Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Foundations and boundaries...



I'm leaving for the Oregon Coast in the morning.
I'm looking forward to a family reunion with my siblings, nieces and nephews, 
and on into the the third and fourth generation!
Today I have a cake to bake, one of Mama's recipes.
I'd like to skip writing and head to my kitchen, where, if I follow the recipe, flour and eggs and sugar and baking soda and a few other delicious ingredients make cake.

I'm heavy hearted today, because this world has gone crazy mad, and all too many are cooking according to what they feel, instead of according to the recipe for life found in the Bible.
Then, they're angry at their Maker because life just isn't turning out the way they want.
We've destroyed our foundations.
We're adrift without an anchor.

From what I'm observing, here are some red flags that alarm me when I read or hear them.

1) Acting like you can't understand, study, or interpret the Bible for yourself.
If I've read it once in recent days, I've read it a thousand times.
When someone speaks out on today's hot button issues with a traditional Biblical interpretation they are told,
"You're not qualified to  speak on this topic because modern theologians interpret those passages differently."
Yes, I can stack books to the ceiling of theologians supporting a more conservative, literal, interpretation of Scripture
and I can stack books to the ceiling of those who don't.
Personally, I'd rather read the Bible myself and let it speak for itself.
If I find something woven throughout the Bible in both Old and New Testament,
then chances are, it's meant for me today.
For instance, the sacrificial lamb is woven throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
In the Old Testament it was a literal lamb, which pointed to the once and for all Sacrificial Lamb,
 Jesus, in the New Testament.
In the same way, if a behavior is said to be sinful in both Old and New Testaments, 
then no matter what I think, feel, or what culture dictates, it must be sin.
Too simplistic, too easy?
I would argue that the Bible is meant for the everyday, ordinary person, 
not only for theologians or seminarians, for priests or pastors.

2) Removing or reinterpreting passages of scripture because they are offensive.
There are plenty of things in the Bible that are offensive to me and the way I'd like to run my own life.
Thinking of others as better than myself...
offensive.
Forgiving those who have hurt me...
offensive.
Giving up everything to follow Jesus...
really offensive.
Jesus is the Only Way to salvation, and without Him you are lost...
super offensive.
But, if the Bible is God's Word, whether it's offensive or not, 
I must accept it and ask for God's help to live it.
Personally, I'd rather someone just say, 
"I don't believe the Bible is God's Word"
 then to say they believe it, 
but pick and choose what parts to believe and explain away the parts that are difficult.

3) Rejecting the authority of God or the Bible.
God is the Maker and Creator, the Redeemer and Savior.
He made us, He bought us back from the enemy through Jesus' death and resurrection.
In other words, He's the Boss, not me.
I can't accept His love and His grace without also accepting His authority.
He is Lord and He is Master as well as Friend and Lover.

4) Rejecting the "hard sayings" of the Bible.
Like those who stopped following Jesus when He told them they must eat His flesh and drink His blood
we want to stop following Jesus when it comes to the hard sayings.
In other words, we want to follow Him, until we hit up against something that offends us or offends culture, 
then we want to go off on our own little detour, and hop back on the Jesus' trail when it's more convenient.

5) Relying on feelings rather than foundations.
Oh, boy, pet peeve here.
Feelings lie!
Feelings deceive!
I may feel  any number of things aren't fair, are too hard, are too unreasonable, 
but God's Word is the plumb line that keeps me from veering right off a cliff due to my feelings.

6) Putting self first.
One of the foundational truths of the Bible is dying to self, laying down one's life,
yet our culture preaches a whole different mantra.
"Follow your heart"
"If it feels good do it"
"You've got to fight for your rights"
Self screams, kicks and fights to be exalted.
Like Joyce Meyer says,
"I think. I feel. I want" is the constant refrain of our soul.
Yet, Jesus set the example for us of a life laid down.
To be one who lives a laid down life of love for Him and others should be our desire and goal.
Instead, when we talk about things like sacrifice and submission, 
we are often treated with contempt or pity.

