Parable Surprises – Introduction

The parables have often caught my attention and, if dwelt on, usually cause me surprise. I often enter a parable with a presupposition, and leave with a different conclusion.

Welcome to Considering the Bible, and our newest series, looking at the Parables of the Lord. The following posts will consider the stories Jesus “laid down beside” our earthly experiences to explain a heavenly, spiritual existence He was re-introducing to the nation of Israel, and eventually the entire earth.

What is a “Parable”

I suppose it is incumbent upon me to explain the concept of a parable. The word “parable” comes from the root greek word παραβάλλω, paraballō.

This word is made up of two greek root words.

  • παρά (G3844)
    • to be with, to be beside..
  • βάλλω (G906)
    • cast, put, thrust, lie

Simply by putting these two terms together, we see that a parable is a story that is “cast down beside” something. Jesus provided short stories of general earthly truths that would illuminate His hearers (if they wanted to hear the message) of a heavenly or spiritual truth.

Why a Series on the Parables

I have never sought to methodically go through the parables in an intentional way, and this blog will give me the structure to attempt this study.

Each post will seek to address the following items

  • Who were the audience when Jesus spoke these words?
    • Was it a private teaching to only his inner circle, or to the population at large? This may have significant bearing on the intent of the message!
  • When did the Lord give this parable?
    • I suspect we may find some enlightenment with understanding when a parable was given by the Lord.
  • Where did the Lord teach the parable?
    • The location of the message may also give us insight as to the purpose of the parable.
  • Why did the Lord give this message?
    • Although we will seek to address this question specifically for each parable, our next post will look at this question in a general manner.
  • What was the message for the original audience?
    • If we get this, it may help with the next question!
  • What is the message for us today?
    • This is the crux of the matter, and only after understanding the intent of the message for the original hearers may we come to an accurate application for our lives. This is the goal!

A spreadsheet of the parables in chronological order is supplied at the beginning of this series. As the series progresses, updates may be required.

The parables, chronologically ordered, matching the spreadsheet noted above may also be downloaded for your information and study.

I am currently using the ESV for the text.

I do hope you will follow along as we Consider the Bible and the message we may find in the parables of the Lord



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Song Squawk – Brutal Planet

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Brutal Planet – Alice Cooper

I could not believe it when I first heard that Alice Cooper had become a devout Christian. It was such a surprise, and then to hear that he put out some albums with explicit Christian message was too much for me.

The first album I listened to was Brutal Planet, and the title song is included for your consideration.

It is classic Alice with a great message.

Here’s where we keep the armies
Here’s where we write their names
Here’s where the money got us
Here’s our famous hall of shame
Here’s where we starve the hungry
Here’s where we cheat the poor
Here’s where we beat the children
Here is where we pay the whores

Why don’t you, come down to
It’s such a brutal planet
It’s such an ugly world
Why won’t you, come down to….

Take a listen!

Brutal Planet – Alice Cooper

“Brutal Planet”

We’re spinning round on this ball of hate
There’s no parole, there’s no great escape
We’re sentenced here until the end of days
And then my brother there’s a price to pay

We’re only human, we were born to die
Without the benefit of reason why
We live for pleasure to be satisfied
And now it’s over there’s no place to hide

Why don’t you, come down to
It’s such a brutal planet
It’s such an ugly world
Why won’t you, come down to

“This world is such perfection” (What a sight)
“It’s just like paradise” (For my eyes)
“A truly grand creation” (What a sight)
“From up here it looks so nice” (For my eyes)

It’s such a brutal planet
It’s such a living hell
It was a holy garden
That’s right where Adam fell
It’s where the bite was taken
It’s where we chose to sin
It’s where we first were naked
This is where our death begins

We took advice from that deceiving snake
He said don’t worry it’s a piece of cake
And sent us swimming in a burning lake
Now we’re abandoned here for heaven’s sake

Why don’t you, come down to
It’s such a brutal planet
It’s such an ugly world
Why won’t you, come down to

“This world is such perfection” (What a sight)
“It’s just like paradise” (For my eyes)
“A truly grand creation” (What a sight)
“From up here it looks so nice” (For my eyes)

Here’s where we keep the armies
Here’s where we write their names
Here’s where the money got us
Here’s our famous hall of shame
Here’s where we starve the hungry
Here’s where we cheat the poor
Here’s where we beat the children
Here is where we pay the whores

Why don’t you, come down to
It’s such a brutal planet
It’s such an ugly world
Why won’t you, come down to

“This world is such perfection” (What a sight)
“It’s just like paradise” (For my eyes)
“A truly grand creation” (What a sight)
“From up here it looks so nice” (For my eyes)

Right here we stoned the prophets
Built idols out of mud
Right here we fed the lions
Christian flesh and Christian blood
Down here is where we hung him
Upon an ugly cross
Over there we filled the ovens
Right here the holocaust


Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


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Love Like Jesus – Two Much Patience?


