Archive for the ‘Critical Thinking’ Category

In conversation with a fellow blogger on WP, we fell into one of the age-old debates about the existence of God.  One thing he said to me really stuck out in my heart and mind:

What makes you so sure your God holds the answers.  What about other Gods?  Every religion in practicality preaches similar concepts.  I appreciate your concepts and your comment however you seem to be so certain that yours is right and I find this to be a huge logical flaw.  You are using things written about God by men, which have been shown to be historically inept, to confirm your notions about said God.  This is the circular argument that I’ve provided.   I have had all my questions answered.  Sure I don’t know everything, but I have enough evidence to not support the notion of your God or any gods for that matter.

When I sat and thought about what he said, it got me thinking about the verse in the Bible which talks about God’s wisdom:

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; [a]20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”[b] 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

I began to, as I seem to always do these days, reexamine my relationship (the way I relate) with God, and realized that because I do not have all the answers about God the way atheists and scientists have all the answers about the non-existence of God, I actually place myself in exactly the position I am supposed to be with God, because by not knowing everything I want to know about God, it forces me to have a relationship with God so that I can obtain the answers I seek from Him.  Unlike some doubters who run away from God because of their questions, I actually run closer to God the more I doubt and question my faith.  Only by not making Christianity so absolute can God then reveal to me the answers to many of the questions I have about Him.  My faith in Him never wavers, for just like I don’t know everything about my wife, yet know enough to know that I want to know more every day, I don’t know everything about God.  But the little I do know is more than enough to make me want to know more and more about Him every day.  And I can’t do that without having a relationship with Him.  I choose not to have all the answers.  I choose to not have absolute, cold, hard, calculated theorems and proofs about Him.  But what I choose to do is to allow Him to lead and guide me to the answers I seek from Him day after day.  I love Him just that much.

Does that make me a fool?  Pretty much.  But I’ve learned that being a Christian isn’t about knowing everything there is to know about God and being able to prove people wrong.  Being a Christian is about recognizing that I am flawed, and I don’t know it all, and despite my lack of wisdom and perfection, Someone loved me enough to save me from myself and give me the opportunity to walk with Him daily and receive Wisdom that is out of this world.  My prayer for everyone is that we stop believing that we as people in general, and Christians in particular, know everything there is to know about God.  Instead, let’s actually be exactly what we’re supposed to be, foolish, doubtful, questioning, inquisitive, and thirsty for knowledge.  In our foolishness, God makes us wise. 😀

Advertisements

This week has been extremely tough for me and a few of my friends.  It’s as though all of us have hit a moment in life where we’re all trying to reexamine our place in the world, and trying to understand what it is that we are supposed to be doing right now.  Speaking for myself, my heart and mind have been in this state of realism that shocks even me, because I recognize that I have absolutely no clue what my purpose is anymore.  I have no clue what path I’m supposed to take, which direction I’m going in, and I can’t make heads or tails of anything.  I feel like I know what I’m supposed to do in life, and I have a plan for myself and my family.  But to be completely honest, the plan is failing, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve been searching Scriptures, trying to regain focus and understand the concepts of True Calling, Preordination, Predestination, and Divine Will, and in doing so, the first thing I recognized is that my thoughts are not God’s thoughts, nor are my ways His either (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Now, naturally, that doesn’t make not knowing my purpose any easier, because by not knowing God’s thoughts, I don’t know what His plans are for me.  And it makes me all the more uncomfortable, because in this state of fearfulness and uneasiness, it would make me feel a whole lot better if I just knew what in the world I’m supposed to be doing.

Many times, we are just like that, when we’re in limbo, and we don’t know what turn to make at the crossroads of life.  Not knowing what job offer to take, or not knowing who to trust, or not knowing whether to go back to school, or whether to quit one job in an effort to live a more fulfilling life.  And not knowing whether we will succeed or fail makes the apprehension that much more unbearable.

