5Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. (Prov 28:)
I think we all are seekers in one way or another. We seek comfort, we seek to be successful, and from a small child we seek to find some purpose in life. Even though we're told we're nothing more than the monkeys, and for the most part those of the world will accept this explanation concerning life as we know it, deep down inside there's something telling us that we are more than just another of the primates, even though most of us don't act like we are. The idea that we were just born to die is hard for anyone who has risen above the level of chimpanzee to swallow.
If you're at all like me you've looked under a lot of rocks and dug a lot of holes in your search for the meaning of life. I explored the philosophies, the study of the mind (and was unable to find anything there, which I was told beforehand by psychiatrists that I wouldn't), and I studied the different religions outside of the Christian religion.
I grew up in the Christian church, but I hadn't the slightest idea what being a Christian was. Being a Christian to me was looking around and doing what everyone else was doing. And what everyone else was doing is looking around to see what they should do. I heard the sermons, I heard the Sunday School teachers, and I sometimes even read books about the Bible. But I never read the Bible itself because it made no sense to me, I found the stories to be weird and mixed up, and to be quite frank with you (and no, my name isn't Frank, nor am I French) the Bible had too many pages to even begin to consider reading. Anything more than a 48 page comic book was outside my league, and I'm talking about as an adult.
I tried finding the meaning of life in the Donald Duck comics, and even the Archie comics, but to no avail. They seemed to be just as lost and confused as I was. However there was one thing about Archie I could relate to, and that his quest to be liked by the girls. It seems he's still, 60 years later, looking for a girl. And oddly enough, just like me, he still hasn't graduated from High School.
Something happened to me a few years back, 35 to be exact. I had a confrontation with God. I find God wears very sharp pointed boots and He has good aim when the target is my head. He got my attention very quickly.
From that moment on, and for several years, I immersed myself in the Word. I listened to hundreds of tapes, sermons, read many books, took a correspondence course on the Bible, I studied a bit of Greek and Hebrew, and I even read the Bible on occasion, when I wasn't to busy studying about the Bible.
I became a true seeker. My problem was, I had found the Lord, or better said, He found me, but I still could not make head nor tails of what God was trying to tell me. I found my study of the Word to be like looking at a 1 million piece jigsaw puzzle I was supposed to put together, and most of it was sky, water and with no apparent edges. All I could do is stare at the box.
But I struggled with the pieces, especially those that looked like they might be part of an eye or a tree or something recognizable. But although I thought for sure I knew what I was looking at, I could never find parts of the puzzle that clearly went with the piece I was holding.
I am a very slow minded person. You don't have to tell me so, I've proven it to myself too many times to think otherwise. Because of my lack of brilliance, I dazzle people with my good looks. If you've ever seen me, you would know what a really funny joke I just told.
I was entirely ignorant of the fact that Christianity was not just one religion. Because of this I tried to make sense of what anyone, from any denomination, was saying. I tried placing what they said with the pieces of the puzzle they said their doctrine went with, and it never meshed, unless I used a hammer. And I do have a few well-used hammers if you're in the market for one.
After the first five years of intensive study, I kind of slacked off a bit, then a whole lot, which I suspect happens to many new Christens, even those who have been battered around the head as I have been. I still listened to the tapes (I do love a good sermon, and I listen to them over and over again. I suppose that is not like most Christians after five years). I was picking up bits and pieces of interesting information, things worth writing down, but there was not much offered that went toward my assembling the puzzle before me. If I placed the pieces where I was told to place them, my picture puzzle took on a very strong resemblance to a Picasso painting. And oddly enough, what I came up with I was being told the Bible actually looks like when fully assembled.
My being not too bright, certainly not as well educated as those giving me the instructions I was to follow, I just could not accept a Picasso, when what I was seeking was a pastoral view of life as the meaning of life.
Five years ago I once again had an encounter with the pointy end of the Lord's boot. This time, in contrast to first time, the Lord, apparently in recognition of my mental density, decided to dump a lot of preassembled pieces on the table in front of me. Being slow as I am, I still have trouble figuring out which way is up with many of the pieces, but the Lord is patiently turning my backward pieces upright in hopes I will see them correctly. I do however have a blessing I see is missing with many people who have their puzzle misshapenly laid out: I know mine isn't as it should be. Perhaps if I live as long as Methuselah I'll see a small part of what He has presented to me.
Seekers seek. What is it that seekers seek? I find that seekers seek answers to the many questions burning in their heart. Do you find this true for you? When you seek, what ever it is you may be seeking, don't you desire to find resolution to your search? Don't you want to turn to the last page and glean the answer to your problem? That's what I do. I just want the answer, I don't want all the facts and figures and examples in between my quest and the fulfillment of my quest. I just want the answer, and I want the answer now. Don't tell me I have to wait until I've jumped a couple hurdles before I can understand what the answer is providing me. Just give me the answer, and I'll fill in the rest, whether I fill in the blanks correctly or not. Trying this method on an Income Tax form can cause a lot of attention from the IRS. But hang the consequences, give me the answer!
