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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Is God A Fool?

Is God a fool, does He lack wisdom or judgment, in your opinion? I ask this question because only two answers are possible. “Yes” or “no.” If you answer “yes” that’s okay. If you don’t know God I would expect you to answer “yes.” If you don’t know God and you say “no,” then you are lying. Now, I’m not being crude or uncaring  there is logic in play here. If you believe God has wisdom and has righteous judgment, yet you still refuse to receive his free gift of forgiveness and live for Him then you’re the fool, not God. Do you see how that works? Simple isn’t it. On the flip side, if you know God and you answer “no” to the question, that’s okay too. “No” would be the expected answer, if you know God. However, if you know God and your answer is “no,” but you ignore His wisdom and deny His judgment, then you should have answered “Yes.” You are the fool, not God! Not to be unkind, but if you accept the free gift of forgiveness of sin and say you will live for Him and shun the Lordship of Jesus Christ in your life, then you are still living for yourself. Living for yourself is what got you into the place of needing forgiveness to begin with. Paul the apostle challenges us with a sobering question;

“At one time when you had no knowledge of God, you were under the authority of gods who had no existence. But now that you come to know God, or rather, are known by Him, how can you revert to dead and sterile principles and consent to be under their power all over again?” Galatians 4:8, 9

If the above paragraph is unclear to you, allow the Apostle Paul to clear it up with the Holy Scripture. Again, from Galatians, chapter 6 verses 7, 8.

“Don’t be under any illusion: you cannot make a fool of God! A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows. If he sows for his own lower nature his harvest will be the decay and death on his own nature. But if he sows for the Spirit he will reap the harvest of everlasting life by the Spirit.”

If a farmer wants to grow corn he must sow corn. Common sense tells him he will not harvest corn if he plants beans!  In a sense, we are all farmers in this life. What do you want to harvest? What you harvest will be determined by what you plant.

Do you believe in “karma?” In a nutshell, “karma” says to have good things happen to you, you must do good things, if you do bad things then bad things will happen to you. The motivation behind “karma” is you working to determine your future position in your next “reincarnation!” You are working to better yourself in the next life, hoping to become good enough to become a god, otherwise, you could return as a worm in a cow pie.

God the Father planted a “seed.” His name is Jesus, the Son of God. The harvest that is being produced is many “sons and daughters.” The Father likes that! In fact, the main purpose of sending His Son to die and resurrect is not so many could be saved from eternal hell, but to place you in possession to be the son or daughter He hungers for. Not going to a place of eternal suffering, a place God made for the Adversary, not humans, is a by product of salvation, not the focus. More on this subject at another time, God willing.

My point now is this: what we choose to do in this life determines what we reap. Life or death. We get to choose! As much as God desires you He still allows you to make your own choice between Him (life) or self (death). If hell sounds too harsh coming from a loving God perhaps you are forgetting His righteousness, His holiness, or just the value He places on the Son that suffered unfairly, for us all! This is the identical dilemma Adam and Eve faced in the garden, standing at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God or me; God or me… God’s a fool; me, chomp!  Thus, man became aware of spiritual death (separation form God), sin, shame, corruption. The choice was made, the price was paid. Now, only Jesus can erase the spiritual separation from God of that fateful decision. That’s awesome!

So, why do we still struggle so with making good decisions (plant good seed)?

  • Too ignorant: While there is no quick fix for this we are given excellent directions,

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable to Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity.” (Romans 12:1, 2)

  • Too self-serving:

“Here is my advice. Live your whole life in the Spirit and you will not satisfy the desires of your lower nature. For the whole energy of the lower nature is set against the Spirit, while the whole power of the Spirit is contrary to the lower nature. Here is the conflict, and that is why you are not free to do what you want to do, but if you follow the leading of the Spirit, you stand clear of the Law.” (Galatians 5:16, 17)

Paul’s heart recognizes the necessity of yielding to the ways of God in our lives rather than the ways of our own desires.

Those persons that attempt a balancing act between the Spirit and the flesh will always find it a losing battle. If God says it can’t be done, but you think you are the exception, you must think yourself wiser than God and therefore above God. Lucifer fell for that lie and now there is hell to pay, pun intended.