So I asked God, “What am I doing here?  What am I supposed to be doing?  With everything I do now, and everything you’ve given me to do, all this talent, all these gifts, why do I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be?  Why do I still feel as though my heart is unfulfilled, and I’m unhappy, unsuccessful, and I have nothing to show for the work I have done?  Why do I feel like I’m still in the basement after all these years, not having moved up a single floor?  Why does it feel like the harder I work, the further down I go?  What is my purpose?  What is my true calling?”

God’s response:  “Love me with your whole heart, serve me with your life, let go of your idols.  I want it all.”

God opened my eyes and helped me to see through faith that my true calling, my purpose, is not linked in performing a single set of tasks for the rest of my life.  It isn’t about finding something to do on a daily basis that will satisfy my insatiable appetite for purpose on Earth.  Rather, my purpose, the purpose God has called me for, is simply to follow Him.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Matthew 16:24-27

Many times, I have been trying to find something that will fulfill my heart, make me happy, satisfy myself, and all the while, God has been constantly trying to show me that it is not about me, but it is all about HIM and what He needs me for as it pertains to HIS purpose, and not my own.  It does not matter if I find my purpose in life, for if I try to find my purpose in life, what happens when that purpose becomes boring, unsatisfying, not enough, or even too much to bear, and I restart the process of trying to “find my purpose” all over again?  Instead of being so concerned about finding a purpose on the Earth that will satisfy my flesh, I must concern myself with aligning my life according to His purpose.  His purpose for my life is to “diligently seek Him.”

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

My purpose, our purpose, is simply to have a relationship with God.  That is our purpose here on this Earth, to have a relationship with Him.  Because through our relationship with God, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, we then begin to understand that God’s love is strong enough to carry us through these times of uncertainty, times in which we don’t know what’s going to happen to us, or what our earthly purpose is.  We can trust in God to lead us in the right direction, even if we can’t see where he’s leading us, because:

” Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;”  Jeremiah 1:5

Before my mother and father even thought of using their bodies as a means of physical satisfaction to create me, God knew how I would be created, and what I would be created for, and I can take pride in knowing that I have a Father in Heaven who knew me well before my earthly parents thought about my very existence 5-6 months after conception.  In light of this, furthermore,

” The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”  Psalm 37:23-24

So I know that as long as I am in relationship with God, and I trust Him to never leave nor forsake me, then my steps, though the clouds hang low and the path seems foggy, will always lead me into my purpose, no matter what I believe may be happening to me.  I don’t have to fret about trying to figure out what my life is all about, what I’m supposed to be doing, or whether I’m on the right path.  As long as I’m in relationship with God, He will always make me fully aware of my purpose, and what I’m supposed to be doing so that His Will, not mine, can be done.  Serving God is my purpose, for He will always make sure that I stay aligned with Him as long as I seek after Him.  And though mistakes and mishaps may happen, I can rest, assured that:

” And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”  Romans 8:28-30

Everything that has happened in my life and is happening in my life is happening because, so long as I am in good standing with God in terms of my relationship to Him, everything is working out for my good.  God will not allow me to fall out of His purpose, because everything that happens to me, even the very thoughts I have, are in direct correlation to His purpose.  So I do not have to be discouraged when I see that my life is not where I would want it to be, or that things just don’t seem in place.  As long as I am staying close to God, He will lead me in the right direction, and in doing so, show me daily what He wants me to do for Him.

Now, having said all of this, it still leaves me wondering, “How do I know that I am operating in God’s purpose, His true calling?”  The way God has given it to me is that His calling for my life is to Love Him, and I love Him by doing what He wants me to do.  What He wants me to do for Him is linked to the gifts, talents, skills, and characteristics He has blessed me with.  So how will I know that it is time for me to utilize a specific gift?  Because the opportunity to utilize that gift will present itself, and when it does, it will be up to me to RECOGNIZE it, and GO FORTH.  Many times we waste time seeking after “our purpose,” when it simply may not be time for us to utilize the gift God has given us to fulfill His purpose through us.  That’s why it’s so important to seek God and stay in communion with Him, because when He is ready to utilize us, not only will He tell us, He will ignite the “purpose” in our hearts, equip us (or already have equipped us) with the tools to do it, provide us with the necessary provisions to fulfill it, and navigate our steps so that His purpose is fulfilled.

