Wisdom From Heaven

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My Musings – All too often we seem to compartmentalize our lives into spiritual matters versus non-spiritual matters or significant issues versus insignificant issues. We seek His will on the spiritual matters but worry and fret over non-spiritual matters. We try to solve the minor issues on our own but go to God on the major ones. We then compound the error of this incorrect orientation by applying worldly wisdom to solving the non-spiritual matters and minor issues while applying heavenly wisdom (at least we hope so) to solving those that are spiritual matters or significant. Instead, we should “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” applying heavenly wisdom as we seek His will on all matters, spiritual and non-spiritual, major and minor.

We are wise once we begin to realize that the wisdom, scholarship and philosophy that the world affords are foolishness in the eyes of God. Leaning on our own understanding, which is frequently based upon these things, can lead us down crooked paths or detour us altogether. But trusting in God and acknowledging that His wisdom and guidance is all we really need, and then actually following it leads us down paths that are straight. All too often we grow impatient waiting on the Lord, yet taking matters into our own hands and relying on worldly wisdom usually wastes time, effort and resources that were not necessary had we remained patient and waited on the Lord. Also, leaning on our own understanding often results in consequences that could have been avoid as well.

With the knowledge and understanding that God provides, we are better able to make correct judgments that enable us to follow the best course of action. But how do we do this? We have already learned many things that are useful for spiritual wisdom and discernment: desiring what God desires, cultivating a Christ-like attitude, being attuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, pursuing a life of service that God planned in advance for us to do, developing meaningful and consistent Bible study habits and communicating often with God in prayer. It should come as no surprise that these things are, in a sense, building blocks to developing spiritual wisdom and discernment and is a characteristic of devoted Disciples of Christ. And, there are more building blocks to come, such as being engaged with the church, learning valuable lessons from earthly trials and temptations and being motivated by a Godly love. As we put these disciplines into practice we will come to realize and understand that God’s ways are right and best, and we should walk in them.

Unfortunately, all too often we find that it is easier (or so we think) to rely on our own understanding rather than God’s. We buy into Satan’s deception (began in Eden) believing that the ways of the world are “desirable for gaining wisdom.” When we lean on our own understanding, which is worldly, thinking that we are so wise and learned, spiritual wisdom is hidden from us. We are blinded by our own devises. But when we, in child-like faith and trust, seek answers from above they are revealed to us. Thus, what we believe to be so hard, gaining spiritual wisdom and discernment is actually “child’s play”. It really does not take an Einstein. The truth is that God wants us to make right choices and wise decisions. That being the case, why would He make it hard for us to do so? He does not. In fact, James tells us that “[i]f any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all. (James 1:5).” We actually make it hard for ourselves when we lean on our own understanding and do not acknowledge that His ways are best.

Elsewhere in his epistle, James gives us some additional insights into spiritual wisdom that we would be well served (wise) to pay attention to and learn from. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:13-17, NIV 1978).

In a world where good and evil are in constant conflict, where what is wrong strives to negate what is right and where right is often called wrong and wrong is called right, worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom are also set in opposition to each other.

Worldly Wisdom Characteristics

If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. There you find disorder and every evil practice.”

Bitter Envy – Resentful desire.  “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30, NIV 1978).

Selfish Ambition – Self-seeking desire to achieve or obtain.  “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NIV 1978).

Empty Boasting – Excessive pride over one’s own attainments, abilities or possessions. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2, NIV 1978).

Denial of Truth – Inability or unwillingness to see facts clearly.  “All will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 1:12, NIV 1978).

Earthly – Values, standards, motives, methods and goals that are worldly.  “For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16, NIV 1978).

Unspiritual – Animal instincts devoid of Godly instincts.  “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV 1978).

Devilish – Demonic, marching to devil’s drumbeat, embracing the devil’s values. May appear appealing but in reality it devours.  “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds will somehow be led astray.” (2 Corinthians 11:3, NIV 1978).

Disorder – Confused, perplexed, mixed up.  “God is not a God or disorder but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33, NIV 1978).

Evil Practices – Worthless when measured by God’s standards even though they appear to produce success in the eyes of the world.  “When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NIV 1978).

