Here is how bad a nerd I am….

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Am doing a study with a book by Reuben Job, titled, “Listen.  Praying in a Busy World.”

Well, here is what a technophile I am.  In the response part of the Devotional area set aside for writing, I wrote that I was setting a daily appointment with God on my iPhone, which synchs with my iPad mini, as well as my MacBook & PC calendars….geeeez what a nerd I have become.  lol.

It’s not that I don’t pray frequently — I do.  The thing is that I don’t LISTEN before & after I pray frequently.  THAT is the time I have to remind myself to take.

So one thing good is already happening from this Lenten Devotional. <big grin>.

I actually have another book by the same fella, titled “The Three Rules.”  It was passed out at the UMC, Ohio Annual Conference years back when I was a lay delegate, and I still have it.  May ought to drag it out and actually read it again.  Reuben Job was a UMC Bishop way back when you see, and apparently has a very strong sense of Wesleyan Spiritual Disciplines.

Now there is a fella I admire–John Wesley.  If you ever have a few minutes to spare, and happen to have the OliveTree Bible Software on your computer/device, download the FREE copy of John Wesley’s “Christian Perfection.”  That guy makes some modern Evangelicals look like daycare kids in their evangelistic practices LOL.  Seriously though, he was a very interesting individual.  I’m in the midst of that book, and the complete updated writings of Flavius Josephus, in addition to attempting to stay ahead of an upcoming 34 session Bible study I’m “facilitating.”  Can’t wait to get that kicked off with the orientation session this coming Sunday.  It’s also a UMC thing, titled “Disciple I.”  Pretty intense stuff really, and I love that sort of thing when it comes to the bible.

Hmm, well, reckon that’s all I have at present.

Ya all have a Blessed Day/Night/Whatever the case may Be :)))

~Sean

ay

DISCIPLE I, SESSION 1 ~ Authority

THIS SECTION BEGINS WITH THE PARTICIPANT SECTION ~ MY NOTES FOLLOW

DISCIPLE I , Session 1 “Authority”

Joys & Concerns please track these and pray throughout the week

Opening prayer

Review & Discuss Video

 Questions to consider:

  1. What does reading Scripture in community do for us?

  2. Why do we read the Bible?

  3. The Living Word of God helps us do what?


Scripture and Study Manual

When & where did you get your first Bible? Who gave it to you? What did it mean to you at the time?

Terms: (turn to page 8 of the workbook)

Canon: “rule or standard” – List of religious writings considered authoritative

Pentateuch: First five books of the Bible

Torah: the Hebrew canon – THESE ARE THE BOOKS THEY BELIEVE TO BE AUTHORITAVE (Consists of the Pentateuch) The Jewish Bible also contains other books, but the CORE of their Bible is the Torah, or: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy


Split into groups of 2 or 3

 Discuss the various types of Biblical literature and it’s characteristics.

What relationship do you see between the type of literature and the message it carries?

Discuss the meaning of the term “authority of Scripture.”

 

In what situations do we pay attention to what Scripture says?

 

Why do we pay attention to Scripture?

 

How does Scripture have authority in your life?

What do you expect from the Bible?

 

What does the Bible have a right to expect from its readers?

 

Regroup

Marks of Discipleship

Read aloud “Our Human Condition.”

What is the relationship between the authority of Scripture and the experience described in “Our Human Condition”?

Respond to the questions under “Marks of Discipleship.”

Review next week’s assignment.

 

Any additional prayer concerns for upcoming week?

Closing Prayer

 

 

Disciple Study – Session One – Orientation:

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DISCIPLE I, SESSION ONE (ORIENTATION)

Over the next 34 weeks, during Sunday School hour at my Church, I will be facilitating the UMC’s Disciple I Study.  It will be an awesome review & a deepening learning for me as well.  I am looking extremely forward to doing this study with some really cool people in my church during Sunday School hour.  VERY forward to it. You see, I simply adore doing Bible studies.  Period.  End of story.  I want to KNOW as much as my mind will hold about what is in those 66 books that comprise our Bible, and further, I want to know the best way to apply that knowledge (in other words, I am seeking wisdom.)

So as we begin this journey, I have decided to post each week’s session here for two simple reasons:

1. For the class participants (including me) to have a place on the web to keep up with the latest material, and

2. To have this material available to anyone else on the web who may wish to access it.

DISCIPLE I – ORIENTATION, MARCH 2, 2014;  0930-1030

Sharing of Joys & Concerns

 Definition of “Disciple” One who believes in the teachings of another, and adheres to them in practice.

 PURPOSE of Disciple I for Sunday School: (Ephesians 4:12) “…to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ.”

SAMPLE Schedule:

Gather and pray together at 09:30 a.m. (1-5 minutes)

After prayer, we will watch a video (12-18 minutes)

Discuss Video (approximately 10-12 minutes)

Discuss Scripture and Study Manual (10-15 minutes)

Consider “Marks of Discipleship” (5-10 minutes)

Closing prayer – share any additional concerns and pray (2-5 minutes)

{Please praise God for our Joys, and talk to Him about our concerns throughout the week, each week}

Dismissal

Times will be adhered to as closely as possible so that we can cover the material as thoroughly as possible. If we need to make any adjustments, we will decide as a group how to do so.

 Materials: PLEASE PICK UP A WORKBOOK TODAY – THEY ARE FREE

 Please bring a study Bible of your liking (NRSV recommended) but whatever translation you wish to use is fine. Materials for Note-Taking are Strongly Recommended.

Optional: You are welcome and encouraged to bring whatever commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias, study notes, etc., that you would like. If by chance you need help in utilizing any reference materials, every effort will be made to assist you.