The Bible is a very frustrating book. It's filled with answers, but the answers are, as stated above, presented in the form of a jigsaw puzzle. Unless I turn the pieces backwards, use a hammer, or paint my own images over what the Bible is saying, the Bible just doesn't tell me what I want or expect to hear, nor what makes sense to me. It might be that I have trouble understanding the Bible because it isn't telling me what I want to hear. The picture God is presenting to me is not the picture I want to buy. Is that possible? Naw, couldn't be. I'll just keep hammering away until I find the words and the verses that add up to what I want to hear, and then I'll know I'm reading it right. I might have to dump a whole bunch of extra pieces in the trash when I'm finished, and add a whole bunch of pieces I had to carve out myself, but I'm persistent, I'll make it say what I want it to say, even if it kills me.
Seekers seek an answer. I'll assume you agree with me on that point. You might find fault with the rest of my reasoning, but that's your problem. Now, being a seeker in search of answers, I thought I'd do something different and look at the Bible instead of what other people have to tell me about the Bible. Maybe God has a Word or two about the study of His Word the experts have missed. Let's take a look, shall we?
3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:)
Now here's a perfect example of what I was talking about. The very first passage has a whole bunch of things in it I don't want to hear. God tells us that the reason we don't receive, and I assume that means answers to my questions along with other things, is because I want to use what I get selfishly. Of course I want to use it selfishly. I'm a selfish person. God knew that from the beginning. So what's new?
I read that to be friends with the world is to be an enemy to God. Who wants to hear that? The world has all the toys I like to play with. The world has all the fun things I like to do. The world is where it's at. And I'm supposed to separate myself from all that if I want to get what I seek? Aw, come on now. Let's be sensible about this.
"God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." I'm a vain person. A guy with my looks, my brains, my talents (remember, you're supposed to laugh here) is supposed to humble himself? It's like the old song goes; "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're as perfect as meeee."
And what does James mean, God gives grace to the humble? I thought everyone received grace whether they're selfish, rich, thieves or whatever, just as long as they were baptized. Now I'm told I have to be humble to receive that grace I was promised? Does that mean if I'm not humble, I'm not living under grace? Hmmm.
God said we're to resist the devil. Do you hear the pretty words the devil tells us? He says it's ok to play around with the worldly things. It's ok to do all the things that I want to do. I can do whatever I want to do and I'll still get the rewards I was promised when I became a Christian. Now, isn't that a lot more fun to hear than what James is saying? Tell me now, which do you think I ought to listen to, God or the devil? Remember now, no peeking at the answers in Genesis where two other people were confronted with this same question. We know they weren't as smart as we are. We have thicker walls to hide behind than those silly little fig leaves. Besides, we have a whole church full of people to back up our opinion, where Adam and Eve only had each other.
13Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 15Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? 16Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29:)
See? He's doing it again. Now God has Isaiah telling us things I don't want to hear. He wants us to mean what we say. Can you imagine such a thing? Now tell me, how is a guy like me supposed to mean what he says? Isn't singing songs to Him that I don't know the words to or if I mean them or not enough for Him? What does God want from me anyway? I give Him ten percent of everything I make... well, part of it, sometimes, kinda.
And what's this Isaiah is saying, our wise men don't know what they're talking about? If we can't listen to those who get all that learning and tell us what God means, even if what they say doesn't fit with my Bible, or with each other, then just who can we listen to? It's not like God has given us His Spirit to guide us to all truth, is it? The very idea. It must be a misprint.
Am I reading this right? Is God telling us that we can't tell Him what to do, how we think He ought to guide me and the world? Doesn't God know that I know best how to live my own life, even though I am a Seeker?
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 29:)
If this isn't a confusing and conflicting passage of Scripture. God says we're to put line upon precept and things like that, then He says if we do what He says, we'll fall over backwards and be taken, whatever that means. I thought we were all just waiting around to be taken. Isn't that what I hear on Sundays? Oh well, just more things those wise and prudent men know that the rest of us can't understand.
"Them that are weaned from the milk," Weaned from the milk? Have you read what Paul says milk is? He says it's things like baptisms, faith, the resurrection, and eternal judgement, and all those fundamental things we hear all the time (Heb 6:). Weaned from the milk? If it wasn't for milk, we wouldn't be getting anything at all on Sunday. Another misprint I'm supposing.
12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Rev 22:)
Here's another passage that gets me all mixed up. Jesus says He's going to judge our works. What works? Don't our "wise and prudent" men tell us we'll be condemned if we work? Such confusion.
Jesus said He is the beginning. Elsewhere He says He's the door, which I think of being like a beginning. Jesus says we're to seek the door. But what I want is not the beginning, I want the end, to know the answers. Why can't He turn this around and say He's the end and the beginning, and tell us the answers first? Isn't that what we want? I sure do.
11And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 12And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. (Mark 8:)
You see here? Here's some fellows I can relate to. They seek a sign. They're seekers like me. What sign are these seekers looking for? Jesus, it looks like to me, has given a bunch of signs already. Maybe they're like me and they want to see the big sign, the coming of the Kingdom. Kind of reminds me of a bunch of people I know. They're waiting for a sign from Heaven, something like a big cloud. Do you know anyone like that?