7) Being culturally relevant is esteemed above Biblical truth.
We live in a culture where you can't say the word sin without offending someone.
Even the church is offended,  because if you mention sin, you must not believe in grace.
Again, accuse me of being naive, simple minded, ignorant, old fashioned, irrelevant, whatever,
but I really just think the Bible means what it says and says what it means.
Certainly, there are laws and rituals in the Old Testament that didn't carry over into the new.
Yes, there are cultural things specific to the time period of the Bible.
But many of those things that people bring up for the sake of argument is simply straining at a gnat.
And it's actually not as impossible or difficult to figure out what is what as many would have you believe.
I am so confident in the power of God's Holy Spirit, that I sincerely believe that if you ask the Holy Spirit to show you His truth about an issue, lay aside all commentaries and man's opinions and preconceived ideas and honestly, open heartedly ask Him to teach you from His Word alone, He can and He will.

Well, I have a cake to bake and some packing to do.
This may be a more "preachy" post than you're used to from me,
but I'm concerned for our country, I'm concerned for the church.
I fear we're not following the Jesus of the Bible,
but some culturally palatable Jesus created in our own image.  

There's a world famous preacher who begins his messages by having the congregation make a declaration beginning with the words, "This is my Bible..."
Well, I've taken the liberty to make my own declaration, an adaptation of his.

"This is my Bible.  
God is Who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do and He does what He says He will do.
Whenever I open these pages I am receiving the inerrant, infallible, incorruptible, indestructible, 
ever-living, life-changing seed of the Word of God.  
I boldly confess that my mind is alert, 
my heart is receptive,
and my will is submitted to the authority of the Word of God
and its Divine Author.
Therefore, I will never be the same. 
Never. Never. Never.
I will never be the same.
In Jesus' Name.
Amen."


still following,

P.S.  I wanted to add this link for those of you wanting to know practical ways to study the Bible for yourself.  This method is called the inductive method.  You read, observe and interpret the Bible using scripture and context over outside commentary.  Is there ever a time to use outside study help?  Of course!  But first, let the Bible speak for itself.  Also, as mentioned above, ask for the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you.


                                    

                    

39 comments:

  1. Thank you my friend for opening your heart and speaking Truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for covering me in prayer when I do! :)

      Delete
  2. preach it sister! well said!❤

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love you and your heart for the truth. And The Truth. It comes from a beautiful heart that lives love. So I'm not sure it can be preachy then. Have a great time and eat some cake for me?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amen, my dear friend! You are right on! Thank you for being bold to speak from your heart - the truth of God's Word. The results (and consequences) of our lives will prove what is true when it's all said and done.

    Have a great time at the beach. Enjoy your family! We are heading back to the beach for the weekend with friends from church. Four couples are staying at our friends' beach home.
    ~Adrienne~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, friend. We had a great time away. Now I just need to recuperate from all the fun!

      Delete
  5. So glad I stopped and read this.. your last two points have also been heavy on my heart. Regarding number five I think of the saying Jesus first, Others second, ourselves last.. This is so not the mantra the world tries to sell to us. it's a all about ME mentality.. I find personally that the closer I am in my walk with the Lord the more selfless I become--It's like taking on the mind of Christ.

    Number six has been heavy on my heart for awhile. It has alienated me from some of my fellow believers because my convictions do not allow me to participate in some activities that are very important to them. I try not to be judging but I know when you do share your convictions the accusation of not believing in the Grace of God is always there in their minds. Oh that the Grace of God will give us wisdom in working out these issues that trouble our heart so that we may take on the Heart of God in our lives. Sorry to get to rambling here but you just got me going.. God bless, deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Debbie, I appreciate your comment and encouragement. Linking arms and hearts with you as we follow Him.

      Delete
  6. Our hearts are beating in sync! How well you articulated your concerns. I share them. And I appreciate the way you reworded the "This is my Bible...." statement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, friend, I'm so thankful for others who are like minded. The enemy wants us to feel isolated and alone doesn't he?

      Delete
  7. Oh how I wish this could be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News plus many others.

    Great, great article and full of truth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're my biggest fan and encourager, no doubt about it! Love you, friend.