Privacy By nature, these meetings require openness and trust. When I am not able to be here to lead the class, one of the group members will be asked to do so, NOT someone from outside the group. PLEASE do not discuss any personal differences of opinion, or other private matters outside of this group’s constituency.

I am available by eMail any time! Feel free to call me at: (123) 456-7890

 It is desirable that before next Sunday that you read and complete the workbook Session 1 “Authority,” including the Scripture readings. Again, if you are not able to do this, please feel free to still come to class. I assure you that full participation will be more rewarding, but that if you simply come and listen, it will be rewarding as well.

Please remember, I am a participant in this study as well…in no way do I profess to “know it all” nor will I be able to immediately answer all questions during a given session. However, I WILL be sure to answer ALL questions to the very best of my ability, once given adequate time to do any necessary research.

ONLINE BIBLE RESOURCES: Olive Tree (Free) Bible Software: www.olivetree.com – there is a version for PC/Mac/iPhone/iPad available, and it includes a good number of free resources!; Programs also available from www.e-sword.com; www.blueletterbible.com has very good online resources; Don’t forget that you can use www.wikipedia.org/en to look stuff up…just be advised that this resource is not necessarily authoritative in all matters, simply due to the nature of their information collection being “open source.”

Let’s get a little head start on Session I if we have time:

Grab a Bible! Hold it in your hands. Open to the table of contents where all the 66 canonized books are listed (& possibly the Apocryphal books, depending on the Bible). Leaf through it a bit, reading a verse here and there.

How do you feel when you look at this “Book full of Books”?

Do you find it intimidating or inviting? Both? Write your initial impression below.

Turn to Matthew 28:19. Read the “Great Commission” given to us in this verse.

What are your initial thoughts about this verse? In the space below, write how you feel we are to accomplish this Commission given us by our Savior Jesus:

The fulfillment of this Commission given us by Jesus begins with US BEING Disciples of course, and that is what this study is all about. We have to KNOW the “ins and outs” of living as faithful Disciples, according to this “Book of Books” in our hands, before we can possibly convey the “how” of our lifestyle to another, hence this study.

Think about this as you go day to day through this new week. Consider first the HOW of BEING a faithful Disciple, and, consider the HOW of MAKING Disciples per Jesus’ command. Write your thoughts below, and bring it to study next week. Sharing is welcome but not required. At this point, I simply ask for your consideration of the questions.

Rest In Peace Uncle “Ab” Herron

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My earliest recollection of my Uncle Ab is probably around 1982-83 or so, when my family and I headed to Indiana for a visit for a few specific reasons.

Well, whilst the adults were talking and all that “stuff,” I headed out with the kids – I THINK Randy, Michael, & possibly Becky & Angela, into the field by the house, or, the yard as it were.

I seem to recall a bad thing related to urinating and an electric fence, as well as some of them wanting us to swim in what looked to me, at that time, to be a “ditch” with a torrential current lol.  We were young….so very young back then.

Well, the years have gone by, and now I’m not so young.  All of “Ab’s” kids are grown, and there are grandkids as well.  I honestly do not know of any great-grandkids, but would about be surprised if there are none.  My mama’s side of the family seems to breed pretty quickly lol.

But Ab came from a place wayyy back in the hills of South-Eastern Kentucky, as did his 11 siblings.  His mama had 14 kids, 12 of whom survived to adulthood, including my mama, her oldest sister, and Ab.  From what I’ve heard, those three were hell on wheels as youngsters…but, being I wasn’t there, I have no valid stories to tell.

Their daddy was a coal miner & farmer.  They lived a long time with my mamaw & papaw Blanton on a farm best I know.  And regardless of any faults, they are all “sturdy stock” so to speak.

Well, “Ab” which is short for Albert, which in turn was his father’s first name (but they didn’t “hang” the “Jr.” on him), came from that sort of mountain background, as did the rest, and there wasn’t a lazy bone in his body (common amongst all of them of course).  He worked and took care of his family doing different things here and there, but best I know, he was a stone worker/mason type guy.  He definitely did not leave the “farm boy” guy back home either.  Every time I ever saw him in my adult life, he seemed to always have something to say about gardening or farm animals (typically something to do with chickens specifically) and it was also always interesting, with his own humorous spin added.

I always did look forward to seeing uncle Ab.  The times were few and far between for many years, for many reasons I reckon.  But, when HIS mama was at MY mama’s house, growing into her oldest years, bed-bound, etc., Ab was a good son and came saw his mama.  Being that during that period I spent a lot of time there, he also saw me by default lol.  It was always a pleasure to see him, and I don’t recall ever seeing him come in without a smile.

He got along famously with my son Ty, and my daughter “Katie”-girl.  He would call on the phone and tell her he was the sheriff (or the principal) and play around on the phone like that with her when she was much younger.

Ab also had a big time playing around with my son Ty here and there.  He (Ab), had this “thing” about PETA.  Well, Ty would bring it up just so Ab would get to talking about it, and Ty would proceed to laugh himself silly listening to Ab.  I must admit, I found much of it extremely humorous as well.

One thing I heard Uncle Ab say one time that I’ll never forget, as it relates to family, was:  “We may get mad at each other, but we all still love each other.”  This was a testament to his loyalty to his family, and words that are well worth remembering.

I was fortunate enough to sit outside on my mama’s front porch with Uncle Ab on many occasions, and not one was boring in the least.  He was the sort who always had SOMETHING to say, whether I understood his meaning clearly or not lol.  The guy always tickled my funny bone, and that is something I appreciate in anyone.

Yep, ole Uncle Ab was a good old boy from the hills of around Harlan & Evarts, Kentucky.  Reckon he was born in Cranks Creek as was my mother.  If any of you reading are my family members who happen to know different, then please take a minute to reply to this post and set me straight on where Uncle Ab was born, as well as his DOB and date of death please..