Heavenly Wisdom Characteristics

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. [Those] who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Pure – Free from contamination. Cleansed of ulterior motives and selfishness.  “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to Him.” (Proverbs 15:26, NIV 1978).

Peace-loving – Loves tranquility, harmony and lack of strife. Inner peace, even if no external peace.  “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”  (Romans 8:6, NIV 1978).

Considerate (gentle) – Refusal to demand “letter of the law”, flexible, willing to give up rights, tolerance.  “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4, NIV 1978).

Submissive (reasonable) – Ready to obey, easy to reason with, not rigid, willing to listen, open and teachable.  “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10, NIV 1978).

Full of Mercy and Good Fruit – Concern prompting a compassionate response (attitude resulting in action), not mere feelings or words but practical help.  “We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10, NIV 1978).

Impartial (unwavering) – Steadfast, faithfulness to principles, capable of sound Biblical decision and standing by it, opposite of double-mindedness.  “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV 1978).

Sincere – Genuine, lacking hypocrisy.  “Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world in the holiness and sincerity that is from God, not according to worldly wisdom.” (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV 1978).

Peace – Freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions. Untroubled.  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” (John 14:27, NIV 1978).

Righteousness – Behavior and conduct that is in agreement with God’s moral standards. Not just right decisions, but righteous decisions.  “This is my prayer: that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness.” (Philippians 1:9–11, NIV 1978).

My Advice – The choice really is ours. We desire to be wise. We just have a tendency to seek for it in all the wrong places. When we do so, we also have a tendency to make wrong decisions and unwise choices. These usually have consequences. We end up confused, perplexed and mixed up. We second guess our decisions and choices, because we realize that we have settled for what is second best. Actually worthless when compared to God’s standards and what He has to offer us. Even though it might seem that we have made the right choices in the eyes of the world, we find that they do not provide us with the satisfaction and peace of mind that we expected. They prove meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

On the other hand, when we seek for wisdom in the right place, more often than not we will make right decisions and wise choices that are free of undesirable consequences. Our minds are left untroubled and we have peace from God. For we have not just made the right decision or choice, but that we have made the righteous decision or choice.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all.” (James 1:5, NIV 1978).

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him [Heavenly wisdom]; but if [worldly wisdom] is, follow [it].” (1 Kings 18:21, NIV 1978).

Restless Evil, Deadly Poison

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My Musing – Our words come not just from our tongue.  They come from our pen and keyboard as well.  “The pen [tongue, keyboard] is mightier [deadlier] than the sword.” (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, from his play “Richelieu,” 1839).  Indeed.  Words carefully turned can prevent a war.  Carelessly or sinisterly used they can launch armies into battle.  They can soothe a broken heart or shatter one that was otherwise whole.  From the same tongue [pen, keyboard] come fostered friendships or fomenting enmity.  As James aptly put it, “my brothers, this should not be.

My Advice – We are all entitled to our opinions and points of view.  How we express them (say, pen or type) is entirely up to us.  But we should think about what we need to say (often what we need to say is quite different from what we want to say) and how we say it (the best intentions can go awfully wrong with hastily chosen words).  T-H-I-N-K before you speak or write.

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Land Ho!

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My Musings – As we continue to compare the account of Genesis  with current scientific theories (setting aside the apparent time discrepancy), I continue to be amazed at what God commanded Moses to write (in simple enough terms for early man to grasp the essentials – I AM who I AM, and I created all this) is not contradicted by man’s “advanced learning” over the centuries.  Did I say amazed?  Not amazed at all.

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Let the Water Under the Sky Be Gathered to One Place (Seas) – In the beginning the water covered the whole earth. As the waters that covered the earth were ordered to retire (“let dry ground appear”), they “gathered into one place.” The waters, he called seas.

Until around 2.5 billion years ago oceans covered almost the whole of the planet. The oceans would have been devoid of fish, which had not yet “evolved” (of course, they were not created until the fourth day). Back then life consisted of nothing more complex than algae and bacteria. As the earth’s mantle cooled, land would have gradually appeared (initially 2% to 3% of Earth’s surface, compared to 28% today) as the oceans became deeper and regions of high relief on the continental crust formed.