10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:)
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:)
8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:)
I find this strange. Jesus is always talking about how He works. Doesn't He know that it's a no-no to work? Maybe that's why the Pharisees were always after Him to stop Him from working, they heard the sermons I've been hearing. Just a thought.
The Pharisees were after a sign, and it looks like Jesus is telling His disciples that the works He does is the sign they need. But what if Jesus was to follow the advise of the Pharisees and other such people who say a Christian shouldn't work, wouldn't that take away the proof that proves He was a Christian? Jesus was a Christian wasn't He? I suppose He wasn't as good a Christian as those we have today because He broke so many of the rules my church has for being a good Christian, like not working, not keeping the Sabbath, obeying the laws of the Jews, and stuff like that.
See if I read the above verses wrong: Doesn't Jesus say we're to work and bear fruit (is there another way to bear fruit?), that those works glorify the Father, and they prove we're His disciple? Why then do I hear that we're not to work? Just something else to confuse a thinking person I guess. Maybe I think too much, do you think?
1The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:)
Here's another confusing passage of Scripture. It says here that the Apostles were given commandments. Jesus for three chapters in John talked a whole lot about the Holy Spirit, and about obeying commandments. Why did Jesus talk about commandments when His death did away with all the commandments?
Another thing: Why did Jesus continually say He taught the Kingdom of Heaven, and that the Apostles (and us) were to preach the Kingdom of Heaven, when the Kingdom of Heaven wasn't going to be here for 2,000 years? And what is the Kingdom of Heaven? And why didn't the Apostles preach the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever the Kingdom of Heaven is, instead of just going around doing miracles and writing letters? Are we preaching the Kingdom of Heaven today? I hear all kinds of messages from the pulpit, but I don't recall hearing anything about the Kingdom of Heaven, except that Jesus didn't mean what He said when He said the Kingdom of God is within you. Is it possible that the Kingdom of God isn't something as much to be peached, as it is something to be lived? Naw, couldn't be. That would mean that Jesus was right and the Kingdom is here already and not pie in the sky waiting for us to be taken to by cloud number nine on the cloud route.
Jesus said: "John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Doesn't Jesus know that when a person is baptized with water, or at least when they "accept Jesus into their heart," whatever that means, they automatically receive the Holy Spirit? And John said of himself that he baptized with water, but there was one coming who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Apparently John didn't know that his baptism would bring about the infilling of the Holy Spirit either. Good thing we have our wise and prudent men to tell it to us straight, because it seems as if those who lived two thousand years ago just couldn't get it right.
Confusion, confusion. Is it the Bible that's in conflict do you think? Or do you think it might possibly be some other element of our education that is in conflict with the Bible? Naw, couldn't be.
In a previous passage we saw that the Pharisees, like us, were looking for a sign. I suggested that the sign they were looking for was the coming of the Kingdom, or a cloud whichever came first, so they might fall over backwards (which we read they did when they tried to arrest Jesus in the garden) and be taken. Here, after three years, and again 40 days after the resurrection, we see the Apostles looking for that same sign, the coming of the Kingdom. Today we see people who will not accept the reality of Jesus and the resurrection and everything that goes with the life of Jesus unless they see a sign from Heaven, which is the coming of the Kingdom. Then we read in Revelation that, even when the Kingdom is upon them, there will be many who will reject the Kingdom and curse God for having brought the Kingdom to them, which is what they were crying to see.
34How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood? (Job 21:)
Ah, now here's a man I can truly relate to: Job. If there was ever a seeker of answers, it was this man. Job did everything right, yet everything wrong that could possibly happen to him, was happening. Why?
Job was fortunate that he had three friends to help him understand what a nasty fellow he really was, and how he actually deserved much worse punishment for his wicked ways than he was receiving. Isn't it great to have sympathetic and understanding friends?
Job sought answers. He was loaded with questions. Here we see that Job received more answers than He could have ever hoped for. And what did Job have to say about the answers he received: "seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood."
We want answers. And we'll settle for the first answer that comes along that sounds like something we can live with. Job never got an answer he liked. Had someone told him what he wanted to hear, someone who agreed with his perception of things, I highly suspect he would have been able to settle back and accept that answer. I do that, don't you? The problem is, if he had accepted such an answer, he might have missed out on God giving him the real answer, and he would have missed out on the rewards that came from experiencing what he didn't understand nor deserve.
46And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. (Luke 2:)
This is an interesting passage. Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah in child's clothing, is both asking questions and giving answers. I can understand Him giving answers, but asking questions? Maybe the questions Jesus was asking them were like the ones He asked so many times during His ministry, questions that should have caused people to think outside the box of doctrine. He would say such things as "Where is your faith?" and "Why don't you understand?" and "Where is your husband?" when He already knew the answer to His questions. Of course it's possible that He was really wanting to learn from these men, who can tell? But what I find interesting is, although these wise men, the ones in the Temple talking to the child Jesus, were astonished at the answers Jesus gave them, they didn't pursue the answers, or seek for Him, even though they knew there was something special about the boy, Remember, these teachers of the Torah Jesus was talking to were the same as those who persecuted Him years later. These were the Pharisees and the Scribes.