Reckon I could talk for a good long while about my Uncle Ab, but to be honest, I choose to simply be selfish with my fond memories right now, and they are indeed fond.  I simply choose to remember a mountain fella wearing jeans, a plain white t-shirt, smiling and walking up the steps onto my mama’s porch…I just simply can not, right now, remember, nor do I wish to remember, the last time I told him “take care Uncle Ab.  Love ya buddy.”

Well, far as I’m concerned, Uncle Ab is where I will one day be — Heaven.  That thought makes me a bit happier right now.

So, Uncle Ab, this post is for you 🙂  I’ll see ya again later buddy.

~S

Thoughts on “Prayer 101” Book

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Part 1

Passage for Today (Jesus speaking to the Disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray)

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8 (NRSV))

There is a lot to learn from Jesus’ words in this passage.

  1. We are not to pray just to be seen by others, or to attempt to appear “righteous.”. Jesus says that doing so is hypocritical
  2. We are to pray in a quiet place where (we) can talk to God calmly and peacefully, and for the right reasons.
  3. There is a reward for praying the right way! I think that reward is answered prayers vs. “being seen” by others.
  4. There is no need to try to “impress” God with our words. We are His own creation, so that would be impossible to do anyway! Once we consider what Jesus says about “empty phrases” and “many words,” we realize that God wants the simple words of our heart, not the many words of our mouths. And, the “Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…” even when we don’t even know what to say. (Romans 8:26)
  5. God knows what we need before we ask!

This doesn’t mean we should never pray amongst people, but that we shouldn’t do it solely to be heard. Neither does it mean that since God already knows our needs we shouldn’t pray at all. Jesus spent a huge portion of His time on Earth praying as an example for us.

Jesus is telling us here HOW to pray.

It is right after this passage that he teaches us “The Lord’s Prayer.” But is that the ONLY prayer He wants us to pray?

Consider the Lord’s Prayer for a moment. It covers everything we need, in most circumstances, in just a few lines. However, it is a general outline of HOW we should pray, not the only prayer we should pray. It starts with us addressing God in Heaven, and giving reverence to His name. It tells us to pray that His will be done, and goes on to remind us that it is from Him that we get our sustenance (daily bread). We are reminded to forgive others and to ask forgiveness, and warns us to not to be “led into temptation,” and that He will “deliver us from evil.” Finally, we are instructed to remember that the “Kingdom, and the POWER, and the GLORY” of our answered prayers are His forever! We must always glorify God for our answered prayers. It is not our prayers that accomplish the things we ask for, but it is our Wonderful God who accomplishes them. This is why it is fitting that we begin our prayer list now with glorifying Him for our Joys!

NOTE:  As Christians, God is our BEST friend.  So why not just talk to him like we would to our best friend here on earth?  It can be done without being the least bit disrespectful!  (I know, because that is how I pray) :d

Sean S. ~inspired by: Prayer 101 – Learning to Talk with God”  by Don Aycock

Buck Up Christian!

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HAPPY SUNDAY?

Reckon what I really mean is, (be) HAPPY EVERY DAY!  Why?  Because we are God’s beloved children, in whom (I pray) He is well pleased!

I sometimes wonder – Do we value ourselves as much as God values us?  Really?  I mean, He has given us His Son as our Savior & Risen Christ, the Messiah, and through that GIFT of God’s GRACE, we are able to actually talk to, commune with, pray to, be protected by, ask healing of, and worship our very Creator!   Why wouldn’t we?

But do we truly value ourselves as we should?  I think that sometimes we probably do not.  It is evident to me in my own life that, I am harder on myself than any other person in this world, and I am slower to forgive me than what God is!  Is that the right way to be??   

We must always remember that as God’s children, we are gifted with self-worth, self-esteem, pride in ourselves (not OF ourselves), and be as ready to forgive ourselves as is our Holy God!  All we need do for HIM to forgive us is to ask, and to be truly contrite, keep trying to do better, and it’s a done deal.  

IS THIS NOT CAUSE TO CELEBRATE EACH DAY OF OUR LIFE?!!

I know that many will probably think, “Well there’s a difference in asking forgiveness and repenting!”  

My simple answer to this logic is that asking for forgiveness from God in the first place IS an act of repentance.  There’s no need to keep beating ourselves over the head for the wrongs we do.  Why, we’d beat ourselves to death in no time at all!  God forgives.  So must we forgive ourselves and others.  

I “came up” in a church where I was under the impression that if I sinned, and didn’t ask forgiveness immediately (“repent” was their key word), that if in that split second between realizing I had done wrong, and asking forgiveness, Jesus were to come back, I was going to burn in Hell FIRE for eternity!  

I have news for people with that mindset:  It is a spirit of fear, and not of God.

“For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim)”

THEREFORE, if you are in constant fear of Hell, then you are not acting in accordance to God’s very Word given us in the Holy Scripture.  Is that not wrong? 

Now, some will say, “Well that’s just twisting “The Word” in order to justify doing whatever you want!”  

My response to THAT is that no, I am not twisting “The Word,” to justify anything.  God has already justified me by Grace, and I don’t answer to you anyway!  “Judge not lest ye be judged.”  So how about we all worry about our own salvation, stop arguing and splitting hairs regarding Scripture (typically taken out of context), and be, ummm, happy?  There’s not much that will get under my skin quicker than a weepy old whiney Christian.  Sure, there is a time to weep.  There is a time for all things.  But I submit to you that the majority of the time, it is time to be HAPPY because we are doing as we should, and trying to walk humbly with God.  (See Micah 6:8)

Further, I question exactly how “unhappy” Christians expect to do the bidding of Jesus and make Disciples!  Do we really, honestly believe that other people want to go around wringing their hands worrying about Hell, or the Second Coming (Rapture as some like to say – call it as you please)???  Why on earth would someone want to be like you if you are always a wreck worrying about Hell, and if you will avoid it?  Or worse yet, if you are constantly warning others that if they are not just like you, they WILL go to Hell???  Really?  Are any of us qualified to make that Judgment FOR GOD HIMSELF??  Seriously? Do any of us really think we can make that call about someone else’s life, especially the life of someone we don’t really even know? Let’s get real here.