Our purpose is to follow Christ.  That’s it!  It may seem strange to think about it this way, but that is ABSOLUTELY it, for by setting our sights and hearts on things above, God makes everything else aligned with His purpose prosper.  It’s time for us to stop looking so diligently for a purpose to call our own and to live to the calling that has been placed in our lives since before the world was framed.  Our purpose is to follow Christ, to love God, and to serve one another.  In doing that, our purpose will be fulfilled.

It is amazing how one simple thought can change everything I know.  The people I work with on a daily basis often tell me, “I wish I would have seen myself the way I see myself now, back then, because things would be so different.”  People I work with and talk to often find themselves stuck in hardships and negative attitudes about themselves, their lives, and their situations because they have become so accustomed to viewing their lives through the lens of a negative attribute, or a limited scope, or a particular method of existence.  It is only when they allow themselves to see themselves differently, or view their situations differently, or view their past circumstances differently, that they can then break free from the bonds that have held them back for so long, and begin to move forward with a new perspective on life.  In therapy, we call it “Reification,” in which a person forgets that he or she has the power to redefine his life by simply viewing it from another perspective.

For example, if I call myself “stupid,” then every thought and action I take will be predicated on the notion that I am indeed “stupid.”  Every time I do something and it doesn’t go well, even if it’s accidental, I will refer myself to being the “stupid one that never gets anything right,” and will continue to define myself that way until something, or someone, or Someone wakes me up and tells or shows me that I am “not stupid.”  Even then, it is up to me to take on that new mantra of “not stupid” and reorient myself around that fact.  Because I have believed for so long that I was “stupid,” the fact that someone tells me that I am “not stupid” does not necessarily change how I feel about myself.  I have to believe in it myself before the real change takes effect, and then practice being “not stupid” and understanding the consequences thereof.

What is God trying to say?  For many of us, we define our lives based on what happened to us, or what someone said to us, or what someone did to us, and we orient ourselves based upon those definitions not because of those events, but how we thought about and responded to those events.  We allowed people to tell us that we’re not smart enough, we’re not daring enough, we’re not bold enough, we’re not rich enough, or we’re not connected enough, to do the things God has given us the vision to do.  We’ve allowed people to steal our innocence, take control of our courage, snatch our will to live away, and laugh in our faces while we cower in fear.  We allowed people to define our very existence, and in doing so, allowing the enemy to snuff us out, bring us down, and keep us from reaching the Destinies that God has ordained for our lives.  And we allowed it because we, whether we realize it or not, have the power (by God) to think ourselves to be different than those around us would imagine us to be.

Whether we want to admit it our not, we are victims only because we think ourselves to be victims.  We are foolish only because we think ourselves to be foolish.  We are depressed only because we think ourselves to be depressed.  We are ugly only because we think ourselves to be ugly.  We are crippled only because we think ourselves to be crippled.  We are immature, pathetic, unintelligent, moronic, schizophrenic, angry, idiotic, incapable, run-down, “never gonna amount to anything,” mean, selfish, too much, and the list goes on, because we allowed others to label us as such, and we accepted the labels given to us, and then thought ourselves to be what others have made us to be, no matter the circumstance.

I serve a God who is able to give me a different thought about who I am in Him, and in doing so, give me a Paradigm Shift, a thought, idea, or concept that completely changes the landscape or perspective of everything around me.  God has the ability to allow me to see my life differently than I’ve ever seen it before.  He has the power to make me a believer when I want to doubt, to make me rich when the world says I’m poor, to make me happy even though life says I should be depressed, to lift me up when life tries to press me down, to give me peace in the midst of struggle and war, to make me a visionary when others say my dreams don’t make any sense.  God has the power to give me power over my past circumstances, no matter what it may have been.  Whether it is the fact that my father tried to kill me, my brother, and my mother when I was 3, or whether my friend was raped for 5 years from the age of 7 by her stepfather, or that my brother in Christ lost his job at 58, regardless of what it is, I have the power to overcome anything that has happened to me because of how I think of myself in relation to the situation.

