Tag Archives: Paul

How does one discern God?

For me it is a couple of things, Studying the word, and Studying other people or groups that are discerning God.

Now, when I am studying for myself I am eclectic in my ways, I do not have(yet) a proven methodology of just doing one thing at a time. I am doing probably 10 things at a time, which I seem to like, because I haven’t changed much over the years. I have curiosities of different subjects on my mind at all times it seems so I am trying to tackle all of them at the same time. I am curious. This should be every christian in their walk with God. Never going without that everlasting water to feed us God.

Those that do not feel that they only need to spoon fed a drop of water on a certain day, seems to be just asking for it. How can one be ‘satisfied’ all week long, with just a spoonful? As was Paul when He was a pharisee was a zealous pharisee. He was a 100% pharisee. It was also the case when He became a disciple of Christ, He was fully enveloped into being one with Christ. Paul says so in multiple verses in his letters to this fact. He knew the scrolls, but he more importantly knew what they meant when God and Jesus were orchestrating things on earth and his people to know.

As in the beginning of the 1st century, there was multiple understandings of what God or Jesus was all about. The first issue that had to be worked out was, who Jesus was. Was he a man, was he a prophet, was he imposter,was he devil, was he a god, or was he all of the above? There is time where there is indecision for man to work out the paradigm that was just starting with Jesus on the scene. What did it mean. For the gentiles it was plethora of answers, for their world was wide open to anything. It is for the Jews that it was in their back of their heads, “Was this the ‘Messiah’ that we had been promised?”, How can we tell? People were giving all kinds of answers to these questions. It wasn’t until Jesus started to ask his own disciples(seems weird asking these men that had been following you around for months,who do you think I am?) who do you think I am? It was Peter that said “You are the Messiah”.

Some people believe that it is detrimental to get your hands dirty in ‘knowing’ other peoples mindset to a question or a belief, or a religion, but the significance of this is very important in my mind is that how does one minister to someone without ‘knowing’ them and their viewpoints. I am a believer in knowledge of the other christian beliefs to be able to ‘know’ what is out there to see what you are contending with.

I read. I don’t read just the things that I like. I have multiple books on things I need clarification on,new things, subject matters, people of the bible, history, prophecy,spiritual realm, authors,reference material, outside materials such as apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha , and some other inter-testimonial books. I watch sermons,talks,lectures, debates, and bible studies. It is cool just to listen to things outside the box of my beliefs that it strengthens my standing in my faith, but it also challenges it too. I have to ask myself, why do I believe this or that.

One thing that I have been coming across with people that I talk to in various discussions is the ‘concreteness’ of their stand that it is solidified in stone that this stand is and was the final statement that mankind was to believe in. My question to them is ‘if this was so, then it would of been seen as the ‘way’ for “everyone” in a instance. I believe that ‘we’ are getting close to that point but not yet.

I challenge people to do not sit on your tufit, waiting for you to be spoon fed that teaspoon of water, but to dig into it with a fork and a knife, to not only get the juice but the thick meat and vegetables of that hearty stew of God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deeper Understanding, Kingdom of God

It’s all about the “Word”

I am astounded on how much I learn on a daily basis of the bible. Although I am retired for the last year, I have continued my thirst for the word. My thirst before retirement was as just as thirsty when I was a working man in the world.

It is that thirst that drives me each day that I wake up to drink all I can. But is there anyone else out there the same way as I, that cannot sleep because they are thinking why did God do this to the people of Israel, or why Paul confronted Peter in Antioch? It’s that desire to ‘know’ God. Period. Either God doesn’t want me to sleep or I have a serious problem of thinking to much! Or it could be both?

God and or God’s word should be on our minds constantly as it says in the scriptures with the “pray without ceasing”, meaning that we should be talking to God all thru the day with our creator and author. It is this mindset that will get christianity on its way of ‘seeing’ and ‘knowing’ Him as He really is. God’s desire is one that started from the beginning of his desire of his creation and that mankind would be walking in His Garden again with Him. Walking and talking, living with your creator, what more could anyone ask for?

