Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chris Skinner - Bible Thoughts

Chris Skinner - Bible Thoughts: Is The Church Israel Now?

I found a new blog that I really like. Above is a link to just one article. I like his posts - they are short and to the point... very quick and easy to read (that means a great deal to me!)
I also have agreed with most everything I read there so far which is always a plus!

Take a visit! (I wonder if we have to remove our shoes?)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spotted by a Fellow Citizen

Fryin' up the bacon: An award? For me? Oh, Thank You Sugar!

A gal from my town found my blog and gave me an award. I don't know her and she doesn't know me. I thought it was interesting, though. In her post she said I was "preachy" LOL

James 2 - The Lightbulb is On!

Someone left this comment on the post below and it was so good I decided to edit it a little and make a post about it. He actually brings up a way of looking at James 2 that had previously escaped me. Please read and comment.

These works here are what men can see. God is not here in the context where He must see works, but it is man that must see the works. Grace and works would be like water and oil as the two do not mix. The works here are before man and not before God. Paul said in Romans 4:2:

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; BUT NOT BEFORE GOD."
It should be clear that the verses to follow are men that are said to be justified by works but it should be clear according to Romans 4:2 that it is NOT BEFORE GOD. Our faith was to be witnessed before the poor folks in the church and our works should be testified before the world as well.

It is hard arguing that James is talking about saving faith versus some "non-saving faith" in this passage. These believers were guilty of showing partiality and yet they were addressed as believers from beginning to the end. Somehow people see the word "save him" and immediately it must be a salvation form hell when this salvation is not even in the context.

Our faith is useless if it does nothing. The context here is the poor man and what good would our faith be to save him and fill his needs if we merely tell him to be filled without lifting a finger to help him?

The poor man is in the context and believers WERE showing partiality. It was believers that WERE displaying a dead faith before them by not giving them the things they need, but they WERE still addressed as believers.

The "him" is the poor man as the following verses shows.

Who is in the context? The poor are they not? Let's make the poor singular and call him Jim. Let's read that passage again:

"14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save Jim? (the poor man and not the one with the faith. Can faith alone help Jim? Look at the next verse)?...

15 If Jim be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto Jim, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give Jim not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead (inactive and useless and not non-saving), being alone."
People see the word "save" and immediately assume salvation from sins must be implied when this is not a gospel message nor are people being told to see if they ever were truly saved or that they are in need of saving.

Does the word "save" mean salvation from sin when Jesus prayed, "Save me from the hour"? Can a woman be saved from sin in childbearing according to Scripture? The context determines what was meant and clearly James is not talking about eternal salvation from sin here but the poor man's salvation from his plight.

Will your faith without works save (deliver) him when you tell him to be filled, clothed and so on but do not lift a finger to help him? Such a faith is useless and dead.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Bought a Dead Christmas Tree

(James 2:17-20)
I ventured into Lowes home improvement store Saturday and saw lots of Christmas trees. As I looked around, I noted that there are about three options for the Christmas tree:

1. Lowes had small living potted evergreen trees, about 3.5 feet high. I think this is a good idea… in a way. You wouldn’t be able to hang a lot of ornaments on it and it would probably look a bit like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree sitting in your living room… but at least you could plant it in the yard when spring comes and have something to show for your money.

We love evergreens. Here is a picture of my husband John in our front yard. Perhaps you can see the three spruce trees there. We planted all of them the year we moved in – they were each about 24 inches high. What a wonder to watch them grow. We realize that eventually we will have to remove two of them because of space considerations in lieu of their future massive size .

What we see is fed by what we don’t see, the root system of the tree. I read once that the height of the tree is matched by the depth of the roots. IOW, as high as the tree is above the ground, it is just as deep as that below the ground with its root system. The roots aren’t seen, but they are the lifeline of the tree. A tree can’t live for long once it is cut off from the roots and the soil can no longer feed it.

2. Lowe’s doesn’t sell “fresh-cut” Christmas trees.

3. They also sell dead Christmas trees in boxes. These trees are made of plastic and metal and you put them together like some sort of paint-by-numbers puzzle. They last for years! They never need to be watered and they don’t lose their needles. What an invention! I can certainly see an advantage to them. I even bought one for our home, but I must admit, there are some definite drawbacks to the dead Christmas tree. They require a larger initial investment than the first two options. You don’t have the tradition of going out to the farm and cutting the tree in the night air under the moonlight with your family. Most unfortunately, they don’t have the nice aroma of the fresh-cut trees that we had in our home when I grew up. I suppose it’s because… they’re dead Christmas trees.

Alright, you’re probably seeing through my chatter. These trees really aren’t dead. They’re FAKE!

Dead trees are altogether different animals than fake trees.

Let's think about how a tree gets to this state of being a dead Christmas tree. A “fresh-cut” tree is always on its way to becoming a dead Christmas tree. A “fresh-cut” tree has no way of receiving the necessary nutrients and so it withers and dies in relatively short period of time. A fake Christmas tree, however, really isn’t a tree at all, so to call it dead is putting it in the wrong category altogether. Wasn’t that silly for me to say I bought a dead Christmas tree in a box? Of course it was.

On the flip side (and more to the point of my underlying thoughts this weekend), to call a dead tree a fake tree would be a terrible misnomer as well. A dead tree really is a tree. It was once living but as it continues in its cut-off or diseased or starved or thirsty state, it becomes unrecognizable as a tree. But it was a real, living tree... because that is the only way it could find its way to being a real, dead tree! It was alive and then it ceased to be lively. It was never a fake tree! It really and truly is a tree, but sadly, it’s a dead tree.