Let Dry Ground Appear (Land) – As dry land emerges above the surface, the receding waters are collected to one place. Land was already there beforehand, but it was of no use because it was under water. This is one more work of separation, land is separated from seas, just as previously waters (above) were separated from waters (below), and light separated the darkness.

The first protocontinents (an actual or hypothetical landmass that might later be enlarged into a major continent or broken up into smaller ones) began to form about 4 billion years ago. During this period, plate building blocks known as cratons (giant rock cores) came together and causing them to rise to the surface (“let dry ground appear”). Over time, the first supercontinent (a hypothetical former single large continent) broke apart to ultimately form our current seven continents. The first supercontinent (if water gathered to one place, then land gathered to one place) was probably Columbia, which formed around 1.8 billion years ago. Scientists conjecture that breaking apart or supercontinents and coming back together of the subcontinents occurred several times over the Earth’s history.

Let the Land Produce Vegetation – God’s command for vegetation to grow is the first indirect command in the creation sequence. Previously, God has directly spoke each created thing into existence. This time He commands the Earth to produce plant life. The Hebrew word translated “vegetation” normally means “grass,” but here it probably refers more generally to vegetation that includes many of the plants and trees.

Scientists believe that plants first moved onto the land during the Ordovician period, although plant life (single-celled plant organisms and multicellular algae) had likely appeared in the oceans as early as 1 billion years BCE. It was not until the Carboniferous period that plant life expanded from the coastlines and edges of lakes and began to more fully resemble modern plants. The first trees appeared in the Devonian period. These trees did not produce flowers and in fact it was not until 135 million years ago (Cretaceous time period) that the first flowering plants became abundant. Perhaps in preparation of a certain garden?

While oxygen is essential for life on Earth, the atmosphere did not originally contain oxygen. The process responsible for producing most of the Earth’s oxygen is known as photosynthesis, the process in which plants and certain other organisms convert sunlight into oxygen. Land-based, plants — such as flowers, grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees — produce up to half of the planet’s oxygen. Rainforests, with their dense canopies and vast diversity of plant species, are themselves responsible for one-third of the Earth’s oxygen production. The rest of the world’s oxygen comes mainly from photosynthesis caused by the phytoplankton in the oceans. It stands to reason why God started His creation of life with plants. Oxygen was a precondition to life and plants were a precondition to oxygen.

According to Their Various Kind – The Hebrew word translated “kind” indicates that God was concerned with defining and dividing time, space, and species. The point is that creation was an ordered process, as opposed to “evolving” from disorder. And what God created and distinguished with boundaries was not to be confused. Kind refers to the broad distinctions between different types of plants. All created things (including animals and humans) reproduce within the parameters set by God. With respect to plants, there are an estimated 375,000 species, with more being discovered each year. Some 297,326 of these species of plants have been identified.

My Advice – Do not be too hasty in relegating the Genesis account to allegory or fairy tale.  When we are served a meal by a master chef, we do not need to ask how the “soup”was made. We simply enjoy that it was made especially for us.

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://palaeos.com/archean/archean.html
  3. http://odec.ca/projects/2002/food_for_life/history_of_plants.htm
  4. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. https://metro.co.uk/2008/12/31/early-earth-was-covered-in-water-274995/
  7. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  8. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  9. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  10. https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-history-of-supercontinents-on-planet-earth-5744636
  11. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  12. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  13. https://www.reference.com/science/did-plant-life-begin-appear-earth-d57a1645b8cf9459
  14. http://www.infobharti.com/how-and-why/plants-and-animals/when-did-plants-apear-on-the-earth.php
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  17. https://sciencing.com/process-responsible-producing-earths-oxygen-19636.html
  18. https://www.wisegeek.com/how-many-species-of-plants-are-there.htm

 

Water We Talking About?

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My Musings – Separation of light from dark (last Sunday’s blog), is something we can observe and thus is easier to understand than today’s blog, the separation of waters above form the water’s below.  But never underestimate the ability of God to reconcile science to His Word.  It just takes time for the wisdom of man (current scientific theories) to catch up to a right understanding of the Word.  He’s got all the time in the world.

