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Archive for August, 2012

I’m going to be doing this post a little different that the recent ones I’ve done, being I’m doing it off of some notes I have.

The passage I will be “dissecting” is 2 John 1:1-6 (NIV):

The elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth —and not I only, but also all who know the truth — because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.  And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

First we’ll look at the theme, which is this: “Truth governs how we love.”

Second, let’s ask ourselves, “Who’s the audience?” in most cases it’d be a man, but in this case it appears to be a lady, unnamed.

Thirdly, the base of the passage is that there were “fake leaders” entering the houses of the real – to say – leaders of the church and staying, afterwards they ask who the other leaders of the church are and earn their trust so that they may preach and teach false – only known to them – scripture. Thus, converting, turning, and confusing people.

“Truth is that which accurately reflects God. In the end, that is the scripture.”

The Greek word for truth is “αλήθεια” (pronouced “al-líth-ei-a”). In our time, the 21st century, the post-modernistic era is a talented bender at truth. Companies use “trustworthy” sayings, like: 9 out of 10 Doctors recommend and say it will make you better in beauty (phyical appearance) if you buy our product. They make things sound safe and usable. They want you to love it, not like, but love it, and they even heap all those guarantees and such on, “We’ll guarantee 100% satisfaction, and if you don’t like it you can send it back for a refund, but please keep this (product from us) as a gift (in remembrance of us).” But are they really telling the truth or just trying to get people to suck up and buy it? It may be a cheap product, it may not.

But people (especially in politics) stretch the truth and bend so often it’s hard to tell if they really mean it or not, especially with relationships, sometimes people just fake their love to use people – which is just gross and selfish.

 “Truth defines the love to one another.”

Marriage. Committing your life to someone you absolutely love is huge. And when you say your vows, and mean it truthfully, you really love them, now in some cases it lasts for 50+ years… others 2 years.

Taking a somewhat temporary detour… I want to kind of use my grandparents as an example. They show an amazing example of God’s love for others and are wise people, because of time, and it is always the people like your elders, who know more  than you and can give you advice, and when they do: listen. They’ve been through more and understand how to get through. My grandmother and grandfather are an amazing example of the quote, they are strong Christians, are always full of amazing stories and advice to give, and their love for one another grows stronger each day and hour. They have been married for over 50 years.

“Relationships in the church can only thrive as much as we dwell in reality.”

For the first and second verses, a summary of them is this: “We are love in Christ in truth.” Being part of a local church is not just attending, but in knowledge, truth, and understanding in Christ. When Jesus addresses this woman, look at the detail he uses. “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” The Israelites were very formal when writing a letter and most often they always put their name at the beginning of the letter, instead of the end, like we do now, so that other can see who it’s from better and not having to read down to the bottom and then discover who it was from.

“If you don’t understand Him, you don’t know how to walk.”

Jesus gave us his all, love is natural, but we as flesh need commandments to help us love like we are supposed to. Loving and showing it properly is hard, even if you really don’t want to. And when I’m talking about love, I don’t mean it in that “ooky” way, I mean it as “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14) way. We need to understand Christ’s view, and that’s being kind and loving all who persecute, make fun of you, etc.

“If you don’t have an understanding of truth, you cannot love correctly.”

In 1 John, he [Jesus] talks and teaches about love, in 2 John he teaches us how to balance love with truth. In 1 Timothy 3:14-16 (NIV) it says “truth never changes.” Neither should our love for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. When we see a friend who needs help we should do it out of love, not hate or to make ourselves look good. Before you act to anything big, think this:

“What would Jesus do?”

Application: That we never lose sight of Christ.

Concluded Moral: As Christians we need to keep a watch for the fake leaders. Make sure you dig for evidence and truth, before you love and become attached.

“Truth is that which respond to reality.”

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Some people think that trials are the end of us; them. Trials are what tear us down into little pieces, they’re what causes us sickness, depression, and anxiety, as well as many more emotions; feelings. But let me tell you this: Trials are what make us stronger. They help us realize things we never would’ve seen before, had we have not gone through them. In James 1:2-12 (NIV) it says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James is telling us here, that we need to be joyful and consider it a blessing when we face trials of all kinds – big or small. You’re probably thinking right now: Are you nuts?! Let me rephrase: Have you lost your mind?! How can I be joyful when I’m sorrowful? How can I be jumping up and down, when all I do is want to go lay on my bed and sleep the day away? How — Stop for a second. Stop with all the negative thoughts, cause though this sounds really cliché – ’cause it’s not, when people are always negative, you lose that capability – so it seems – to think about the positive when you’re in a bad situation. And let me point out that James is saying (if you didn’t notice before) “whenever you face trials of many kinds.” He didn’t say ‘if you do face trials of many kinds,” he said, “whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

If and when are very two different words with and entirely different meaning, though people often mistake them for the same thing. If means, well it may happen, it may not. Dictionary.com defines it as: “a supposition; uncertain possibility: The future is full of ifs.” When means that it could happen any place at any give time during the day on a certain day – or certain days. Dictionary.com defines it as: The time of anything: the when and the where of an act. If you’d like to be specific and define the word used in the verse, then whenever is defined as: at whatever time; at any time when: Come whenever you like. Have I made myself clear enough to the differences. When means it will happen, sometime. If means it may or may not happen. Clear? Good.