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Patience in the New Testament – A Comparison

In our last post, we considered patience that Christian love exhibits. Patience that is exercised by an anger that is far away, that is distant, that is put off. That patience is Makrothumia

Our current study is to concern ourselves with two Greek words that are commonly translated as patience, or long suffering.

Of course you recognize makrothumia, since we spent some time in our last post thinking on it. The idea of stretched out anger, anger that is put off.

The second word for patience in the New Testament is hupomeno. We will consider this type of patience in a later post on the 7th verse in this passage , but I wanted to consider these two words in comparison.

Hupomeno is also a compound Greek word, made up of the prefix hupo, with the meaning of “under”, typically when associated with patience. The root meno is also a very interesting word, which typically means to “abide”, “remain” or “dwell”. Taking these two word meanings, we can build a sort of synonym when we see hupomeno.

To abide under.

By application, abiding under a situation or condition that is not favorable, that is difficult, that might be crushing your soul. Exercise patience by not escaping from a difficult situation. If an opportunity to escape a difficult situation comes along, patience would require you to remain under the difficult situation. The opportunity to escape may be a temptation to do wrong!

One patience speaks of long drawn out anger, while the other speaks of abiding under. Two completely different terms, describing two different attributes of the patience in a believer.

Another interesting feature of these two Greek terms is what they relate to in the subjects they are active upon.

Makrothumia is patience related to people, whereas hupomeno is patience related to situations.

Makrothumia

A few examples

Rom 9:22

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

These vessels of wrath are the people who have rejected God and His Messiah. The verse speaks of God enduring with much patience. Much “drawn out anger”. The Lord cast His anger far away when relating to these people, and yet this verse speaks of destruction. Patience has her limits!

Eph 4:2

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

This particular verse speaks of loving one another, with the expression of humility, gentleness and “drawn out anger”. (Not your typical description of love we might find from the modern media message!)

When I consider patience as “drawn out anger”, it changes my perspective, since I have recently experienced anger towards people. This history of non – “drawn out anger” is sending off alarms in my head. This is not the Christian life I am to live.

We need to realize that anger is a real emotion that can be controlled under the leading of the Spirit of God. I need to possess my soul and control my thoughts under the Lordship of Christ.

Hupomeno

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Paul speaks of patience in tribulation. We may look at the term of tribulation later on in our study, but suffice it for now, the term speaks of a squeezing, of pressure applied. Paul speaks of being patient with his circumstances, with things that are not proceeding as he wishes, of trials that are fighting him.

Paul is telling us he remained under the tribulation. As a believer, I know I seek relief from trials and tribulations. Not so with Paul. Granted, there were times when Paul, in the wisdom of God sought relief when justice was being twisted, as in the time he was beaten in Philippi.

Nope, can’t use that as an example! He took the beating though unjustly. You see, the magistrate did not have the right to beat a Roman citizen, and yet Paul took the beating.

Something is going on here. Paul stayed under the tribulation. His faith was different than mine.

I have a theory about that particular incident in Paul’s life, and how the beating he took supplied a practical blessing to the ones he was ministering to. But that will be for a another post.

2 Timothy 2:10

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Notice that Paul speaks of a patience in everything, for the sake of believers. He saw the faith as a all encompassing life, that had a Father in heaven that worked out all things for his good and the glory of God. Even tribulation or trial that he may have rightfully escaped

Jas 1:12

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Temptation. The very word brings a sense of weakness to my heart. My temptations are so justifiable, so reasoned, so allowable. To the point that I do not recognise them as temptations. And there I go.

The believer is the abide under the temptation, carry the temptation instead of simply succumbing to it.

Easier said than done. Help me Lord to abide.

Lets get back to the topic of this series. Our next study will consider how love is kind. (Kinda obvious Carl!)

Let’s wait and see. You may be surprised.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Book Look – World Christian Trends – Geotargeting

World Christian Trends

As many of those who read this blog realize by now, I struggle with the modern American church, and have found that I have fallen into the basic message it propagates.  

A few years ago, as I mentioned in the introduction to this post series, I stumbled over the graphic below.  

I was greatly saddened by the self love of the modern church, but mostly of how I had accepted the “normality” of the situation.

By way of explanation, the graphic below defines three “worlds” in relation to their opportunity to hear the gospel. 

