Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Musings: 10/19/09, Fishing For Truth? by John

Looking at Christianity as a whole reminds me of the story about how birds started building nests. I can't remember the story exactly. What I remember is that each kind of bird watched a nest being built, and each one left the lesson before it was finished. One bird, for instance, saw twigs being used, and left to build a nest with twigs. Another saw grass being woven together and left to build his nest with grass. The ones who stayed all the way through built much more complete, durable nests.

When people meet and accept Christ as their Savior and Lord, Jesus spoke of them as "born again" in the third chapter of the Gospel of John. I would think anyone reading that would realize that He was also saying we are not born into the Kingdom of God as adults. Peter called those to whom he addressed his letters "babes in Christ." That again refers to our need to grow.

Too many of us do not avail ourselves of what we need to grow, not enough of the Bible, not enough prayer, not enough making the Biblical messages part of our daily lives. In that respect, I'm reminded of the way people fish. Some go to the river or lake time after time and just sit in one place waiting for a hungry fish to come along and bite. Others go to the same water, launch out in boats. Some use nets, some regular poles with live bait, and some use rods, (maybe fly rods, one of my favorites) searching for hungry fish.

I've fished in many rivers and lakes during the past 80 plus years, and I can't say I know a great deal about them. I know their shorelines, where the stumps and rocks are in some of them, but I know very little about what goes on beneath the surface. When I was young and dived down into the depths, I noticed how the water changed temperature every five feet or so, and I paid attention to how much the light lessened until it was almost totally black, and I couldn't really say what was going on a few feet away.

So many of us Christians are like I was as a fisherman. We dip into the Bible, and maybe learn a few verses. We attend Bible Study and Worship, perhaps on a weekly basis, but we still don't know much about God. I thought I was a pretty good Bible student when I was in college, and I was amazed at how much I did not know when I got to seminary. When I got a sheepskin there, I thought surely I had arrived! But the older I got the more I became aware God is too great for me to know well here on earth. I will never be a master of theology or Christian living here. For awhile I thought I would know everything about everything when I got to heaven. Now, my experience tells me I will never ever know everything! I'm certain heaven will present the most wonderful opportunity to learn that I've ever had! I look forward to it!

Sometimes we think we are more like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was made whole. That's all we have done! We feel like martyred Stephen who got a glimpse of heaven as people stoned him to death. He saw Jesus, and we do, too. Not in the same way, but we see Jesus, not as a man, but as a Wonderful Personality of God!

With all we do not know, is it any wonder that the Bible tells us not to judge? Why can't we let other people know we don't know everything there is to know? Why can't we admit that we are just poor students seeking the truth of God? I wonder who we think we are fooling. It's not God! He knows all there is, or ever will be, about each one of us...and the miracle is that He loves us anyway!

We can't be humble, as commanded, while we are lording it over others. A minister I knew said, "The ground around the foot of the cross is level." At the cross, we meet Jesus, and around the foot of that cross, we are all equal and equally loved by God. That's wonderful in itself, but if we want to know God better, we are going to have to stop thinking we have already arrived and start learning of Jesus. How did He treat enemies? People say they are going the "Jesus way," but do they know His way? I said that until I discovered I wasn't really willing to die for people who hated me. I wasn't even willing to let people who hit me on one cheek do it again. I didn't trust my Heavenly Father enough to really depend entirely on Him for everything I need! I'm trying to be honest here. Most of my early life such things seldom if ever really occurred to me. I'm glad they do now.

Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? I have, but not often enough. Have you really tried to discover for yourself exactly what Jesus meant when He spoke? Or is it possible you just expect the minister to feed you three times, maybe just once a week? Is it possible you depend entirely on someone else's word for Biblical truth? I'm glad we have churches with services honoring God, and I plan to be in one often, but I won't let that take the place of my own responsibility to know what God expects of me personally, and I won't accept what others say without finding the Biblical ground for it. I want to know God, and the way to do that is to approach Him directly. We can do that in prayer, reading the Bible while we pray about it. Viewing the world through, not rose-colored glasses, but through the eyes of Jesus! That's been my life goal for 65 years now, and I'm closer, but not a whole lot.

Hebrews 5:11-14 should speak to all Christians. It tells us we are "babes" when we should be adults. It also says we need someone to teach us elementary truths. We, like babies, require baby food! Adults eat solid food, and those who do have learned to distinguish between right and wrong by searching the depths of the Scripture. The writer is not talking a casual ho hum reading of the Word, is he? He's talking about comparing Scripture with Scripture and staying with a passage until you know what it means.

I think what this country needs more than anything else is to stop dapping with our knowledge of God! We need to trawl the depths of the Word to learn all we can and model our lives into His image!


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