Tag Archives: Bible

THE KINGDOM

imagesOne of the first things Jesus tells us is to repent and believe in the good news because the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). What is this Kingdom? How do we recognize it?

While some say the Kingdom of God is in the future, others say it is today. Some believe it is allegorical, others see it as literal. Some even see the Kingdom as fulfillment of the promises God made to the Jews, while others believe it has nothing to do with the Jews! Some believe it pertains only to heaven, and yet others believe the Kingdom has an earthly presence. Nevertheless, The Kingdom is the singular most talked about subject by Jesus in His earthly ministry. You’d think we have a clearer picture. Let’s see how the King, Himself, described it in several of His parables.

  • The Kingdom needs to be planted (Mt13:3)
  • There are outside influences that can affect the Kingdom (Mt13:5-7)
  • The Kingdom yields a crop (Mt 13:19)
  • There are enemies to the Kingdom (Mt 13:24-30)
  • The Kingdom grows in the midst of problems (Mt 13:26)
  • There is a time when the enemies of the Kingdom will be destroyed (Mt 13:30)
  • The Kingdom grows and nourishes others (Mt 13:31-32)
  • The Kingdom of God is infectious (Mt13:33)
  • The Kingdom of God is priceless (Mt 13:44-45)
  • The Kingdom of God is joyous (Mt 13:44)
  • There is a time when the fullness of the Kingdom will be revealed (Mt 13:48-50)
  • There are people who labor in the Kingdom (Mt 20:1-16)
  • There is grace and compassion in the Kingdom (Mt 20:1-16)
  • Contracts are made in the Kingdom (Mt 20:13)
  • There is generosity in the Kingdom (Mt 20:15)
  • What one does in the Kingdom is more important than what one says (Mt 21:28-31)
  • Sometimes people do not recognize the Kingdom (Mt 21:33-40)
  • There is a time for punishment in the Kingdom (Mt 21:40)
  • There is celebration in the Kingdom (Mt 22:2)
  • People are invited into the Kingdom (Mt 22:3)
  • Not all people will accept their invitation into the Kingdom (Mt 22:3-8)
  • You have to be dressed a certain way to come into the Kingdom—clothes of righteousness (Mt22:12)
  • In the end, few are really chosen to enter into the Kingdom though many are called (Mt 22:14)

The Church (the people of God) is the visible manifestation of the Kingdom of God. How are we doing? Can those outside the Kingdom recognize us as subjects of The King? You decide.

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WHO ME?

Have you asked yourself what you can do for The Kingdom of God but decided you didn’t have anything to offer? Keep the following in mind and then re-ask yourself if God can use you.

  • Noah was a drunk
  • Abraham was too old
  • Isaac was a daydreamer
  • Jacob was a liar
  • Leah was ugly
  • Joseph was abused
  • Moses stuttered
  • Gideon was afraid
  • Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
  • David had an affair and was a murderer
  • Elijah was suicidal
  • Isaiah preached naked
  • Jonah ran from God
  • Naomi was a widow
  • Job went bankrupt
  • Peter denied Christ
  • The disciples fell asleep while praying
  • Martha worried about everything
  • Zacchaeus was too short
  • Paul was too religious
  • Timothy had an ulcer
  • And, Lazarus was DEAD!

Finally, David Ring is a Christian evangelist with cerebral palsey who famously says: “I have cerebal palsy and I serve the Lord with all that is within me, what’s your excuse?”

So the answer is yes, YOU. God wants and needs you. He called you for such a time as this.

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WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

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Some days drag. Some days fly
Some days I think of the day I’ll die
Some days fill me and some days drain
And one day Jesus will call my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

Most days I pray but some days I curse.
It’s that number of days I put myself first.
But it’s not what I do, the cross made that plain.
And one day Jesus will call my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

 

Check out these lyrics by Lynda Randall. If this isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is. Some days drag. Indeed they do. And some days fly. For me, it’s the week-end. You say “what?” The week-ends for me mean no work, no real interaction with people, no family around. You see, I’m alone. Most Christians don’t think of people like me. And for obvious reasons. They are wrapped up in their own family and the activities and accoutrements that go with all that. I understand. However, it doesn’t make the week-ends fly even though I understand. And on those draggy, draining days, the mind begins to dwell on the thoughts that I am supposed to take captive, like when I might die.

Growing older brings those thoughts to the forefront. Can’t seem to help it. They come. But then Lynda Randall puts it all in perspective with the next sentence. “And one day Jesus will call my name.” Hallelujah. That makes it all worthwhile! Then I remember, wow, how fortunate I am. Not everyone looks forward to that day. But He called me out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Again the lyrics remind me that putting myself first, which in the US is so “normal,” are the days to curse!!! It means I have forgotten that indeed all will not be called by name by the Lord. And, I share responsibility in that because I have forgotten and/or neglected to share His love.