No, I’m not saying that we are ALWAYS going to be happy.  We are human and we have emotions.  We have times of sadness, crying, worrying, etc.  These are things we are susceptible to. “There is a time for all things.” But come on!  Each day is a new one!  It is a Gift in and of itself.  Remember, “Give no thought for the morrow, what you shall eat or what you shall drink….”?

A fruit of the Spirit is “Joy.”  Let’s all get some and show it!  It’s not just for Sunday morning worship service.  And if we are going to Church to GET joy, how about going to try to GIVE joy to others?  And when we are on the way out the door Sunday morning, we try taking that joy out into the world made for us?

Jesus did NOT come and tell us that to be His Disciples we were supposed to fill pews with our own rumps or the rumps of others we guilted into sitting there! He TOLD us to GO and MAKE more Disciples!  Can we do that from the pew? Think so?  We best rethink that strategy a bit!  Filling that pew with our rumps on Sunday morning in order to derive our own joy, or blessed assurance, or whatever we may be doing in our own best interests, is NOT what Jesus told us to do!  

By all means, let us not forsake gathering ourselves together.  And let us make a joyful noise unto the Lord!  But it ain’t just for Sundayl!  And it sure ain’t just for Church time, whenever that may be!  How about we make OUR LIVES a joyful noise that is so loud in example to “the world” (as some call it.  I call it the mission field), that THEY WANT WHAT WE HAVE!    We have ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH THE GRACE OF OUR GOD THROUGH HIS SON JESUS OF NAZARETH, OUR RISEN CHRIST, AND HIS ETERNAL SACRIFICE FOR (ALL OF) OUR SINS! 

Tell you all what.  I personally know people who suffer from a very real legitimate mental illness called Depression.  And I have personally seen some Sunday Christians in a pew who make THEM look like they are so happy they could bust!!

Let us not do that please.  Let us remain in prayer to God, ever vigilant, without ceasing, and realize that of all the people on the face of GOD’S earth, we have more reason to be happy than many, many others!  Especially given we live in the USA, where we are free to practice our “Religion” (I hate that word)….errr, I mean we are Free To Be Christians!  It really just doesn’t matter a whole lot if everyone else agrees with us or not about this particular point — We are His Beloved Children.  So, tell me again why Sunday is happy day with the gang at church, and Monday through Saturday is “another world?”  

How is it an alleged Christian can be happy, singing, clapping, clamoring, etc. on Sunday in the church pew, but are just a “total drag” to be around the rest of the week??  IF THAT is what being a Disciple looks like, I want nothing to do with it!

That’s right…I went there…IF THAT IS WHAT BEING A DISCIPLE LOOKS LIKE, I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!  

I AM a Christian, forgiven, and sealed unto the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit.  So please, to those whom these statements apply, pretty please, I am almost ready to beg here…let’s all hush our whining, “oh woe is me” mouths, and get down to joining God in His business — and show the world why being a Disciple is the coolest thing on Earth to be!

Ok, glad I got that off my chest.

Today at Church, I sat through half a Sunday School class of people I was unfamiliar with because I had been at a different church for a while, and they came while I was gone.  They really don’t know me either.  But I’m here to tell you, they were talking about Paul’s telling us to pray without ceasing, and they were relating it to LIFE.  That my friends, is what WE are supposed to be doing at all times:  Applying the very Word of God to Our Own Lives!  These “new” people reminded me very well of what it is all about.

Being a Christian is really pretty simple.  Some would have it otherwise, but it isn’t. Take Saint (Mother) Theresa for instance (yes, I know good and well she was Catholic, and I have NO qualms with that or the Catholic church.  Read some history and you will likely find that at some point probably about all of our own denominations branched off of the Catholic church, and if you have a problem with Catholics, it is YOUR problem…but that’s another post)…SHE set about laying her hands to what needed to be done.  She was simple and faithful to God.  Is that so hard to do?  Really?  Or do you just not have the GUTS to do what’s right??  Your call, not mine.  Consider my words friends.  I care about you all, and wish you all the best.

Let me close this post with a prayer for us all:

Abba (Daddy), Jehovah, Yahweh, oh my God who is known by so many names:

I pray to you this day in humble adoration of the gift you have given us by the sacrifice of your very Son, Jesus, our Risen Christ!  Thank you so very much!  I simply ask that by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter promised us by Your Son, you guide us, lead us, teach us, and help us in our human weaknesses to learn to be better Disciples for YOUR glory.  Please let those who may not know you see in us something desirable about being Christian.  Let our lives be a living sacrifice so that others may come to You oh Lord.  And today my God I ask that you grant joy to Christians around the world who are not experiencing it.  It is a gift freely given by You Lord, and I ask that you pour it out on us all, not so that we may enjoy it solely for our own good, but so that by demonstrating it in our lives in the midst of others, that You will be glorified by the never-ending process of making of Disciples.

So Be it / Amen

~S~

 

 

 

Well, at Least Yesterday was better than Today!!

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One Step at a Time, Holding the Unseen Hand….

Yesterday went pretty well for me as I recall.  

Got up, read the Bible for about an hour (part of a chronological reading plan in my Olive Tree Bible Software (Mac or PC available).ic

Then, I got to work here with my laptop in the family room, early, while my daughter had already left for school, my wife was in bed, and my son was at work….it was sooo quiet, except for the clicks on the keyboard, which I find amazingly similar to the “One Step/Day at a Time Philosophy.  You see, we must type letters one at a time to forrm words.  We type words one at a time to form sentences – sentences one at a time to form paragraphs, and finally, paragraphs at a time to create a post, or article, or book, or whatever we started out to do.  The point is, we had a goal, and we took it one step at a time.

