Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another look

My mind has a tendency to wander at its own pace, and wherever it chooses; sometimes I am even surprised at where it can take me. This morning’s Bible reading took me into the twenty-first chapter of the gospel of Luke. What an interesting chapter…the disciples asked Him what they should be looking for when the end time would be.

But for me, the impetus, that caught my attention was verses 34 through 36 as I read them in the New American Standard edition:

34. Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation {The act or state of being dissipated; mental distraction; excessive indulgence in luxury, especially drink or vicious pleasures. Noah Webster} and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; 35. for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

My mind reminded me of my discussions regarding dispensationalism. The gospels were written for Jewish Christians, yet, Jesus is recorded as saying, “It will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth”. That apparently eliminates the idea of the gospels only being directed to the Jews. Funny, as I read the five books of Moses, I see the idea that God is more than willing to incorporate non-Israelites into the Israelite family, provided they will voluntarily relinquish any and all allegiance to foreign gods: of course they could never attain to the priesthood, but they were allowed all the other privileges available.

We are, today, in the dispensation of “Grace”. I understand that to mean, that we are not responsible for any sins we may commit, because the Blood of Jesus has forgiven all our sins, past, present, and future. Yet, here, practically in the same breath Jesus tells His disciples, and the entire world, to be on guard to not let their hearts be weighted down with the three most popular reasons for existence in this postmodern world. So, how do we answer Jesus at this point? I will be the first to admit that only God knows who is going to be saved for eternity; and only God knows how much our dissipation, drunkenness and the worries of this life, hurt God.

Finally, Jesus commands that we keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that we may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. I am of the mind, that if we are keeping on the alert and praying, at all times, we are going to have less of an opportunity to relish in dissipation, drunkenness, or the worries of life. And I believe, therein lies the beneficence, or efficaciousness of Grace: for in that state we are going to be less distracted by anything, and definitely more involved with building and deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ. As we become closer to Jesus, building our relationship through prayer, we know that He knows us, and that gives us the strength to stand before the Son of Man. It is always good to have a close friend, when you move to a new place.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pause for the cause...

Here it is Friday, already, and I realize I haven’t said anything on this blog, since Wednesday. Well, sometimes we do get overtaken by events…

Last weekend, I traveled to Olathe, KS where live my son and his wife. Last Wednesday they welcomed a beautiful daughter, Lenore Elise, into this world at 20-¾” and 8lbs, 15oz. So, grampa went down to spend some time with the lovely family. She is so precious!

And of course, we need to have the obligatory picture with grampa!

I praise God for giving me such a wonderful son, and providing him with the perfect mate. And now, God has given them a precious child. I am so proud, I could bust the buttons off my vest; yet, I am humbled.

Though I fear what this country, and this world, is turning into; I trust that Almighty God is in control. He knows His own, He knows the future, and He knows how much we are capable of handling on our own.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stinkin thinkin

About a year and a half ago, I was in a small town in Missouri, staying in a motel. A lady, I came across, asked me to read a book and comment on what I read. I honestly do not remember the title of the book, but the gist of it was that Christians had given up on the Bible, and only paid attention to parts of the New Testament. Then in the latter portion of the book, space was given to document how the “holiness” people were the greatest violators.

My comment to her, was that I came from the “holiness” tradition, and had never heard of the things the book was claiming. Having been a preacher/minister, I was familiar with including ALL of the Bible in messages. I had to claim ignorance on what the book was professing.

More recently, I was introduced to a Bible study group who were studying the New Testament book of Romans. In the course of the meetings, the leader handed me a book to read. I don’t recall the title of this book either, but it laid out for all the world to see, the particulars of dispensationalism.

As I understood the premise, in order to rightfully divide the Word of God, we must first recognize to whom each portion of the Word is addressed to. Basically, any passage after the covenant with Israel, nee Jacob, was only applicable to the sons of Israel. Anything listed in the gospels was only applicable to Jews.
The Pauline epistles were directed to the “gentiles”, and therefore, efficacious for use by our non-Jewish world.

In a later discussion between myself and the leader of the group, he intimated that he was a “dispensationalist” and did not see the entire Bible as being pertaining to us non-Jews in the modern world. As we talked, I felt like I was being backed up against a wall, and was being dared to articulate why I was not a dispensationalist.

In hindsight, I sense that what I was witnessing, to help me understand this idea of dispensationalism, is the idea of not necessarily rightly dividing the Word of God, but dividing the Christian belief. It all kind of came together for me, this morning as I read My Utmost For His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, Dodd, Mead & Co, New York, 1935, pg 127.


“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Gal. v. 1.

A spiritually minded man will never come to you with the demand -- “Believe this and that;” but with the demand that you square your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One Whom the Bible reveals (cf. John v. 39-40). We are called to present liberty of conscience, not liberty of view. If we are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty -- the liberty of realizing the dominance of Jesus Christ.
Always keep your life measured by the standards of Jesus. Bow your neck to His yoke alone, and to no other yoke whatever; and be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.
Don’t get impatient, remember how God dealt with you -- with patience and with gentleness; but never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” not “make converts to your opinions.”

And that kind of settles it for me. My belief, and trust, is in Jesus Christ alone. Whatever the current dispensation may be, the bottom line for me, is I have found refuge in Christ alone, and His promise that His Holy Spirit would be with me, within me, to remind me of all He has said, and to lead me into all truth.