Observations

I would like to make two different observations in this blog that should make us relook at them, and hopefully dig deeper into our understanding of them.

My first one is the story of how and why we are where we are right now in our religion or christianity to be specific. My gut reaction to this statement is I know what the people’s answer will be. “It is not all about who or where we got our beliefs from”, “we received our understanding from the scriptures,the word of God”.  But alas, our belief’s have been handed down thru family tradition, thru society, thru ‘as a matter of fact’ or thru our pastor of 37 years or it is just the way things are. Let’s look at our circumstances that we have now in our world. We have over 130,000 denominations in our country that can be different because of one minor different belief than another one, but yet it has created another belief that has separated people and God.

This issue can be found in a major crescendo of time and events of the 16th Century of Martin Luther’s reformation from the Catholic Church. There were plenty of other minor blips on the screen from the first century to the 16th century but the Luther’s revolt of understanding of the scriptures was the opening of a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of religion.The age of Enlightenment also took part of this ‘box’. We are entrenched in our own understanding of the scriptures to the minor upon minor of things that can set us apart, set us apart like 130,000 denominations can.

But it is not about the 129,999 denominations that are wrong in their beliefs and the one that is right  but that the one thing that can bring all these people together in body,spirit and belief is totally different than any of them are proclaiming!

It is that their God, of which they are all talking about is “Now” the ‘God of this world and He is the King of All in All’. The Resurrection of Jesus the ‘Messiah’, is the ‘New Creation’ that is apart of this ‘New Kingdom'(this means all other kingdoms are now old and not in demand,people,organizations,governments, ideals, and denominations) This concept is apart of the phrase that is used in Heb 2.8 –YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 

This is a subtle but glaring reference to Israel’s commission of becoming a light upon a hill in the old testament which it was supposed to do, but will finally ‘see’ their vocation from God to be this light to all.

This is the installing  of the new King but ironically the original King and kingdom back into power, and that has forgiven the subjects of their mis step of going another route of a different leader.

Heb 2. 8 is as it seems, very plain and straight forward. This is always the case if we don’t really look closely of scripture and go deeper into it. It is deeper than we humans always give credit to it. God has given ‘all authority to Jesus’. Did he not already have it? Yes and No. He had authority, but it was in the ‘Heavenly Kingdom(government)’ it is God’s ‘way’ of doing things. Not of the earthly or human things is the norm of our ways, but of God’s. God is now the ‘New Sheriff in Town’,He is the King of all Kings, Lord of Lords of the Earth, as it is in Heaven.(Sound familiar -Matt 6.10) God’s reign is now on earth, sound familiar again? Sounds alot like the Garden of Eden!

The second point, is the definition of ‘church’/’Church’ and its reality. Let’s tackle the Large C first which should make the small c more clear when we get to it.

The Large C , the ‘Church’ has been used as the whole group of ‘believers’ of God,God’s people.  Although I think this is where maybe we have gotten confused in our practice of it. If we are the believers of God, this characteristic should stand alone as a fact. We are a believer in God as our God. Period. There are no qualifiers to this stance in belief. It would be as I would proclaim that I am a ‘McCall’, my name says that I am, It is that I become a McCall when I go to a family reunion of the ‘McCall’s’ that I could only be a McCall. It is the part of the identity of the whole that I can be identified in. This is Church/Body of Christ/God that we are identified in, and He in me/us. It is not a place. This was used only in the old testament, to show the Israelites that God was still around with His people, his ‘light’ on the hill. He was not giving up on his people, still hasn’t to this day.

Now with that said, let us talk about mini ‘c’. To be identified with Large ‘C’ we would have to have the same characteristics as it would. So the mini ‘c’ is just a smaller picture or we could say a ‘cropping of the larger picture(C)’ that could be used. But remember it is still apart of the larger ‘C’ picture, same characteristics,same identities,same qualities as Christ/God . His paradigm is for the Large ‘C’ of the whole world.

So where and how do we go wrong with this paradigm? It seems we allowed a sliver of information to be in our paradigm, that taints it, so that it becomes ineffective.  Now, don’t go crazy here on me, when I say this, but the scriptures bear me out on this in it’s design of God’s Kingdom.

If we are to be God’s people(believers) becoming his body, why then do we have non-believers with us?

This after all was the charge that God gave the Israelites, for God gave them ‘different rules’ to follow, fleshly,spiritual, and Godly rules. This set them up as being ‘different’ in the people and god ways.

I find it ironic that we fail to see this in just normal and everyday things in our lives but we don’t take it’s relevance to heart. And it is this, how many times do we as individuals point out to a friend or colleague that ‘joe’ is something else, he’s different, he goes to a beat of a different drummer. He stands out from all the others. You and your friend then say I wish I could be like him, in normal life or work life. What if you are apart of a team of sports of some kind and you just can’t seem to work well with each other that makes you good or successful (this is just for example purposes). We then go and be with that other team to see what they have that we don’t. It then becomes a ‘light’ on the mountain example that we were proclaimed to be our vocation to God.