People want answers, but they ignore the questions that lead up to the answer. That's the way I am. How about you?
7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Mat 7:)
Here we go again. We have to do something to get something. Why doesn't God set it up so all we have to do is get without having to ask, or seek, or anything like that? Why doesn't God just pour everything we need to know into our noggin when we're born? Doesn't that sound like the logical thing to do? If He wants us to obey rules, why not let us know the rules from the get-go instead of having to make all the mistakes along the way. Of course we see that Adam knew the rules from the start, and it did him no good. And David, after all his blessings and his praises to God, made some of the worst mistakes that could be made. And how about his son Solomon? He was given more wisdom than anyone else, and what good did it do him? He still had to make all the big mistakes before any of that wisdom sunk in and he understood any of the wisdom he possessed.
I guess it's kind of like that old saying, anything worth having, has to be worked for. You give a kid a car and he'll wreck it. But if that kid has to work for the money to buy that car, watch how good a care he takes of it.
Isn't that interesting? If something is worked for, it's appreciated. If it isn't worked for, if it's a free gift, it's taken for granted and abused. I wonder if we can apply that principle to anything else? Maybe something in the Bible do you think? Maybe something that starts with a ..., let me see, starts with a "G."?
31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Mat 6:)
See what I mean? Always a condition. If I want the clothes, the food, and all the other goodies, I have to seek something else like righteousness. Why can't God just clothe me with righteousness instead of making me get it myself. If I ran this business, that's what I would do. I'd just let everything come free and easy. Just think what I could do if I had a church that gave away everything free, and the ones I gave it to never had to worry about losing their gift. Do you think that might bring in the people? Can't you just imagine a church that preaches there are no rules to follow, no work to be done, and Heaven forever to boot? It seems to me I've heard of such a church. How about you, do you know any church that fits this description?
23Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (Luke 13:)
We have more seekers, this time looking for some kind of gate. What does Jesus mean just a few of all those seeking will be able to enter in? Does He mean that just my church is going to make it and all the other people not smart enough to belong to my denomination will be cast out? That must be what He meant because that's what I hear from the man who knows, my pastor. And I don't know how it happened, but everyone in my church is going to go to Heaven, no matter how rotten they act, and everyone who goes to certain other churches are doomed forever, no matter how godly they behave themselves. I guess the narrow gate Jesus was talking about is the door to the church I attend, do you think? Well anyway, whatever He meant, He had to be including me in those who make it. Have I really done what I've been told to do and been as faithful as I should be? Well, no, but after all, it's not just anyone being spoken of here; It's me!
Jesus kept talking about servants weeping and gnashing teeth. I don't like to gnash the few teeth I have left. I wonder who He means when He says there will be gnashing teeth. I know, He means those other guys, you know the ones I mean, the nasty ol' unbaptized people who never even knew Jesus. He couldn't mean people in my church. Could He?
22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:)
Did you see that? If I want to go to Heaven I have to endure tribulation... No, that's wrong. Paul said we must endure much tribulation. That's not fair, where's the free and easy life in eternity I was promised when I joined this outfit? And I thought I'd be rescued from tribulation, particularly any great tribulation. What's going on here anyway?
Do you see what I mean? When there's anything nice offered, there's a condition that goes with it. I wonder if there's a church or something that can get by the conditions that I can join. Just point the way if you know of one.
1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 18:)
I watched my father go through his second childhood. It wasn't a pretty sight. And I'm not so sure he was having as much fun in the second childhood as he did in his first. I don't know as if I want to go through second childhood in order to get to Heaven. Anyone know of another way in? Maybe over the wall?
10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Mat 13:)
Can you imagine the president of the United States washing the feet of the man who mows the White House lawn? Does that make sense to you? My momma raised me to be important when I grew up, not a servant. And so I grew up great. I'm one of the greatest black sheep of the family you'll ever hope to meet. Just ask any of my family and they'll tell you loud and clear. Can you picture a father telling his son: "Son, I want you to turn the other cheek when the bullies pick on you. And give them your lunch when they demand it of you. I want you to strive for the low grades, the low position in life. None of this working to be high and mighty, hear?"
Somehow I don't think so, that's not the way we raise our kids. That's just the way we should be raising our kids, at least the way I read this Scripture.
11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. (Mat 18:)
10For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:)
Do you realize what is being said here? If Jesus came to save those who are lost, then those who are not lost can't be saved. Am I reading this right? If that's the case, then those who are baptized and made full members of the family of God before they even become seekers and realize they are lost can't be saved. I must be reading this wrong. Try it out of your Bible and see if it reads different.
Now for me I don't have to worry. I know I'm saved because Jesus has had to chase after me so many times and bring me back that I got to be good and saved. I just hope He keeps on running after me because I have itchy feet. But I feel sorry for those who haven't been out of the sheep pen because they haven't had the chance to learn they were ever lost so they can be found, saved, and have the angels cheer over them.