I was once asked how long should it take to ‘read’ the bible? I was referencing the aspect of most church’s that push the infamous one year or two year plan of reading the bible, when I suggest that I believe that it would probably take 50 years to actually ‘read’ it in the way that it should be understood. It is that proverbial saying that we do when we read a verse and say “I didn’t see that before”! It is that reading and re-reading things that build upon itself to see the ‘real’ understanding of God’s wisdom.

Another insight that I would suggest to the very newcomer of literature of the bible, is to start at the beginning, just as you would with any novel. The bible is a narrative by God thru man to tell His story of his creation and the journey that they take together. It is the journey of God that starts us with the eternal purpose of His. It is LIFE and filled with abundance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deeper Understanding, Kingdom of God

An Epistle of Christ

I am always reading books. I have alot of books. I don’t read them to just say that I’ve read them but I read them so that I understand what the author is trying to tell me. After all, this is what every author is trying to do, no matter what the genre you read.

My current book is the “Israel’s law and the Church’s faith” Paul and his recent interpreters. Like most books that I read they are not your average read a book in a day thing. No, they are ones that you have to read, then think and ponder, then reread it again, and to check the notes on the said paragraph and check the references in the bible for clarity. This is a very painstaking way to just read a book but it is the way one should make sure you understand what you are reading. What is really funny to think about is this is the way that Christians should read the bible, in a very systematic way with using the references and notes as guides to ‘see’ what the ‘author’ is really saying.

I say this by the fact that in this latest book I’m reading it mentions 2 Corinthians 3. 4-18 as a verse which backs up the author’s point. It is in this scripture that I see that it includes verses 2-3 which I will write.

2 Corinthians 3.2 Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts know and read of all men: 3. being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written no with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God’ not in tables of stone, but in tables that hearts of flesh.

verse v also And such confidence have we through Christ to God-war: 5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.

Now this is a very important ideal that we must ‘see’ in today’s paradigm of the christianity that we live in. For it is a very subtle but important thing to know it the setting of God. You see, Paul was talking to the corinthians thru letters, when in his building them up in to continuing what they were doing in their community, He tells them that they have been an a ‘epistle’ to him as a influence of their love of God.

It was because Paul seen and felt the Love of God in them as He himself had that the Spirit of God was with them in the same way. He tells them they are of the same mold because their are both filled with the Spirit of God, making them equal in God.

This insight that I had to stop and look it to it as I was reading, is the reason it takes me awhile to go thru my theology books. I am always stopping to ‘see’ something that is a ‘aha’ moment in my studying. But with no regrets I am always chalking it up to increasing my knowledge of Christ in my life.

To take this a even further in the scheme of things, knowing that we are one in the spirit of God with our spirit of Christ in us, we must ‘see’ that it is and should be Christ leading us,all of us into Christ’s presence of His Kingdom(Heaven). If you didn’t understand the former sentence(I am always hoping that people understand what I am trying to say, in a indirect way,sometimes this is futile, but I try anyway) This should tell us that ALL OF US(no titles included) are the community of God, we will someday be joined with other communities of God to be considered the BODY OF CHRIST!

It is mission to understand this and then to act upon it by being an ‘epistle’ of all of man!

P.S. Still not finished with the book!

Leave a comment

Filed under Deeper Understanding

Dying

This is a word that will change your life when someone says it about someone.

It is a word that creates things in your mind about the person in which it is said. It brings sadness, sorrow, horror and complete disbelief of the news. We know that this word points to ending of one’s life in the physical life as we know it. This mortal body is coming to an end of it’s time, for whatever reason that has brought about the dying of it. It will be over. Finished. Done.

It is with this mindset, and reality of death that we must use to instill in ourselves in the understanding of these verses in Romans 7.

      1      Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives?
      2      For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
      3      So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
      4      Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
      5      For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
      6      But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 7:1–6). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

This illustration of dying in and of the law is as true to the finality of something as a person that has just been told they are dying. This story of the law and its repercussions of living under its jurisdiction, is just devastating to one and its life of being.

Let’s break this down. Let me insert something here that is always helpful in understanding the scriptures. The Bible was ‘not’ written to us (ponder on this for a second) but ‘for’ us. The ‘law’ question that is being raised here is generally used for the Israelite’s in their worship of God. They have the 10 commandments. They also have 613 minor laws that are to be followed in the observances of these main laws. It is these that we are concerned about.