Yes, things happen to us that are beyond our control, and for a while, it hurts.  But we have to recognize that despite the situation or the circumstance, our God is a God who has the ability to give us a mind of victory when we want to be defeated.  We have the power to think ourselves differently than our circumstances would dictate.  We have to be willing to shift the paradigm by which we define ourselves, and then have the courage to overcome the obstacles that come with the shift.  It is not easy being different than what others would think we should be.  It’s not easy being the outcast, being the radical one.  Nevertheless, God has created all of us for a purpose, for a destiny, and until we think ourselves to be different than what the world would believe, we are nothing more than pawns in the world’s game, muses to people who will be there for us today, and against us tomorrow.  We must realize that God has great plans for us, and in order to make that first step, we must first embrace the Paradigm Shift that states that we are who God says we are, no matter what we or others may think.

You are one thought away from the first day of the best days of your life.  Think about it.

😀

This third part to the “Looking to Jesus” series is based on a comment made in Part II by my sister in Christ mysterytopursue.   In Part II, God had revealed to me that the Bible’s primary utility is to show us who Jesus is and how He is the foundation for which all other Words of God are authenticated (1 Corinthians 3).  Without Jesus, nothing that we do matters, for Jesus is the foundation, the “Chief Cornerstone” by which all ministries, movements, enlightenments, and revelations are built upon, and if He is the foundation, and it is God’s will for these mysteries to be fulfilled, they will surely stand and transcend time, just like the Bible itself has.

Mysterytopursue commented:

Just one thing, though… I’m not sure it made it clear that God’s Word is Jesus, not specifically the Bible. The Bible’s just part of God’s Word because the Hoy spirit inspired it.

I took a moment to think, pray, and listen for God to give me further revelation on this matter, because my intention is not to cause division among the saints.  Rather, and I thank God for this medium to do so, I want to gain further understanding on matters that do cause division so that, if possible, we all may be on one accord.  So here’s what God said to me about the concept of God’s Word being Jesus.

I must consider the fact that John 1:1 states that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Furthermore, John 1:14 states that, “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….”  Now, I understand that Jesus is the Word which the author John is referencing, and therefore, the Word is Jesus.  So, in essence, MTP is right, that the Word is Jesus, and as stated in Part II, the Bible is the direct reference to Jesus Himself, as He is prophecized about in the Old Testament, lives, dies, and is reborn in 4 books of the New Testament, and then written further about in the New Testament as the FOUNDATION by which I should model my life after.

BUT, the issue still remains, if Jesus is the Word, and the Bible is not, then how do I know that Jesus is the Word, if not for the words in the Bible that say that Jesus is the Word?  If the Bible says that Jesus is the Word, but the Bible is not God’s Word (God’s spoken/written words to His people), then how can Jesus be the Word?  I have to consider the fact that Jesus DID NOT WRITE anything in the Bible.  I oftentimes dupe myself into believing that God and Jesus wrote actual words in the Bible, but the reality is that they did not write anything in the Bible.  Yet, I still believe in what the Bible says, and I believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, even though He did not write anything in it.  I believe that He told Nicodemus that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  I believe that He told Peter that “…upon this rock, I shall build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  I believe that Jesus told His disciples that “In my Father’s House are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.”  I believe that He fed 5,000 men (not including women and children), that He walked on water, that He healed the sick and raised the dead, that He gave sight to the blind and talking to the mute and hearing to the deaf.  I believe that He got on Calvary’s cross and died for me, then rose again so that I may be able to receive the same Spirit that dwells in Him and perform miracles in my life in Jesus’s name for God’s glory.

But I would never, NEVER know these things about Him if I didn’t have the Bible to teach those things to me, and if the Bible are not God’s Words (divinely inspired by the same transcendent Spirit of God to be written by men), then what is the point of even believing in it?  Yes, Jesus is the Word, but I cannot discount where I got that information from.  Does this mean that the Bible is the ONLY Words that come from the mouth of God, not at all.  For God speaks to us all the time, giving us different Words that inspire us to do amazing things.  But I will always have to refer to the Old Landmark, Jesus Himself, and the way to Him is through the text that led me to Him in the first place, the Bible.

