Thursday, June 27, 2013

About God & Beliefs

I think the media, politics, & religion have led to us buying into the idea that we need to form opinions on things & have stances on things & have beliefs about things which typically never affect our day to day lives nor the lives of anyone we know. I'm not saying this as in "you should act on what you believe" I'm saying this as in "stop talking about beliefs you never act upon." So many opinions are pointless. We go around being mad at or hating people (such as politicians) who we'll never meet. People rile themselves up by following the news & thus intentionally alienate themselves from others who disagree with them. Or it puts them in bad moods or in arguments with people who are actually in their lives.

The labels we put on ourselves by our "stances" might as well say, "Devalue me because I think differently than you do." Because all it takes is for me or you to say ONE thing that is too religious or not religious enough, or too caring or not caring enough for us to be seen in a different light, as if that ONE thing were the whole of who we are or is so weighty that it makes us someone to pity, combat, or ignore.

We live in the multimedia age of "put yourself in a box & label yourself so others can judge you without even knowing you." Normally this would be a rant about labeling others but honestly most people label themselves first, opening themselves to arguments & prejudice. We instigate others by clinging to so called values, values that are seldom more than ideas we hold about things that never affect our lives (which is actually a legalistic mindset).

So many people never get to know themselves because largely there is no more "self." Instead we have distractions from self & IDEAS about THINGS occupying our time when we're not monkey punching the clock at our jobs. Religion intentionally destroys self & rallies against it. Anti-religion conforms people to its ideas & its mold of thought which also destroys self. To be clear, self is a good thing. Self is the best thing!

It is true that few people really change, they just change sides because now life is ALL about the SIDES you take. This is the bandwagon, mold-fitting nation. While I won't surmise about people's personal lives & relationships with God (though much of mine is mixed in here) I will say what I think are the possible effects of movements. Take the "grace movement" for example. You go from learning verses that are commands to verses about freedom & grace. Both sides are about having the right beliefs ABOUT (ABOUT!) God. Knowing the truth can set people free but what do free men do? The fenced in city dog wants to be free but the free country dog stays on the porch. It is exciting to change sides or be set free but often once the excitement dies down you just fall back into your same patterns of bible study & God postulating, you've just changed sides. So you know a lot more, now legitimate, truth ABOUT God & that truth gives you peace of mind but when it comes to actually knowing God personally as YOUR Father there is little difference. You talk ABOUT Him instead of TO Him.

Orphans having information about their father can give them hope but the "hope that lies inside of us" isn't supposed to be an orphan's gathered information about a distant father. The hope in side is the Father inside. While we can rejoice in the idea that He never leaves us.. when do we enjoy any more than that idea by interacting with Him?

Beliefs while necessary & sometimes beneficial weren't what Jesus came to give us. He came to give us Himself. He asked us to believe IN HIM, trust IN HIM. He didn't ask us to have the right beliefs about Him. Those are supposed to come by knowing Him, but we've traded knowing Him for knowing things about Him & He is such a good God that we can even get by on that. Well I'm through with just getting by on thoughts, ideas, beliefs, stances, labels, opinions, & facts. Jesus said, "I have come so people may have life & have it abundantly. I am life! I came so people could have me AND LOTS OF ME!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ecclesiastes Excerpts

You don't see many people intentionally taking Ecclesiastes literally. Here are some excerpts to prove it. Keep in mind this is from the bible the so called "infallible & perfectly breathed word of God" & that its also written by the same guy who wrote the beloved book of Proverbs. Anyway, I think these are all worth a look at to see the real mindset Jewish people had before Jesus came to clear things up. There are also thought provoking things here.

The eye never has enough to see, and the ear is never filled with what it hears.

I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun. And see, it is all for nothing. It is like trying to catch the wind.  I set my mind to know wisdom and to know what is crazy and foolish. I saw that this also is like trying to catch the wind. Because in much wisdom there is much trouble. And he who gets much learning gets much sorrow.