Where does that put the believer? In danger, if they flirt with the same temptation.  When convinced it is okay to confess God and rejoice over the benefits of the most high God while shacking up together, without a covenant agreement, someone must be a fool and it is not God. When you think one hour a week is for God and the rest for self then you either don’t have a clue as to why God created you, or you don’t care about what God wants to begin with. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked…” Galatians 6:7a (NASB)

This is not a “condemnation” against some Christians, or an attempt to tell them what to do. I have weaknesses and failures in my life and I surely don’t want someone condemning me for them. I do, however, appreciate someone, honest and without malice, challenging me to look at my life critically and reminding me what my life as a believer is about. It is about serving and pleasing the God of mercy and grace who has poured Himself out for me because He desires me to fulfill the purpose He has called me to! To me that is great, to Him that is Glory. So rejoice believer! If you find yourself trying to serve Life and Death then take the foot out of Death and commit yourself to God and to His Righteousness (see Matthew 6:33). To serve The Almighty God with all our spirit, soul and body is the greatest privilege we have on this side of eternity!

Sowing and reaping is not solely based on what we do, but also, what we say. An irritant to me in my life is when I align my words (seeds) with a coarse word (seed) that is crude, insincere, or hurtful. Allow me to give you a typical example of each:

  • Crude: “That’s a pile of crap!” That might be softer that another four letter word, but it produces the same image! “I got screwed on that one!” “Screwed” is the more acceptable word in Christian circles, but the same image is released as the degrading 4 letter one! Perhaps we should stop the word dance and use the popular foul word if we intend to produce the same image in the mind of the hearer. Or, better yet, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within…” Romans 8:2 If you are taken advantage of in a situation, don’t “slang it,” describe it more accurately, be intent on producing a more accurate image.
  • Insincere: “O, my God, did you see that new …?” My apologies if that’s said as a prayer…., but we all know it is not prayer. The expression, “OMG,” or other facsimiles, are not prayers but efforts to bring emphasis to a declaration. Do we seriously want to use God’s name in vain to make a point of emphasis? That is expected in the unbelieving world, they are ignorant of the things of God, but believers? Why would we want to trivialize God, our Friend, our Savior, our Lord! Check out the Ten Commandments if you think God doesn’t notice the way His name is used.

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” (NASB)

  • Hurtful: “That will be the death of me yet!” “I’ll die if I don’t get what I want!” “He’s an idiot if he doesn’t do that.” These might all sound harmless, especially if we don’t “really” mean it, after all, isn’t it only an expression? Like it, or not, that is aiding and abetting the enemy! That is speaking the things of death rather than the things of life over people and situations. It is easy to take too lightly the words that issue from our mouth. Jesus’ half brother, James, says the tongue is as dangerous as any fire, with vast potentialities for evil, spreading poison and making life a blazing hell. He goes on to proclaim that no man can tame the tongue (only God can, if you co-operate)! Also, He describes the tongue as capable of “blessing” and “cursing.” Solomon, declared to be the wisest man born of a natural father made this defining statement:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NASB)

We are not the master of our own destiny except for making the choice to live in the ways of God and Life, or live in the ways of the Devil and Death. Thank God we have the privilege of choosing!

Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture references are from The New Testament in Modern English, by J. B. Phillips

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Is God A Fool?

 

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A Soldier’s Mentality

Every year we celebrate Veteran’s Day. It is a day to remember the service of the men and women that have endured, or are enduring, the difficult hardships related to serving our country, especially in a time of conflict. You might argue whether or not the warring between nations is necessary or not, right or wrong, but the high cost of service for the individual is real. It comes with the territory.

Paul, the apostle, was encouraging young Timothy to be strong and bold in his service to God. He told him to,
“Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ’s army.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 2:3).
Too few of us are not aware of our responsibilities as a disciple of Christ. More often we are trained as disciples to “bless” the comfortable events of Christian living and “curse” the uncomfortable events. This is not the Gospel Paul preached.

He taught there was more to the Good News than just being forgiven and set free from the authority of sin. In fact, it is only the beginning of an even more exciting journey. With the sin question supernaturally dealt with we must go on to fulfill the very reason for the forgiveness given us through Christ. Paul identified this challenging journey saying,
Accept, as I do, all the hardship that faithfulness to the Gospel entails in the strength that God gives you. For he rescued us from all that is really evil and called us to a life of holiness—not because of any of our achievements but for his own purpose. Before time began he planned to give us in Christ the grace to achieve this purpose, but it is only since our Savior Jesus Christ has been revealed that the method has become apparent.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 1:8a-10a)

Paul made this same plea in the Letter to the Christians Ephesians.
“Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we should be adopted as his own children (Gk, huios, should be translated sons) through Jesus Christ…” (Phillips, Eph 1:3-5)

As a soldier in the service of our country you go through a very intense time of basic training. Designed to equip you with a foundation, you grow in responsibility and ability in your duty of service.