In sum, how do I know that Jesus is the Word?  For the Bible tells me so.

😀

When doing a research paper, or thinking of a new invention, or developing a new concept, or even writing a new message, it is customary for us, in the age of plagarism, to see if someone has done what we’re attempting to do, or to draw inspiration from what someone has already accomplished, or to gain insight on how not to do something a certain way.  We look for precedents, archetypes, examples, past histories, and anything else by which  we can gain the knowledge we seek to do what we want to do, because it is easier to take on something new when we have a guide to follow, a path to trail from.  We see it happening all the time, in technology (the iPad gets upgraded every 6 months it seems now), in music (autotune took over the music industry and hasn’t looked back since), in fashion (when did the 80’s and 90’s make a huge comeback?), and in social trends (how often do we know our friends’ business nowadays #twitter).  It is an inescapable fact that we look to the past to create in the present in an attempt to matter in the future, sometimes to our benefit, other times to our detriment, but nevertheless a necessary part of life.

As previously suggested in the last post, God’s “Words” don’t stop at the Bible.  God gives His people fresh Words all the time, Words that are relevant to the times and situations we face today, whether they are a shadow of what has happened in the past, or if they are brand new situations never discussed in the Bible.  God’s Word can be found in music, in literature, in the arts, in mathematics and science, technology, fashion, and so on.  God is inspiring people all the time to do amazing things, things that our forefathers and ancestors never dreamed of, and God’s people are being blessed all the time as a result of these inspirations, these new Words that God imparts on His people at His discretion.  So, if God is inspiring His people with new Words all the time, and we in the faith know “trees” by the “fruit they bear,” what, then is the Bible, and what purpose does it serve?

God revealed something to me that, again, made sense before, but after understanding that God’s Word is His Word, I now see His Word as something more.  My grandmother used to (and sometimes still does) tell me that when we don’t know what to do, we have to go back to the old way and walk therein (Jeremiah 6:16), which to her meant that we have to keep doing things the way we used to, ways that satisfy our personal desires and logical ways of thinking, instead of looking to someone who transcends desire and sense.  She used to say that the new ways that people are going into cannot be of God because these new ways of worship, praise, devotion, and relating to God are not her ways, and are not the old ways.  There’s no way that the “New Way” can be of God when Scripture tells us to go the “Old Way.”

But what my grandmother, as well as other Sectarians who believe that their way of worship is the ONLY way to worship and therefore denounce anyone who worships God differently, fail to realize is that yes, we are to walk in the Old Way, but the Old Way is NOT a methodology of worship, it is NOT a style of preaching and teaching, it is NOT brand of Christianity that we pick up off the shelf and conform ourselves to.  The Old Way is, and only is, Jesus Himself.

When we stop and think about how God operates, we must consider that He is all knowing AND all present, which means that He already knows what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen, AND that he exists everywhere, every time, at the same time.  The same God that exists in 1964 is the same God that exists in 2012, the same Spirit He used to inspire Christians to establish denominations which could meet the needs of the people’s souls in the past is the same Spirit He uses to inspire Christians today to establish blogs and TV ministries to reach millions and edify their souls.  So the Bible, then, acts as the foundation, the precedent, by which we establish God’s work here on planet Earth, as the Bible, in God’s masterful planning, lays the foundation of how Jesus is the mark that we press toward, the Archetype by which we draw inspiration from, the Precedent that we look back to and understand where we are going, the Old Landmark that our forefathers sang about us going back to.  God crafted His Word to show us just how much we need Jesus in our lives to do what we do day to day, for Jesus was there in the Beginning, and He is still here today.  He lived, died, and lives now, all the while demonstrating to His people what it means to love unconditionally and to obey God dutifully.  And His brothers and sisters who lived in this world after His Ascension continued to talk, teach, and preach about Him and how He, not some methodology, is the Mark by which we are to live by.  Without the Bible, we can never fully understand what Jesus did for us, and how the same power He weilds is the same power we weild to do the things that God allows us to do.