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Let There Be An Expanse – The Hebrew is alternatively translated “expanse, firmament, vault.” It is that element that divides heavenly [atmospheric] waters from terrestrial [liquid] waters. The ancients believed the sky was a dome that separated the [terrestrial] heavens above the sky from the earth below. The view that the sky was a solid dome was common in the ancient Near Eastern cosmology shared by the biblical writers. There are, in fact, two “domes” encircling the earth.

The first “dome,” the ozone layer, is one of the layers of the stratosphere (the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere), which is a mass of protective gases clinging to our planet. Both oxygen and ultraviolet light was required to form the ozone layer. Since there are no other planets with oxygen in our solar system, this makes an ozone layer unique to Earth. Before the existence of the ozone layer, life was restricted to shallow water [the fifth day]. This is because water shielded harmful radiation. When ozone started protecting Earth from deadly UV rays, life could finally diversify on land [the sixth day]. The ozone layer has a primary function of absorbing ultraviolet sunlight. The absorption of ultraviolet rays has many effects, such as atmospheric temperature regulation and protection of biological entities.

The second “dome,” called the Van Allen belts, are a pair of dynamic regions of trapped radiation, separated by a void and held in place by the Earth’s magnetic field. They protect the planet from the radiation of space and the effects of solar weather. Without Earth’s magnetic field, these cosmic storms and high energy particles would strip away our atmosphere, destroying our cellular structure and evaporating our oceans in the process. “Luckily” for us, we have our magnetic shield (the magnetosphere) to protect us from most of these harmful particles. When the charged particles come into contact with the magnetosphere, they don’t disappear; they are merely deflected around the planet, forming what we call the Van Allen belts.

To Separate The Water Under From The Water Above – On the first day, God separated light from dark. On day two, God began to form the earth by means of a second act of separation – the waters above from the waters below. An expanse—the atmosphere—was placed in the midst of the waters, thus separating the clouds above from the condensed water below. The separation of the water made a distinction between the waters that are now wrapped up in the clouds and those that cover the sea, the waters in the air and those in the earth. This suggests that previously there had been a dense moisture enshrouding the earth, but not covering the earth.

It is theorized that Hydrogen was the first atom to form after the Big Bang, followed by Helium and a small amount of Lithium. These basic atoms often fused together to make heavier atoms (like oxygen). When hydrogen atoms came in contact with oxygen atoms, water formed in thick layers of ice on rocky objects (comets, asteroids or meteoroids) that were swirling around the cosmos. Assuming water did not exist on Earth or any other planet at the birth of the solar system, it has been speculated that the water must have “flown in” from the outer reaches of the solar system, riding on comets, asteroids or meteoroids.

Though scientists have scoffed at the idea of water above the firmament, there is vast amounts of water “stored” in outer space. Recently, astronomers discovered the largest (140 trillion times all the water in the earth’s oceans) and farthest (12 billion light years away) reservoir of water ever detected in the universe in a distant quasar. There is also water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 less than in the quasar.

God Called The Expanse Sky – Though the Hebrew word can mean “heaven,” it refers in this context to “the sky.” The atmosphere is an important part of what makes Earth livable. It blocks some of the Sun’s dangerous rays from reaching Earth. It traps heat, making Earth a comfortable temperature. And the oxygen within our atmosphere is essential for life. It is the only known planet with these conditions.

My Advice – Never bet against the inerrancy of God’s Word.  It is simply amazing that the account in Genesis was simple enough to be grasped by early man, and complex enough to confound even modern man best theorizing.

 

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://www.geologypage.com/2013/10/hadean-eon.html
  3. https://www.britannica.com/science/Hadean-Eon
  4. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  5. Major Contributors and Editors. (2016). Firmament. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  6. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ozone-layer/
  7. https://earthhow.com/ozone-layer/
  8. https://www.reference.com/science/ozone-layer-5f3afce70d7830e3
  9. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/09/studying-earths-protective-radiation-belts/
  10. https://futurism.com/recent-news-on-earths-van-allen-radiation-belt.
  11. Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed., p. 53). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
  12. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 4). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  13. Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  14. https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/earth-get-water-origin-history-carbonaceous-chondrite-asteroid-big-bang.html
  15. https://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/universe20110722.html
  16. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:8). Biblical Studies Press.
  17. https://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html

Sheep’s Clothing

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My Musings – In banking, tellers are taught the best way to spot a counterfeit – you study the genuine article.  By being familiar with the “real deal” you can more readily spot the fake.  This similar principle can be applied to identifying false teachers.  You look to what they are saying and doing, and you place it alongside what is truth – God’s Word.

