Friday, September 30, 2011

Biblical Musings Colossians 2:19

and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. Colossians 2:19 (NASV)

What does this tell us about the body of Christ? How does it apply to our lives?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Army

The King's army went forward, marching in line, shields locked together ready to face the foe. But there were problems. Ofttimes the leaders marched out far ahead of the column and bore the brunt of the attack. Some claimed that some leaders preferred it that way so they would get the greatest honor. Some claimed that they were not given an adequate station, given the nature of their abilities. (Others might question whether their abilities existed or were as valuable as they claimed.) And there was the continual complaint against the members of the army who refused to bear their fair share of the burden. While there might be debate in any particular case, that there were such problems seemed unquestionable. Also, the army had long been divided into different platoons, each objecting to the methods and discipline of the others. But in spite of this, the army moved forward, accomplishing the purposes of the King.

Then one day there came consultants among the troops who pointed out the problems of the current system. They said if the army would listen to them, they would fix the problems. So they suggested new marching patterns that lacked the old interlocking row of shields and took much more practice to make work. And they put the leaders behind the army, where it was harder for the ranks to see where they were directing them. They issued softer and gentler weapons and shields in the hopes of doing less harm to the enemy and making it more likely that the enemy would join their side. Many started making forays on their own or with a few trusted companions, rather than staying with the army. Some even stayed at home to watch the action through a telescope. And there grew more divisions in the army, as groups fought over which of the new methods to adopt. These new methods did cause some inconveniences and the occasional unnecessary wound due to lack of a firm shield wall. But in spite of this the army moved forward, accomplishing the purposes of the King.   

Monday, September 26, 2011

Biblical Musings Romans 4:4,5

Now the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.  Romans 4:4,5 (NASV)

What does this tell us about salvation? How should it affect how we live afterward?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Biblical Musings Revelation 5:12

saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" Revelation 5:12 (NKJV)

What things here are ascribed to Christ? What difference does this make to us?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Ebb and Flow of Miracles

One argument that has been used against the continuing of the miraculous spiritual gifts is whether the gifts exhibited at the present time stack up to the miracles at the time of the apostles. It is claimed that we do not see the same degree of blatant miracles that were seen in New Testament times. All spiritual gifts are given according to the will of God (1 Corinthians 12:11) and are used within the will of God (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Now there do seem to times that God is particularly blatant in His outpouring of miracles.  The times of the Exodus, of Elijah and Elisha, and of the New Testament are examples of these. These seem to happen at times God is instituting some new thing. But this does not mean that all miracles or miraculous gifts vanish in the times in between. There are miracles seen in those periods (Judges 15:14-19; 2 Kings 19:35; 1 Kings 13:3-5). Therefore, just because God is not working in as blatant a way does not mean He has stopped working miracles or giving miraculous gifts in the times in between. Now we do need to test a particular miracle, whether it is from God or is a coincidence or is some kind of placebo effect (1 Thessalonians 5:21,22). But we cannot say because we do not see the dead raised or the Red Sea parted that no miraculous gifts exist at this time.    

Monday, September 19, 2011

Biblical Musings Philippians 3:13,14

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14 (NKJV)

What things are involved in running the race? How do we carry them out?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Biblical Musings 2 Corinthians 10:4,5

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 (NIV)

What are these weapons? How do they accomplish the purposes stated?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Following Our Impulses

There is a danger in seeing all our impulses as the leading of God. We are sinners (Romans 3:23); our heart is deceitful and cannot be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9). Also, we are called to trust in God, not our understanding, (Proverbs 3:5,6) and to test whether something is from God (1 Thessalonians 5:21,22). Now the temptation here is to totally reject any impressions as being from God. But then we are left to rely totally on our human wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:18). The problem with this is we can end doing things based on what makes sense to us rather than acting in faith (Hebrews 11:13-16). Sometimes God called people to do things that did not obviously make sense from the human perspective (Joshua 6:1-5; Acts 8:26-40; 16:6-10). But there is a danger here. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that some impulse is God speaking, when it is really only us. This is not always easy to figure out. We must, of course, reject anything that is contrary to Scripture (Isaiah 8:20). The problem comes when we meet something of a serious nature where there is no clear-cut   Scriptural command. This takes careful consideration, prayer, and, ideally, seasoned experience. But we need to remember that God is in control of our lives to accomplish His purposes in  them (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11; 2:10). And we need to live our lives with our trust in Him, not our impulses (Psalms 127:1,2).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Biblical Musings John 3:18

"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18 (NIV)

What are the implications of this statement? How should it affect how we live?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Biblical Musings 2 Timothy 2:3,4

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3,4 (NASV)

What do these verses say about how we should live? What does it mean to live as a soldier?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

To Those in Authority

We are told to be subject to those in authority over us in the church (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13; 1 Timothy 5:17). But it also says that those who are in charge should not lord it over others but be servants (1 Peter 5:1-4; Luke 22:24-27; John 13:3-11). But too often the leadership of the church can be seen as salesmen set in place to meet the congregations' needs, and the leadership can see the congregation as subordinates to carry out their programs. They can end up seeing each other as hired hands. But we need to see that Christ is the one who is really in charge of His church (Colossians 1:18; 2:19; Matthew 16:18). And it is only as we see ourselves in relation to Him that we can find the right balance in terms of human leadership. Then we can be subject, though not mindlessly subject, to authority, recognizing the higher authority. And we can avoid being more concerned about upholding our authority than what is right.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Biblical Musings Matthew 16:18

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it." Matthew 16:18 (NASV)

 Who will build Christ's church? What is that church? What does this mean for us today?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Biblical Musings Isaiah 44:6-8

"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, let them show these to them. Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.  Isaiah 44:6-8 (NKJV)

What does this tell us about God? How should it affect how we live?