Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 31

I am not a fan of halloween.

Some years ago, I worked the evening shift. I enjoyed listening to the radio as I commuted, because at that time I could hear a folk music show on my way home. One night, every song played had the devil as its subject. When I noticed this, I first wondered why, then I remembered it was halloween. That was the night when God brought home to me that halloween was the devil's holiday.

Eph 5:11  And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even expose them. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First Corinthians 1: Christ Is Divided

Psalm 133
1  A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
3  As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. 

I was reading Ivan Panin's numeric translation of First Corinthians when the Holy Spirit highlighted a verse for me. The verse was 1 Corinthians 1:13, which in the King James Version says this: "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" Panin, however, made the first phrase a declaration instead of a question: "Christ is divided: was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized into the name of Paul?" (My emphasis)

Full stop. This is different. What does it mean?

Christ is divided. Not good. Not good at all.

The context bears this out: Paul is chastising the Corinthians for contention and factionalism:
1Co 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1Co 1:11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
1Co 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 
Specifically, he is telling them that following a man, even a well-known one such as Paul, Cephas (Peter), or Apollos, is not right. Each of them had been baptized into the name of Jesus, therefore they all were to follow Jesus. To follow anyone else is contentious, and carnal (1 Cor 3:3). It is sin.

So, what does that mean today? Do we, who claim Jesus, divide him? Are we contentious?

We follow, for example, Luther, the Pope, Calvin, Wesley, or one of a host of others. We follow this or that radio, television, or internet preacher. We follow "our" pastor or priest or minister. We divide the body of Christ over men. 

It is idolatry. 
We need shepherds, because we are sheep. But if we follow a man who is not Jesus, and do not compare what he says and does with what is taught in the Bible; if we accept what a man teaches, and do not reject the lies and misinterpretations which creep in; we are in sin. We are making that man, whoever he is, into our god.

It is death.
We who claim Jesus as our savior and lord are one body, Christ's body, on earth, and he is our head (Rom 12:5, 1 Cor 10:17, Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18). If a man is beheaded, he dies. Similarly, if one part of the body is cut off from the rest, that part dies. So if we remove Christ as our head and put a man there, or if we separate from one another because of a man, something dies. Not Christ: he overcame death in resurrection. But we die, our witness dies, our usefulness to God dies. Fellowships die. Churches die.

This need not be.
The solution is simple, although it isn't easy. It is as simple as turning away from putting man ahead of God, learning scripture, and asking God to reveal the lies we have believed. He answers that prayer, if we mean it.

Examine yourself to see if you are guilty of this. Ask God to search you and reveal any idolatry and all lies, then turn from those he reveals. It will not be easy, but it is right.

It will allow us to experience the blessing of Psalm 133.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Think on These Things

Matthew 25:40b  ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

Have you been overwhelmed by the struggles and need of others? I have. And I have often not done anything, because what I could offer seemed so small. But God showed me today, that if we each do the small thing the sum will be large for the one in need. And He promised in this passage that when we help those in need, we are  doing Him worship. 

With God's help, I will do the small things He puts before me, and trust Him to make the sum large.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

One Little Word

I have been reading Ivan Panin's numeric translation of the New Testament recently. Today I was reading Acts 16, and a word in verse 17 caught my attention. The word was "a..": 
Acts 16:17 The same following after :Paul and us cried out, saying, These :men are bondmen of the Most High :God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation. (Panin)
(Before I go on, I should tell you that Panin was concerned that his translation be as accurate as possible, so when the Greek used a "the" which would not be grammatically acceptable in English, he inserted a colon [:] in its place. In this verse, you see this before "Paul," "men," and "God.")

Now I can go on. I noticed the "a" near the end of the verse. In many translations, including King James, "the" is used instead of "a." I looked at the passage in my Greek Interlinear Version and in Young's Literal Translation, and found that they were in agreement with Panin, so his is not a unique translation.

You may be wondering what that small difference makes. Maybe not much, but I have been puzzled WHY Paul was so bothered by the (supposed) testimony to the truth from the mouth of the girl. Here is the passage, in King James, so you will know the context:
Act 16:16  And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 
Act 16:17  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 
Act 16:18  And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.  
It is true that Paul was a servant of the Most High God, and that he was showing the way of salvation, so why was he "grieved?"

I remember an explanation which focused on the spirit of divination which possessed the girl (v 16), saying that was his reason for grief, and that may be true. But the use of "a" in this context, instead of "the," turns a true statement into a lie: Paul was not showing the people "a" way of salvation (one of several), but "THE" way of salvation (the only one).

I am glad God showed me the answer to my question, and revealed (again) how easily the truth can be turned into a lie. All it takes is one little word.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is Truth?

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

Jesus is the truth. He truly came. He truly taught. He truly died. He truly rose again from the dead. He truly sits in heaven at God's right hand.

Does that mean that everything which is taught in His name today is true?

If He taught it, it is true. But if He didn't teach it...

Have you ever asked God to show you the lies which you have believed?

If not, are you willing to ask? You will surely be surprised at His answer.

If you are willing to have your faith challenged, to find the idols in your life, to embrace the truth, ask.

You will be changed. You will become more like Him.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thou Shalt Love the LORD

 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:   And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deut 6:4-5)

How do I love You, Father? What does it look like? I know man's answers, or some of them. They become work. How do You answer?