As a soldier in God’s army there are basics you must embrace to help grow toward a maturity that God has defined in his word. Comfortable and hard situations that we face is part of your experience in basic training, and how you respond will help to measure your progress. God defined it as “A life of holiness.” (Phillips, 2 Tim 1:9) And in Ephesians he describes this maturing as becoming, “His holy and blameless children living within his constant care.” (Phillips, Eph 1:4) We learn from both scriptures the “calling” from God is only available to us “in Christ.” To attempt to achieve this divine “calling” by any means other than “in Christ”  would destine the believer to failure and frustration. Only in the power of your personal relationship with Jesus and the unfolding of truth by the Holy Spirit can you grow in the plan and purpose of God. It might not be as comfortable as you would like, but it comes with the territory.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Right Philosophy For Living

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http://clipart.christiansunite.com/Pictures_of_Jesus_Clipart/With_His_Disciples_Clipart/

Have you ever thought of yourself as a philosopher? Does the very word “philosophy,” “philosopher,” etc. invoke uncomfortable concepts in your mind. What comes to mind when you think of “philosophy?”

DeVerne Fromke, in his book “Ultimate Intention” shares about this concern:

“Many may be concerned by the use of the term “philosophy.” There is a vain philosophy of this world which we are warned to avoid. But there is also a divine philosophy. The very fact God made man with a deep gnawing in his bosom which longs to know “why,” “why,” demonstrates that man is born a philosopher. Failure to properly answer the philosophical gnawing in man’s breast is causing fundamentalists by the hundreds to become fertile soil for the false philosophies  of the world.”

We are warned by the writer of Colossians in chapter 2 verse 8,

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” NASB

That is a warning that has severe implications as stated above. Paul is not writing, however, to say all philosophy is bad anymore than he would say all wisdom is bad. We have but to read the scripture passage  in 1 Corinthians 1:18 thru 2:13 to understand there is a wisdom that is worldly, or humanistic and a wisdom that is divine, from the mind of God. The warning here is to allow the divine “system” of wisdom to direct your life, your motives, purpose and vision for God’s eternal plan and for yourself. Any other “system” of life directing philosophy will lead to actions that will take you away from the path of reality to frail motives, fake purposes and false visions. Even the everyday decisions you make from your unique perspective reflect better judgment when your life is directed by God’s wisdom. So, wisdom speaks that I must decide what philosophy of life I want to  determine my motivation, define my purpose and establish the direction in my life!

So, where does this divine philosophy come from? Where is it’s starting point? How is it administered? God, our Father, has summed up all talk of this invaluable divine philosophy down to a “ Person,” “Christ Jesus! That’s right. The philosophy that truly meets man’s deepest needs and glorifies the Godhead is the Person of Christ Jesus.

DeVerne Fromke continues:

 “…God’s answer to man’s need is not a philosophy, but a Person. Paul knew better than to meet the Corinthians on the level of human philosophy. Instead, he preached what was to them an obnoxious message – Christ crucified. God used this message to manifest His power. He used that which seemed like utter foolishness to uncover their pride of intellect and man-centered wisdom. Such is God’s way. We present a Person, Jesus Christ, who becomes a divine way (philosophy) of life in us.”

We see this confirmed in God’s Word:

1 Corinthians 1:30

“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

The same passage in the Ferrer Frenton translation of God’s Word:

1 Corinthians 1:30

“But from Him you exist in Christ Jesus who has brought a philosophy from God to us—as well as righteousness, purity and redemption”

The Person of Christ IS our Wisdom, our Philosophy, and He is the only Philosophy qualified to shape our morals, character and expressions in this life to God’s glory and for our good!

God bless!

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in You Are A Philosopher

 

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Categories of Philosophy

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Do you see yourself as a philosopher yet? This might sound like a strange question, but it really isn’t. The reality is that we are all philosophers. It is in our DNA from the time of Adam. Whereas the animal kingdom is governed largely by instinct, we have been designed by our Creator to be in His image and likeness. We are creatures of reason and logic with a precondition to learn new and different things. We have a God-given mind that requires feeding. We can feed it with bad input, good input or the best input. What feeds our mind determines how we view life and respond to it. That becomes our philosophy for living.

