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One Bible, So Many “Truths”

One Bible, So Many “Truths”

 

I wrote this while ago . . . but it is worth reposting with a few additions . . .

The other night, I was talking with my husband about a teaching I heard on end times, one area where there seems to be more theories than mosquitoes on a summer night in the Deep South; all fighting for life. Okay maybe not that many, but sometimes it feels like it.

Christians seem to disagree more than agree about the various aspects of our faith. What gives us our name, Christ, we agree on but outside of Him most beliefs are up for discovery; end times, hell, salvation by election, prosperity, authority, role of women, and state of church to name a few. The array of denominations and new ones popping up testify to the extent of our dissentions, but that isn’t how it should be. 1 Corinthians 3:3-7

In this life, disagreement will always be there because we are all in the process of learning but it shouldn’t divide us but unite. Dissensions can be beneficial in that they remind us not to put our trust in man’s words, doctrines or interpretations but to rely on God. The thoughts of man are futile, but God’s Word is perfect pure truth. Psalm 94:11, 12:6

But if we are all reading the same Bible how can we have so many different theories?

For several reasons, but I think one is about trust. If we depend on God to be our Teacher of His Word and not humans we move closer to truth and not farther away. There is one truth and He wants us to know it. The problem is many believers trust people instead of God. Therefore you get a multitude of philosophies and interpretations. How many are learning from God verses from highly esteemed teachers who are just passing along their limited understanding? That system gets us further and further from the truth. It’s like the game of whispering a secret from ear to ear around a circle. In the end it is quite humorous because the statement is much different than how it started. You have to go back to the source to know what was really said. Dwelling in the Source, the Word, you’ll start to see the multitude of lies out there being taught and believed by many.

Many believers aren’t sitting alone with God and diving into the Word with the Spirit as their teacher. There is often the accompaniment of a teacher, commentary or study guide. Not that anything is wrong with these at certain times, but if we rely on them to show us the truth, we aren’t relying on God and probably will be misled. It’s necessary to be with God alone on a regular basis and spend significantly more time with Him listening to His pure words without man’s interpretation than any other source to establish Him as the source of truth in our lives.

In Matthew 23:8, 10 the titles teacher and Rabbi denote authority in the area of instruction. The Rabbi held an honorable place in the synagogues and he was seen as the authority and expert in spiritual matters. When Jesus came, He took the place of the teachers who held that superiority as noted in the verse. Christ alone became The Teacher having preeminence in instruction about Him and His kingdom. He gave each one of us the Holy Spirit to teach us. 1 John 2:27 The Spirit gives us understanding of passages, applies them to our lives, prompts us to dig deeper, and takes us into the depth of God’s Words. If we trust Him to teach, ask for understanding and wait on His instruction, then He is faithful to teach us what we need to know when we need it know it. No one can teach us like He can because He knows exactly where we are at, how to build our understanding, write it on our hearts, and how to explain it so we understand. Jesus came and made everything personal including instruction. Galatians 1:11-12

In contrast, Paul tells us that God appointed teachers in the church. 1 Corinthians 12:28 However, this role doesn’t contain the authority of what Jesus spoke about in the previous verse. If so the verses would be contradictory. Teachers among the brethren are simply that, our brethren. All they say is secondary to our Teacher’s words. Growing up I had two brothers. No doubt in certain areas they were knowledgeable and I could learn from them, but they didn’t hold the authority, wisdom and overall instruction that my father did. Though they had points of enlightenment, they were young and immature like me and often lead me down the wrong path. It is the same within God’s family. For a healthy family, our Father, God, should hold the role as the utmost Teacher in each one of our lives. Both can’t hold first place. We need discernment in listening to others and that comes from spending time in the Word with the Spirit as our Teacher. It’s critical for the strength of His body, the true church, that each one of us builds our foundations on Him and not each other. 2 Timothy 4:3

The Word says that each one of us should be able to teach. 2 Timothy 2:24 That skill is a hint to how we should be spending our time. Students learn from the Master teacher not other students. From our fellow comrades, we share an insight, see another side of an issue, or get confirmation, but we have One, who is our Teacher. Learning from others and disagreement can be healthy, enriching, and a wonderful experience as long as our trust is in God for the source of truth and not man.