With this said, now don’t you sorta find it weird,crazy, and funny that you have all this kinds of religions that have difficulty in keeping people in their fold? What is with this church hopping too! I thought God was in ‘all’ church’s. Did you not like that God in your previous church? Is there better God at the next church?

Now is the time for ‘Man’ to come to an ‘understanding’ that something is wrong in this paradigm. Not a program,person, facility(God’s house, how dare you say you don’t like it, or the parking lot!) or the people in the church(I thought they were also God’s people,if you both were then you would both love each other). These issues are not because of program or way of doing something, it is paradigm issue, it’s not the right one!

Where did it go wrong?

There is a theme in the whole entire bible, not just four books of the bible, we need to include all the bible(old testament continues into the new testament) in our understanding of God’s word.

Now we should search the scriptures, our hearts, our minds, and God, with prayers and direction in all the things we do and say to be apart of the Big ‘C’!

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Groundwork

I will be starting a new journey with all that care to follow with me in a new and exciting bible study. We will probably be going pretty slow to give ourselves time and pondering of the new way that we look at the scriptures. We will start with Genesis and be amazed at what we find in the ‘beginning’ of the story!  Stay tuned in the next few days that we will start this adventure!

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Context

I can’t emphasize this enough in reading anything. But especially the bible. It’s all about the context.

There are two points that I would like make that will illustrate this issue. The first one is that to many times we in our unknowing ways seem to default to our ‘today’s’ thoughts and ways of the context of a biblical story or thought. We seem to use our ‘ways’ or processing of our insight to the scriptures, it is this that has distorted the real understanding of the scriptures.

It is when we use the context of the ‘age’,’social’,’language’,’life’, or the ‘God language’ to interpret the message of the text to come to a different conclusion. The most intrinsic detail that has made a difference will lead to a total different conclusion to a passage. It must be used in this way to fully understand what the ‘whole’ story of God and his eternal purpose.

Secondly, something that it is not even brought up in our shaded glasses to interpret the scriptures is  ‘Enlightenment’ age that has distorted our glasses to see the real message, it is to long to get into now but it would be wise to at least know what it is and how it changed the perception of life and of how we perceived society,people and even ourselves.

It still is making a negative impression upon us to this day, which is also touching us in christianity’s understanding of the scriptures.

Understand what ‘Context’ is and why it is important!

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What is God’s

There is always a discussion of some kind pertaining to who God is, what is his relationship to us, and what part does He partake in. This discussion is an old one, not just in recent years as we might think. Let’s go back to the New Covenant and see what they thought and what God thought.

In Mark 12.13-17,Luke 20.19-26 we have the telling of the same story and same outcome. Jesus was being tested by his very own followers and of his enemy’s to tell them how he stood on this world. It back fired on the ones asking the question to Jesus.

In Luke 20 we see that Jesus is aware of the question and what it meant, this was God being God being God of all in all his glory.

Luke 20 enables us to acknowledge again of who we really are, and what we are to do. Jesus’s answer should be looked at in a ‘daily ritual’ of knowledge and identity  to know and realize of what we are as ‘an image of God’!

Verse 24-25 reiterates Jesus answer to this question of “What is God’s”.  24. “Show me a coin. Whose likeness and inscription has it?” They said, “Caesar’s”. 25  He said to them, ” Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

It’s ironic that we seem only to focus on just the first part of what Jesus says and not the last part. Maybe that is what the Jewish people thought too? But it is the last part that overrides the first to make it the most important. God is the creator, designer of all things and is the King of all and Lord of all. Until we understand this we will not be the kingdom of God.

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The Bible

A question was raised  in a recent discussion in ‘of all things,a bible study’ of how to read the bible. Should we read the bible in a manner of just to read the bible, say in one or two years, or should we try to comprehend it in more of a thorough way in studying it in  deeper way of systematics.

Does it matter? Does first impressions matter? Yes.

I for one can attest to it. I took to heart and practice the things that ‘I had just read’ and took them to mean as I read them in a ritualistic it was what it was thing. My understanding of this was very naive for my part not knowing for one, the context of the verses, the audience, the connecting story, the why, the when, the dot in the storyline of the bible.

“It wasn’t until I took the time and effort to dig into the word that I was really missing the ‘meat’ of the scriptures and the underlying messages of God’s word. I have now been studying this way for eight years now, and truthfully say that it is one for rewarding to read it this way, two it has lead me into continuing in this manner these years, and thirdly I have come to the realization that maybe the wrong message has been sent out in various ways that have led us down the wrong paths.”