I am going to be talking not of the black and white of romans 7. 1-6 but of what it is actually saying to us in the deeper meaning of Paul’s illustration. The ‘law’ that is talked about is the ‘slavery’ that we are under with the power of ‘ the law’ of sin. We are slaves to it, we have no recourse but to follow it’s instructions. We are trapped. Sin is there. It is the law that exasperate it that makes it larger than life and brings it out into the front of our lives. It is all around us, in everything that we want to do, it is there, making us do the things that we don’t want to do.

The Law of marriage says that they and us today that if we are married, we are married to that person til death do us part. It is this and only this that cancels this bond. Anything outside of this bond is considered to be adultery for it is outside of the law.

Jesus uses the things of this world as the example of things that are to be understood in His Kingdom.(Not the other way around) It is here that we will transpose this example into what Jesus is really saying.

Jesus is telling us that our master is the sin of our flesh must die, so that we may again be with our original owner of God. Jesus, being the perfect example of fulfilling the law, and only one, must die to it, to then have no ownership of Him or of anyone else. Jesus has taken the effectiveness of the law and has abolished it, so that it will not have any influence on us.

God’s decree on His servants, is that they are free from bondage of the law, and are now servants of the creator. God is always faithful. He brings back to him his children that are lost. As like the prodigal son, God always will welcome us in our journey back to him with open arms, and to prepare that awesome feast for us to announce that all are back in the fold.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deeper Understanding, Kingdom of God

Observations

I am an observer. I have become over the years interested what people say and think, in whatever the circumstance I am in. I listen to people’s conversations on the street, in restaurants, in groups of friends, not just to hear them talk, but to listen to what they are ‘really’ are saying. I have veered off of my original school studies in college of Psychology, but more of a sociology angle of people. Although I was very interested in sociology in high school as well.

This leads me to my love of listening of a plethora of things and topics on Youtube. My playlist covers a gambit of topics that I have chosen to constantly be apprised on. I continually am researching and being aware of things that are currently being discussed, but also the history of things that are always being brought back up for discussion.

My most recent episode of youtube video was a production of someone that decided to venture out on a limb(which I applaud mightily) and ask three individuals of Israel and three individuals from palistine to talk in a setting to talk. The format of the discussion was set up by a host that would ask a question that they would agree or disagree on or just a question of inquiry of state of affairs between the two people. All six people would then walk over to a stool, three stools facing three other stools for a face to face discussion. They could chose to elaborate on their opinion on the question with a rebuttal coming from the other side of the discussion. It was a very civil discussion and very informative.

I have come away with two observations from this video, not about the subjects, but from a more humanity perspective. One, in the discussion after probably thru most of the discussion it came apparent from both sides that the problem of their issue, was that it was the governments on both sides were getting in the way of what the people wanted out of the whole issue. It was like if the people could talk to each other as a whole that they could come to a resolution in a matter of minutes. What was also apparent that these six people were from the opposite sides of conflict in their views, that they were not acting as an enemy after the talks, but were one on one talking with each other about various subjects that they had discussed earlier.

The second observation, was a brilliant move by the creators of this experiment( I again want to stand up and give them an ovation for what they did), their cementing of the end result of what the creators knew what would happen in their discussions of the actual participants of the parties involved, would not be going at their adversarial throats or even attacking each other in hatred. They knew the outcome!

After the questions had all been asked and discussed by all and the answers were satisfactory understood, there was a surprise to all six participants.

They were treated to a formal dinner brought in to them for them to sup together! All six of the individuals said they would enjoy the meal together! Is this just ridiculous? Two enemies sitting together and eating together as if nothing between them mattered! They were after all just eating a meal together! But what about the things that they were fighting about in the real world? They were enemies, fighting from afar and from side to side,they were standing up for their beliefs on the issues. How could this happen, people on the opposite sides, sitting down to eat together!

I want to expand on this last point with a couple of expansions of the point. One of the realities of the discussion is the intrusion of the government into the equation. It is the ulterior motives of the government that always gets in the way of things, but it is the people that are in the middle of things, that seem to not understand the fundamental needs of the people of just getting along with each other and just living their lives. For the people as a whole wish to live together in harmony.

The last point I wish to expound on is what happened at the end of the questions put on the six people of the video on youtube. The Meal.