My heart was pleased with all my work. This was my reward for all my work. Then I thought about all that my hands had done, and the work I had done. I saw that it was all for nothing. It was like trying to catch the wind, and there was nothing to get for it under the sun.

The wise man will not be remembered forever any more than the fool. All will be forgotten in the days to come. The wise man dies just like the fool! So I hated life. For the work which had been done under the sun brought sorrow to me. Because everything is for nothing and is like trying to catch the wind.

For what does a man get from all his work and trouble under the sun? For his work brings pain and sorrow all his days. Even during the night his mind does not rest. This also is for nothing.

God has put thoughts of the forever in man’s mind, yet man cannot understand the work God has done from the beginning to the end.

I know that everything God does will last forever. There is nothing to add to it, and nothing to take from it.

To be a man is no better than to be an animal. Because all is for nothing.

Then I saw all the bad powers that were ruling under the sun. I saw the tears of the people who were suffering under these powers, with no one to comfort them. Those who made it hard for them had the power. But the people had no one to comfort them. So I thought that those who are already dead are better off than those who are still living. But better than both is the one who has never been, who has never seen the wrong that is done under the sun.

I have seen that all the work done is because a man wants what his neighbor has. This also is for nothing, like trying to catch the wind. The fool folds his hands and has no food to eat. One hand full of rest is better than two hands full of work and trying to catch the wind. [Solomon uncharacteristically says the fool is better off than the working man!]

It is work that brings sorrow.

Do not hurry to speak or be in a hurry as you think what to tell God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth. So let your words be few.

He who loves money will never have enough money to make him happy. It is the same for the one who loves to get many things. This also is for nothing.

Man comes from his mother without clothing, and he will go as he came. He will take nothing from his work that he can carry in his hand. what does the man get who works for the wind? All his life he eats in darkness with much sorrow, sickness and anger.

If a man becomes the father of a hundred children and lives many years until he is very old, but he is not happy with good things, and is not buried as he should be, then I say that the child who dies before it is born is shown more favor than he. For this child comes for nothing and goes into darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything. It is better off than he. Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not find joy in good things

All a man’s work is for his mouth, and yet his hunger is not filled.

The more words there are, the more they are worth nothing. What good is that to anyone? For who knows what is good for a man during his life, during the few years of his living for nothing? He will spend them like a shadow.

Do not say, “Why were the days of the past better than these?” For it is not wise to ask this.

To have sorrow is better than to laugh.

In the days of my life I have seen everything, but my life has been worth nothing. There is a right and good man who is destroyed while he is right and good. And there is a sinful man who lives long in his wrong-doing. Do not be too right and good, and do not be too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be too sinful, and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?

There are sinful men who have the same thing happen to them that happens to those who are right and good.

So I say a man should enjoy himself. For there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and drink and be happy.

The living know they will die. But the dead know nothing, and they will receive nothing further, for they are forgotten.

Drink your wine with a happy heart.

Time comes and goes and things happen for no reason to everyone.

A wise man’s heart leads him toward the right. But the foolish man’s heart leads him toward the left. [Ha ha Why aren't conservatives using this verse?]

The fool speaks many words. [Haha, Think of a preacher monologuing for an hour while everyone else is silent.]

Food is made ready to be enjoyed, wine makes life happy, but money is the answer to everything.

Do not curse a king even in your thoughts, and do not curse a rich man in your bedroom because a bird of the heavens will carry your voice and an animal with wings will make it known.

If a tree falls to the south or to the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.

Let an old man remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. All that comes is for nothing.

Young man follow the ways of your heart and the desires of your eyes.

The dust will return to the earth as it was. And the spirit will return to God Who gave it. “It is of no use,” says the teacher, “It is all for nothing!”

My son, be careful. There is no end to the writing of many books and reading many of them makes the body tired.

The teacher (Solomon) looked to find pleasing words and to write words of truth in the right way.

Some Favorites:
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and find joy in his work. I have seen that this also is from the hand of God. For who can eat and who can find joy without Him? For God has given wisdom and much learning and joy to the person who is good in God’s eyes.