World AUnevangelized People2.2 Billion
World BEvangelized non-Christians1.9 Billion
World CChristians1.9 Billion

What I find so sad is the focus on evangelizing the saved, the believer. I draw your attention to the third column, which gives an “e” factor. This “e” factor equals the evangelism hours (offers) received per year per capita. In other words, in World C, each person receives a average of 400 hours of evangelism per person every year. In World A, each person is “lucky” to get one offer each year.

When my wife and I were first married, we had a little poster on a wall in our home that spoke of the dead sea. I think the graphic said something like .. “The dead sea is dead because it has no outlet – It only receives.”

As believers in World C, our deadness I fear is a result of not reaching out to those who are in such desperate need, but only servicing our own supposed needs.

Brother & Sister – Consider how you may target the unreached, uncontacted and un targeted. There are numerous mission organizations that are hurting at this time that has World A as their focus.

I hope this post will motivate you to find focus in your giving and prayers.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Discussions with an Atheist – Part 19

atheist

A long time ago, I was browsing my Facebook page when I came across a post that ridiculed Kirk Cameron’s efforts to sell an “Atheist” Bible.
A friend (who it turns out to be an atheist) seemed to think that Kirk was “uninformed”
Well I thought, lets discuss this issue, and what follows is a record of our discussion.
I really looked forward to his responses and enjoyed considering and responding to his concerns.
Some of my friends comments are a bit lengthy, and as I read them I found echoes of myself, seeking to defend a position simply by supplying a massive quantity of words, knowing inside that he quality of the argument was weak.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you may find encouragement, and some understanding of an atheist’s worldview.
If you are an atheist, I would encourage you to read and consider my responses.  I seek to understand your position, and if you see a fallacy in my thinking, please comment.  I only ask that you focus your position to one point at a time, in order that I may respond (if I can) without unnecessary confusion.
My comments and responses are in red.

” to think a being created this one earth in the billions of other galaxies and made everything for the purpose of a couple billion Christians or 6.8 (and rising) humans is again arrogant …but to say something is not disproven does not make it any more valid than a faith based claim.”

“Arrogance” if proven untrue. You seem to assume your position is not “a faith based claim”. It is!

“Religion (sic) noun. Belief that is not proven that there is an imaginary being that created everything from nothing and only speaks to “special” people.”

Is this an actual definition or did you make this up? BTW, I am not defending religion. Get that out of your head! Institutional religion, in it’s varied forms, has committed more atrocities than any other institution I can think of! Jesus did not create a religion. As a matter of fact, His death doomed the very religion of the Jews.

”and lets face it stats are a great indicator whether something is possible or not,”

Whether something is possible is not a good indicator if something is true. Many things are “impossible”, and yet happen. Try to focus friend! You seem to ramble and use a “shotgun” approach. It is difficult to follow your train of thought sometimes.

Many of the issues you bring up are repeats of previous comments. It seems you are struggling, not with information/data/knowledge, but with your will. You WILL NOT allow anything to disturb your world. You understand that if there is a God, (and His name is Jesus) He has a claim on your life and this is unacceptable to you. But if there is a God, He will not go away!

As a matter of fact, He may just die for you! If that is true…


With this last discussion, we dropped communicating.

I can’t remember exactly why, but I hope my friend considers who the Lord is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Hey thanks for dropping by and reading my post, especially if you are an atheist friend.  I hope to hear from you and would appreciate a comment to begin a discussion.

Have a great day.


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Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 19

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the nineteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

19. Both had the same attitude toward women’s roles – Respected and trusted them with ministry responsibilities

Jesus

John 4:28-29, 39 — The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”… And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified…

Mark 14:6, 8-9 — [Mary of Bethany] has done a good work for Me. …She has done what she could…Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Matthew 28:5, 7 — But the angel answered and said to the women…“go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

Paul

Galatians 3:28 — There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Romans 16:1-2 — I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.

Romans 16:3 — Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus…

Philippians 2:2-3 — I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel…

Titus 2:3-4 — the older women likewise, [admonish] that they be…teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women…

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 10

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test # 10 Love of the Brethren

1 John 3:14 – 18
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Sometimes I think if I study the Word more and more, it is proof of my passing from death into life.  Or if I seek out the lost, or pursue a holy life or provide for my family, or….  All these things God calls us to, and more, but this particular test John gives is simple.

Love for the brethren, our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

It is so easy, at least for me, to cry and whine about the believers I know, but that is such a sinful attitude.  I need to serve them, love them, seek their good above my own.

And there is the rub.

If I were to give all my money or time to a brother, in need, would that be loving him?

I have come to realize that giving can be a complex problem, where supplying funds, or efforts, or counsel can just as likely backfire as do well.  How can we know when a gift initially considered, will not simply enable a sinful decision.