I can’t enough say that this event is and was a powerful statement to mankind, but even more to the audience of christianity. I will now tell you that we have to go back to the New Testament and the story of Paul and Peter in Antioch of the actual historical confrontation but also the allegoric meaning of this story.

The story of Paul and his mission to the people of Antioch was the harmony of the message was the same within the gospel being taught. A key element was the justification of who was apart of the gospel? The answer was everyone. Jew and Gentile(anyone not Jewish), The chosen people were now not just for the people of Israel but of the whole world. This picture was realized in the actual sitting down with everyone involved in the gospel and eating with them. It was a cementing statement in a picture of sorts.

It is when Peter and Paul both understood this element of the gospel, and their evangelizing to all that were concerned to know the gospel. To really understand this soon to be confrontation in context we have to understand that it was Peter that was considered to be the leader of the assembly in Jerusalem, along with James.

But it is when James and a party of his men come to antioch to check on the people of antioch for themselves and see that Peter quickly arise from the table of the gentiles to sit with the jews to eat his meal that causes a scene. Paul, having seen what had happened, chastises Peter for not staying with the gentiles to eat and escaping to sit with his fellow jews. This was not the gospel! and Paul told him so.

It was almost a story within a story to this altercation. Why did Peter do what he did? Was he only standing for his convictions when he was with Paul, or did he not really believe that the gospel was just for the Jews? It was James and his party that were being put on trial in sorts because is this the way that the assembly in Jerusalem believed. This last part will have to be for a later time to delve into for a separate blog.

It is my opinion in this matter that this was a sign of Paul and Peter going their separate ways of understanding of the gospel. This matter in this story is not often really dug into for the real issues driving the story along. I honestly believe that Paul and Peter were not on the same page of the gospel. There was a divide of the gospel stemming from the ‘church’ in Jerusalem and all the other church’s, especially the ones started with Paul.

We will further talk about this story in coming blogs to maybe clear up some things between Paul and Peter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Organic Church

It’s a Journey

Oh, you can say that again!

Growing up in ‘church’ environment of doing or saying what everyone was claiming to be as a christian, was just normal. I guess it was the right of passage of being in the ‘church’ , you just continue on with what has been going on for generations, except with some minor modifications. But that is all. Same old things,said over and over,done over and over. But Why?

Until I finally asked myself ‘Why’ this and ‘Why’ that, what is the ‘church’ trying to do, what is christianity trying to be? How did we get here as the building of Christ believers?

It’s always good to start at the point of where you have been to ‘know’ where you are now. So the logical point of starting from is to look at how things have evolved in christianity, the good, bad, and yes there’s the ugly. Following christian beginnings is a rough and messy picture to cipher, but it does get us to the point of seeing of where we interrupted our beginnings to see if we got off on a good foot.

Christian beginnings were very thinly disguised from the start of the first century, there was no defining markers of ‘identity’ as was let’s say the Judaism sect was. Paul,Peter,James, and John were of different minds and of boundary markers of this ‘new way’. What was being emphasized was the ‘title’ that someone had given you, who you ate with, or what you believed in from your God.

This, to say the least is a picture of breaking glass of the real picture of what God was designing the perfect picture. This broad synopsis of what God’s people, God’s Temple, and who God was, never really comes into focus until around the 1000 ad when Constantine set up shop for the christians in the buildings of choice and with any interference from anyone. This model then collides with Peter’s model a few hundred years down the road that just creates the ‘ugly’ as we have talked about.

My overall synopsis of where we have gotten confused and more so, just plain, not ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’ what God thru the scriptures is telling us. It is getting past the words of scripture and ‘seeing’ what God is doing in this narrative collection of books and letters. This mistake has got to get us to re-look at the whole narrative of the bible in what the whole picture tells us.

Studying Paul of the N.T. has shed some light on the subject that we are on, that we might start our focus on. Paul was given the ‘spotlight’ for a reason in his walk to Damascus. It was a revelation of why Messiah was put into the scriptures, It was to bring back to Him the World of his creation. His after the fact of Jesus walk on the earth that he was proclaiming to make the world right to Him. His conquering of all the things that were making the world a captive of evil were now gone that the world may now be His.