Fake and dead are not the same at all.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dispensationalism and the New Covenant

NT Resources Blog: Dispensationalism and the New Covenant

A friend from the staff at my church sent me an email that told me I should read this paper on Dispensationalism and the New Covenant. I am going to print it out and read it indeed. :~) My brother has told me that he finds it bizarre that dispensationalists celebrate the NC in the Lord's table, even though they think the NC is largely about the nation of Israel and reamins yet to be fulfilled. I am one of them he finds bizarre. :~) We have had some interesting discussions about it. I do think it is something that needs careful thought.

Reading the article by Dr. Decker is something I am
looking forward to. (<--- I now end sentences in prepositions quite regularly... and unapolegetically... because Rachel showed me a webpage that says this is OK. If the internet says it, it must be true.)

I am working right now, but I will get back to answering comments and participating in the post below this one very soon. Carry on without me for now, but remember to be nice and polite.

Friday, November 07, 2008

John Chapter 8:30-32

In the last couple of weeks, John 8 has held my attention. I can't stop thinking about it. Even during sermons in church, I find myself distracted and I turn to John 8. I can't get it out of my mind. The October 23 and October 29 posts on the UoG blog were the places where it was originally brought up for me recently. 'Ten Cent' was saying that in John 8:30 the "ones who believed in Him" were soon shown to be not true believers because they question some of his statements in an unbelieving way. I read the rest of the chapter over and then the whole chapter over and over again and it seems clear to me, especially after reading Antonio's post from October 29, that this was a mixed crowd. The ones who "believed in Him" could not have been the same ones who quickly challenged Him and went on to be the ones at the end of the conversation who sought to stone Him. These questioners were snarky to Him. Jesus said these ones were "of your father the Devil" and that they "seek to kill me." If they were the same ones, verses before, who John described as the many who "believed in Him," it seems to me that John did a poor job of describing them.

If John didn't mean to say that they actually believed in Jesus, (which is how elsewhere John describes receiving Jesus unto eternal life) he could've been much clearer about it. For example, if they were neutral and soon to turn hostile (only 2 verese later), then why didn't John say "those Jews who were considering His words" or "those Jews who were listening to Him" or "those Jews who were following His discourses" or "those Jews who were following Him around"?

OR, if they were already skeptical or even hostile, why would John describe them as "believing in Him"... why wouldn't he have made that clear and said "those Jews who were following Him and looking to discredit Him in their own minds" or "those Jews who doubted the things He was saying" or "those Jews who regarded His words with contempt"??

Do we not think that there were some there in the outer court of the temple that day who actually DID believe in Him... truly? Wouldn't it be the most common sense interpretation to attribute Christ's statement to "those Jews who believed in Him" to this group of true believers (however large or small)... and the ones who "answered Him" as the ones who were also in the crowd who were hostile to Him? Some hostile people had dropped their stones and left, the ones who were actually ready to stone the adultress. The instigators of such stoning were still there in the court and He was talking to them!! They picked up stones at the END of the chapter... for a different defendant....

Anyway, the discussion on John 8:30-32 moved over here at the Bluecollar Blog and Mark posted the opinion of two of my favorite theologians who disagree with my view of it. Ryrie and McGee also think that these verses refer to some idea that John is describing believers who quickly prove themselves to not really be believers after all.

That is a pity. Oh well. :~)

I discovered that Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown express, beautifully and eloquently, how the Son of God must have surely and truly touched some there in the outer court that day. Please read the following:
8:30. As he spake these words, many believed on him--Instead of wondering at this, the wonder would be if words of such unearthly, surpassing grandeur could be uttered without captivating some that heard them. And just as "all that sat in the council" to try Stephen "saw his face"--though expecting nothing but death--"as it had been the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15), so may we suppose that, full of the sweet supporting sense of His Father's presence, amidst the rage and scorn of the rulers, a divine benignity beamed from His countenance, irradiated the words that fell from Him, and won over the candid "many" of His audience.

8:31-33. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, &c.--The impression produced by the last words of our Lord may have become visible by some decisive movement, and here He takes advantage of it to press on them "continuance" in the faith, since then only were they His real disciples (compare John 15:3-8), and then should they experimentally "know the truth," and "by the truth be made (spiritually) free."

8:33. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man, &c.--Who said this? Not surely the very class just spoken of as won over by His divine words, and exhorted to continue in them. Most interpreters seem to think so; but it is hard to ascribe such a petulant speech to the newly gained disciples, even in the lowest sense, much less persons so gained as they were. It came, probably, from persons mixed up with them in the same part of the crowd, but of a very different spirit. The pride of the Jewish nation, even now after centuries of humiliation, is the most striking feature of their character. "Talk of freedom to us? Pray when or to whom were we ever in bondage?" This bluster sounds almost ludicrous from such a nation. Had they forgotten their long and bitter bondage in Egypt? their dreary captivity in Babylon? their present bondage to the Roman yoke, and their restless eagerness to throw it off? But probably they saw that our Lord pointed to something else--freedom, perhaps, from the leaders of sects or parties--and were not willing to allow their subjection even to these. Our Lord, therefore, though He knew what slaves they were in this sense, drives the ploughshare somewhat deeper than this, to a bondage they little dreamt of. (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

YouTube - Some Thoughts on Obama's Win from one of his Supporters

YouTube - A Young woman's thoughts on Obama's Win

Truly, truly amazing!! I am so glad this election is over. I have many thoughts but am not sure that I want to write them out or that I should.

I just couldn't resist sharing this video with my readers.

Maybe I will put forth some of my thoughts on Sarah Palin, McCain as a candidate, his staffers and the blame game. Or maybe I should just write an article about John chapter 8. I can't decide which way to go when I get the time.


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