Is this our place to discern?  We are called to love the brethren, and love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

nice

To truly love the brethren is not to simply be polite, or nice.  Note that the Word defines love as kind. (see 1 Corinthians 13:4)  Nice is not in the definition!  It is in France.  (Sorry bout that – couldn’t resit a dad joke!)

To be kind in a difficult situation is to speak truth gently, to find the best method to address a wrong attitude or action in a brother.  To be nice is to pat him on the back, give him a hug and tell him everything will be alright.  We are not called to be nice.  That is a false caricature of the true believer.

To love a brother is to “not insist on your own way”.  (again check out 1 Corinthians 13:5) Oh no…. how can I know I helped a brother if I am to allow for alternate ways for a brother.

This is too much for me.

OK, so to help a brother must result in my brother accepting my counsel. Not so fast Carl!

Humility 1I need humility to truly love a brother, and this humility comes from Him.  If I am to love a brother, I need to exercise humility in our discussion, or in my gifting, directing the brother to Him.  If my brother finds assistance in knowing Him, I am truly loving my brother.  If I am seeking only to make another Carl – golly – that is just a waste of time!

Like I said at the beginning – this test is simple.  I did not say it was easy.

To love a brother is to get out of the way, but I just don’t want to sometimes.  But alas – that is what is needed!

And that is the test John is speaking of here.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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Book Look – The Gospel According to Moses

Gospel according to Moses

I  picked up this book to find fault.  I admit it.  I tend to be critical of anything I am not comfortable with.

I started to read it years ago, and put it down, without getting too far into the first chapter.

Recently, it beckoned me again, and I have found a book that is irenic in its approach to the Jewish way of thinking.  The way of thinking, and somethings what they think.  The author describes his many times of visiting a Jewish Chever Torah, a meeting for Jewish folk to discuss their faith.

During these meetings, the author found their manner of discussion to be unlike those in the Christian Church.

Let me explain by use of the authors words.

“…Rabbi Stern fires off another question. No one answers. He offers a provocative observation – something controversial to stir the pot.   Still, we are silent.  Finally in frustration, he exclaims, “Come on people! Somebody disagree with me! How can we learn anything if no one will disagree?”

Wow – That is a radical thought.  Disagreement for the sake of thinking!

The author comments a bit further on.

“Unfortunately, most theological conversations I have had in church have been the self-reinforcing kind: a group of people sitting around telling each other what everyone already believes.  If some brave soul interjects a radical new idea or questions one of the group’s firmly held views, it is usually an unpleasant experience We shift in our seats uncomfortably until someone rises to the bait. The discussion remains civil, but it seems that any challenge to the groups theology must be corrected, so all comments are solidly aimed at that one goal: arriving at a preconceived answer”

I don’t know about your experience, but I have often asked a question within a Sunday School class or Bible Study setting only to be ignored, told that we will address that later, mocked, or worse yet, asked to not return.

Why?

If we have the truth in the pages of the Word, why can we not ask tough questions?  Sure, some questions have no answers and we need to accept that.  Some questions have answers that cause theological tension. We need to accept that tension, struggle with it, and understand when another believer hasn’t considered an opposing view.  This is where the Chever Torah process would build the immature believer into a thinking, and more mature believer.

I suppose I come off as a bit of a problem in some get togethers, and I readily admit that I enjoy a good discussion – some might call it a debate.  In recent years, I have found theological stances that have challenged my faith, struggled with them and accepted some as valid, turning my Christianity on it’s head somewhat.

Has it been uncomfortable?  You bet.

Have I lost friends.  In some ways my fellowship has been strained with some brothers, and it hurt at first, but when I consider my brothers perspective, I understand.

Have I regretted the pursuit of growing in my understanding? Not at all.

Considering “The Gospel according to Moses” I would recommend the book for the challenges it presents.  It will supply comparisons with the Jewish faith that are very interesting.


Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Let Me Tell You a Story – Pleasing God

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Jim attended a church we visited years back, and his infectious hospitality drew us in. We stayed in the church for years and developed a great friendship with Jim and his family.

Eventually, our family moved to the US, and he continued in Canada. We lost contact for years, and recently another brother from Canada let me know that Jim had passed away.

The memory of Jim, along with his happy demeanor and engaging smile, brought back a number of times we spent together.

Jim loved to golf. I had recently purchased a computer game called “Links 360”, and being in Canada, the golfing season was severely restricted (unless you used orange golf balls!) We invited Jim and his family over for supper one Sunday night, and I showed him the game. He was captivated. We spent hours playing the game, and Jim eventually bought the computer the game was on. I tell you he loved to play computer golf!

Another time we got together was to study the Bible. A number of times, we would be reading and the Lord seemed to impress on our minds and hearts certain truths that one of us needed to hear. One specific time, we were reading through the book of 1 Thessalonians, beginning in the 4th chapter.

