Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sound Bites?

The accuracy of the Word starts with the 'big picture' as a framework. The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation gives the 'big picture' and points to Jesus Christ as the way to God.

My husband gave me a great analogy when we were discussing an aspect of the Word this morning. Compare the knowledge of God to  the knowledge of baseball.  Each little rule of baseball doesn't make it baseball. It is the the overall description that defines baseball and each little part of the game makes up the whole.

When I talk to people about God's Word and someone says something I don't understand, I have to look at what I know about God from the whole Word and see if it fits. We don't know everything in the Bible but even after a short time looking at God's word we get the idea of God's concept of love.

Politicians are great examples of isolating just what they want you to believe. Just check out the current election cycle. Sound bites can be an example of downright lying. We sure would not want to do this for God.

In my blog on Context and Forgiveness (context) I wrote about the context of forgiveness in Matt 18. There are many other examples of godly concepts being taken out of context. The reason why God says something where he says it is pretty important. When people take a verse and laud it to the sky to prove a point, check the context. They may be right, but they might be very wrong. Whole denominations have evolved using verse points. Remember chapters and verse numbers were added to the Bible by men.

God is the leading authority of Himself. We are the leading authority on ourselves. It is our choice to take Him at His word in His context.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jesus Jones?

Recently I was involved in a conversation with a whole group of people about what they believed about God and Jesus Christ. As I listened to the conversation, I could tell there were several people in the room that really loved God. When people say the name Jesus Christ utilizing both names, I love it. This group referred to him that way all the time. I love to tack Christ on the name Jesus because that is what God made him. On earth he was known as Jesus, a man at whom all the evil in the world was thrown. He died and God raised him up as The Christ. I celebrate that. I'm thankful for that.

This morning my husband was on the phone with someone whom he called to get a question answered about dog food. During the course of the conversation, he found out that the person had attended the school where we taught. So he asked her what her last name was and he recognized the name. A last name identifies a family. (Look what has to say about the surname Jones: "A patronymic name meaning "son of John," the given name John deriving from the Hebrew 'Yochanan' meaning "Jehovah has favoured." The surname Johnson also comes from this.)

The name "Christ" added to Jesus identifies the family or household of God. If you go through the uses of Jesus in the New Testament after Acts, it is always combined with Christ (mostly), Lord (fewer times in regard to being born again) and both as Lord Jesus Christ. Rarely is it is found alone. One of these refer to 'another Jesus'. There are lots of people named Jesus in the world but only one Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What is in a name? Jesus Christ says it all.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

True Election

Recently, I have come to the conclusion that my favorite news channel is not a trusted source of information that I thought it was. Call me naive if you want, I deserve it. We are in the flurry and scurry of the lead up to an election and I have never seen so much twisting and turning and political maneuverings as I have seen on all the news channels. The world can be quite vitriolic most of the time when it comes to power and control. It is absolutely cruel and it drives a very distorted view of leadership. This just at the nomination stage, it is just going to get worse and more ruthless.

This is just a small sampling of what Jesus Christ took on in his life and he took it all on - lies, twistings, attempts at manipulation and downright viciousness. In the book of John, Jesus Christ answers the Judeans that were questioning him:
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37-38)
What a great quality of humility. It is too bad most of the the 'talking heads' and politicians don't value this quality. Paul imitated this same quality when under fire from people who claimed he was weak when he said:
But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. (II Corinthians 10:17-18)
I definitely will vote in the coming election. I am thankful to live in this country and am thankful for its founding principles, but whether there is an elephant in the room or a donkey (where did they get these symbols?) I will vote for freedom of religion, a strong military, and financial stewardship. This nation will be blessed as each one of us does our part in believing, prayer and loving God. It is God that will care for us and we should never forget that and that is who we glory in.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Exercise of Authority

Eugene Peterson (The Message) in his introduction of II Corinthians says:"Because leadership is necessarily an exercise of authority, it easily shifts into an exercise of power. But the minute it does that, it begins to inflict damage on both the leader and the led. Paul, studying Jesus, had learned a kind of leadership in which he managed to stay out of the way so that the others could deal with God without having to go through him. All who are called to exercise leadership in whatever capacity—parent or coach, pastor or president, teacher or manager—can be grateful to Paul for this letter, and to the Corinthians for provoking it."

He is basically referring to the transition from I Corinthians, where the apostle Paul confronts many unbiblical practices in the Corinthian church, to II Corinthians where he talks about his own authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ. There may have been some criticism levied him as a result of the directness of I Corinthians.  Maybe a little of "Who are you to be the boss of me?" Paul wasn't trying to exert some kind of power over them in teaching them the Word, but he did have the authority from God to teach.  There is a great deal of difference between having the authority to teach and exerting power over someone. There are great lessons of leadership in II Corinthians. Paul had the lessons of the leadership of Jesus Christ, a servant, an under rower, grace giver (II Timothy 2:1-2), a frontrunner in the true sense of the Word. The power of God that both showed was power that built up, encouraged, comforted, and empowered to do the same for others. I am looking forward to delving into II Corinthians from this point of view.

Here's a start:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort (link); Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (comfort or consolation is used many times in II Corinthians)