, but because it is not written as historical narrative but as a play whose characters and their interaction give us insight into the fact that there is a far deeper game afoot than we can know.

The next scripture is Jeremiah 17:9-10:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Much of the book of Jeremiah is written in the form of ‘poetic oracles’. The passage above is considered part of a sermon involving signs of the coming judgment on Israel. Jeremiah is warning the people of the true condition of man, all mankind including Israel; calling them to repentance. The people refused to accept this truth and continued to believe that they were better than others because they were chosen of God.

When God says clearly and with no equivocation at all that ‘the heart is deceitful above all things‘, there is only one way to understand what He means: First there is no greater deceiver than the heart of man, and it has no greater goal than to mislead and misdirect us; to do all in its power to turn us away from truth and righteousness. The second part is that it is desperately wicked, which means that it constantly casts about, is always trying to find a way to pervert truth and righteousness, to turn us against what is pure and right. We are forced to answer for ourselves just how much untruth does it take to create a lie. Aren’t the best lies just shading the truth enough to misdirect one from doing what is right? When faced with owning up to something we have done wrong, isn’t our first inclination to find a way to make ourselves not look so bad? Shade the truth just a bit? Share the blame just a little? The heart is the ultimate master of not only self-deceit, but of deceiving others if given the circumstances. I don’t know about you but I have known people who would lie when the truth would serve them better! And this is the literal truth of what God has revealed to us concerning who we are as unregenerate sons of Adam. The unregenerate will do anything to deny that truth. God alone knows that heart because He alone is not affected nor infected by it. He is holy, separate from all that is unrighteous and untrue. God knows our hearts and yet showed us how merciful He is through His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Didn’t Jesus say, ‘If you have seen me, you have seen the Father?

The third passage is Mark 7:18-23:

* 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 all these evil things come from within, and defile the man. *

This follows an episode with the Pharisees in which they called Him and His disciples down for eating without washing their hands. They claimed it would defile them and be sinful. Jesus made it perfectly clear (and this is written as historical narrative) that it is what comes out of the heart of man that defiles; that nothing entering into the man from outside can defile him. He goes on to give a fairly comprehensive, though not exhaustive, list of sinful thoughts and behaviors that do defile the man and again makes it clear they are not from any external source! That source according to our Lord Jesus Christ, is our own unregenerate heart. He said nothing entering in can defile… He didn’t say, ‘nothing except Satan.’ He didn’t say, ‘nothing except demons.’ He didn’t make any exceptions!

We are misled today. We work on the principle that we’re all basically good, when in Romans 3 it clearly states:

*9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. *

We have conflated doing good things with being basically good. They are not now and have never been the same. We deceive ourselves. We want to believe the best about people and have let ourselves believe the lie! It isn’t that we can’t know the truth and still be merciful! What it is, is that our nature is so in rebellion that we are willing to deny the word of God on the subject even though we know the truth. We see the character, Satan, so clearly depicted in Job and latch onto it as absolute truth when we know it isn’t. We want to blame somebody, anybody else, for our sin. What was the first thing Adam said when God said, ‘What have you done?’. He said, ‘That woman You gave me…!’. He blamed God and Eve for his crime!

For us, as Christians, to color inside the lines, we have to repent; change our minds about what really is truth and Who is in charge. There is a Calvinist doctrine; the first of the five points, called ‘Total Depravity’. It has been vilified by many in today’s church as misrepresenting man who was ‘made in God’s image’ (as if we know what that really means). Yet Jesus Himself said that all sin comes from within. Total depravity does not mean that man, or any particular man, is as evil as he can possibly be, only that all men, who are sons of Adam, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

How can we stay inside the lines? There are so many doctrines that are created by religions today! We need to repent; go back and seek true truth!

Consider the human will. Dictionary.com defines it: The ability to choose, think, and act voluntarily. For many philosophers, to believe in free will is to believe that human beings can be the authors of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are determined by external conditions or fate. Say what?

Human beings can choose actions that are not determined by external conditions or fate? I’m going to jump right to the ad absurdum argument here: If the action one chooses is not determined by external conditions and one chooses to live forever, what is it that eventually overwhelms the will and brings about death? And if anything does or is able to do so then by the definition above, the will is not truly free!! Yet this is the very corner stone of free will theology.