1 Thessalonians 4:1

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

I can’t remember which one of us hung on the phrase “to please God”, but as we considered the phrase, we experienced a renewed hope that we weren’t simply trying to appease an angry God, but that God was willing (and able) to be pleased.

To please God.

Who would have thought that the gospel would provide a possibility of such magnitude to the saint. Of course, we understood the Son was fully pleasing to the Father at all times until the crucifixion, where the Father turned away from His Son.

This is an unfathomable truth for me.

As a matter of fact, the truth of the Father turning away from the Son is far and away a greater truth than the resultant hope of the saint being pleasing unto God. Yes – that is true – the hope of the saint being pleasing to the Father is based on the Only Begotten being abandoned, left to die alone and under the weight of our sin.

He is worthy of all honor and glory, for Who is like unto Thee O Lord?

I am looking forward to visiting with you Jim. It has been decades since we had that study, and I remember the table we were at, the room we were in, and the fellowship we experienced together.

Thanks for being a friend.

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Love Like Jesus – Patience


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Patience

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider.

Love is patient

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus is patient

1 Cor 13 - patient

Patience is a major theme in the word of God. Almost exclusively of the patience of God.

Believers are to be patient. That is, if we are to express the love of God through Jesus Christ. The love of God through Jesus Christ does not look like the love that is popularized in the media, the emotional gushy teary eyed feeling that makes you go awwwww.

To love as Jesus loved is impossible for us humans. That is why we need to depend on Him for the strength to do that which is not natural.

This is where patience comes in. To be patient means to wait. To possibly loose opportunity. To sacrifice instead of to consume. I don’t know about you, but this is not natural for me.

And yet, this Greek word Paul uses is trying to teach us much more. You see, the Bible uses two Greek words for patience. The first one we come across in this passage is makrothumos, This is a compound Greek word from makro, which we use in English with words like macroeconomics, or largeness of economics. It defines largeness or farness, distant. Thumos, surprisingly speaks of passion, anger, wrath.

Putting these two together we get the concept of anger being far away, long enduring temper. It is the practice of putting off anger, even rightly deserved anger. This is a blessing in the nature of God. This is sorely absent in the nature of man.

We come across the idea of patience once more in the passage we are considering. 1 Corinthians 13:7 speaks of

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The concept of patience is in the word “endure” and yet it is not the term we are looking at. This Greek word in this second passage is hupomeno. There are two terms for the concept of patience in this text. Interesting!

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Based on common knowledge of the Word of God, patience is surely a typical characteristic of God, and by extension Jesus the Messiah. Many examples in the gospels show His seemingly unending patience with His disciples, and towards those who were planning His death.

Yet, in my research, I found only one passage in the gospels that uses this term in relation to God’s patience. This is surprising since the Word speaks of the patience of God in numerous passages, from the Psalms to the book of Revelation.

Luke 18:6-8

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Our Lord speaks of God’s reaction to His saints as they seek relief from Him. As we wait on the Lord, and sometimes feel like He is delaying long, Jesus gives us a different perspective. The Father will give justice speedily. Delays from our perspective are what works in us a greater glory, an exercise of patience required to build character. When the exercise of our patience has come to full fruition, the Father will quickly, at that time, supply justice.

The exercise of our patience is typically related to our suffering, and the relief is the justice we seek. His patience over our situation is for our good.

In closing, I would ask for help with understanding Jesus’ last phrase. You know, “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” How does that relate to the patience of God in providing justice speedily? This parable has always given me more questions than answers, and your input would be appreciated

Our next study will take a bit of a rabbit trail, since the idea of two greek words speaking of patience for the believer kinda intrigues me

Hope you will join me as I look into the difference, and understand the love of Jesus more.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Book Look – World Christian Trends – Introduction

World Christian TrendsI told my wife about a book I had considered buying a few years ago (closer to a decade ago!) because I saw some very interesting statistics relating to the modern church. She asked me the name of the book and after a few minutes, was able to supply it to her.  Lo and behold, she had it delivered to our doorstep a few days later.  (What a wifey!!)

This book is massive!  It is a global review of world Christianity, with analysis and interpretation of the trends within the global church, and the church found within each nation.

Like I said, it is massive.

I am not going to review the book (heck I guess I did when I told you it is massive!!!) but mainly pull graphics to discuss with the reader.

My next post on this book will consider strategic mission efforts for the modern church to target.

