Showing posts from 2011

Deceptive Quoting

Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who would destroy (kataluo) the temple and build it (oikodomeo) in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." (Matthew 27:39-40 NRSV)
As I was thinking about this verse some time ago my curiosity was aroused to investigate the original words to see if there might be a discrepancy between what Jesus was quoted as saying by His enemies and what He actually had said originally. It should come as little surprise that these men did in fact misquote Jesus and twisted His words to insinuate something He had never said.
I have included the Greek words used for the English translation to reveal how these religious people tried to imply that Jesus had threatened their sacred icon, their holy temple rather than His referring to something totally different. Their prejudice was so strong because of their devotion to a building that they had elevated its honor above any real devotio…

Satisfaction or Pleasure

Learning to know what brings true satisfaction rather than temporary pleasure is one of the main tasks of progressing successfully through childhood maturity. Yet it is what I feel I am just now beginning to learn more completely.
Learning what satisfies in preference to what brings immediate gratification requires being equipped with self-control. Teaching self-control is nearly a lost science in the arena of parenting for many. Because parents live for the present and often have very little maturity or self-control themselves, they are incapable of passing along skills they themselves have never acquired. But without healthy self-control a person seldom can discover what brings long-term satisfaction and they easily become victims to addictions that appeal to the cravings for pleasure.
Pleasure without self-control leaves one empty and even more hungry for satisfaction. We are created to thrive on satisfaction which stimulates true growth and maturity. But pleasure sought outside o…

Finesse With Fire

The past few days I have been reigniting my skills with keeping a wood stove going. But something else has been going on inside of me that reminds me of the current spiritual situation going on in my church.
When we arrived here in Michigan to stay with friends for a few days to enjoy Thanksgiving with relatives nearby, the wood stove in our room was already pumping out heat. The stock of large pieces of wood behind the nearby door was waiting. This stove heats the whole house by convecting heat up the stairs, and although it is still early in the fall/winter season it is needed to supply heat as it is below freezing at night.
As is common with wood stoves, the room housing the stove is the warmest room in the building. In this case it is the same room we are sleeping in which has made it interesting trying to sleep with it so warm at night. However, having a few years experience with wood fires I knew the first night that likely early in the morning the stove would need some attenti…

To Resist or Not to Resist

I have been thinking lately about the element of resistance and how that figures into our relationships with God and with others including resistance against evil people. In Scripture I find some interesting instructions about resistance, some of which can make us very uncomfortable. I have been learning that it is our internal resistance against love and resisting the truth about who God is that will become the fuel, the internal cause of what is termed “the fires of hell” that destroys the wicked. To my amazement I discovered from the Word that it is not an angry God bent on punishment or revenge that burns the lost but rather their own resistance to His passionate love for them that creates the torture, suffering and finally brings about their own annihilation. Yet at the very same time and in the very same place, those who have been saved, who have allowed God to bring them into full harmony with His character and the principles that govern the universe (God's laws) find thems…

Worthy to Suffer

So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41)
Recently this idea of rejoicing because one is considered worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus came to my attention again. I distinctly remember feeling very uncomfortable with this concept many times whenever I read this or heard it discussed and it still is not well resolved in my mind so I feel I need to do some intentional digging into the Word to unpack this for my own peace of mind.
What I think might be disturbing me the most about this is that it seems that whenever people talk about this it seems to often be couched in a subtle assumption that somehow 'suffering for Jesus' in some way creates 'brownie points' with God, creating some sort of merit that may count toward a better position in heaven or some other such desirable result. Yet anything that smacks of earning favor with God or contributing to our own sal…

Freedom That Disturbs

Today we face a crisis in regards to freedom. Our country is betraying itself and is stripping away one freedom after another in the name of supposed securit can be extremely quick to be very defensive when it comes to my own rights and freedoms and can even become angry or aggressive about protecting them. What I am referring to is how ready I am to come to the defense of other people's freedoms particularly when they come under threat from me.
Like most people, I want others to love me and I want to form close, healthy bonds with people. Yet in my desires to make attachments to others I far too often slip into habits of subtle coercion or may be tempted to lay guilt trips on people who don't conform to what I want in our relationship. There are so many little ways that we use to try to get our way with people that are out of harmony with God's ways of relating, yet we are so used to using these methods that we seldom realize how much they violate other people's free…

External Internal

I am thinking about the contrast between the Old Testament model of coming to God and its style of accountability to God and the church, compared to the New Testament method of creating unity in the body of Christ and coming to God.
The Law of Moses is like a shadow of the good things to come. This shadow isn't the good things themselves, because it cannot free people from sin by the sacrifices that are offered year after year. (Heb 10:1 CEV)
The Law here is reference to the whole system of religion as prescribed by Moses in the Old Testament model. It is an external oriented system based largely on hierarchy, control, obligations and a centralized form and place of worship. It contained within it the shadow of the real spiritual reconciliation that God planned to reveal more clearly later, but that old system in itself could not accomplish full reconciliation because it was only a likeness or shadow of future realities, not the real thing. I am starting to see that this is possib…

Know Me

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (Matthew 7:21-23 NAS95)
"Not everyone who keeps saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will get into the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name, drove out demons in your name, and performed many miracles in your name, didn't we?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23 ISV)
This passage is one of the most disturbing and persistent messages I have e…