When a face is sad, the heart may become strong.

Not giving up in spirit is better than being proud in spirit.

For sure a bad power makes the wise man angry.

I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the work which has been done on the earth, not sleeping day or night. And I saw all the work of God and knew that man cannot even think of all that is done under the sun. Even if man tries hard to find out, he will not be able to. Even if a wise man says he knows, he does not.

Why should God be angry because of what you said, and destroy the work of your hands?

God has already been pleased with your works.

Monday, June 24, 2013

God is not omnipotent. God is not omniscient. God is not omnipresent.

God is not omniscient.
According to scripture God is not omniscient (all knowing). For those who know Him God promises to "never again remember their sins and lawless deeds" (Hebrews 10:17). Thus He doesn't "know" those things anymore.

Jeremiah 32:35 talks about people doing something evil that God says "It never entered My mind that they would do this abomination." This clearly says that what they did never entered into God's mind. I suggest to you that other evil is like this as well. God is not sitting back for thousands of years knowing something horrible will happen to us while doing nothing about it. God does not have knowledge of future evil within Himself. "There is no evil or sin in God" (Psalm 92:15, 1 John 3:5).
See this post for more:  God is Not All Knowing & God is Not in Control

God is not omnipotent.
Is God omnipotent (all powerful/disallows freewill)? Jesus said, "O Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU were not WILLing" (Matthew 23:37). Jesus wanted something multiple times but the people's lack of WILLingness prevented Him from doing it. Why? Because God is love. The scripture itself says in 1 Corinthians 13:5 "love does not demand its own way." In other words "love allows free will."
See this post for more:  God's License to Sin?

God is not omnipresent.
Is God omnipresent (everywhere)? Almost. In God we live & move & have our being (Acts 17:28). God's spirit has been poured out ON all people (Acts 2:17) but He is not IN all people. So God is everywhere except inside of those who have not been reborn by trusting in Him. Being good, God does not enter a person without their permission.
See this post for more:  "You are in Me and I am in you." -Jesus

The 3 oms depersonalize God & didn't seem to be something Jesus was concerned with convincing people of. For some reason people think the 3 oms glorify God more than if He weren't those things. But these concepts taught in Sunday school aren't even true according to scripture. These ideas are foremost in the minds of many philosophers & theologians. Sadly these 3 concepts replace in many's minds what Jesus actually came to reveal about God. Jesus said, "I made The Father's name (character) known and continue to make it known so that the love with which the Father has loved Me might be in people, and I be in people" (see John 17:26).

So to me these are 3 integral questions about God:

Is God a good Father as Jesus described?

Is Jesus the exact representation of the Father as scripture says He is?

God is love, but is God love as scripture describes love (1 Corinthians 13)?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why Equality is a Weak Concept

Human value is not comparable to numbers. 1 is equal to 1. 2 is not equal to 1, 2 is greater than 1. Humanity is not like that. Humanity is more like the alphabet. No letter is greater than another. They all look different & sound different yet they are always intersecting to make something great together.

This is why recognizing diversity is the key to valuing people rather than the idea of equality. Equality can remove identity & genericize humanity to where we end up making nothing out to be special. But when we see the diverse attributes of one another then we can value people for the excitement of who they uniquely are. So instead of looking at people as math equations, 1 human = 1 human, you can look at me & I can look at you & say, "YOU are awesome!"

Being REAL

A lot have talked about what it means to be a real MAN with the emphasis always being on man. But a real man is a REAL man, someone who is willing to be honest with himself & with others. In his honest understanding of others he seeks first to protect & promote others because of their reality rather than protect or promote himself. He seeks not to carelessly express his feelings but he instead seeks to express his feelings with care. A real man is real, not at the expense of others, but for their benefit so all involved can live in an open honest reality free of fear.