It is like this in living the life of a Christian in many ways.  We have a goal (that should, in my opinion be, to make disciples).  But that’s a goal, not a step.  We must take steps to reach a goal.  Then after we reach a goal, it’s time to reevaluate and create another, or at least another way to re-accomplish that first goal in a more proficient manner.  It may end up that we only have ONE end goal, but many smaller goals, or steps, to accomplish it.

So, what is the best way to accomplish that end goal?

First, we must plan.

Then we must determine the sequence of actions to take to reach the plan’s goal.

THEN, after having considered and prayerfully determined the prior two things I just mentioned, we must continue to prayerfully begin to TAKE ACTION.  That’s the key with us Christians you see….we MUST take ACTION.  Filling the pew on Sunday here and there is NOT what the Bible tells us we should do.  Nope, it sure doesn’t.

Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus said:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I would like to first point out that last sentence, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Jesus assures us here that He is ALWAYS with us!  Do we see it?  Do we look for it?  Do we remember it?

It seems that in some cases we do, and in others we do not.  I’m betting that the vast majority of Christians remember this when they are at church.  But how many of us remember it after we walk out of the Church after our Worship Service? JESUS IS WITH US.  Whether we realize it or not, whether we see it or not, or whether we remember it or not, HE IS WITH US.  This is a vital point for all of us to remember when we set to be, or try to continue in the path of, disciples of Jesus.

Let me share a little bit of personal experience here.  I spent ten+ years in really bad pain in my dominant hand due to an injury incurred in line-of-duty in the USAF.  Well, I was on such a high dosage of narcotic pain medicine, that I was doing good to just show up at Church.   I was yet less likely to be there and maintain consciousness.  And I was yet further able to remember one doggone word of the sermon, or even the topic preached.  I was at such a level of physical pain that IT was all I could think about, aside from my inner being questioning God as to why I must suffer, and I think that is natural.  At any rate, during that decade lost, I had NO choice but to live a moment at a time.  Not even a whole day.  Not even a whole hour.  Not even a whole minute.  But one moment at a time, just to get through the day.

At a few points the pain in my hand was so bad that I actually literally thought about using my power miter saw to just cut the thing off.  Well, luckily for me I found out from a neurologist that even doing that wouldn’t stop the pain because of the way our nervous systems work.  Whether this hand is physically here or not, it will continue to cause me varying levels of pain.  Praise be to God that I now have a morphine pump installed in me, and the pain is fairly well controlled.  Not good enough to go back to the duties of my last job, but it IS definitely helping a LOT.  I no longer take pain pills of any type, for any reason concerning my hand.  All the pain meds really do is knock you silly and cause bad side effects.  I wanted them solely for controlling my pain.  I ended up getting a Medtonics.com klfddll

Christian Men: Do you really Know your Wife or Girlfriend?

Let me be perfectly clear, as a Christian man who is married or dating, WE need to remember more than a few things about women in general:

  • They are not objects! They are people with feelings and emotions that are typically more “tender” than ours
  • They are not typically oriented towards “solving problems with logic,” but rather, they need to talk through and discuss their problems with an attentive, caring, sensitive man who will LISTEN and UNDERSTAND, rather than trying to “fix the problem.”  They are perfectly capable of solving things without your input.  However, they need to discuss things with you, and be HEARD, affirmed, and cared for.
  • They love compliments, especially when they do not have to point something out to you in order to receive one.  For instance, telling her that new dress is beautiful on her before she asks if it looks “ok.”  Or simply complimenting her smile when she is happy about something important to her, whether you “feel” it is important or not
  • They want YOU to be a GENTLEMAN.  Open the door for her.  Pull out her chair.  At a restaurant, wait until she is seated before you sit down.  Share your umbrella with her in the rain, or just flat give it to her and you run to hold the door open for HER!  Better yet, give her the umbrella as you drop her off at the door, then meet her inside.
  • They respect men with Honor, Integrity, Honesty, and depth of character. Hopefully If you don’t understand this statement, you better do some research NOW
  • They expect your word to be golden, as it should be.  If they can’t take your word for something, then they will never trust you.  And without trust, the relationship will stagnate quickly
  • It is IMPERATIVE that you maintain a high level of respect for her, as well as for yourself.  If you disregard respect in either case, there will be a problem.  This means that you take care of both of you.  You take care of yourself well because you care about how she views you.   You help her take care of herself by aiding her in whatever way needed for her to feel “pretty” and “attractive” to you.
  • NEVER look at another woman.  Period.  I don’t care if she is with you or not.  I don’t care if a nude magazine model walks into the restaurant and winks at you. Looking at, or worse, lusting after, another woman is NOT acceptable behavior.  If you have a problem with this, then WORK ON IT!  And if you are so neanderthal that you do this in her presence, realize it, admit it, apologize for it, and ask her forgiveness, while agreeing that you are a weak person, and that you will NOT do it again!!  Then follow up and don’t!!  Remember, if she can’t count on your word, things are essentially doomed.
  • Don’t fear showing her your “weak/emotional” side. I mean, don’t go blubbering to her like a baby constantly, but if you really, really NEED to cry about something serious, then be secure enough in your own manhood to do so. Matter of fact, this goes for single men as well!
  • Always be “the man” in any given situation, from bills to chores and beyond, take responsibility for yourself and for your actions, and treat her like the beauty queen you fell in love with!  I’ve been married going on 25 years, and I still see my wife as the ONLY desirable woman on the planet, and she is also the MOST beautiful woman on the planet in my eyes.  Truly

Now that is not a comprehensive list by any means, but it encompasses the majority of things that women want from their “men,” whether their husband or boyfriend.  No matter.  Women expect, and deserve to be treated like the ladies they are.