21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)
We saw that Jesus is a seeker of lost sheep. And now we find that God the Father is a seeker as well. God looks for people to worship Him in truth and in Spirit. I can see me trying to worship God in truth. I can't see me doing it, but I can see my trying to do it. But worship Him in Spirit? How do I do that? I mean, I was told that when I was baptized I got the Holy Spirit in me. How do I know the Spirit of God is in me? I hear you can't tell the difference. That sounds odd to me. I can easily tell the difference when a fly walks on my arm, but I can't tell when a Spirit is in me and controlling me? I don't know about this. I think that's kind of like having someone tell me I can stop taking my heart medicine because I'm healed when I can't tell I'm healed because my heart keeps acting up and hurting. Isn't that a little risky?
9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:)
This looks like what we saw earlier, only this is Luke's account. Did you notice that Jesus is saying we have to ask if we want the Holy Spirit? And this comes right on the heels of seeking. I get the picture that we have to seek if we want to find the Holy Spirit, and then we have to ask for the Holy Spirit. If we ask, that means we recognize that we are without even though we're told we have everything there is to have at our baptism.
Like I said, confusion.
8Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. (Luke 15:)
We have another seeker here. And it appears that she really knew when she found what she was looking for. What do you suppose this woman was looking for? This parable comes sandwiched in between other parables concerning the Kingdom of God. Do you suppose that's what she was looking for? Does the Kingdom of God include the Holy Spirit? Well, one way or another, she knew she found what she was looking for, knew she now has it, and is rejoicing over her find. If she did receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the introduction to the Kingdom of Heaven or something like that, this woman certainly knew for sure she received the Holy Spirit. What kind of experience did you have when He introduced Himself to you?
Women in the Bible usually, or at least often, refers to the Church, the bride of Christ. I think of the churches in the letters to the churches in the second and third chapters of Revelation, and the different levels of searching and discovery of truth each was recognized to have. Could one application of this parable be in regards to the churches do you think?
11And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:)
We have yet another seeker. This young man put feet to his seeking, and got his shoes caught in quicksand.
Did you notice that after the prodigal son spent all his money looking for pleasure, probably lavishing his friends with everything they wanted, there was no one around to help him when he had nothing to offer them? I think of Job in his plight. However, if this kid had friends like job had, he's probably better off feeding the swine.
Something else I noticed about this episode is that the son said he sinned against God. It appears he's a little mixed up. It's his father he sinned against, isn't it? After all, isn't it his father that lost on the deal? Could this passage mean that when we do something to someone else, it's not that person we're doing against, but God? If that's the case, I had better watch my peas and cues a little closer, because that shady deal I make with a stranger I'll never see again may be going against someone a lot closer to home than I thought.
Again we have something, this time a "son" rather than a sheep that has been found. But I notice that the father didn't chase after the son in this case. He let the son find out for himself that where he ought to be, and where he is better off, is at home rather than out in the world that looks so appealing.
Did you notice how the father said the son was "dead" and now is alive? Isn't the father a little mixed up? I know Adam was told that when he sinned he would die. If that's true, then the dead can not give birth to the living. Only the living can give birth to the living. Isn't that the way you see it? We know Jesus is the living that came forth from the Adamic nature. And what was living about Jesus is the same thing that gives us life, and that is the Holy Spirit living within us. If a person, then, without the Holy Spirit is without life, couldn't we say that person is dead?
Jesus came to bring us life so we may live with Him in Paradise forever. He said if a seed doesn't fall to the ground and die, it lives alone. And Jesus wants a big family it appears. But to be a part of the family Jesus is raising, those in the family have to die as He died, and produce fruit as He produced fruit. I think of my father. I suspect my father, and I know this is true of my mother, wanted to produce a family that would carry on his name and his image. That's what has happened with all my father's brothers, and his sisters as well. But although my father had two sons, neither my brother nor myself ever married or had children. My brother died at the age of 56, and I'm well over the age of producing children (or wanting to produce children or raise a family). So my father's dream of having his name and image go on forever dies with me. But I have another Father, a father who has planted his Seed in what my earthly father had produced. And it's this Father who's image and life I'm struggling to carry on and reproduce in my own as well as other earthly vessels. How might I plant such a seed in other vessels? I can't die physically and issue forth the life-giving Spirit as Jesus did: But I can try to live a life that shines the light of that Seed within me that causes others to be drawn to that light and want that light for themselves. My light I'm afraid is very dim and hard to see, I know this because no one seems to be able to see it in me. I can feel the light, but I look in the mirror of the Word and can see that what is reflected is not a very good representation of the light I want to show the world.
The father of the prodigal son came out to greet the son when he was still a long way off. The father did go after his son, but only after the son did two things that needed to be done before coming home would do any good. First the son had to get the ants out of his pants and learn that the world is not all it's cracked up to be. If the father had come and tried to bring him out of the bars when he was having a gay old time, the son would have only been resentful and itching to get back to the bars the first chance he got. The wandering son had to learn that the family he really wanted and needed was at home, not with those who were smiling at his wallet as they patted him on his drunken back. The son needed to learn that eating swine food is not all it's cracked up to be. Look at the pretty ads trying hard to sell us corn husks in liquid form and other such slop. Then think of the morning after and what the daybreak brings.