I used the example above as the ad absurdum argument. It is absurd because no son of Adam expects to live forever in this world no matter how much they might want to cheat death. Many have had their bodies frozen, placed in cryogenic stasis awaiting some hoped-for scientific break-through that will bring them back. My guess is their hope is in vain.

Now, a second ad absurdum argument can be stated: I choose Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I have cast out devils in His name and done many wonderful works in His name. He cannot and will not turn me away because I chose Him! Yet in Matthew 7 Jesus is quite clear: * ‘ 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’* It obviously cannot be my will that determines Jesus’ decision.

Yes, I generally choose my actions, but even in that my will is limited by a great many factors! My will cannot propel my body fast enough to run a 3 minute mile. My will is not subtle enough to give me the ability to produce a perfect copy of the Mona Lisa. My will is not economically savvy enough to choose a scheme, stock, bond, crypto-currency, whatever, to make me a millionaire overnight! Yes, I can make choices, but the consequences of those choices are not completely subject to my will, now, are they! There is a very old saying, ‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!’ It is as true now as it was for Adam. My choice to try, does not guarantee success, does it?

So, the question virtually jumps into the mind of the Christian, ‘Why have I been told all my life that I have to choose Jesus or I’m going to Hell?’ Well, given all the above, that is the question, isn’t it.

The definition above speaks of the will as being the author of our own actions. It seems obvious enough that the results of our will to do something, can be largely beyond our control which leaves the actions themselves. Choosing to live forever is a free choice. But the action-actually living forever-does not seem to be within the power of the ‘free’ will to accomplish. So at this point it is necessary to revisit the definition of ‘free will’.

Another, and I believe much more correct, definition of free will is this: Free will is the ability to choose, any at all, of the moral options offered in a given situation.

The word moral in this case means the degree to which any action in a given situation aligns with God’s revealed will concerning that action. It might also be thought of as a scale from doing that which perfectly pleases God to doing that which is perfectly abhorrent to Him. Of course, only God can choose what pleases Him and what displeases Him. No created being has that prerogative.

God is the Lawgiver! He has already determined the morality of any action we can take in any given situation. A good example is the parable of the good Samaritan. When Jesus asked who acted as the neighbor should, even the scribes and pharisees had no doubt.

We color within the lines when we ascribe the power of God to God not man! Only God has free will. That should be obvious when we profess that He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. God cannot be Omnipotent if our actions limit Him in any way. God cannot be Omniscient if we say or do anything that He has not already accounted for, since He perfectly knows the end from the beginning. God cannot be Omnipresent if He is not always in the right place at the right time to do what is necessary to bring His perfect plan to fruition.

We color within the lines when we ascribe the limitations of man to man not God! In our natural state as unregenerate sons of Adam, we are slaves to sin. It isn’t that we can do no civil good, but that we are not, and cannot be perfectly Holy as God is Holy. Instead of free will, we have what might be termed ‘free agency’ that is, the ability to choose our actions based upon our strongest inclinations at the time. We are responsible to God and the rest of humanity for those actions. In a manner of speaking, one who has free will is a law unto himself; while one who is a free agent can make choices according to his own lights, but he is still responsible to others for the consequences of the choices he makes.

To ascribe to man the free will many claim he has, is to usurp an attribute of God with which we were never endowed. In fact, to do so describes quite clearly the action of which Scripture says Lucifer was guilty and was cast out for it. He claimed he would sit in the throne of the Most High. God has revealed to us that such a goal will not end well!

Coloring outside the lines is easy; don’t have to be careful; neatness doesn’t count. The same is true with biblical interpretation, if you don’t really care about staying within the bounds of what reason and revelation dictates is the truth it seeks to relate, it is possible to make Scripture say virtually anything; and sound good doing it. The problem is, in the end, all you have is something that tickles the ears and there is no absolute truth to it. Isn’t that where majority Christianity stands today? 

We may not like what God has to say about a lot of things. Much of what He has to say cuts right to our hearts, convicting us of the sin we own. He calls us to repentance. He calls us to admit that He is right and righteous. He calls us to know His mercy. He calls us to color within the lines. How will you answer?