Realize that you are a big ole dumb guy, and that you will never be able to totally grasp the same things your spouse or girlfriend can.  You just can’t.  WE are NOT built to do so.  They are.  Accept it and deal with it.

Now, since I am NOT a relationship “Expert,” if you wish to learn more about how to have a great relationship with your lady, I now refer you to:  WebMD (this will take you straight to the “Sex & Relationships” area.  If that doesn’t give you the information you want, do a search and you will find something very close at the least!

Pace & Blessings,

~S~

Why it takes a “Real” Man to be a Christian Man:

The “traditional” male role in society includes a LOT of responsibilities, as well as very frequent “on the fly” decision making skills.  We deal with jobs, family, friends, and “pressure” from other men to behave in a NON-Christian manner.  That is, unless one is a pastor or something and is ALWAYS surrounded by Christians.  Even then, the “job” of a Pastor is probably much MORE difficult than the average Christian male’s.

As men, we must have our priorities in line at all times.  I would suggest they be as follows:

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Duty
  4. Honor
  5. Country
  6. Personal Integrity

That is not an exhaustive list of course, but it is enough to deal with here.

In order to put God first, we men must be emboldened by the Holy Spirit so that we are readily able to handle our families.  We then must consider our “duty” as citizens.  Then pile on everything involved in being honorable.  Add to that the dealings with our government leaders to help take care of our country, and finally, what is probably the most difficult to maintain, is personal integrity.

“Integrity” as it was explained to me by THE enlisted dude that greeted us at tech school in the USAF, is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.  Think about that for a bit.  We must do the right thing(s) simply because we know in our hearts, minds, and souls, that they ARE the right things to do!  It takes one heck of a man to maintain personal integrity.

Perhaps I should have listed integrity right below God.  We certainly can not, and will not, follow the teachings of Jesus when no one is looking, or even when they are looking, if we lack personal integrity.

Just after God I have listed family.  Typically, a man is the “glue” that is supposed to keep his family together.  He is a leader by example.  He is loving (Read the description of Love in 1 Cor 13.)  He is a loving husband, father, friend to all in his family, and much, much more.

“Duty” is listed because I am ex-military.  But it is not just military duty that serves to fulfill a man’s duty.  Other things that are included in “Duty” are mentioned above in relation to how a real man handles his family affairs.  It IS a man’s duty to do this.  It is also a man’s “duty” to participate in things like writing government reps, voting, speaking out against human injustice, etc.  It takes more of that boldness I spoke of to do these things as well.

“Honor”  There is a huge lack of honor in men of our American society.  An honorable man is a gentleman, and a leader for all to see.  He is a hero.  He is comfortable crying in front of another man.  He is secure in his manhood.  He is definitely NOT narcissistic, or in any other way self-absorbed.  He puts other’s needs before his own.  He can be counted on.  His word is golden.  He does not lie.  He does not cheat on his wife.  He treats everyone with equal respect.  I think at this point you have gotten the idea of what I mean by honor.

With ALL of these responsibilities in mind, add to a man’s “duty” the responsibility of following the teachings of Jesus, which are not exactly the most popular teachings nowadays…It takes a real man to turn down an offer for a drink when out with friends because he feels convicted to not conform (not that I think it is wrong to have a drink, just that in public, as a professing Christian, it may give a bad impression to the public).

A Christian man has to have his priorities straight 24/7, and not stray from them in order to please himself.  For instance, maybe there’s a playoff game he is invited to by a friend, and if he goes, he must disappoint the students in his study at church.  Or maybe it is SuperBowl Sunday, and there is a Church service at the same time as the game.  Agreed that this is not all that likely except for those who go to Church 3 times a week, but still, it can happen.  A real man will make the right choice in order to preserve his integrity.

Ok?  I am not saying that a “Real Man” who is a Christian has to give up EVERYTHING he likes to serve God.  BUT he must be willing to do so if it is called for at a particular time.

The boldness of the Holy Spirit aids a man in taking the proper stances in relation to any issue in his life.  And that boldness enables a man to say “No” when necessary.

I realize there are many, many more things involved in being a Real man who is a Christian and a Disciple of Jesus, but these things are what I wanted to point out in this particular setting.

May God be with You and Protect You!

~S~

 

GIFTS of the Spirit: Some thoughts & plenty of Academia…

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Here are the “Gifts of the Spirit” in the KJV and the NRSV translations: 

(KJV) 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

(NRSV) 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses

HERE is a LIST:

wisdom
knowledge
faith
healing
working of miracles
prophecy
discernment of spirits
various kinds of tongues
the interpretation of tongues

Now let us begin with a few facts about the book of Corinthians:

Author:  The Apostle Paul, to:  Audience:  The Church at Corinth, at:  Date:  circa AD 57;  Location Written:  Ephesus  (Information Obtained from JFB Commentary)

According to Matthew Henry’s Commentary, we see:

The Corinthian church contained some Jews, but more Gentiles, and the apostle had to contend with the superstition of the one, and the sinful conduct of the other. The peace of this church was disturbed by false teachers, who undermined the influence of the apostle. Two parties were the result; one contending earnestly for the Jewish ceremonies, the other indulging in excesses contrary to the gospel, to which they were especially led by the luxury and the sins which prevailed around them. This epistle was written to rebuke some disorderly conduct, of which the apostle had been apprised, and to give advice as to some points whereon his judgment was requested by the Corinthians. Thus the scope was twofold.
1. To apply suitable remedies to the disorders and abuses which prevailed among them.
2. To give satisfactory answers on all the points upon which his advice had been desired.
The address, and Christian mildness, yet firmness, with which the apostle writes, and goes on from general truths directly to oppose the errors and evil conduct of the Corinthians, is very remarkable. He states the truth and the will of God, as to various matters, with great force of argument and animation of style.