Finally, the son had to lose his exalted feeling about himself and learn that he was nothing different than the lowest of the low. He had to decide that he would be far better off being a servant than a rich man's kid on the skids.
Jesus asked the question: Who would love the most, the one forgiven much, or the one who is forgiven little? I think of the following story as a picture of such an occurrence: we have two men on the street in front of the church. One man is wearing his dancing shoes and carrying a wallet full of money on the way to the night club for an evening of debauchery and pleasure. The other is returning from that same night club, pockets empty, with a dreadful hangover, and very tired feet. Tell me now, which of these two men will benefit from an invitation to find Jesus? Which one is it the churches try to attract? If we stop the man from doing to what he wants to do most at this time he wants to do it, do you think he's going to be very appreciative of what he is about to receive?
For myself, I had to be allowed to discover for myself the lousy job I do when leading my life the best I know how. I had to be rescued from the bottom of the pit I dug, not from a field of clover before I had a chance to turn over the first spade full of muck.
10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom 3:)
Wait a minute here Paul, you're going to far now. How can you say I'm not righteous. Why, I'm one of the most righteous fellows you could hope to meet.... Well, that's what I thought until I woke up one morning waiting to meet my earthly judge. Yes, the pit I dug for myself was very deep, and very slimy. I would have much rather switched places with the prodigal son. He doesn't know how good he had it feeding swine and eating slop.
One thing I can tell you about jail cells: It's difficult to feel righteous in one of those things, and it's easy to replace pride with humility when standing before a judge. I know a lot of people feel pride for their wrong doing and the jail cell is just a badge of honor for them.
It takes a hard slap in the face for some of us to see ourselves for who we really are. The problem with hard slaps is, eventually the pain wears off and it's easy to forget the reason we were slapped in the first place. The woman who washed the feet of Jesus must have received a very hard slap, and was still bearing the bruises from the encounter. I hope to develop tender skin some day where it takes just the slightest touch of the Lord's hand to get my attention. Unfortunately, at this point in time, it still takes a swift kick to the shins to get my full attention.
38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:)
Jesus is not talking to seekers here, He's talking to people who think they already found the answers. And as we know looking back, these wise and prudent men were a long way off from the spot they believed themselves to stand. What they saw as truth was the big lie the father of lies is out to spread.
Finding answers keeps us from searching for truth. Jesus said these men should search the Scriptures. Didn't Jesus know that these men knew the Scriptures by heart, upside-down and backwards? Come to think of it, we read earlier about prudent men who could read the Scriptures backwards. And what was it that happened to them? Do you remember?
It appears that searching and finding is not all there is to seeking. If we want to find something, we have to begin at the beginning. And that beginning has to be the right beginning. That beginning of wisdom might be reckoned as a door. In the case of the prodigal son, the door to wisdom was a gate into a pig pen. My door had steel bars, where strangely enough I found freedom and inner peace. Go figure.
Searching is not the same as finding. And what we search for has a lot to do with what we find. The Pharisees were looking for a Messiah to come rescue them from their oppressors. They fully knew from their study of Scripture that their Messiah would be coming from the south, probably from a royal family, and riding on a great, white horse. Instead He came from the north, from a half-breed country, born of one suspected of being less than moral, of a lowly stock, and riding on a jackass and washing other people's feet. Sometimes much knowledge can be a great inhibitor to seeing the truth that stands right before us.
Today we all think we know exactly where Jesus is coming from, and what He is going to do. We have Scripture for our beliefs. And we know that Jesus is coming for us because we bear His name. We have Scripture for it. Is it possible that because we're so sure we know the truth that the truth will escape us as it did the wise and prudent men two thousand years ago?
Jesus said that He is the door. We know what Jesus meant. And we know the door to finding Jesus is the door to our church. But consider, there are many thousands of churches all believing that they possess the door. What if they are right, and my door is the wrong one? What if none of the doors are right? What if all of the doors are right? What if the door is not any of the doors to churches, but is in fact the door to our heart where Jesus, through the Holy Spirit is to rule and reign? Might that mean that we all will miss Jesus' second coming because we were so busy looking outward that we were not looking inward, at our heart, and making way for our Saviour?
45Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. 50Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? 52They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 53And every man went unto his own house. (John 7:)
These wise and prudent men made certain assumptions that seemed reasonable on the surface, but deep down their assumptions were deeply marred. It's true that, by name, their Messiah would not be coming from Nazareth, but He would be lowly and unrecognized as stated in Isaiah.
"Are you also deceived?" Isn't that the way of it? When we want someone to agree with us, even when we're wrong, we make fun of the other person's belief? We bully them into agreeing with us? Those who were "deceived" in the eyes of the wise men, were in actuality the only ones not deceived.
Who deceived these wise men, these prudent leaders of the people, the ones who thought it their place to teach others the truth and what to watch for as they seek for the truth? Isn't it that they deceived themselves, and to reinforce their deception, they each piously upheld each other's faulted beliefs and cast down any argument that conflicted with their view? These rulers of the people asked the question: "Have any of the rulers believed on Jesus?" What they were saying is they were all equally blind to the truth, all the while believing they were the only ones with the truth.