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Consider Da Vinci’s Pallet

The Mona Lisa is considered to be one of the greatest works of art in the world. The mastery it exhibits is virtually without equal. It was not, however, created without paints, pigments, thinners, rags, brushes, patience, skill, knowledge, understanding of how the finished product should look, and a pallet upon which the paints were mixed and textures tested, remixed and retested until the result was just what the master decided was needed at a particular time and in a particular place in the final work of art.

In the same way, but without trial and error, the Creation, beginning to end, is God’s pallet. For all the mixing and remixing and chaos we perceive, the end will be an eternal masterpiece. To believe otherwise is to deny the perfect plan of God. To rest in that belief, to place our faith in Him and His will for us, is to end our rebellion against Him. We don’t have to like what our current circumstances are. Like Abraham, we can question God! The thing about Abraham’s questions was that they were posed to better understand how merciful God is to the faithful, not how unmerciful He can appear to the rebellious. Abraham was the father of the faithful. He was trying to see the masterpiece God was creating; trying to see beyond the chaos on the pallet around Him. Where is your focus?

How Smart Are We?

 

If I asked you ‘Do you believe you are more intelligent than Benjamin Franklin?’ what would your reply be?  Seriously, not smart-alecky, but honest truth!  How about Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Hancock, or any of the other signers of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, do you believe you are more intelligent than they were?

Even if you were able to prove that you are, does that mean that you, without taking the time to study and think about what government is supposed to be and do, and without taking the time to thoroughly understand what their ultimate goal was in creating this nation for their children and yours, are you qualified to judge the moral and ethical virtue of what they accomplished?

The true test of your humility as an AMERICAN is your desire to know why those men came to the conclusions they did and were willing to make the sacrifices they did.  Until we have walked in their shoes, at least conceptually, and looked at the world systems through the lens of historical truth, there is no way we can judge whether their work is worth preserving.  There is no way we can pass it on to our children as something of transcendent value if we fail to treat it as such.

Scripture says seek wisdom as gold and precious gems.  The opposition to that idea makes up nearly half of our government today. If we are not governed by men and women who seek wisdom and believe that ALL men (women included) are created equal; if we are not governed by those who know that equality is not measured by material possessions or governmentally guaranteed sameness; If we are not governed by those who FEAR the Lord; we will be governed by despots who think they ARE the Lord!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth that our Founders knew first hand.

The book of Genesis Chapter 6 verse 5: And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Has The God of Creation, the Father of Jesus Christ, changed His mind about the state of mankind’s heart since before the flood?

Jeremiah 17:9 says: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The Words of Jesus in Mark 7:21-23:

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

The Israelites demanded a king, just like all the other nations had. The Founders knew that power corrupts and did all they could to delay that happening to their children.  Are we smarter than they?  Aren’t we crying for our president to be king and ‘just fix it’!  Be very careful what you wish for, you just might get it!

 

What IS the Answer?

What is the answer? Our Constitution guarantees the right to freely practice your religion. Until the turn of the millennium, there were few issues with that. Then Islam began to use that right to claim they could live under Sharia in the USA. That continued and escalating demand  MUST FORCE us to look at the truth of what our Constitution IS actually protecting via the First Amendment.
The first question is this: Was the intent of the First Amendment to authorize ANY RELIGIOUS practice that overrules the right to Life, Liberty, and Property that the duly elected authorities are in place to protect?
The obvious answer that anyone with two brain cells to rub together is a resounding NO!
Therefore, Sharia, which encourages the absolute authority of the man over the woman, honor killing of disobedient children, the stoning or caning of the wife who displeases the husband, female genital mutilation, the chopping off of hands or other appendages for theft and other crimes, etc., etc, etc, simply CANNOT be considered to be protected under the First Amendment.
Some punishment for breaking any religious law that does NOT also break CIVIL law simply MUST not be allowed to deprive ANYONE of Life, Liberty, or Property. If a particular religion has laws that call for the death of the lawbreaker for blasphemy (for instance), shunning (being considered dead to the other adherents of that religion) is permissible but killing them IS NOT!
The First Amendment Rights do NOT trump the INALIENABLE rights of the individual! How hard is that to understand? And why must it be such a crisis of conscience for Americans to stand up an say so?

Of Crime and Punishment!

