Thursday, April 21, 2022
Sunday, March 6, 2022
15: “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16: Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17: Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.
18: And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
19: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
20: Then He admonished the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ.
Earlier this week, while listening to a podcast, I heard a sort of side comment that I would like to explore in this post, based on this Scripture passage. What if it was us asking Jesus, "Who do YOU say that I am?" rather than Jesus asking us, who do we say that He is?
What struck me about this is that it is majorly important how we actually see ourselves is based entirely on what we think God or even Jesus thinks of us. How often have you thought, or even heard someone say something like; "God could never love (or forgive) me for what I have done."
If we have any insight into the number of times we have tried to live up to the expectancy of what we have been told or think for ourselves; the standard of perfection for being a Christian is; and how often we have failed to meet that standard; then how easy to think that Jesus is as disappointed in us as we are ourselves.
We may just as readily declare with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” However, we might not believe that Jesus has as high of a view of us in return. So, then let's discover what His answer might be if you ask Jesus that same question, "Who do you say that I am?"
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Cor: 5:21 Therefore Jesus sees you as the righteousness of God!
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matt.5:14
Lest you think that of course Jesus loves you, because He died for you, and yet are not so convinced that God the Father shares that same love; let me remind you of John 3:16 "GOD so loved the world that He gave...." And in 2 Cor. 5:19 "It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
It is not uncommon for people to think that Jesus came to save us from the wrath of God, especially after a cursory reading of the Old Testament. And because of that belief, many false doctrines have arisen, and deceived the hearts of many toward the Love of God! It is as if God and Jesus were not one in the same. Jesus came to reveal the heart of the Father!
Colossians 2:8-9 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
As I have mentioned in previous posts, that I have listened to countless sermons from Brian Zhand, pastor of the Word of Life church in St. Joseph Missouri, and he repeats a statement that I have quoted from which clarifies this relationship of God and Jesus, which goes like this:
If ever you feel the need to run to Jesus to protect you from the Father God, know this, that all of the goodness and mercy and love and compassion, and caring and fullness of Jesus, is that which is revealed in Him from the Father! God is NOT mad at you! And Jesus reveals to us how true that is. So now you know what the answer is the next time your broken heart needs to inquire of God: "Who Do You Say That I Am?"
Sunday, February 13, 2022
I learned long ago that anytime you see the word: "Therefore" it is good practice to find out what is is "There for?" So the previous verse says this in 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Then the next verse starts off as if by saying, "based on that truth... then the result is"... Or; in the text : "Therefore"
Sunday, February 6, 2022
Sunday, January 16, 2022
I got an email with an interesting title that caught my attention. That title was "Why Aren't Dinosaurs In The Bible?" The answer was contained in an animated video produced by a ministry called Aleph Beta written by a Rabbi named David Fohrman. I have watched several of his videos, and have read a couple of his books after I first heard him recommended by Marty Solomon on the BETA podcast, I have talked about in earlier posts.
I wondered if the question caught your attention as much as it did mine? Have you not wondered that same thing? I have even heard teachings that suggest the book of Job talks about dinosaurs as Leviathan. However, the Rabbi gives a very important understanding to his answer, which also answers very many similar questions that many Christians get asked.
He explains that he read a book called "How To Read A Book" which provided the answer, and it is really simply this: You have to understand the "Genre" of the book first. What was the purpose the book was written? What kind of book is it?
The way he explained it, is that if you read a Chemistry book, you should not expect it to contain Poetry. And if you read a poetry book, it is written in poetic form, and should not be taken literally! It is important to understand the purpose and reason, and genre of the book that you are reading first!
So while the Bible has history within it's pages, it's genre is NOT a history book. The writer to a letter to the editor in the weekend paper says with certitude: "The whole universe was created in 4150 B.C. So, do the math!" He goes on to say Noah's flood was in 2495 B.C. and the earth experienced an ice age that lasted a 1000 years from 2494 - 1494 B.C.
That kind of thinking comes about when genre, and the purpose of the Bible are ignored! The bible was not written to prove the age of the earth, or even the exact age of mankind, or if dinosaurs did or did not roam the earth. (However, I did see a LIVE dinosaur at a Reptile land exhibit a few years back! Turns out we call it a chicken!")
I am on a rather uncomfortable journey for me right now to learn more about the purpose of Genesis, and am trying to sort through a book about the creation of Adam, and evolution. I have not got enough understanding yet to write about that in detail, however I have been long aware that the "days" of creation written in Genesis is more complicated than just taking them literally. As a matter of fact, you can't take them literally, because they were never written in that form, manner, genre, context! We do damage to the biblical text to try to shape it's meanings into literal form. No different than trying to literally say: "The cow jumped over the moon.." just because it says so, and ignoring genre!
So why aren't there dinosaurs mentioned in the bible? Simply because it serves no purpose to the genre the bible was written for. That purpose has to do with Man's relationship to God and to others! The purpose of the bible is to provide an understanding of our relationship to our Creator, and how that relationship extends itself to those whom He created. That is why Jesus says "the greatest Commandment is to Love God with your whole heart... and to love your neighbor as yourself." Relationship to God, and relationship to others! Many of the stories show ways to walk those relationships out in practical ways, and of course the consequences when those proper ways are ignored.
When you are searching for the meaning of biblical text, it is important to understand context and genre, That is what is called Hermaneutics. the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts. Don't force the bible to say something that it is not saying! Otherwise, you might come up with some strange answer as others have, trying to explain the answer to the question "Why Aren't Dinosaurs In The Bible?"