Roles can work against reality. Many try to manipulate reality to fit themselves or others into roles. Instead of getting to know one another we impose one another into roles that have been defined by our culture, media, religions, & the families we grew up in. So instead of seeing OTHERs' needs & desires we see OUR role or their role as fulfilled or unfulfilled. Instead of preparing with wisdom & learning by experience we impose a template. The templates are supposed to be universal (or at least societal) but in being so the templates genuinely fit no one.

You only know yourself when you stop trying to become someone else. You only know others when you stop expecting them to be or become someone else. So instead of TRYING TO BE a "good" man, woman, wife, husband, parent, child, brother, sister, christian, neighbor, person etc. just BE yourself. As long as you respect others enough to let them be themselves too you'll have few problems. And if you choose to get to know others for who they are (rather than what they do or could do for you) that is when life gets interesting.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

No More Shadows

Here are 3 ideas I am done with:

Learning or contemplation about God = a relationship with God.
Reading about God = relating to God.
Enjoying ideas about God = intimacy with God.

While I still may do it if I feel like it, I have no more plans to write or post anything I've already written regarding God.

Here's some poetry/lyrics expressing my feelings. It also regards how "friendships" often work.

Not Even The Faded Prize of Yesterday -written by Michael Reyes June 17, 2013

Have you heard? Oh there's another exciting word
There's good news old news bad news..
Have you heard? Knowledge is gossip, its a way to chew the fat, chit chat
Everything I know made me a brat

So let me tell you what to do
Let me cut you with truth
Because its good to cut right?
Don't cuts usually start a fight?

I saw through the holes in our plans
I saw through the lies, the pretense, the pretending & now no one can stand
If I put everyone on a pedestal then I don't have to talk to them or listen to them from down here

C'mon man let's pool our fear
Let's be victims instead of being angry
I'm tired of thinking what I feel.
I'm tired of feeling what I think.
I'm tired of finding all the links.
Didn't you know that knowledge is gossip to thrill the mind to pass around until it has passed its time & you're looking for something new, something out of the blue
If it isn't true we'll make do by bashing everyone who is wrong, as if we'd been right all along

Cry me your proof
Or I will not move
Show me your face or I will refuse to participate
I know you're not hiding you're just lonely
We're not all riding still you won't take me to show me
You won't take me at all

The fact is facts get in the way
They bring us together yet hold us an arm's length away
What you do & what you like & who you know are not who you are
It'll take 15 seconds to throw everything away & throw it far
And no one will care because none of us were ever really there
Today we are even farther away
So all we'll have left is to hold onto the faded prize of yesterday

Related Posts
The Bible: Inspiration & Intimacy

The Bible is the Greatest Antichrist in All of History

The law is performance based & sin is performance based, God is not performance based. Because sin, which is Satan who holds the power of death, is performance based God had to make a performance based law to protect mankind. Laws were "safety rules."

The law wasn't God's desire, His character, His will, or His required standards. Galatians 3 describes the law as a guard at a prison. It was something God used for a few people for a limited time to protect them from Satan before Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, free us from the law & sin, & give us life.

The law was given because of Satan. It was the idea that people should wear bullet proof vests because you're going to be shot with bullets. The vests (laws) are good but you don't need a vest if you aren't going to be shot at. The law left people on the battle field with the armor of obedience. Jesus won the war & then invited us to the victory party.

To put yourself under laws is to go back to the battle field & pick a fight instead of resting in the victory. You battle for obedience (to written commands), you battle against sin. When you pick a fight you're going to get hurt. When you try to fight when there is no war only innocent people get hurt. When you try to kill (die to self) when there is no war you go to prison (self imposed guilt, shame, & dissatisfaction).

Jesus said the law & prophets were only to be proclaimed UNTIL John. For the vast majority of people it does more harm than good to read the old covenant scripture. The letter kills yet the letter is read & examined & forced upon people in churches everywhere, people trying to get to know God through a book instead of through the spirit. Trying to learn God's character in scriptures that the New Testament calls a "shadow" & a "veil" with "weak & useless" commands. David repeatedly prayed that God would kill his enemies. Yet we claim 100% of his psalms are the perfect words of God.