James Crawford, pastor of Westside Church, Redding, California, has been charged with 22 felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, a series of sex crime-related enhancements, and nine misdemeanors.
His bail was set at $1 million and his attorney couldn’t believe it.
Now I’m not a lawmaker nor a judge, thank God. But these crimes took place over the course of 7 years! IF this man is found guilty, will his punishment fit his crime? IF this man is guilty, he has stolen something from these children that CANNOT be replaced and the punishment for that should make ANYONE even contemplating giving in to the sick temptation to molest a child pause to consider and FEAR what will happen WHEN they are caught!
It should be a CERTAINTY that they will NOT continue to live in relative comfort and ease.  If we, as a God the FEARING society we used to claim to be,  continue to reward lawlessness of every stripe and depravity by simply warehousing the felon in prisons that provide for their every want and need available behind bars, there is no more fear of God before our eyes.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
The ‘just power of the government’ includes the power to punish evildoers.  There is little more evil than poisoning the mind of a child through violating a position of unquestioned trust.  A man ‘of the cloth’ is presumed to be above reproach and to violate that trust is worse than highway robbery.  At least the robber is not deceiving anyone about his intentions nor his actions.  No, to violate a trust that presumes one to be above reproach is worse than murder.  It steals the innocence of youth and purity in the most vile of selfish action.  One who would do this should KNOW that he will neither live long nor prosper in the enjoyment of such depravity.  If the promised reward of goodness is not enough to curb one’s appetites, the utter fear of the punishment should.  Justice WILL be served.  God has promised that.  But that does not mean we can leave it all up to Him and allow this kind of immoral disgrace to run rampant among us.  Governments are instituted among men to protect the rights of ALL including those who are the most helpless.  We are failing miserably at that because we have decided to extend grace to those who will use it against us the next time they get the chance. Just punishment should remove either the desire or the chance!

Consider John 1:1-5

How does this relate to Matthew 13:10-13 and 13:34?

Here are the passages:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Matthew

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

And Jesus Spoke to the crowd.

34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Is there a connection?

The Son Of God is the Word Made Flesh!  The  Holy Bible is the Word of God written.  The Word Made Flesh communicated to us directly in power and great glory, glory as the Only Begotten of the Father!  The Son spoke the Word to man in parables for a very specific reason.

The parables Jesus Spoke used physical truths to describe spiritual truths. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  If He chose to communicate with Israel through parable when He walked among us, is it not probable to a certainty that the Word written uses the same method for the same reason?

Matthew

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Example: Jacob and Esau

Could they be an example (parable)  of the way Man was Created?  Esau (the flesh, the elder) the first born, Jacob (the spirit, the younger) the one God chose to bear His image (God is Spirit), supplanter.  Supplanter means ‘one who takes the place of’.

The firstborn was entitled to the majority share of the inheritance as well as the position of Patriarch of the clan.  God chose Jacob.  If you read the story carefully, you can see that Jacob tried his whole life to be that and was not the conniving trickster he has been portrayed for centuries.  Or you can believe something else.

God Bless.

The Importunate Widow? About Discipleship?

The Importunate Widow? About Discipleship?

Just how personal is the discipleship relationship?  Who is the true teacher?  Is the church the arbiter of the interpretation of the Word of God or is it between a man and his enlightenment by the Holy Spirit?  Who is the final arbiter of Truth?

The Book of James speaks to discipleship in this way:

1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The Parable of the Importunate Widow(Luke 18) speaks of it this way:

18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Paul speaks to Timothy(2nd Tim 2) these thoughts:

2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.

Correct understanding of the Word of God is only found when the whole context of Holy Scripture is taken into account on any given topic. Peter and John(Acts 4) had this to say when the religious authority would have chastened them:

4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

There is no greater teacher than the Holy Spirit.  That is His job!  But He will allow you to err in your belief whenever you decide you know enough or have it completely figured out or are willing to believe what men say over what He is leading you toward.

So how much do you really want to know God?  How much do you really want to face your sin nature?  Picking up your cross is looking at yourself and seeing your iniquity in the light of God’s revelation to you then doing what is right in His eyes.

Paul encouraged people to follow his lead but only  in so far as he followed Christ(1st Cor):

10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

10:32 Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Will you pick up your cross and follow Him, or will you walk away sad?  Or will you deceive yourself and quench the Spirit at the same time?