I hope you can visit, and find focus in your giving and prayers

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Discussions with an Atheist – Part 18

atheist

A long time ago, I was browsing my Facebook page when I came across a post that ridiculed Kirk Cameron’s efforts to sell an “Atheist” Bible.
A friend (who it turns out to be an atheist) seemed to think that Kirk was “uninformed”
Well I thought, lets discuss this issue, and what follows is a record of our discussion.
I really looked forward to his responses and enjoyed considering and responding to his concerns.
Some of my friends comments are a bit lengthy, and as I read them I found echoes of myself, seeking to defend a position simply by supplying a massive quantity of words, knowing inside that he quality of the argument was weak.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you may find encouragement, and some understanding of an atheist’s worldview.
If you are an atheist, I would encourage you to read and consider my responses.  I seek to understand your position, and if you see a fallacy in my thinking, please comment.  I only ask that you focus your position to one point at a time, in order that I may respond (if I can) without unnecessary confusion.
My comments and responses are in red.

“you do not understand this whole god thing right?“

No, I do not understand this whole God thing – that is true! He is God and I am not!

“do you know how it does things?”

No, I do not know how He does everything!

“how things are created? “

No, I do not know how things are created!

“no mind can systematically remember every detail without rethinking about a certain aspect of it and revamping or downgrading it.”

This is relatively true, but the issue with the gospels, as I mentioned previously, is the promise of Jesus to bring “all things to remembrance” for the apostles when they would need it.

With your rejection of Jesus as God Almighty, you simply live on a naturalistic plane.

You have great faith!

”What is hypothetical about being born in Norway or India?”

Being born in Norway or India is hypothetical to me, since I was born in Canada, and I can not speak for those born in India or Norway.

But I can speak about being born in a non-Christian country, in a non-Christian home, and the similarities are enough to answer your complaint, (IF you want it answered, but alas, I think you do not want answers!)


Hey thanks for dropping by and reading my post, especially if you are an atheist friend.  I hope to hear from you and would appreciate a comment to begin a discussion.

Have a great day.


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Jesus & Paul – Different Messages? Part 18

PaulIn the past few months I have noticed that there are rumblings – at least in my world – of some internet folks trying to make out the message of Paul to be different that that of Jesus.

Never mind the fact that Jesus was dealing with a nation in the last gasps of it’s life and His pleading for their repentance, and Paul’s focus on “making that tent bigger for them dirty Gentiles” (See Isaiah 54:2-3)

Why?  I don’t know, and at this point I am not concerned with their motivation, since I will assume the worst, which may not be fair.

Nevertheless, as I was browsing my computer bible study files, I providentially tripped over the following information.  I must have found this info years back, and will not take credit for the compiling of the verses, but for the life of me, I am not sure where I found this.

This is the eighteenth post addressing different topics from the New Testament that both Jesus and Paul taught on showing similarity in their teachings.  My comments will be sparse, (unless they are not)

18. Both taught that there will be a general resurrection at Christ’s second coming.

Jesus

John 5:28-29 — Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

John 6:40 — 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.”

Paul

Acts 24:15 — “[I have] a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 — For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

A short post to encourage you with the consistency of the Word.  May the Lord strengthen you and bless you as you seek His Kingdom.

Leave a comment as you may desire.


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1 John – Testing to Know – Test 9

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test #9 Continuation of Sinning

1 John 3:4 – 7
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

Why did Jesus come to earth?

To save us from hell?

Umm – not to sure John is discussing that here.  Don’t get me wrong – that is definitely a huge benefit for us, but this passage doesn’t seem to teach us that

Why did He come to earth?  John tells us that He appeared in order to “take away sins”.

Now did John mean the guilt of sin?  Or maybe the penalty of a sinful life.  Both of those teachings are available in the Word, but  I am not understanding this particular passage that way.

John 1 29He came to take away sin, and if we abide in Him, we will not continue in sin.

Will we find sinless perfection in this life?

Dare I say that there may be fleeting moments in this life where the only thing I think of is how to please the Father.  In those rare moments, I am free of sin.

Oh, but the weakness of my flesh, where distractions, desires and deceptions are the hook I choose to bite, taking me away from this peace.

But enough of my failings.  His purpose is to take away sin from our lives, and that we are to live (practice) righteousness in our lives.

1-john-2 29.jpg

May I be so bold as to say that if you do not struggle to practice righteousness, fight to gain the wisdom of God, seek the strength only He can provide, you may not be experiencing the reason He came.

Only when I resist the sin in me, do I realize the enormity of the foe.  I need Him to save me from this body of death, and He can supply peace and joy in the midst of the battle.

But the battle is real – Practice righteousness consistently, and seek His strength.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


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Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Verse List for Study 10

Because of the Cross

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament. 

The previous study dealt with each occurrence of this word in the New Testament.

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.

May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Study 10

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our tenth greek word related to judging is…

dikē

δίκη – dikē – vengeance, judgment, punish

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses will be included in this study.  

