Saturday, June 04, 2011

More Google searches: Bible stories about Hatred, Bible stories about respect. Can you name some?

A lot of people use scripture to defend their own ideas or justify the things they deem important. It always amazes me how we manipulate God's word but I guess that's what happened in the Garden of Eden to begin with. If you're a modernist you see modernist thinking in the scriptures. If you're a post-modernist you see post-modern. If you're a Crusader, you find reason to invade the Middle East. If you're a Puritan you find reason to burn witches. If you're a pacifist you find validation, too. Let me propose that God isn't any of those but He is all that the scriptures say about Him. So, does God intend us to take off our cultural lenses? Put aside our personal agendas before we come or bring them with us? I think He'll take us in whatever form we come if we come to listen and hear, willing to change. My understanding is that you can't enter the presence of God and not come back changed.

In order to go to God and ask Him what He thinks about something we need to be pretty familiar with the scriptures to start with, cover to cover, many versions. We need to take a word or concept and do an exhaustive search but always in context. If what we find seems to contradict itself no worries. It just means we have a long wrestling match ahead, especially when it seems to disagree with what we always thought we knew. And maybe that's the control, being open enough to listen and respond when we see things in God's Word that we weren't expecting. Or to say, "Yes, Lord, but didn't You also say..." As you search make sure you include all the stories about whatever your investigating. 

You could go the scholarly route of the original Greek and Hebrew but if most of us don't, didn't God design His Word to speak to us, too, or did He design it for us to go through scholars?

How does God feel about this? What does God think about that? Scripture says the secret things belong to God but the things revealed belong to us. (Deut 29:29) The scriptures tell us to search for Him with all of our hearts - whatever we do, to do it with all of our heart & mind & soul & strength. There are things that we don't know and we may never know. The Orthodox are content to say, "It's a mystery!"

Solomon in his wisdom said, there are times and seasons for things that seem diametrically opposed to each other. (Ecclesiastes 3). There are things in scripture that grate against our cultural and even religious sensibilities and what do we do with that? Gosh, if I have a problem with this, it must not be God. Nada! Or, "Look here, this gives me license to beat up some living thing because they didn't do things my way." I don't think that's it, either.

In some denominations they will always steer you towards traditional Church thinking to make sure you don't get way off base. In some churches they encourage spending more time with the parts of scripture that most people ignore or maybe they're more open to "revelation" and new ideas. If you've been steered way off base in traditional situations, you steer clear of that. If you've watched people go off the deep end you steer clear of the that.  But if you keep searching for Him with all your heart, He'll let you find Him. He's faithful to His own Word and to His People.  May God help us open our eyes and ears and hearts and take the journey to see all He allows us to discover about Him. .

I have great confidence in the God of the scriptures. Less confidence in us humans. For all the things that can go wrong and do, it amazes me that God still has such confidence in man. Go find His stories about Hate and Respect.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

We have a child getting married first wk in July and then we move and I'm starting a business. Time is at a premium around here but let's play with this just a little: Philippians for children (Holman translation):

Paul wrote a letter to his friends. I'm going to read you just a little bit. Pretend you are Paul's friends in Philippi.

When you remember someone does it make you happy? Do you pray for them? (1:3-4)

Promise: "He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (1:6) This is a wonderful promise for someone discouraged with themself.

Paul told them "I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the gospel." Are you partners with people who aren't part of your church?

This is a blessing: "And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (1:9-11) How would you "translate" that for a child?

Lots to talk about. How young can you go with some of these pieces? You can go pretty young with being happy and praying for someone when you think of them if you model it, not just talk about it. You could go pretty young reminding kids that God started something good in them and He won't quit until He's done.

Pick a translation. Bite off little pieces. Chew on it. Play with it. Offer it to a child. How can you bless him?

Quit while they're still asking for more. Don't keep pushing it until they can't wait for you to stop!!