Jesus regarded John to be the greatest of all the prophets yet Jesus said of Himself, “I have testimony weightier than that of John” (John 5:36). Thus Jesus' testimony of the Father is weightier than all of the old testament scripture. Jesus is the perfect representation of God & did & said only what the Father told Him to.

Bottom line, today most believe in scripture as God & God's perfect representative rather than His own Son Jesus. People will defend the accuracy of the bible & its infallibility far more fiercely & far more often than they will defend the truth that God is love. They will actually use the bible against the idea that God is identifiable love. It is more important for them for the bible to be right than for God to be righteous.

The bible is the greatest antichrist in all of history. It utterly replaces the risen Jesus & the living God without anyone even noticing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What is the Greatest Command?

Even people who claim to walk under the new covenant & its grace still point to old covenant commands as the most important things in life.

The Greatest Old Covenant Commands (Luke 10:27):
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, & all your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

The Only Universal New Covenant Command (1 John 3:23, John 13:34-35, 14:1):
Trust in God. Trust in Jesus. Love one another as God has loved us.

The old covenant is by the letter of the law. The new covenant is by the spirit.
The old covenant is external. The new covenant is internal leading to external.
Under the old covenant everything must be up to you. Under the new covenant everything is freely done WITH God.

Old covenant:  Love.
New covenant:  Be loved & love together.

This is where all religions fall short, including Judaism & atheism. They all tell you to love but none of them let you be loved first. They all leave you unloved & alone. But Jesus' message was, "You have a Father who loves you & wants to know you."

Related Posts
Love God?If you love Me, you will keep My commandments † I Will Love You So You Will Trust Me

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's Your Focus, Trust or Obedience?

The noun obedience appears 13 times in the New Testament. 4 of those times refer to "obedience of faith" which means to have faith in Jesus, have faith in the gospel. 7 of those times refer to other human obedience, 1 of which could contextually be applied to us today.
The noun faith (trust) appears 282 times in the New Testament.

The verb obey appears 23 times in the New Testament. 6 of those times refer to "obeying the gospel" which means to believe in the gospel, to believe in Jesus. 7 of those times refer to other human obedience, 3 of which are commands we could contextually apply to ourselves today.
The verb believe (trust) appears 221 times in the New Testament.

The adjective obedient appears 9 times in the New Testament. 2 of those times refer to being "obedient to the faith" which means to have faith in Jesus. 6 of those times refer to other human obedience, 3 of which could contextually be applied to us today.
The adjective faithful (trustworthy) appears 54 times in the New Testament.

Final Tally:
Obedience:  7
Trust:  567

Of course this is just based on these 6 words & without examining the contexts believe, faith, & faithful appear in, but still this should get us thinking. Our Father is more concerned with having a relationship of trust with His children than with having obedient servants.

We are however called to be obedient children (1 Peter 1:14), but obedient to the highest command of God which is "Trust in Me" (1 John 3:23, John 14:1). Trusting is obedience & trusting results in further obedience. The bible clearly communicates trust as most important. The difference between trust & obedience should be recognized. Therefore trust must come first. Trust has to be more important because everything is wrapped in trust. Many attempt to obey without trust. You can obey (ideas of God, the law, traditions of men, self-professed human leaders) without trusting God but you cannot trust God without obeying Him. Start with trust & you will have everything. Start with obedience & you may never get to trust.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Lawless Gospel or: The Lost Gospel to the Gentiles

Many have scoffed at me for suggesting the idea that we could or should present the gospel without referencing the law or 10 commandments. Yet Paul did this very thing. The gentiles were never under the law. Most of us today are gentiles. On top of that the law has been over since the cross. Paul didn't present a law based gospel to the gentiles. Us doing so today confuses people about the love & character of God. Paul didn't use the law at all to tell gentiles the gospel. There is no mention of the old covenant, of the Law, no mention of God's commands, not even a mention of sin! How utterly foreign is this to today's evangelistic messages!!! Here's what Paul said to gentiles in Acts 17:24-31,

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should change their minds to trust in Him, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Why isn't this gospel being proclaimed in churches? Because it is utterly anti-religion & churches are built on man made religion. Here are ways the true gospel to the gentiles does not agree with today's "Christian" religion, churches, & gospel(s).