That is why the Bible is the Word of God, for it shows us what we are supposed to look back to for inspiration, motivation, encouragement, and confirmation.  We need God’s Word to link to what God has placed in our Spirits (which is the Spirit of God dwelling in us, the same Spirit that dwells in Jesus, that dwells in time and beyond time) so that we know that we are walking in the Path God has ordained us to walk on.  The Word confirms our steps in God, so that despite the obstacles that come with what we are doing in Him, we can know beyond doubt that we are doing exactly what God has commanded us to do.

😀

First of all, I believe in the Bible and all it stands for.  I believe in everything written in it and through it, for it is the very thing that allows me to know about God and how to be a Christian, especially in these perilous times.  So this writing is not an indictment against my faith, or a questioning of the validity of God’s work.  Rather, this is the first of a two-part explanation as to why Jesus is the foundation of faith, and how God’s Word ties into that fact.  Without this question answered, I cannot comprehend how Jesus is indeed the foundation.

We all know that God’s Word, the Bible, was not written in one sitting.  It is a compilation of several (66) books, texts, and manuscripts written NOT by God Himself, but by regular joes like you and me, those who were divinely inspired by God to write these books about the faith, people of faith, tests and trials of faith, and the like.  These 66 manuscripts were compiled to become the Bible, the code of conduct and character for Christians old and new.

Because of this, this debate has been going on for generations (and I thank my sister in Christ mysterytopursue for bringing it to light again, for without God’s inspiration to get her to post it up, I never would have followed God’s heart on the matter):  is the Bible the Word of God, and how can it be the PERFECT word of God if it was written by IMPERFECT men?  With all the different translations that have come out since the manuscripts were written, how can we be sure that the word of God IS the Word of God and not the words of men?  And at first, I was on the fence about it, because honestly, I understand that God Himself did not write the Bible with His own hands.  He did not get a pen and pad and script the Bible.  It was, in fact, written by ordinary people.  So how can the Word of God be the ACTUAL Word of God?

So, rather than sit in my own wisdom, I relied on the wisdom of God to tell me what the answer to this is.  He showed me something that completely blew my mind and shook my faith to the core.  For me, this is life-changing, life-altering, and fundamentally restructuring, because after this, my outlook on faith changed forever.  God is the God of yesterday, today, and forevermore.  As a result, God is capable of orchestrating massive projects since the existence of time, that transcend time, for He is the only one who can exist in more than one place at one time, and in more than one time period at a time.  So if He is God, who has this capability to exist anywhere AND anytime, who else but God can get all these people to write about Him, people who have never met each other and never talked to teach other, and then have all these different manuscripts be scattered across the nations, only to be brought back together CENTURIES after all of them were ever written, and then be hand-picked to represent the fundamental building blocks of the Christian faith?!  Who else but God could inspire 30+ authors to write these testimonies about Him, so intricately that everything in it makes SPIRITUAL sense?  Who else but God could transcend time, thousands of years, ensuring that His Word remains in tact long enough to be canonized into one book?  God is the ONLY one who could orchestrate putting together a single manuscript over the course of thousands of years, the only one who has the power to divinely inspire everyone to write about Him in such a way that would touch the hearts of men and affect their spirits to say that these are the ones that represent Him; the only one who could even preserve the manuscripts long enough to make sure that they made it into the canonization, surviving wars, earthquakes, other disasters, and false translations.  That is how I know, and that is how my faith tells me, forces me in fact, to believe that this Bible, this Word of God, is in fact THE Word of God.

But I take it even a step further.  Even Jesus Himself quoted the Word of God on several occasions to defeat the enemy, as teaching tools, and as methods of confirmation of His Mission.  On many occasions, Jesus said, “It is written…,” and quoted Scripture, the Word of God, that came from His Daddy, and demons fled, Satan ran, and God’s purpose was fulfilled.  So if Jesus utilized the written words of men and called them the Word of God, how can the Bible be anything less than the Word of God.  Therefore, my answer is YES, the Bible is the Word of God.