We all will choose between two opposing philosophical narratives. That decision will define our fellowship with God. An earthly, or human wisdom and a divine wisdom as declared clearly in 1 Corinthians 1:18 through 2:13. I encourage the reading of those scriptures to clarify this subject matter.

Two definitions will help qualify the balance of this post.

Philosophy – System, process of thought, wisdom.

Philosopher – A person who lives and thinks according to a system of philosophy.

As expressed in the above scriptures it is fair to say that human wisdom comes from the character of mankind and divine wisdom comes from the character of God. Character, by Webster’s Dictionary, is the complex of mental and ethical traits marking a person.  Which of the two do you think is worth taking to your grave?

Adam and Eve had to choose the “system” of wisdom that would govern their lives. These opposing philosophies were offered by way of two trees planted in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Why were they placed there? God’s glory expressed in His eternal plan and purpose necessitated man’s free-will choice to obey God or self. The tree of life offered the choice of being governed by a divine philosophy from God and administered by the Holy Spirit. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil offered the choice of being governed by human philosophy from one’s own spirit man who died to the Spirit of God when the forbidden fruit was eaten. This decision required them to be dependent on a restricted philosophy that included the overwhelming influence of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life; see 1 John 2:16.

Adam and Eve were in God’s grace at the moment of creation and through a cloaked temptation they choose to disobey a direct command given to Adam by God. God’s grace departed them leaving them to their own ability.

We have not escaped the predicament of making that same choice in our own life. We can accept the gracious offer from God to receive divine wisdom, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, to govern our decisions, or we can certainly hang onto the wisdom we now have. That wisdom does not satisfy in the long-term and ends in the Lake of Fire through the choice we made!

We, being originally outside God’s wonderful grace, due to our own sin, are wooed by the Spirit of Grace to come under that precious gift. By free-will choice to accept the Person of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected, we are saved by grace through faith.

Please note: Grace means “unmerited favor,” “receiving what we don’t deserve” AND depicts God’s ability working on our behalf!

Allow me to give an example; Eph 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” NASB

This could be read as;
“For by God’s ability you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; NASB

Bless God!

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in You Are A Philosopher

 

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The Decision Is Yours

God’s Word has three distinct ways the word “wisdom” is expressed in the New Testament using the Greek word “sophia.” The previous blog, “P2 Categories of Philosophy,” explored the expression of two of those ways in 1 Corinthians 1:18 thru 2:13. Wisdom, as it is used in the above verses is defining the difference in earthly, or human wisdom (man-centered); and divine, or Godly wisdom (God-centered), presented to us in the Person of Christ Jesus. Referring to 1 Corinthians 1:30: as a Christian, if Jesus is our Righteousness and our Sanctification and our Redemption, then He is also our Wisdom sent to us from God.

Do you live under the influence of human wisdom or Godly wisdom, or a mixture? I am in the mixture class myself as the process of transformation from human to divine wisdom  is a progression involving the renewing of my mind to the ways of God. (See Romans 12:1-2)

James, the half-brother to Jesus, addresses another aspect of divine wisdom in James 1:5-6,

 “5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

This wisdom is the same word “Sophia,” but from the context you can see is a prayer for wisdom for a specific situation or specific circumstances. James was speaking about trials in this passage and decisions we need to make. God would rather we ask Him in place of seeking it from another sources.

 

For further study, I reference the follow excerpt: (from The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993)_

NT:4678 (Strong’s Concordance numbering system)

4678. sophía; gen. ‎sophías‎, fem. noun from ‎sophós ‎(4680), wise. Wisdom, skill, tact, expertise in any art.

In the NT, it refers to wisdom:

(I) Skill in the affairs of life, practical wisdom, wise management as shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgment and good sense (Acts 6:3; 7:10: Col 1:28; 3:16; 4:5). ‎Stóma ‎(4750), mouth, and ‎sophían ‎in Luke 21:15 means wise utterance.  (II) In a higher sense, wisdom, deep knowledge, natural and moral insight, learning, science, implying cultivation of mind and enlightened understanding.

(A) Generally (Matt 12:42; Luke 11:31 [cf. 1 Kings 4:30]; Acts 7:22). Implying learned research (Col 2:23); a knowledge of hidden things, of enigmatic and symbolic language (Rev. 13:18; 17:9; Sept.: Job 11:6; Proverbs 1:2; Dan. 1:17).