What they said was a lie anyway. We see from the conversation with Jesus that Nicodemus, who was trying to reason with his buddies here, did believe in Jesus. And ol' Nick said that the rest of the Pharisees and rulers know as he did that Jesus must have been sent from the Father because of the miracles He performed. And as we saw earlier, it's the miracles that was Jesus' letter of introduction from the Father.
"But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed." Here we find the wise men again pointing a finger at others that should have been pointed at themselves. It was not the ignorant people who rejected the wise men's call to deny Jesus who were cursed, but they themselves were cursed because they were so obedient to the law they worked so hard to protect. I think of this as someone who is struggling to protect and preserve a check for a million dollars, placing the check in a vault so nothing can happen to it. The person has no understanding that what he is protecting only represents what is valuable. And as long as he holds on to what represents his wealth, he will remain poor as the church mouse hidden in the vault about to use that precious check for a nest to raise her young ones in.
This can also be said of the Temple the Jews held in such great esteem. Like the Tabernacle, the Temple was a symbol of what was to come, and that is the Kingdom, which Jesus has begun, and that Jesus brought with Him. When the real had come, the shadow was destroyed. We read of one application of this in 1 Cor 13:8-10.
10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. 13But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. (Acts 17:)
Isn't it strange that those with the wrong understanding will go far out of the way to make sure no one else receives the right understanding? We see where Jesus tells us that the Pharisees will travel far and near to make one person believe as they do, and in the process they shut up the door to Heaven, refusing to enter in themselves, and not allowing anyone else to enter in. Do you know anyone like that? They're more involved with making sure everyone else thinks like they do, without looking into their own lives to see if there's something that needs dealt with?
These people spoken of here received the Word with a ready mind. That in itself means little because Jesus said that there are those who will receive the seed of the Word on a rock, get all excited about what they hear, then fade away for one reason or another. But these people studied the Scriptures to see if what they heard is so. We have a few issues here that need considered. First, we've seen that searching the Scriptures means nothing if we don't know what to look for. The Pharisees have shown us that. Also, there's our innate ability to fool ourselves and make the Scriptures say what we want them to say. Thousands of different denominations are evidence of this. What we have to do in order to be "saved" is search the telephone book for a church that preaches what we want to hear. And if we can't find such a church, start one ourselves. There's enough people as foolish as we are who will come to our church and listen to us spout things we know nothing about and care to know even less.
Another thing to consider: These are not Jews, but rather they are Gentiles being spoken of here. What Scriptures did they search to bear out what they heard? Did they read one of Homer's books? Maybe they read the Iliad? They couldn't have been reading the New Testament, the Scriptures many of us believe supercede the Torah, the Old Testament. Then what Scriptures were these Gentile Christians reading? Have you figured it out yet? Whatever Scriptures they read contain the truth as we should know it today, otherwise these people of Berea were just wasting their time as the churches of today say those churches who listen to the words spoken in the Old Testament are doing today.
14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (2Tim 2:)
Here again Paul is taking all the fun out of being a Christian. Imagine a church without being able to gossip, point the finger at those foolish enough to believe differently than they do, and without the pleasure of vain babblings. What would a church be without its fantasies and fables? Imagine a church without its traditions and rituals, where every person could think for themselves and listen to what someone such as the Lord tells them rather than hang on the words of the one behind the pulpit? Who would want to belong to such a church? For myself, I like the idea of knowing that someone has all the answers and will deliver them to me piecemeal each Sunday. That way when I fall and have to face the Great Judge I can pont a finger at my pastor and he will have to take the blame for my failures. Isn't that what the Bible says? Don't we read that the elders will have to account for what they teach us? Aren't we told not to give them grief and to obey those with authority over us because they will have to give account for my, that is, our actions?
Wow! That's a lot of responsibility. I think I'll stay the same ignorant person I am rather than try to be an elder in the church. I have enough trouble accounting for myself without having to give an account for you or anyone else.
"Study to show yourself approved." What does this mean? I thought I was approved from the first day I accepted the Lord. Now I've got to study too? Why wasn't I informed of this before I signed on?
And what is this: "Rightly dividing the Word of truth"? Me? I'm supposed to rightly divide the Word? I see where those experts of the Bible, a Book that was a lot shorter than it is now, couldn't even come close to rightly dividing the truth. And they knew it upside-down and backwards, as those behind the pulpit supposedly do. They do know it upside-down and backwards don't they? I wonder if they know it forward at all. Hmm. I hope they do, because I'm relying on them to get me to Heaven. If they falter and miss the train to Glory Land, where will that leave poor little ignorant me?
10The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (Eccl. 12:)
Solomon had a battle with wisdom. We find he was just too smart for his own good. He could give advise, he just couldn't take his own advise. It wasn't until he made all the mistakes he taught us about that his wisdom turned into understanding.
Here he says the words of Scripture are truth, and they are upright. There's nothing wrong with the words, it's in our understanding of the words that problems arise. We seek out people to help us understand the words that confuse us. And if we wait long enough, and practice at all what we learn, we discover that what we were told was a lot of hooey.