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DISCUSSION:  The utterance (speaking) of Wisdom.  Wisdom is, essentially, the properly and practically applied use of KNOWLEDGE, which we see clearly here to be the second gift mentioned by Paul.  We can logically infer that Wisdom and Knowledge go hand in hand here.  Without KNOWLEDGE, how can one have Wisdom?  And without the Spirit, how can one have the ability to apply KNOWLEDGE?

FAITH:  As we saw in the “Fruits of the Spirit,”  Faith is defined in the Bible as:  “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1)  To have Faith is certainly a GIFT, given to us by the Holy Spirit, and one that is also necessary to:  “Be Saved / Accept Jesus as Savior / Be converted to Christianity / Believe in Jesus as Savior, etc.”   FAITH is therefore necessarily a Spiritual Gift that certainly is given to those who would follow Jesus.  Without FAITH, how would we even attempt such a thing?  I mean, would we follow something we cannot see for the sake of following itself?  I think not.  Therefore, I deduce that FAITH is a NECESSARY GIFT of the Spirit for us ALL.  It is by FAITH that we are saved!  It is by FAITH that we walk the narrow path of the Christian life.  And finally, in my own estimation, FAITH is therefore essentially THE key that unlocks the ability to gain eternal life by and through our Savior Jesus, the Risen Christ!

HEALING:  How many times did our Savior Jesus heal people (that we know of) through Scripture….in the a-synoptic Gospel of John, we are basically told that all the books of the world could not contain the things that Jesus did.  So how many times do we “know of” that He did heal?  And He also said that, “…you will do even greater things…” in the same book of John.  

How many Christians really and truly believe in healing do you suppose?  And how many actually have the GIFT of Healing?  THAT is hard to estimate!!  I would say that, by default, every Christian believes IN healing, but there are plenty of Christians that obviously do not have the GIFT of Healing!  IF we ALL had the gift of healing, where would lie the need for doctors and hospitals?  Are we taking the Gift of Healing to mean ONLY PHYSICAL healing?  I think so. However, it is my opinion that “Healing” comes in many forms, and that most of those forms are of an unseen nature, such as emotional, psychological, or spiritual healing.  For example, Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary…as it translates to our modern language, this can very well mean that he healed her of several psychological/spiritual/emotional “demons,” which I would personally call “conditions” of the Mind, Heart, and/or Spirit, that were HEALED (or “cast out”). 

Again I submit to you that, if the Gift of Healing means ONLY physical healing, then we are underestimating God Himself! I am in dire desire of discussion on this point!

WORKING OF MIRACLES:  Let us attempt to define “Miracles” to start.  

From Easton’s Bible Dictionary we can better understand what “Miracle” means, both in the context of Scripture, as well as for us today.

an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message (John 2:18; Matt. 12:38). It is an occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power.
“The suspension or violation of the laws of nature involved in miracles is nothing more than is constantly taking place around us. One force counteracts another:vital force keeps the chemical laws of matter in abeyance; and muscular force can control the action of physical force. When a man raises a weight from the ground, the law of gravity is neither suspended nor violated, but counteracted by a stronger force. The same is true as to the walking of Christ on the water and the swimming of iron at the command of the prophet. The simple and grand truth that the universe is not under the exclusive control of physical forces, but that everywhere and always there is above, separate from and superior to all else, an infinite personal will, not superseding, but directing and controlling all physical causes, acting with or without them.” God ordinarily effects his purpose through the agency of second causes; but he has the power also of effecting his purpose immediately and without the intervention of second causes, i. e., of invading the fixed order, and thus of working miracles. Thus we affirm the possibility of miracles, the possibility of a higher hand intervening to control or reverse nature’s ordinary movements.
In the New Testament these four Greek words are principally used to designate miracles:(1.) Semeion, a “sign”, i. e., an evidence of a divine commission; an attestation of a divine message (Matt. 12:38, 39; 16:1, 4; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; 23:8; John 2:11, 18, 23; Acts 6:8, etc.); a token of the presence and working of God; the seal of a higher power.
(2.) Terata, “wonders;” wonder- causing events; portents; producing astonishment in the beholder (Acts 2:19).
(3.) Dunameis, “might works;” works of superhuman power (Acts 2:22; Rom. 15:19; 2 Thess. 2:9); of a new and higher power.
(4.) Erga, “works;” the works of Him who is “wonderful in working” (John 5:20, 36).
Miracles are seals of a divine mission. The sacred writers appealed to them as proofs that they were messengers of God. Our Lord also appealed to miracles as a conclusive proof of his divine mission (John 5:20, 36; 10:25, 38). Thus, being out of the common course of nature and beyond the power of man, they are fitted to convey the impression of the presence and power of God. Where miracles are there certainly God is. The man, therefore, who works a miracle affords thereby clear proof that he comes with the authority of God; they are his credentials that he is God’s messenger. The teacher points to these credentials, and they are a proof that he speaks with the authority of God. He boldly says, “God bears me witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles.”
The credibility of miracles is established by the evidence of the senses on the part of those who are witnesses of them, and to all others by the testimony of such witnesses. The witnesses were competent, and their testimony is trustworthy. Unbelievers, following Hume, deny that any testimony can prove a miracle, because they say miracles are impossible. We have shown that miracles are possible, and surely they can be borne witness to. Surely they are credible when we have abundant and trustworthy evidence of their occurrence. They are credible just as any facts of history well authenticated are credible. Miracles, it is said, are contrary to experience. Of course they are contrary to our experience, but that does not prove that they were contrary to the experience of those who witnessed them. We believe a thousand facts, both of history and of science, that are contrary to our experience, but we believe them on the ground of competent testimony. An atheist or a pantheist must, as a matter of course, deny the possibility of miracles; but to one who believes in a personal God, who in his wisdom may see fit to interfere with the ordinary processes of nature, miracles are not impossible, nor are they incredible.