Without God’s Word no one can know the truth. There is one truth. The only way to gain truth is by spending time with Him alone one-on-one. I believe He designed it this way to draw us near to Him because He loves us. The one-on-one time builds trust and intimacy which lead us to fulfilling the first commandment and our ultimate eternal purpose – to abide with God in a unity of truth and love.

God isn’t limited by our educational backgrounds. He is able to teach each one of us one-on-one. He is God after all. Yet, if we don’t believe we won’t find. Our minds will be closed off and we won’t seek. We can’t get frustrated by the diversity or throw our hands up and think, how can I know? That mindset is counter to God’s will for us. We will never have the full picture but we can get continually closer. He wants us to know. He wants us to seek and to learn from Him. We have been given the Spirit to teach us and we need learn to hear His voice and to trust Him to do His job.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

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Why Bad Things Happen to Good People? (II)

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Part Two

In my previous post on Monday, I talked about the “good people” aspect of this question. Today I address the “bad things”. To subscribe to my videos go to my Youtube Channel, Stirring the Deep.

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”

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Rejoice Always

Rejoice Always

Rejoice

Rejoice

This morning during my quiet time I read 1 Thessalonians 5 . . . verse 16 says rejoice always. Isn’t it amazing that our God desires us to rejoice always? How much that declaration says about His heart for us. How much it says about the life He desires for us.

The other day, my husband and I saw a child jumping around, smiling, and having a great time for no apparent reason. Just enjoying life and feeling good to be alive. Completely in the moment, not trapped in the past or concerned about the future. She was one happy kid.

My husband said, “That is what it is like to be in the spirit.” And it is so true. Children don’t worry about what others think, they aren’t judgmental, they accept others’ differences, they openly love, they are affectionate, full of happiness, trust, don’t worry, and don’t carry their past around like a ton of bricks.

God calls us to be children in His arms, trusting, resting, in the moment, full of joy, and embraced in His love. This is the life He calls us to – what a God, what a gift. Yet, we so often exchange the life and freedom He gives by getting distracted trying to do His job – fixing ourselves, fixing others, trying to control our future, healing ourselves, proving our worthiness, providing and so on.

God came to simplify our lives and give us abundant life. If we truly believe and follow Him then our lives would be simplified hundred-fold and entail those things we truly desire.

God said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” All these things are the things that pertain to life. The things this world chases after we no longer have to because God is providing them for us. He takes care of us so we can focus on abiding with Him as His bride so that His power and glory may be shown through our lives.

A couple of years ago, I started to take this verse to heart. I worked at not working and instead at seeking and abiding. Though I still have a long way to go to be at a child-like status, I’ve let go of a lot in my life and I find I’m slowly moving to a life of trust and dependence. As a result, the changes in my life and true progress in me has been beyond what I thought possible. Once I trusted Him, then His work started to abound in me and in my life. I am fully convinced of the truth of this verse.

Most of us try to make it more complicated most of the time. We are busier than ever trying to live up to the extreme expectations this world places on us to be better, stronger and smarter. God says stop, I’ll take care of all that, just seek and abide. It isn’t giving up life; it is gaining it in abundance with freedom, rest and joy.

True, there are times we are brokenhearted like seeing the vastness of deception and death (physical and spiritual). And these heavy emotions bring us to the feet of God to cry out to Him from the depth of our souls. But He is the one to redeem, heal, and deliver. It isn’t about our strength and power but His. And His love and faithfulness infuses hope into all things. Because of Him and who He is to us we can rejoice always.

When you look at all His promises to us, there isn’t an area of our lives they don’t cover and our part in obtaining these promises is to trust and believe. Believe is our work John 6:29. And in a world that contradicts the ways of God it is indeed work. Our efforts and works have overtaken many of our beliefs. But the Christian faith is established on grace and God’s work in our lives – not ours. It is His performance, not ours.

In addition, becoming a child not only benefits our lives, but others. When we are a child, then He can truly “use” us. Because His love, power and truth move through us into the lives of others and we stop trying to force it by living out a weak copy-cat instead of the real deal. When we abide, in time His presence becomes a natural outward flow from our lives to the lives of others.

A child-like life comes from a new heart born of His Spirit. Our actions are the fruit of living with a new heart. This heart doesn’t come instantly. It starts small. It is cultivated over time as we grow in grace, knowledge and trust. If we trust Him, He will mold a child-like nature in us. He does it all. His Word is full of promises of what He will do for us. May we work to believe in them, live out the freedom they bring, and rejoice always.