1. "God does not dwell in temples made with hands." Churches claim to be the "house of God" & that His presence is only there or greater there than elsewhere.
2. "God is not served by human hands." All of the serve the church, serve God religion goes out the window. Gone also is the idea that God is more concerned with His egotistical glory than He is with His children. His glory is for His children, Jesus His Son said so in John 17:22.
3. "God doesn't need anything. He is the giver of all things." Religious obligations to "do God's work" & "pay God back" fall apart, so does the idea that we have to earn things from God.
4. "God determined when & where people would live so that they would seek Him. God is everywhere. He is all around us." The idea that we have to go somewhere like a church or to someone like a preacher/priest/pastor to meet God is nullified. God had us born at the right time in the right place to make us most likely to seek Him.
5. "We are all God's children thus we know God is a person, not a thing." There is more here than I can comment on. Most important is that we should think of God as OUR Father more than we should think of him as a god. This also shows us that Jesus & the bible are not one & the same. God is a Father, not a thing, not a book.
6. "God overlooked the ignorance of those before the cross." Compare to what Paul says in Romans 3:25 which says Jesus passed over sins committed before the cross. "Jesus held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past," "Jesus had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished." That throws most doctrine in the garbage about their worldview & view of God & sin.
7. "God declares all people should change their minds to trust in Him." The word repent does not mean "turn from sin" but to "change your mind" from ignorance, disbelief, or mistrust to trust. God doesn't require commitment or surrender (neither word appears in scripture). You just have to change your mind to choose to trust Him.
8. "God has set a day in which He will judge the world." God is not judging, punishing, or condemning the world in any way right now. He has set up a SINGLE DAY when He will make judgments about people. (See this post for more).
9. "God will judge the world in righteousness." The word judge means to determine. It does not picture God imposing His will but God determining what the wills of men have chosen. He does it in righteousness, in loving accuracy with integrity.
10. "Jesus raising from the dead is proof enough to get us to engage God."

My Rewording of Paul's Gospel to the Gentiles:
God is the creator. God cannot be contained in buildings & religions. He is not looking for servants or slaves. He gives all things to us. He decided when & where we would be born to make us most likely to seek Him. He is all around us, everywhere we go. We are His children & that means He is our Father, a person & not a thing. He is not an idea made up by humans. He does not hold our ignorance or actions against us. Choose to trust in Him. He will give you what you choose. He will allow you to embrace Him as your Father or choose to be an orphan. He has raised his Son Jesus from the dead to prove Himself to us all. Trust Him.

In short:  God is your Father & He wants to know you & protect you. He sent your older brother & raised Him from the dead to prove His love & His life giving protection.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Is The Law of Moses The Law of God?

I checked every place in the New Testament Moses, the Law, & commands are mentioned. Interesting that in the New Testament the law is always credited to Moses. The law of Moses.. Moses wrote.. Moses said.. It is called The Law, The Law of Moses.. We call it God's law & in the OT narrative it comes across that way but does the NT ever say it is God's law or the Lord's law or the Father's law?

Twice the law is said to have been "ordained by angels" it never says it was ordained by God.

In Romans Paul seems to call the Law of Moses "the law of God." However the only place He does this is at the end of chapter 7 which is immediately followed by Him talking about "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." In 1 Corinthians 9:21 Paul confirms that the law of Moses is not the "law of God" he spoke about saying, "I too live apart from that Law (of Moses) so I can bring the Gentiles who are not under the Law (of Moses) to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ." The law of Christ is the law of God, it is "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." Thus Paul never calls the Law of Moses the Law of God.