(B) Specifically of the learning and philosophy current among the Greeks and Romans in the apostolic age intended to draw away the minds of men from divine truth, and which stood in contrast with the simplicity of the gospel; called by Paul ‎sarkike ‎(4559), fleshly, pertaining to the flesh (2 Cor 1:12); the wisdom of the world (1 Cor 1:20ff.; 3:19ff.); of men (1 Cor 2:5); of the wise (1 Cor 1:19); words of man’s wisdom (1 Cor 2:4,13); the world through wisdom (1 Cor 1:21); not in wisdom of words, meaning not with mere philosophy and rhetoric (1 Cor 1:17; 2:1).

(C) In respect to divine things, wisdom, knowledge, insight, deep understanding, represented everywhere as a divine gift, and including the idea of practical application. It is used metonymically for ‎gnosis ‎(1108), knowledge or theoretical knowledge (Matt 13:54; Mark 6:2; Acts 6:10); divine knowledge (Eph 1:8). ‎Sophía ‎stands for divine wisdom, the ability to regulate one’s relationship with God, and is distinct from ‎phrónesis ‎(5428), prudence, the ability to know and deal with people (1 Cor 12:8; Eph 1:17; Col 1:9: 2 Peter 3:15). Specifically of insight imparted from God in respect to the divine counsels (1 Cor 2:6,7). Metonymically of the author and source of this wisdom (1 Cor 1:30). As conjoined with purity of heart and life (James 1:5; 3:13,15,17). See Luke 2:40,52.

(III) The wisdom of God means the divine wisdom, including the ideas of infinite skill, insight, knowledge, purity (Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 1:21,24; Eph 3:10; Col 2:3; Rev 5:12; 7:12). Of the divine wisdom as revealed and manifested in Christ and His gospel (Matt 11:19; Luke 7:35; 11:49).

(IV) Fear, wisdom, generally the knowledge of how to regulate one’s relationship with God, wisdom which is related with goodness. When one is wise unto God, he is ‎phrónimos ‎(5429), prudent with others and knows how to regulate circumstances.

Deriv.: ‎philósophos ‎(5386), philosopher.

Syn.: ‎sœphrosúne ‎(4997), soundness of mind; ‎súnesis ‎(4907), the capacity for reasoning, intelligence, understanding; ‎phrónesis ‎(5428), prudence, moral insight; ‎epínoia ‎(1963), thought.

 

So, the decision is yours individually as to the resource you use to determine how and who you dedicate your life to, and who you desire to glorify.

 

Bless God!

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in You Are A Philosopher

 

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Let’s Get Started

You surely have heard the question, “Why are there so many different opinions on what the Bible says?” It is a fact that ten different Christians can read most scriptures and they will have ten different opinions as to its meaning or purpose. Could it be that God’s Word was written to be obscure? Or is there another reason? I’ve heard it said, “Well, it’s all in how you look at it.” WOW! What a revelation! That’s the right answer; the opinions are determined by how THEY look at it. Let’s explore that!

Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, writes in his book, “The Purpose Driven Life;” and I quote:

“One day you will stand before God, and he will do an audit of your life, a final exam, before you enter eternity. The Bible says,
“Remember each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God… Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.” (New Living Translation) Fortunately, God wants us to pass this test, so he has given us the questions in advance. From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask us two crucial questions:
“First, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?” God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him? Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)
“Second, “What did you do with what I gave you?” What did you do with your life—all the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships, and resources God gave you? Did you spend them on yourself, or did you use them for the purposes God made you for?”

This quote was from chapter three entitled, “What Drives Your Life?” In this chapter the very first sentence is, “Everyone is driven by something.” He continues to probe the common driving forces behind our lives, the five most common being: Guilt –– Resentment and anger––Fear––Materialism––And need for approval. These driving forces are used in our lives to add perspective to the things we hear and how we respond.

Of course, as is evident from the book’s title, the proper driving force behind our lives should be a “purpose driven” life. The “purpose” that is to drive us is God’s purpose, not our purpose, not our parents purpose, not our neighbor’s purpose, not our spouse’s purpose, but God’s purpose. God always has a better purpose for us than we do!

Few Christians would argue with that statement, yet its acceptance and expression would be based on their individual standard, or bias…

Quoted from “Ultimate Intention” by DeVern Fromke, Chapter One, under Added Material.