Now continuing on, James says that it’s through these trials and temptations of our faith that strengthens it. You may be thinking, But how? All I normally want to do during trials is go curl up in a blanket and sleep my troubles away. Well, you’re wrong. Sure you may feel that way, but it’s just like a thunderstorm, it can be scary at first, with the thunder booming loudly and the lightning crashing to the earth at incredible desctructive speeds, but you have to think about what comes after the storm. Without rain, can you have a rainbow? No. Without the thunder and lightning can you have that fresh clean-air smell? No. Without a storm are you be anxious while waiting for the storm to end and to be able to go outside and enjoy the clean air? No, not really!

The sentence after says, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” This is saying that when we go through hard times, perseverance must be present. It also must finish its work so that we can be more mature in our faith (and physically) and complete, lacking nothing. It’s a very self-explanatory verse.

The next two verses are well-known verses, those verses are verses five and six, in them, James writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” When we lack the wisdom we need to guide ourselves, we need to ask God, who, as the verse says, gives generous to those without fault, that it will be given to you. But there’s this teenie, tiny “catch,” to say, and it’s this: You have to believe, don’t doubt that God won’t provide, ’cause he provides for all, otherwise you’ll be, as described in the verse, “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” And you don’t want to be a wave, pushed around by all those temptations, lies, false prophecy, etc. You want to be surround by God’s grace, help, perseverance, truth, etc.

The next verse says, adding to the sentence before it, “That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James is talking about the man who doesn’t believe and how he is double-minded and in need of grate help, yet he doesn’t believe so. The man is unstable in all he does and think he can ask anything from the Lord, and the Lord will give it to him just like that, he does not realize the components associated with asking wisdom from God above.

In the last paragraph, James is talking about how a poor man should take pride in humble circumstances and then how the rich, “stuck-up” man should take pride in his low circumstances, for he’ll just fade away like a flower. Now, why is a flower reference is used? Because we all know once a flower blooms it’s absolutely gorgeous and people want to pay attention, take images, and comment about it. The flower seems to brag and “exaggerate” its beauty. But once the flower starts to die, because the life span isn’t long, it becomes ugly and the color fades, people don’t want to have a brown, uncolored flower, they want a vibrant-colored flower, so they cut it out or let it die and through it out. Now James does talk about a wild flower, of where a wild flower would just fade without notice; people will forget it quickly.

Finally, the last verse says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” Let me emphasize that this sentence starts out with the words “blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,” otherwise, God is saluting the person who persists under trial, because he proved, in a way, to God that he can with stand the tests and temptations he goes through and still be “one” with God. The reward? That the man will receive the crown of life. James is talking about faith and how when people put their faith and trust in God, as well as commit their life to him and believe, they’ll be able to live eternally with God in heaven when they die, their souls won’t perish, even though their flesh will.

Lastly, here’s something I want to share, which was from a recent Bible study of where we (as a youth group) talked about trials and temptations, and what we think the differences are. We concluded this: trials are what we cause ourselves, because of flesh, yet when we go through trials we emerge stronger in out faith before. Unlike with tempstions, that with trials people be tempted because of sin to do wrong and evil.

Take for example two people who have lost their job, one, knows it’s a trial, but when they trust in the Lord to get them through there is a reward at the end, but they second also sees it as a trial, but since they can’t afford the luxuries they once had, and they have a chance to steal, there’s your temptation.

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“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—”

– Colossians 1:15-22 (NIV)

First off, I am doing something different and it is I’m only going to focus on certain verses, including 16 and 20-22.

We are God’s creations, of whom he made with love and deep, deep thought. He molded us from the clay of the earth – to say. Evolution and the Big Bang Theory have no chance next to the true story of Creation. God put thought in how we are designed; how are bodies are made, how they work, and think. And how intricate the atmosphere had to be in order for us to survive, Evolution can’t compare, and the Big Bang Theory can’t even come close.

In verse 16,  it says, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” This verse is talking about how we are like clay, we were modeled and formed by God in his indescribable, perfect image. But since he formed us out the the dust of the earth, so we will return to dust when we pass (Gen. 2:7, 3:19).

Skipping to verse 20, it states, “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” What one can see here is that we can be thankful; we are blessed to have such a loving , caring, and forgiving God – and these are just a few characteristics of our mysterious God. He settled our debt, which we are still in and will never have to pay for with such pain Christ did to save us. The religions of the tribal people and others, their gods are man-made, meaning they have characteristic like flesh; us. The sad thing too is, the people are so afraid, take the Aztecs for example, they sacrificed their own kind, their own children to their gods in order for things to stay good and balanced, when in reality they were just creating pain and destruction within themselves.

As we read on in verses 21-22, which say, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation,” it explains there we were once aliens, people of the unknown in God’s eyes because of our sin; the evil inside us. Now, can you believe that through death, we were brought out of this slave called sin? Can you believe through the most painful way of death, in Jesus’ time, we were saved because of his ultimate and unbelievable painful sacrifice? There’s no doubt we are still slaves, but we have a hope, just like the Israelites had with Moses, who, with God’s help were delivered out of Egypt, out of Pharaoh’s cruel hands, that through Christ’s blood shed on that wonderful and also horrid day, we are saved from hell through a trusting and everlasting relationship with him.

We are able, thanks to Christ, control that thing called sin and flesh. Without him we are in dread and shame, but it’s because of Him, we are now free from our debt. In order to be redeemed you have to trust and ask the Lord to live in your heart and direct your ways, even if his ways seem unbearable and utterly ridiculous, you’ll be thankful you followed his ways, because in the end there is always a silver lining and reward.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”

– Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV)

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