The last statement is very important to my belief, but I feel that there is another reason that effects this rationale is even more important for us.(this is referring to “I for one can attest to it” paragraph)

The reason that it is harmful and totally wrong is because it is used as “this is all I need”, or it will never lead to the other, in dept studying.

For all you ‘readers'(of anything) out there, you know what I am talking about. A book is such a thing that exemplifies the same thing. For if it wasn’t for the author’s broadening the storyline of telling you the reader the ‘who,what,when,why’s’ of the story, the book would only be a paragraph long!

As a side note to this discussion, I will say that this should not limit ourselves to just the scriptures to study the scriptures! This should lead us to alot of outside material that is helpful in our understanding.  Don’t be afraid to follow the journey wherever it leads you. It has led me to alot of materials and people that I would of never thought of, but it was well worth it

My conclusion is that we as believers need to know ‘why we believe’, just to say that we ‘read the bible’ shouldn’t cut it to say the least. Are answer should be why,when,where,who and all those other questions that led us to believing!

 

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Reading vs Study

Came across a discussion of people that was brought up over reading the scriptures or to study the scriptures?

Is it good to just read the scriptures from beginning to end just to say that we have read them, in a year, or two years? What does it do for us  to say that “yes, I remember reading that once” to someone who asks? Does vaguely remembering a story or thought help us out on sunday mornings sermon? Does remembering some historical biblical names help us to ‘see’ the story and message to us? What should our expectations be in just reading the scriptures?

Studying anything is good. Studying the bible is a must. It not only is crucial to God’s message, but to know him in a way that is vital to his fellowship with us. It is that bonding element of God’s thoughts,ways,desires, and eternal purpose that should inspire us to be with him. I for one, am not keen on the just read it just for the sake of reading it in a year or two. It is so wrong on many levels. Personally, I could not do it, my mind and thoughts won’t let me, I have to relook at each concept or story that is told to see it’s meaning, after all that’s why there are footnotes and cross references in the bible!lol Yes, I read them all!

Let me know how you feel on this subject, and why? Is it good to do just the one? both? or does it matter?

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Eternal Purpose

Please re-read Genesis 1-2 then answer the questions at the end.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was [fn]formless and void, and darkness was over the [fn]surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was [fn]moving over the [fn]surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Then God said, “Let there be [fn]an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
God made the [fn]expanse, and separated the waters which were below the [fn]expanse from the waters which were above the [fn]expanse; and it was so.
God called the [fn]expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the earth sprout [fn]vegetation, [fn]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after [fn]their kind [fn]with seed in them”; and it was so.
The earth brought forth [fn]vegetation, [fn]plants yielding seed after [fn]their kind, and trees bearing fruit [fn]with seed in them, after [fn]their kind; and God saw that it was good.
There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Then God said, “Let there be [fn]lights in the [fn]expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
and let them be for [fn]lights in the [fn]expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
God made the two [fn]great lights, the greater [fn]light [fn]to govern the day, and the lesser [fn]light [fn]to govern the night; He made the stars also.
God placed them in the [fn]expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
and [fn]to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Then God said, “Let the waters [fn]teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth [fn]in the open [fn]expanse of the heavens.”
God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after [fn]their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after [fn]their kind”; and it was so.
God made the beasts of the earth after [fn]their kind, and the cattle after [fn]their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [fn]sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [fn]sky and over every living thing that [fn]moves on the earth.”
Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the [fn]surface of all the earth, and every tree [fn]which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the [fn]sky and to every thing that [fn]moves on the earth [fn]which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created [fn]and made.

[fn]This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to [fn]cultivate the ground.
But a [fn]mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole [fn]surface of the ground.
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [fn]being.
The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now a river [fn]flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four [fn]rivers.
The name of the first is Pishon; it [fn]flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.
The name of the second river is Gihon; it [fn]flows around the whole land of Cush.
The name of the third river is [fn]Tigris; it [fn]flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the [fn]Euphrates.

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [fn]eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [fn]suitable for him.”
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the [fn]sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the [fn]sky, and to every beast of the field, but for [fn]Adam there was not found a helper [fn]suitable for him.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.
The LORD God [fn]fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
[fn]She shall be called [fn]Woman,
Because [fn]she was taken out of [fn]Man.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
This was the design of God’s Kingdom.
First, it has a God,himself.
Second, it has an image in the middle of the kingdom.
Thirdly, It has a land.
Can you see it? This is told,shown many times thru out the old testament, even a whole book of Leviticus is dedicated to it. This was God’s goal for his world, people, and land.
Now if this was God’s plan from the start for his kingdom, and He is not ever-changing, then why would he do anything else but do this design? This is His Desire. period.
So why is it that we are believing in something else that God is worried about that does not include this in the final desire of God’s heart to do?
He is re-establishing His eternal purpose of His Kingdom, people, and land!