This word (along with some of our following studies) carries the meaning that most in our society associate with the term judge.  Synonyms for this word include vengeance, judgment and punish.

Acts 28:4

When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

This verse is a recounting of the natives of Malta, as Paul and Barnabas were seeking to minister to the people.  The Maltan’s were a kind people, having begun a fire for Paul and Barnabas.  As Paul helped with the fire, a venomous snake bit him.

First he was a murderer, deserving the justice of death at the teeth of a venomous snake.  Moments later, he was considered a god, escaping the death of the snake bite!

Each of these responses showed the Maltans understanding of the rightful demands of justice.  These folk, like us, had an innate sense of justice, that this is a world that cries out for justice.  Yet how often are injustices and wrongs allowed to exist in this world, causing us a yearning for a world of righteousness and truth.  And yet…

James 2:13

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Since God has judged us with mercy, we also, following the character of the Master, should also express mercy to those we meet and associate with.  Let us display the mercy of God in our relationships, walking humbly, seeking to be a blessing and not a curse.

2 Thessalonians 1:9

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

Who will suffer? Who is Paul referring to in this passage, that will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction?

I am going to leave this as a self study for the reader, but will assist by directing you to Acts 17:1-9, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.  Let me know what you find out, or if there are additional passages that bring light to this particular topic.

The punishment of eternal destruction.  Justice that results in eternal destruction.  It is interesting that my initial assumption of this judgement is the lake of fire, the burning of hell.  I am not arguing for or against the teaching of eternal torment in this study, but regarding this verse, the passage does not say

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal suffering

So what is this verse trying to say?  In regards to the term we are studying, the justice declared results in an eternal condition.  I have supplied a post on the Greek term Apollumi, sometimes translated as “perish” in the New Testament, and may assist you in considering the intent of the Apostle Paul’s message in 1 Thessalonians.

Jude 1:7

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

This verse also defines an eternal state of judgment / punishment.

When Jude wrote this passage, I assume the actual physical(?) fires of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with the surrounding cities had been extinguished.  The question I have is with the term “eternal” fire.

Since the punishment is eternal, does that imply eternal suffering? Or might the effects of this judgement be eternal.  Notice that the phrase is “punishment of eternal fire”, not “eternal punishing/suffering in fire”.

As may be obvious by now for those paying attention, I am unsure how to understand the New Testament teaching on hell.  One thing is for sure – Judgment and a day of reckoning is coming, and we all need to prepare.

Flee to the Savior for He is the only place of refuge available.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term κρίμα which is commonly translated judgment, damnation, condemnation, be condemned, go to law, avenge in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Song Squawk – Execution

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Execution – by Grammatrain

No verse in this song is one “that I sung along with” It is a graphic song of the process of abortion. If you have a squeamy stomach, stop reading.

These guys became a staple for me – but this particular song haunted me with the descriptions of the abortion described as an execution.

Take a listen!

Execution – by Grammatrain

Execution – by Grammatrain

Watch while I’m burned in salt
Tell me now where’s my fault
I’m torn in two, you pull me through
Oh ignore my shout now scrape me out

Oh nation murders me, me, me

Suck me down your hose
Pieces of my fingers and toes
Use me to rew your lab rat stew
Oh dissolve my voice for your woman’s choice

My execution, it’s your revolution

Spill my blood on “civil” hands
And I pay to make you free
Oh, nation murders me
Yeah, with politicians dreams
Now silencing my screams, screams, screams

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Love Like Jesus – Introduction


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

But Carl – that is so obvious!  How could you miss something that is so clearly taught in Scripture?

I am a man that is easily distracted.  Don’t get me wrong – these distractions were good and holy and christian.  Distractions like Bible reading, study, teaching, evangelizing…

But Carl – these are not distractions.  These disciplines are ministry that believers are called to!  Granted, that is true, but the very thing that is good, can easily become an idol we worship, an end of it’s own, a goal instead of a channel.

My friends, Love is the goal of the Christian life.  Let me try to explain.

When I first became a believer, I gulped down the Word of God, consuming it’s message like a starving man.  It is such good news.

Eventually, I became a believer that others would ask questions of, a source of Bible knowledge for others.  This fed my pride, and fueled my desire to know the Word even more.

This is where I tripped.  I became a Bible worshiper.  Jesus just became a topic.

I sought to study the Word more in order to define the message clearly.  Looking back, I “defined the message” so tightly that I built walls around a message instead of bridges to Jesus. 

One fine Sunday, as I was teaching a Bible class, I listed all the specific doctrines I trusted on the white board. I used theological terms like soteriology, and cessationism.  Foolishness oozed from my marker, elevating my self image above my brothers and sisters in the class.

My foolish pride fueled this display of arrogance. Looking back on that day, I hang my head.