"Words of the wise (and might I add, the prudent) are as goads." What is Solomon saying? A goad is something pointed that you stick an animal with to get it going in the direction you want it to go. I guess we all need goading once in a while. Some of us need a fire lit under us to get us off our duff and moving at all.
Goads should make us move, but we have to watch out for what follows the goading according to Solomon. We have to watch for the nails that hang us on the wall of the denomination and the doctrines that the goader is goading us with. There are many a preacher out there ready and anxious to pin just as many people to their walls as possible. Those so hung become trophies to the success of that preacher. "I saved such 'n such number of people today," they say. What does "saved" mean to the preacher? It usually means the person came to the alter, or said the sinner's prayer, or whatever. Some evangelists make sure you know of the hundreds that they have saved at their services. Of course many of those people are being saved for their hundredth time, but you know how it is, don't you? My father used to tell us that he had no problem quitting smoking; he did it many times a day.
I myself was "saved" when I was twelve, which was, um, maybe twenty years ago? (As you can see, I'm still dealing with one of my problems, lying). I experienced nothing at that time but a lot of tears and a lot of sincere pleading. Then began my spiral downward as I entered puberty. I think if anything should be outlawed and done away with, it's puberty. Get rid of puberty and you've dealt with juvenile delinquency. But it's too late for me, I'm already a victim of puberty. Being saved did nothing for the salvation of my soul. Was I saved when I was saved? So they tell me. Then why, a nice guy like me, willing to do anything for anybody (usually, if I want to, and if I like the person) did this saved fellow end up the mess I had become? Is there something wrong with this picture? I see and hear stories of people who are saved as a child, who grew up with Christian families, who lived in loving homes, and they never had a problem in their life it seems. They didn't have to stop smoking, or drugs, or alcohol, or stealing, or throwing flowers at cars that passed by. Their life was the American Christian's dream. And all this because they were saved when they were 5 years old.
Haven't they ever heard of the wandering black sheep, of the prodigal son, and of Mary Magdalene? I wonder if such people can relate to and accept those of us who grew up wearing the Scarlet letter? And I wonder if they can understand what being saved truly is since they have never been lost and found.
Solomon concludes his sermon with an odd statement for him, a writer of books. He says much study is a weariness of the mind. I assume he means it's a waste of time. Well, writing books certainly was a waste of time for Solomon since he didn't seem to read what he wrote. But the study of books is useless? I spent my life studying books, and I learned a whole lot from Superman and Mickey Mouse. How can Solomon say that reading books is a waste of time?
We find that the Pharisees did a whole lot of reading, and all their reading only caused them to go blind, spiritually blind that is. They could not see beyond their book learning. We see this today. Of course you don't agree with this when I speak of your church, and your understanding of Scripture, but if I point to any other church, or any other doctrine, you'll be nodding your head like one of those little doggies setting on the back of car windows with springs for a neck.
There is one thing I know, and I think you'll agree when this is applied to yourself: The rest of the world may be, and probably is, dead wrong, but I am dead right.
CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER:
It doesn't seem fair to me. All I want is to find a simple answer to the meaning of life. A yes or no answer would be mighty fine, but I'd be happy with a couple sentences or three. Instead what I get is a whole bunch of words telling me what I don't want to hear. Now, if I were God, and if I was to write the Bible, I'd say something like God used to be angry at the people He created, and when He did all those heavy things like destroy people for disobeying Him. And that's the way He felt when He had the prophets write the Words we don't like to hear. But something happened a long time ago, and God is no longer angry any more, and He no longer cares if we sin and play around with the world, just as long as we did something simple, like, um, maybe take a bath and say some words like "I promise." I'd say that God is all love now and doesn't want anything more than to do whatever we want, just as long as it makes us happy. Now that's what I'd like to hear from God. I know the Words are here in the Bible, but I just can't find them except when they're accompanied by words I don't like to hear, like "commandments, obey, surrender", and conditional words like "If," and stuff like that.
Now that's the kind of Bible I want to read, one that tells me what I want to hear. But I just can't find a Bible well enough written that lets me hear these words. Maybe you can suggest such a Bible. Or better yet, maybe you can suggest a church that can show me these things I'd like to hear. In fact, maybe your church has found these things I'm looking for and you can invite me to your church. Hmm?
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
It's not in the study, nor in the seeking we find what we're looking for, but in where we look, who we ask, and what we're seeking for. If we seek answers, we will be given the answer before we even know what the question is. We must seek the door, the beginning, and not the end of a thing. To find the end, is to miss out on the substance altogether.
Truth is not an end in itself, it's a journey. We like to get on a train, a bus, or an airplane and sleep until we get to the end of the line. But living is the sights, the people, and the experiences along the way from the beginning to the end. If we rely on a pilot to get where we're going, then we may well find ourself on the opposite end of the earth before we discover our mistake. Those of us who have stepped on a bus or a plane know this to be true. We are told we're going to Europe, and when we depart the plane, we find everyone has yellow skin and speaking Chinese. Our luggage has arrived safely at its proper destination, but we have been stranded where we least wanted to be.
Make sure you have a capable pilot, and be sure to ask many questions and read the signs along the way. And don't forget to be where you are, instead of assuming you're where you're told you are.
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