“Consider four segments of Christendom and their divergent burdens:
  1. First, the Liberals see the desperate needs of mankind and would emphasize the social work that needs to be done BY MAN.
  2. Second, the Fundamentalists, while recognizing social needs, know the emphasis must first be placed on redemption—that which God must do FOR MAN. Let no one minimize how important this really is.
  3. The third segment, often called the Holiness groups, insists that all this is too shallow. They would place the emphasis rather on the work which God must do IN MAN.
  4. And fourth, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements are presently exploding around the world. Their leaders would insist that they combine all the above emphases, yet a closer discerning look might question the reality of that. And many would agree that they may have unwittingly allowed the above three to be overshadowed, because of their strong emphasis on man’s need for spiritual gifting and empowerment if God is to work THROUGH MAN.
“To sum it up then, we recognize God’s work BY, FOR, IN, and THROUGH man. Surely all four seem to have their place, but let us consider further.”
 

There are two major influences that shape what we know and how we react to that knowledge. The standard, or bias we pass information through and also the perspective from which we view that information.

So, if I read scripture and I measure it against my life experiences, leanings, etc. (that is, bias) and I view it from the perspective of my needor the needs of others, I will fall short experiencing the fullness of that scripture. I can’t possibly live its fullness because I judge it by an incorrect bias and the wrong perspective.

Bias (Webster) = A mental leaning or inclination; prepossession; propensity toward an object, not leaving the mind indifferent.

Perspective (Webster) = The aspect in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed.

DeVern Fromke continues describing the Liberal, the Fundamentalist, the Holiness, the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements as centering their emphasis on “man” creating a philosophical bent that God’s purpose would be measured against.

This philosophical bent could lead us to conclude that God’s Word is primarily about His working to meet the needs of man, making man the center of all that He is doing. But, is this true?

An incorrect center, a “man-center,” re-enforced by various biases warp our understanding of God’s Word. If we digest God’s Word from a larger, accurate perspective, that is, a “God-center,” we would find ourselves filtering our biases through the Word rather than the Word through our biases.

Years ago I found an Illustration containing various perspectives:

Four Christians are going to climb a high mountain. We’ll call it Mt. Scripture. Each was climbing a different side of the mountain. When they reach halfway they each stop to reflect on their trip and to record what they see.

  1. One sees even other mountains with snow capped peak standing proud in the clouds–such Majesty!
  2. Yet another sees a large ocean with powerful waves and great swelling whitecaps–such Power!
  3. The third man looks out over rivers and streams wandering through dense forests and rolling meadows–such Peace!
  4. The last man sees flat lands with rich dark soil and abundance of crops in a quilt of color–such Prosperity!

Their joy in getting to their respective place and the wonder of what they saw prompted them to set up camp and spend the rest of their lives there on Mt. Scripture. Eventually, goaded by something not seen nor understood, the first man decided to break camp and continue up the mountain. As he reached the peak he was absolutely flabbergasted! He was now able to see, not only his previously limited view, but now he could see what the other men could see and more–now he could appreciate all things from a totally new perspective.

Using the examples of the book quotes above, their driving force would be a developed bias. Another bias would be atheism. These are the filters, or prejudices incoming information would process through.

Using the illustration of the mountain climbers, any perspective, or view other than from the peak would necessarily be a limiting view. That would not give you a complete picture of all that Mt. Scripture had to offer.

To set aside our handicaps (biases and limited perspectives) is doable if we acknowledge our God given vantage point!

You may already know the right scriptures, you possibly use the right words, so understand, as far as the Father is concerned you are already on the mountain peak, in fact you are higher.. Paul voices this truth in Ephesians 2:6, “and (God) raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”

From this vantage point, we just need to remove the “religious blinders” from our spiritual eyes. Maybe you’re thinking,” I’m not religious, I’m Christian, religion serves man, but I serve God!” But consider this; if your Christianity serves you then you are a “religious” Christian! If your Christianity is more about you than it is about God then you are a “religious” Christian.

I said a moment ago that you may already know the right scriptures, and that you probably use the right words, and, as far as the Father is concerned you are already seated with Christ in the heavenlies. So, if we are determined to study God’s Word and process it though our personal perspectives, or our Christian biases we will continue to fall short of God’s glory. By the power of the Holy Spirit in us we don’t have to fall short of His glory.

Later I want to take a quick journey through some significant scriptures in Job. If we don’t read Job to understand what this event means to GOD we will miss the most striking reason for Job’s story. To do this we must have in mind the bigger picture of God’s motive and purpose, in other words, “Why did You do that God?”

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Let's Get Started

 

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