Luke 2 is the only place in the entire New Testament, including the rest of the book of Luke, that the Law of Moses is called "the Law of the Lord." Contextually it only speaks of ceremonial law. Also of note is the fact that the Marcionite Gospel, which is likely an earlier version of Luke, does not contain the first two chapters of Luke. Luke 2 this is the ONLY place in all of the NT that calls the law the "Law of the Lord." There are times Jesus confirms commands as "of God" but He, nor any other NT person label the Law of Moses (as a whole) as the Law of God. Of note is that sometimes Jesus said "Moses commanded," other times He said "God commanded."

Perhaps most interesting of all is what Jesus says in John 15:25, "They have done this to fulfill the word that is written in THEIR Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’" Jesus calls the Law THEIR LAW, not His law, not His Father's law. Jesus never calls the Law "God's Law," "the Law of the Lord," or "my Father's Law."

Something to think about..

Related Posts
Did God Desire for All of His Laws to Be Obeyed?
The Truth Behind God, Humanity, & The Law
The Devil Has the Power of Death

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bible: Inspiration & Intimacy

Peter said, "No prophecy of scripture was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." This tells us the prophecies in scripture were not fabricated by humans & that they were accurately recorded. Very interesting is the fact that Peter only says the prophecies of scripture are accurate. He makes no such claim regarding the rest of scripture.

Paul said, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable.." But there are translations of this that read this way, "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable.." The verb for "is" before the word inspired does not appear in the original Greek. Therefore the 2nd reading is actually more accurate.

Some will point out that the word inspired actually means "God breathed." Well God breathed into Adam but through the freedom of his flesh he did not maintain perfection. Jesus breathed into His disciples but through the freedom of their flesh they still made mistakes. Scripture is also said to be God breathed yet it had to pass through the hands of free flesh to be physically written down. Did God suspend the way He relates to all of mankind by violating the freedom of those men who wrote the scriptures when "inspiring" & "moving" them?

Scripture Inspiration Possibilities:
1. God only flawlessly inspired about 40 men in all of history. God gave us the same Holy Spirit the New Testament authors have & an even better relationship to the Spirit than the Old Testament authors had. However God will never ever inspire anyone as perfectly as He did those who wrote the scriptures therefore we must rely on the superior scriptures over His inferior living Spirit inside of us despite the fact that Jesus told us to rely on the Spirit to lead us to all truth & made no command to rely on the scriptures. God also ensures that we will all always have inferior communication with Him despite the new covenant declaring us equally given His Spirit "without measure."
2. God never flawlessly (robotically) inspires anyone but He does inspire them & they write & speak freely from His inspiration. Like any human they can flawlessly record something someone else told them but may not always do so.

#1 strikes me as God violating free will, treating the New Testament writers as His all time favorite people, & as honestly unscriptural.
#2 strikes me as God maintaining free will, loving all of His children the same, & as scriptural based on God's character & dealings with people as recorded in scripture itself.

Jesus wanted us to trust Him. Yet I think there is no doubt that most Christians read scripture & trust in the validity of it more than they interact with God & trust Him, trusting Him to speak to them accurately. We are all seen as having been given a smaller measure of the Spirit than those who wrote the scriptures when scripture itself says that we have the Spirit without limit. We all, including the writers of scripture, always have the freedom to walk by the Spirit or by the flesh, to speak & write from our renewed mind & to realize not all of our mind is renewed.

Some will argue that following the Spirit over the scripture is dangerous. To them I say it is easier to get someone to follow you into falsehood by saying, "the bible says.." than it is by "God told me.."

Jesus never prophesied about a perfect book being compiled to teach us about God & guide us in our lives. He prophesied about the Holy Spirit described many times as THE gift of God to guide us to ALL truth & relate to us like a friend & a father. HIS Spirit is HERE & NOW!

The Letter Kills...
"The letter kills & the Spirit gives life." Why? because the letter is dead & the Spirit is living. The letter has truth but that truth is not alive without the Spirit. But here is the big question..

What does the letter kill?
The answer...