      Delete
  8. Excellent post! Thank you, Elizabeth! I love the inductive study of scripture. Thanks for stating truth here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Becky. Praying for you young mama's who face so much more than I did raising my little ones. Praying for extra wisdom for you and your hubby and extra protection over your children.

      Delete
  9. I am reading through Isaiah and every time I do I see so much of our own country mirrored in the sins of the past, way back to biblical times. "But His hand is stretched out still." May God's truth spread a little deeper and wider through this post! Blessings to you and have a great trip. We are headed to the CA central coast in the morning! Blessings! Love, Rachael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! I think Isaiah may be my favorite book in the Bible.

      Delete
  10. I stand in the amen corner on every single point. I don't know if you have ever read "Radical" or "The Jesus of Suburbia", but they both express that point about the Jesus we've created in our own image so well. (They are books, not articles, but the quote option is all I have in a comment. )

    There is so much I would love to say in response to this, but so as to keep this from being its own blog post, I will end how I started.

    Amen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for encouraging me so, as well as for the book recommendations.

      Delete
  11. Back to ask: I read a quote one time that I THOUGHT was a C.S. Lewis quote. I have never been able to find it or a correct attribution since. I wish I had copied it down better. It was something like:

    We must let God's Word say what it intends to say". Any help with attribution?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Came over from Dianne's and am glad I did. Have to agree on every point. Wonderful truth and so well said.
    Blessings-

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so glad you wrote and posted this! If I could have said it as well, I might have written it myself, I am so agreed on every point. And how timely it is to find the link to this post in my morning's email! Last night my husband was expressing the same heavy-hearted thoughts as your second paragraph. I must share this with him over breakfast.

    I'm also glad to hear all the assents from the "Amen corner" in the other comments. I guess there's still a remnant...

    So let us pray...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Sylvia. I'm so thankful for those who are willing to stand up for God's Word!

      Delete
  14. I couldn't stop reading your post this morning!! We need to be on our knees for our country and this world! Thank you for this heartfelt post.... I plan to re-read it later and use the link to the Bible study tools site. Have a safe and enjoyable trip! Maybe share your Mama's cake recipe when you have some time?

    God Bless you, June

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. June, Mama's recipe is up on my blog now. There's a link to it on the sidebar under categories. Just click on Mama's Oatmeal Cake.
      Thanks so much for your encouragement.

      Delete
  15. Yes and Amen! I wholeheartedly agree with every point you have articulated here. And I can vouch for the fact that the Holy Spirit will give understanding of the Bible to anyone who seeks the truth.

    I was a young teen when I came to Christ and all I had was a King James Bible but my heart was open and I was able to receive what God spoke through His living Word.

    Thank you so much for writing this! Well said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your testimony, Angel. God's Word is so powerful!

      Delete
  16. I've come by to read and listen and pray with you, friend ... Bending a knee and asking God to lead and guide. It's a noisy, noisy world right now, isn't it? Come, Holy Spirit...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Public schools were created in England and the U.S. to teach people to read so they could read their bibles - so that no one could ever come between God and their salvation again - not a priest or pastor, not a king, lord or boss. Your points show the tremendous importance of getting one-on-one with the Word of God!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right, friend. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Delete
  18. oh, i think you know how much i agree with you on this, and how my heart is grieving with yours. i've added this to my blog page in the hopes that many will read it... love you. thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, friend. Love you bunches.

      Delete
  19. reading through this I found myself shaking my head in affirmation time and time again. Lately it seems that there is much that seems to be made of doing whatever you want for the sake of yourself. So many instances of where we think we can do whatever we want to make our lives better. And yet we are not in charge, there are things we have been called to, rules that have been set in place, grace that is needed for the everyday. Thank you for writing these words. Thank you for sharing them so clearly. So much of what my heart has been crying out in the past several weeks resonates with this...especially when you choose to pick and choose what parts of the Bible are for you and leave out the rest...it becomes just another piece of literature at that point and not life changing meat of the WOrd. thank you again friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much for your encouragement.

      Delete

The best thing about blogging is hearing from you!
I'd love for you to leave a comment! Click subscribe by email if you want me to be able to reply to you.