Paul’s insight of the Jewish Old Covenant of what then God was doing with ‘a people'(His) was being carried over to the New Covenant but with the bindings off of his people that would make the real difference! The two covenants are really one, with the latter being freedom from man’s identity to God’s identity, where it was in the beginning.

Leave a comment

Filed under New Perspective

Face value

It is not face value.

It never was and never will be.

God is a very meticulous ,He does things through his creation and although they are subtle they can be very significant in it’s meaning. God is just that way. He doesn’t use a hammer to get his point across.

It is also the way He tells his story in his people. It is here where I think that maybe we have become lost in the story when we continue to look at things at face value at when, why, who, where things are accomplished at God’s work.

The man called Jacob, is just the thing to explain this misconception that goes on. It actually starts even at the very beginning of the story too.
But we will use Jacob  for this example because it is very crucial to the rest of the scriptures.

We have all heard the saying in the police shows “we have changed the names of the people involved to protect the innocent”. God in this case has done just the opposite, “He has pronounced the guilty of their real names to put them in HIS story!”

Let me explain, haven’t you noticed in the scriptures of old that to distinguish people or men that He has changed their names. Think on it, it will take your breath away when you realized that all through  the old testament that He was changing or elevating ‘characters’ in his story  to be used by him.

Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Simon to Peter, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul and there are others. This is important to remember throughout the story of God.

God’s desire to have his characters stand out from the crowd are important to see in telling the story, It was to  be God’s way of getting his story told thru them.  It was like producing a list of God’s people that were going to be in the play.

Now it is with Jacob that it takes a turn. Before in God’s use of changing a person’s name, He changed it still in a ‘singular’ way. But when He changed  Jacob’s name it became ‘plural’, Israel. It became a ‘people’.

This is actually apart of the bigger picture of the story, but for now we will concentrate on this emphasis. God’s changing of the name of Jacob to Israel was  a big clue in the direction that God was telling his story. It was actually a reference to Adam (who was to be the beginning of his people), the new name was to be the new character in God’s story.

It  is with this new name change that signals a new direction for God, He now will be using his people (Israel) as the new lead character in the story. They will be used as the example of  what God wants in this story.

The actual way that Jacob receives his honor of him being  the  ‘one’, is in itself a whole other change in transition for God. But a good one!

The significance of this transition of God’s story is key to telling the rest of the story in the new testament, which we have failed to use in our ‘seeing’ the storyline.

This is important part of the story to ‘see’ under the whole story that God is telling us and we must remember it through out the story.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New Perspective

Who was Paul?

Paul a servant of God who was sought by God.

It has been apparent thru out christianity that Paul was given the dubious title of ‘Pastor’ without any thought of anything else.

I, in my rebellious state and studies, see Paul as more of a ‘Town crier’, Heralder, a MC(Master of Ceremony) or an interpreter.

You see, He was announcing the “Good News”! This after all was what a town crier, or a heralder does. God sought him out while walking to Damascus to ‘use him’ as his town crier(in this case it was a world crier). Paul’s voice and circumstance from where he had been, leads to him being listen to in his claim of ‘Good News’. But it was God thru Paul that was telling the back story of why, and how God was the New King!(see Acts) Paul’s understanding of what had happened with the rich history of the jews and their God,their failure to keep him as their God, looking to other gods to live that brought God to show them that thru Jesus, He was again their future as it was foretold by the prophets that he would be.

The added bonus of Paul’s interpretation of the story  of the jews, was that not only that he was God of Jews, but He was the God of the ‘Gentiles’ too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Our walk

Back to the First

I am reading alot of blogs that there is alot of talk about relooking at the 1st century and the message that was being foretold by God. Theology that Paul was telling in his letters have been relooked at to see a different message.

I wonder if our belief has just come from our taking what has been given us from family,church belief,or just going along with whatever you have told. It is time we look for ourselves and really dig deep into the scriptures,history,books for the mindset of the jews,gentiles,babylon, the jewish life and their God.

For to long we have been spoon fed the bible and its meaning because ‘that is the way it is done’,but we need to meet together with 2 or 3 together and study the scriptures in more of in-depth way. Start with the old testament to understand God’s people, to understand the real eternal purpose that God was portraying in his people.

Do you see the same message that paul is portraying in his letters as your church,family,or faith?

Leave a comment

Filed under Our walk