Feed Only Themselves – We’ve all seen them, enriching themselves while the flock is starving for the truth.

Clouds Without Rain – They look and sound impressive, but in reality lack the substance of the truth.

Autumn Trees Without Fruit – You expect the fruit in the Autumn, and you would expect spiritual leaders to bear real fruit.  Yet the false ones pander to big crowds in this age of “consumer Christianity.”  Give them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

Wild Waves Foaming Up – Stirring the pot, when they should be building up the body in unity of the Spirit.

Wandering Stars – Abandoning the flock that they have been entrusted with, seeking greener pastures for themselves, while their sheep are left shepherd less.

For Whom Blackest Darkness Has Been Reserved Forever – Their just reward.

My Advice – Stay in the Word.  You’ll know who measures up and who does not.  Here are a few pointers.

1. Is the teaching from a well-known and trusted source?

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15)

2. Is the teaching consistent with what you have learned from the well-known and trusted sources?

“I urge you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.” (Romans 16:17)

3. Is the teaching clear from the texts or is the interpretation strained?

You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:24)

4. Is the teaching exclusive or nearly exclusive?

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20)

5. Is the teaching necessary to support a questionable position or lifestyle?

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

6. Does the teaching direct society to follow God’s moral standards or does the teaching encourage others to follow the world’s social mores?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

7. Is the teaching’s emphasis on grace and freedom too permissive?

You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:13)

8. Is the teaching’s emphasis on morality and obedience too repressive?

Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by the oath.’ You blind fools!” (Matthew 23:16, 17)

9. Does the teaching deny the power of God to enable His children to overcome sin and temptation?

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

10. Does the teaching follow Satan’s pattern of masquerading as an angel of light?

For such men are false apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.” (1 Corinthians11:13, 14)

11. Does the teaching follow Satan’s pattern of deceit by calling God’s Word into question?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say….” (Genesis 3:1)

12. Does the teaching call right wrong and wrong right?

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

Mark Twain is credited with saying that “in religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a farthing.” We must never be too lazy (or too naïve) to blindly accept every “wind of doctrine” that comes along. In the final analysis, even when the source of information seems trustworthy, like the Bereans, we must lay what is being said alongside the Word of God to see if it is true. However, in order to do this effectively we must be sufficiently familiar with the Bible to know how to use it. Possessing a tool is not much good if we do not know how to use (“rightly divide”) it properly.

 

The Word – Special Delivery

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My Musings – Years ago, the Christian worldview, based upon the Word of God, was nearly universally accepted as the absolute truth in the Western world.  This worldview has eroded over the years to the point that truth is largely considered to be relative to the person or circumstances.  Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus “What is truth.”  Nowadays, many (most) would answer question with “it depends.”  But Jesus said then, and would still say today, “I am the truth,” or “my words are truth.”  Jesus is able to say that because He is the Word that was with God in the beginning.

In revelation God unveils truth; by interpretation man understands that truth.  The link that connects God proclaiming (revelation) and man perceiving (interpretation) is the inspiration of Holy Scriptures.  The inspired Word of God.

Revelation – The divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of things (the facts of Divine communication) that were previously secret or unknown.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17, NIV 1978)

Inspiration – A divine influence or action (the means of Divine communication) on a person to enable him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20, 21, NIV 1978)

Interpretation – The apprehension and understanding (the process of Divine communication) of God’s revelation to man.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, NIV 1978)

My Advice – The first two parts (revelation and inspiration) have been done for you.  Do your best to apprehend and understand what God is saying through His Word. through His Son.

 

Heart Over Mind

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My Musings – As often as not, real trust is more a matter of the heart than it is of the mind.  We often have to follow our hearts, when logic and our understanding on how things appear to be are telling us we should not trust.  If we do not trust with all of our heart, can it really be trust?

“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”— Van Morrison

My Advice – In God we can trust.  Your mind may have its doubts at times, but in your heart you know you should.