Your relationship with God.

Instead of being real & talking to God ourselves & asking Him for answers, allowing Him to point us to scripture if He so chooses, we instead choose to go to a book & read it, honestly often hoping we won't encounter Him there. It is like having the chance to interview someone you admire but instead you blow him off & just study his autobiography. It is like reading love letters from your spouse on the edge of your bed while refusing to be intimate with him or her. Just as those who begged Moses to relate to God for them, we beg the bible to relate to God for us. The scriptures kill intimacy with God. They don't always do this & can aid in knowing Him better but it is beyond easy to make the bible God & live without ever even touching the hem of His robe. What we want is to believe the bible, to believe things ABOUT God. We don't want to believe IN God, we don't want to trust Him. We like ideas about God because we want to know ABOUT HIM without KNOWING HIM.

We, in our shame, our fear, our laziness, our apathy, we don't want God to really know us. So the bible is the perfect solution. I don't have to talk to God. I don't have to be honest with God. I don't have to love God. God doesn't get to really love me.. I just treat Him like a text book maybe because I'm trying to get a grade in a class, maybe because there is just something uncomfortable about us getting to know each other more.

So in the name of a "relationship" with God we reject relating to God. We pick up a book about Him & say, "oh that's cool.." "boy I should get on doing that.." Inside we think, "I've gotta remember this." We fight for our idea of TRUTH for our WAY of LIFE without ever getting to know The TRUTH, THE WAY, THE LIFE.

So are we going to let the bible be our safe & sterile substitute for the man Christ Jesus? Are we choosing book over brother, facts over Father?

I don't care if you claim to walk under grace. Grace is A GIFT. HE IS THE GIFT. Until you engage God you're just walking under a religion, gathering facts, feelings, & forewarnings. The "facts" make you feel right & smart & superior ready to shut down anyone who disagrees with you. The feelings are a fact, they are fun, they are peaceful but are you partying alone? Are you resting WITH God or resting to get away from relating to God? The forewarnings could be used for wise compassion or they could just be facts+fear.

So do you just want the love letter or do you want the love?
Would you rather open a book about THE Father or fall into YOUR Father's open arms?
Why not decide now?

Scripture is NOT the Living & Active Word of God, Jesus is

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

The Word of God this scripture is talking about is not the Bible but Jesus. Simply look at what it says all together..

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. AND there is no creature hidden from HIS sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of HIM with whom we have to do."

The very context points out that this is referring to Jesus because it is speaking of the word of God as a "Him" in the very next verse. Read this chapter & you will see Scripture isn't being spoken about here. The chapter is about Jesus. Jesus is elsewhere identified as the "Word of God" in John 1 & Revelation 19:13.

Certainly Jesus is living and active. 1 Chronicles 28 says, "The Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts." To think that quoting scripture to someone is guaranteed to pierce to their soul is a false idea. The living God is the one who does this, you can not force it. It is His job to do. Jesus is the sword of the Spirit spoken of in Ephesians 6:17. Jesus is a life giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45). The Word of God is Jesus who speaks to our hearts lovingly & in the present tense.

Related Posts
The Idea That the Bible Replaced God

Monday, June 3, 2013

We are the church... Well not really..

When everyone on earth calls church a building, including most Christians, that is what it is. It is the bibles that are translated wrong. A church is a building, it is an organizational entity. The ekklesia, the assembly, is the people. Churches were buildings before the bible was translated into English and they still are today. 99.9% of Christians that say "we are the church" still call buildings churches. It is historically, literarily, & biblically less accurate to call church "people" than it is to call church "a building." The word church never belonged in the bible. So instead of trying to do the impossible & reclaim the word, a word we never should have claimed to begin with, let's just be honest with language & history & admit the bible was mistranslated & in this case intentionally. Then we can say screw religion, screw church, lets talk about Jesus.

Related Posts
Why use the word "Assembly" instead of "Church"
Why use the word "Assembly" instead of "Church" II: The Body of Christ