So I believe that God’s Word is embedded in the Bible; it is the core of our existence, the reason I am a Christian.  It holds the keys to our faith.  We have to believe in the Bible as the Word of God, for only with it can we show ourselves approved, workmen who are not ashamed to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Yet, the issue that arises from this confirmation is:  is the Bible the ONLY Word of God?  Is it possible for God to give us new Words from Him?  Is the Bible the only Word that He has given us?  Are there any other Words other than The Bible that are from God Himself?  If God can inspire those men with what were fresh words at that time, can God do that for us now?  Can God continue to inspire us with fresh words that are His?  With all the books, songs, blogs, texts, and the like that come out, have come out, and continue to come out, can we honestly say that God’s Word began and ended in the Bible?  Is God not speaking to us and inspiring us to write and speak fresh words?

If this is the case, that God’s Words are being written every day, then what is the purpose of the Bible?  What is the purpose of the Bible if it was written so long ago, in a time period that definitely does not match up with the 21st century?  What is The Bible to us now?

Let us all go back to the Old Landmark.

To be continued.

😀

Many times we expect trials and tribulations to take place in massive waves, grand attacks, and huge obstacles, things that we can anticipate and prepare for.  But God has demonstrated, at least in my life, many times over that it’s not the big stuff that he’s concerned about as much as he is concerned about how I handle the little things, the seeming insignificant things.  I witnessed someone say to me one day that he had asked God to give him a mind to pray before he makes a hasty decision, and then when the opportunity presented itself out of the blue, he failed to see the God in the situation and do what he asked God to give him the opportunity to do.  Thereby, he missed it.  I, too, was presented with an opportunity to understand what it is like to experience peace when someone wants to be at war with me, something I struggle with all the time.  When the opportunity presented itself, rather than sticking to past solutions, which always failed, I tried something different.  I asked God, “What do you want me to do?”  And He showed me that arguing with someome who does not want to hear the truth is not going to produce any Godly results.  So say the facts, and call it a day, knowing that you did not open up a debate.  And doing so gave me the peace that I had wanted to experience, and it felt great.

What am I trying to say?  Most of the time, God does not test us with mega trials that we can prepare for days, weeks, months, or years in advance, like a final exam.  Rather, God tests us with POP QUIZZES, the ones that we have no idea are going to take place, but are a part of the faith curriculum, and count just as much as (if not more than) the exams themselves.  We never know when something is going to come to test the knowledge, wisdom, and faith that we possess.  We never know when our greatest nightmare suddenly comes to pass.  We never know when we’re gonna get cut off by somebody on the road.  We never know when one wrong word is going to spark a heated debate.  We never know when that customer is going to be p’d off because an order was wrong.  We never know when a loved one is going to pass away. We never know when someone is having a bad day.  We never know when miscommunication is going to cause problems.  We never know when God will decide to create a mini-situation that will make us lose our minds.  But we can delight in the fact that we do know that pop quizzes, in whatever form they show up, will, in fact, show up.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  1 Peter 4:12-13

And when they show up, they are to prove that the foundation that we have built our faith upon is a sure foundation.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. f anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.  1 Corinthians 3:9-15

Furthermore, if we pass the pop quizzes, God not only rewards us with blessings, but He also rewards us with more quizzes and tests, knowing that we can handle it, because we passed the quizzes of the past.

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord…. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance.’  Matthew 25:23, 29

So be as cunning as a fox, and be ever watchful when it comes to the pop quizzes of life.  We should study diligently to show ourselves approved, because we never know when God will pop a quiz upon us.  The danger of being unprepared is that when we are not ready for the quiz, and we have to rely on what we know to pass it, we run the risk of failing every single time because we are not ready.  Ironically, we asked for the quizzes in the first place by receiving salvation.  So we should make sure that we are ready at all times to pass whatever test comes our way, for if we know that they will show up at any given time, we must be prepared at all times, in hopes that we can pass every time.

😀