Saturday, January 8, 2022
This day has almost come to an end as I write this post. What sets this day apart is that it is my 65th birthday. I usually don't get that excited about my birthday, but this one does mark the unofficial retirement milestone. Which is not to say that I am retired as of now, for we have talked about working for another year first, to be more financially secure.
And so, while I suppose I could retire from my job at any point after this date, I am still healthy enough to continue working, and might only stop out of frustration more than any other reason. As I said in an earlier post: The rest of the story has not been written yet, and we would have to visit in a year from now to see if I am still working, or what happened between now and then. And while I have to live out the day to day for the next 365 days, and anyone following this blog would have to wait it out; anyone else not reading it until a year from now or more for the first time would find out in a matter of a few minutes the answer to what happened.
Time is funny that way. So many Podcasts that I have listened to over the past year; most of them have been recorded live from since 2017, and I have been able to listen to them all up to date without having to wait the 5 years to pass week by week. Although I still went through the same 5 year period, but it is like starting a race 5 years late, and catching up.
It was the same thing as I mentioned before about when I first watched a video tape in 1993 of Willie Hinn preaching a message in 1987 called "Mistaken Identity". I had the advantage of catching up to most of the sermons he had preached since then to "feed" my desire to know more. That same desire has been renewed this past year, at an accelerated pace having many more hours in a day to listen to these podcasts while driving.
We are shortly going on vacation to an all inclusive resort in Mexico for a week, and we are looking forward to the time of rest. I have plans to use all of my saved up vacation this year to take much needed breaks from work, and hopefully provide me more endurance to continue working through the challenging days of driving for 8 hours a day back and forth across the State into Ohio and back.
The plan today was to fly this morning to an airport in Mifflin County Pa, KRVL for their monthly breakfast. It was sunny today, and would have made a nice entry in my log book that I flew on my birthday, but it was very cold; in the low 20's, and since there was some snow on Friday, the runway was rated as poor braking conditions. And considering that it would be a short flight during such cold conditions, that would have taken much of the fun out of the trip.
Instead, we drove to Denny's for breakfast, for the first time since before COVID hit. It was kind of a celebration setting the day apart, and then with a steak dinner Cindi cooked for us, my "birthday meals" were taken care of having an excellent sufficiency!
I did spend several hours today reading a new book I bought written by Peri Zahnd, wife of Brian Zahnd, pastor of Word of Life church, based on their trip a few years ago on the El Camino del Santiago; a 500 mile 40 day walking pilgrimage in Spain. I have heard Brian preach a number of times telling stories of their experiences on this sabbatical they took, and the book is pleasantly enjoyable reading. To highlight the reading experience I have also watched a couple of programs on people walking the Camino so I can get a visual of the sights that Peri describes so well. Not that there is any plan to ever do so myself.
However, I do get to read the highlights of their pilgrimage in a few hours time on a weekend, that took them 40 days to complete. Time Is Funny That Way.
Sunday, January 2, 2022
The reason I can say that is simply because, it is not uncommon for many Christians to read the bible with an already pre conceived idea of interpretation of what a verse means before they even begin reading. The reason I can say that, is because I counted myself among those many Christians. Not when I was one of them of course, but in retrospect. As you can imagine, this presents a big problem regarding Biblical Hermenutics. The word Hermeneutics means "the art or science of the interpretation of literature."
Now it is one thing when someone is found to be wrong with their interpretation of the meaning of a verse of Scripture, but it is another thing to be willfully ignorant! It could be that because you have been told what to believe and never researched it yourself, you just accepted it as fact and moved on. But, it is when someone who is confronted with facts contrary to what they have believed, and yet they would rather stay in their ignorance rather than search for the truth at any cost. There is an adage that says: "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." And if that is the case against clear evidence to the contrary, then they become a great danger to others!
You might think it is an over statement to suggest that a willfully ignorant person is a great danger to others, but consider the fact that they will not cease to teach and preach and share their ignorance, thus spreading their errors like a plague, infecting everyone they touch!
Consider this humorous story as an example:
A preacher of the old school was describing the events of Judgement Day and, of course, he used Biblical phraseology whenever he could.How is it any different than any other lie gossip or rumor that is spread about every day? Suppose you found out someone was twisting facts around about you, that made you seem to be guilty of something you never did. Everyone that person talked to told someone else what they had been told, until it was believed by everyone who heard it as the truth. Now, you come along and try to set the facts straight, but it is now just your word against all those others who would rather believe what they heard to be true more than the truth itself.
"Oh, my friends," he intoned, "imagine the suffering of the sinners as they find themselves cast into the outer darkness, removed from the presence of the Lord and given to eternal flames. My friends, at such a time there will be weeping, wailing and a great gnashing of teeth!"
At this point, one of the elders of the congregation interrupted to say, "But Reverend, what if one of those hopeless sinners has no teeth?"
The preacher crashed his fist on the pulpit, "My friends, the Lord is not put out by details. Rest assured... teeth will be provided!"
Keep in mind this indisputable truth: A person who is honestly mistaken, when confronted with the truth, ceases to be either mistaken or honest.
I say all these things, not to put anyone under any sort of condemnation, because I was ignorant to the truth for the same reason for many years. It is only by the grace of God that He opened my eyes to see some truths not commonly revealed to others. And I am aware when I say that, that anyone promoting any kind of nutty, weird, or insane thing could say their eyes have been open to the truth as well! So, all I can say is that it is alright to not believe me, and as a matter of fact, I encourage you not to believe me (isn't that what got us all in trouble to begin with?) just because I say it doesn't make it right, and you must find out from God for yourself whether these things be true. Some times, He just witnesses to your Spirit. And when that happens then you can be free! Jesus did not say the truth will set you free. What He did say in John 8:31,32 "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It is in KNOWING the truth that sets you free!