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Do we really ‘see’ it?

Do we listen to ourselves when we are talking, especially when we are with our ‘christian friends’? Is it just lip service? Is it staying with the script? Is it talking in a monotone? Is it real?

I am just wondering  why we just repeat what we have heard,have been told, or just say everything that we read in black and white.

The old testament story is exactly that, a story. A story of  a creator that is a one of kind, He created everything. Just can’t say that about every creator. This creator designed his creation to go hand in hand with his plan even tho his second creation,the first being the world, to go astray from him,in essence to deny their own creator and to be touted to be their own master’s of their own world. This story has generated a twist that not anyone would of seen coming. But it did. God’s creation, man, has left him, shunned their maker to go their own way.

What was in that ‘apple’? LOL

The bible(God’s story) originally spoken in the time of God’s narrative of his journey with his world and his people, both, he had designs for his oneness with them. The written word which is before us when we look at it now, seems to be just a ‘newspaper’, an item that is black and white and read all over. (kid’s joke, I just couldn’t resist!)  Pretty stale,too.

My sadness and dismay that we are so insulated or hardened to the ‘real’ meaning of the story had made me feel so little and frustrated over the blindness that christians have over and over say to themselves and even others that causes us to be very ineffective in the world in which we live in. It is this blindness, we cannot ‘see’ God’s plan is almost as if God has put the ‘clay’ on our eyesight to be hampered in our understanding on purpose.

This is my only hope, that this is the reason that God’s people are on this road to hopelessness, ineffective, the same,  not different, but of the world! This is not what God’s intention was designed to be, for the first people(Israel), for christians, to be a standout kind of representation or a ‘Image’ of God.

What our  evaluation  should be is ‘what did we miss’ in the story of God,his son,his people and his kingdom.

Genesis is the starting point to God’s story, So it should be for our search for God’s eternal purpose.

As Genesis is the beginning of God’s story, then Revelation must be the culmination of it. We must read the end too. Genesis 1-2, & Revelation 21-22 is God’s plan,design and the story comes to fruition in God’s wonderful story.  Try reading just those four chapters together, then start reading the bible with those four chapters in mind with the storyline in mind to start and finish the story.

 

 

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Where are God’s people?

Can you see them? Can you hear them? Can you sense them?

Think about that for a little while.

Okay, what did you come away with? Are there any distinctions that Christ like people have? Can you tell anything from them? Can you spot them in a line up? Could you convict them of being of ‘God’s people’?

I would like to touch on just one of  many characteristics of anyone that is ‘Christlike’.

It is the ‘desire’ of oneself to be closer or to know of the one that you ‘worship’. Let me start with the definition of “Worship”. John 4.23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.(Italics added) This is what is called the ‘pinnacle’ of total belief.

Now what is spirit and truth? For the purpose of this blog, I would like to skip to the second one- Truth. Let me just start with the most obvious one. John 14.6 (all texts are using NASB.) Jesus said to him,”I am the way,and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father but through me.”

Now using this as our baseline for work,lets break this down even farther. John 14.6 is telling us that the three things are pointing to him. These three things are in essence ………Jesus. Three things- ‘the way’,’the truth’,’the life’. I would like again to break this down and concentrate on just but one and start there.  ‘The Truth’ what is it? What does it look like,who says it, what is it about, should I believe it.

Defining ‘Truth’ can be a tricky thing to answer, even for Pontius Pilate who talks with Jesus, he says in John 18.38 Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. Pilate being a Roman governor of Judea, had no definition of what truth was.

With all the references to truth, It was the Messiah was questioning what the truth was to everyone. Jesus’s walking and talking with all that he came into contact with questioning “what was the truth”. The people knew,the local leaders knew, the religious people knew, even the world knew because of their Caesar.(Caesar was their truth, after all this is what they were worshiping)  Who was it, what was it?

. It is the capturing of the message that God,his people,their leaders, disciples, apostles, that Jesus was the Messiah to lead them from this world into God’s kingdom within the new creation.

But to the point of the discussion, I must point out that it is the lack of need of most christianity that they feel like there is no need to ‘know’ these things, to study the scriptures in a more deep and ‘seeing’ way. I have sensed that there is not much desire for this deep earnest desire to search the word to ‘find’ what the ‘truth’ really is.

*Get a few people together and just talk the scriptures, discuss the theology of God. Find only the ones that are just plain giddy to be studying God’s word to ‘see’ what it says on a every day basis. Those are the ones that are ‘in Christ’. “Where two or three are gathered together………I am there also.”

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