John tells us to love our brothers and sisters.  I simply lifted my self above them.  I became nothing, as a matter of fact, I became less than nothing, if I take the Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 13:2 seriously.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Although I may have self deluded myself into thinking I “understood all mysteries and all knowledge” (how foolish!), Paul put me in my place – I was less than nothing!

Paul described this believer as knowing all knowledge and yet was nothing.  I definitely did not possess all knowledge – therefore I was less than nothing!

All this to say that love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.

For the next few posts, I would like to settle on a passage that describes Christian love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

I hope you find the time to join me in considering the action of love, and how it is to be worked out in our lives. As we tunnel into this passage, your comments and thought would be appreciated.

May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Book Look – Blumhardt’s Battles

Recently, as I was listening to a “Narrow Path” Radio program, (BTW – I highly recommend Steve Gregg as a Bible teacher and author!), he mentioned a little known book, titled Blumhardt’s Battle.

The book tells the story of the exorcism of Gottliebin Dittus in the village of Mottlingen in 1842. A German Pastor by the name of Johann Christof Blumhardt, was instrumental in the exorcism, and the little book is his recounting of the incredible happenings during this process.

Many times his recounting has at least one credible witness, as in a medical doctor, accompanying him in the visitations with Gottliebin, telling of occurrences that cannot be explained simply by referring to the material universe.

One such instance is the recurring expulsion of needles from Gottliebin’s flesh. The needles spoken of are knitting needles at times, exiting the body through this poor woman’s flesh. Multiple needles simultaneously exiting the body!

Many other such strange “unnatural” happenings are recounted, and I will leave it to the reader to pick up a copy. It is a fantastic little book, with shocking details of a prolonged exorcism. The recounting is told with a carefulness, an almost hesitancy, since Blumhardt had to give a report to his denominational hierarchy regarding his experience, and this denomination was in the midst of modernization, the creeping in of discounting anything spiritual in the church.

After the exorcism of this poor lady, Blumhardt was often credited with the feat. He consistently referred to Jesus as the Victor. I think this was my favorite part of the book

Although I purchased the book “Blumhardt’s Battle” and was challenged by it immensely, another book, called “The Awakening” is available as a pdf download for the reader to consider. (I have not read this book, but Blumhardt’s Battle is difficult to procure, so I would like to offer this as an alternative option.)

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Discussions with an Atheist – Part 17

atheist

A long time ago, I was browsing my Facebook page when I came across a post that ridiculed Kirk Cameron’s efforts to sell an “Atheist” Bible.
A friend (who it turns out to be an atheist) seemed to think that Kirk was “uninformed”
Well I thought, lets discuss this issue, and what follows is a record of our discussion.
I really looked forward to his responses and enjoyed considering and responding to his concerns.
Some of my friends comments are a bit lengthy, and as I read them I found echoes of myself, seeking to defend a position simply by supplying a massive quantity of words, knowing inside that he quality of the argument was weak.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, you may find encouragement, and some understanding of an atheist’s worldview.
If you are an atheist, I would encourage you to read and consider my responses.  I seek to understand your position, and if you see a fallacy in my thinking, please comment.  I only ask that you focus your position to one point at a time, in order that I may respond (if I can) without unnecessary confusion.
My comments and responses are in red.

“As far as statistics go atheism/non-theism is on the rise…why?”

I tried to find where atheism is growing and I am afraid that the growth of atheism is due to categorical confusion. It seems that terms such as atheism, agnostic, non-believers, non-religious and the such seem to be conveniently combined together, and each group benefits from the other groups population.

“To say Noah lived to beyond 500 years is ludicrous in any sane persons mind.”

The scriptures (Old Testament book of Genesis) states that Noah lived 950 yrs. I believe this is true, since Jesus quoted the book of Genesis as historical fact. (BTW, your “science based” determinations are founded on Charles Lyells uniformitarianism doctrine, which states that all natural processes that operate now, have always operated in like manner in the past. How can you make this assumption? Have you tested this belief? (How could you?) Can you claim this to be a fact?)

”Unlikely does not set an absolute but to say anything is absolute is just arrogant! “

Are you absolutely sure?

“unless it is proven with again systematic testing and repeatable testing such as dating methods which are proven by repeatable tests.”

It may be interesting for you to consider all the data. Recently, within the last decade or so, testing on Polonium Radio halos have displayed data (from repeatable testing procedures!) that may be of interest to you. I will let you do the research, if you are interested in additional data. (After all, you are a science based person, and data is the “coin” we need to make informed decisions with, right?)


Hey thanks for dropping by and reading my post, especially if you are an atheist friend.  I hope to hear from you and would appreciate a comment to begin a discussion.

Have a great day.


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