Oh but wait, I don’t have to beat myself up and claim unworthiness because of my selfishness. Look at that next phrase “the cross made that plain.” In other words, it’s not what I do but who I am. I am a child of God, my life is hidden in Christ. Does this give me license to do whatever I want? Indeed not. It makes me remember what price has been paid for me to have that privilege. And I am renewed just thinking and knowing that one day Jesus will indeed call my name. In the meantime, as the Apostle Paul said in 1Cor2:2: I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I do want to draw so close to Him and to have Him live through me so that others see Him. Sometimes it seems impossible but with God, ALL things are possible.

Check out the song, One Day by Lynda Randall on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz58xcJHAJ4&start_radio=1&list=RDQz58xcJHAJ4.  I hope it ministers to you as much as it has to me.

PROOF TEXTING WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT SO PREVALENT TODAY?

Proof texting is a method by which a person appeals to a Biblical text to prove or justify their theological position or belief without regard for the context of the passage they are citing. While proof texting is often used in the theological realm, today we are seeing it surface in just about every area of life.

When we study the Bible there are many forms of “criticism” that must be used. For instance there is Text Criticism that aims to determine the process by which a Hebrew text has been transmitted and comes to exist in its various forms. It also tries to establish the original wording of the text and consequently what is the best form for the modern reader.

Another form of criticism is Historical Criticism which is concerned with the context of the passage or writing. Some questions asked would be: what specific historical situation is described, what was the cultural situation or event that is being dealt with, and why was the passage written in the first place.

Then there is Grammatical and Literary Criticism. These focus on the composition, structure, and mood of the text. Also what themes are in the text, what is the style of the text, and are there breaks in the continuity of thought of the passage or text. Is an acrostic feature being used? Or a chiasm used for parallels or comparisons?

Another form of criticism is Form Criticism which is concerned with not only form but also genre and the “Sitz im Leben” (situation in life) of the unit or passage. So, is it oracle; and if so, what form does it take? What genre are we dealing with: a psalm of lament or thanksgiving, a hymn, a narrative, an apocalypse? What is the situation in life: was it composed, used, read in the home, around the campfire, at the royal court, at the city gate, on the steps of the Temple? Asking all of these questions can help us more fully understand what is being said.

How is tradition involved? Tradition Criticism looks at how the story “grew” over long periods of time. How has the author adapted the tradition; has he or she added to or subtracted from the tradition.

Finally, there is Redaction Criticism that looks at the final form and author of a passage or manuscript. What changes have been made? Has something been added to the text? Is there a final interpretation that is different from the original author?

Anyone who wants to study the Bible has to be aware of these techniques in order to fully understand the Bible’s message and meaning. Yet so few take the time to be critical in their thinking (not only regarding the Bible but other writings and philosophies on life as well) or to study and delve into meaning. Yet, that is our responsibility, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we live in a world of “snippets” today: Twitter, Face Book, the News, headlines. In fact, we don’t even know who the authors are most times. Pseudonyms are hidden behind to mask the fear of “being found out.”  Take a short snippet, put it on your Face Book page or Twitter time line to prove your point all the while knowing your “followers” won’t read the source; but rather, will applaud you for your insight. And why not, that is exactly what the media does. News stories in thirty seconds because the public doesn’t seem to want any more. Reporters who put forth their opinion as fact are the norm today. This is proof texting and it is in all areas of life.

But where does the responsibility lie? Even though we don’t like to admit it, it lies with us. We need to demand more of ourselves and others; but we don’t. Knocking, seeking, asking are no longer to be desired. Just give me a short sermon (no more than fifteen minutes) entertain me with song, tell me I’m good so that I can feel good about myself, and send me home till the next week. Repeat. And please whatever you do, don’t ask me to think or reason, I just want to relax and “do my thing.”

Today the common expression is “I get my news on the internet.” I needn’t tell you how dangerous that is do I? Read an analysis? I haven’t the time. I am busy cramming myself with food, drink, drugs, and meaningless activities. I have no time to just “be” and think and read. Just tell me what to think. Our schools are like this—“teach” the kids to pass the test. Tell them the questions, and then tell them the answers!

I saw a short “snippet” today used to disparage an author and his beliefs. The quote used was taken completely out of context; yet the person writing it didn’t seem to care. In fact the “quote” was really a re-quote, cut, pasted, and photoshopped. So who really knows what the original author said and in what context it was being said. Yet none of this seems to matter today. I found it very disturbing and indicative of our society. It is a sad commentary and unfortunately the dumbing of our society continues. Sadder still is that our leadership (in the Church, government, wherever) exploits this. They seem to know we are ignorant and apathetic, and use it to their advantage; not only taking our money but our minds as well. As a society, we must return to critical thinking if we are to survive. If not, we will be led to slaughter and it will be our own doing.