I certainly could not have put that any better than Easton…so there we go, the gift of performing miracles in a nutshell.  If we have faith in God, then ALL things are possible through Him.

PROPHECY:  Ok, here is one that can get really “interesting” in conversation among Christians. It can even be DIVISIVE to discuss, which turns such discussion into the antithesis of the union of the Spirit of God in Mankind, by the Grace of our Savior.

So, I will  tell you MY belief on this one, and you just feel free to comment away, quote Scripture, whatever you like in return.  Perhaps between those who might participate in the discussion, we can reach a solid and final result as to what the Gift of “Prophecy” really is!  Wouldn’t that be cool?  I think so.  Regardless of denomination, we ARE the Christian Community that the world sees, and we should come together on a lot more than Biblical interpretation I think.  IF we ALL worked together, there are no limits as to what we could achieve with the help of God!

GET READY!  HERE IS SOME VERY IN-DEPTH STUFF!:

As for what the “Gift of Prophecy” is, I turn again, first, to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, wherein “Prophecy” is described as follows:

prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has been defined as a “miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture.” (See PROPHET.)
The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the coming and work of the Messiah; and the great use of prophecy was to perpetuate faith in his coming, and to prepare the world for that event. But there are many subordinate and intermediate prophecies also which hold an important place in the great chain of events which illustrate the sovereignty and all- wise overruling providence of God.

Then there are many prophecies regarding the Jewish nation, its founder Abraham

(Gen. 12:1- 3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2, 4- 6, etc.), and his posterity, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (12:7; 13:14, 15, 17; 15:18- 21; Ex. 3:8, 17), which have all been fulfilled. The twenty- eighth chapter of Deuteronomy contains a series of predictions which are even now in the present day being fulfilled. In the writings of the prophets Isaiah (2:18- 21), Jeremiah (27:3- 7; 29:11- 14), Ezekiel (5:12; 8), Daniel (8; 9:26, 27), Hosea (9:17), there are also many prophecies regarding the events which were to befall that people.

There is in like manner a large number of prophecies relating to those nations with which the Jews came into contact, as Tyre (Ezek. 26:3- 5, 14- 21), Egypt (Ezek. 29:10, 15; 30:6, 12, 13), Ethiopia (Nahum 3:8- 10), Nineveh (Nahum 1:10; 2:8- 13; 3:17- 19), Babylon (Isa. 13:4; Jer. 51:7; Isa. 44:27; Jer. 50:38; 51:36, 39, 57), the land of the Philistines (Jer. 47:4- 7; Ezek. 25:15- 17; Amos 1:6- 8; Zeph. 2:4- 7; Zech. 9:5- 8), and of the four great monarchies (Dan. 2:39, 40; 7:17- 24; 8:9).

But the great body of Old Testament prophecy relates directly to the advent of the Messiah, beginning with Gen. 3:15, the first great promise, and extending in ever- increasing fulness and clearness all through to the very close of the canon. The Messianic prophecies are too numerous to be quoted. “To him gave all the prophets witness.” (Comp. Micah 5:2; Hag. 2:6- 9; Isa. 7:14; 9:6, 7; 11:1, 2; 53; 60:10, 13; Ps. 16:11; 68:18.)
Many predictions also were delivered by Jesus and his apostles. Those of Christ were very numerous. (Comp. Matt. 10:23, 24; 11:23; 19:28; 21:43, 44; 24; 25:31- 46; 26:17- 35, 46, 64; Mark 9:1; 10:30; 13; 11:1- 6, 14; 14:12- 31, 42, 62; 16:17, etc.

It logically follows that, one who has the gift of “Prophecy,” IS a Prophet.  Again I turn to Easton’s for the definition of a “Prophet”:

(Heb. nabi, from a root meaning “to bubble forth, as from a fountain,” hence “to utter”, comp. Ps. 45:1). This Hebrew word is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the time of Samuel another word, ro’eh, “seer”, began to be used (1 Sam. 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel. Afterwards another word, hozeh, “seer” (2 Sam. 24:11), was employed. In 1 Ch. 29:29 all these three words are used:”Samuel the seer (ro’eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi ‘), Gad the seer” (hozeh). In Josh. 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a kosem “diviner,” a word used only of a false prophet.


The “prophet” proclaimed the message given to him, as the “seer” beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God’s name and by his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; comp. Heb. 3:7; Acts 4:25; 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was “to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government.”
Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers of God’s message (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 7:1; Ps. 105:15), as also Moses (Deut. 18:15; 34:10; Hos. 12:13), are ranked among the prophets. The seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:16- 29), “when the spirit rested upon them, prophesied;” Asaph and Jeduthun “prophesied with a harp” (1 Chr. 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses (Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4). The title thus has a general application to all who have messages from God to men.
But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel. Colleges, “schools of the prophets”, were instituted for the training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (1 Sam. 19:18- 24; 2 Kings 2:3, 15; 4:38), which continued to the close of the Old Testament. Such “schools” were established at Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The “sons” or “disciples” of the prophets were young men (2 Kings 5:22; 9:1, 4) who lived together at these different “schools” (4:38- 41). These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of prophet, “to preach pure morality and the heart- felt worship of Jehovah, and to act along and co- ordinately with the priesthood and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all attempts at illegality and tyranny.”


In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33; 24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They differed from the “teacher,” whose office it was to impart truths already revealed.


Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided into four groups:

(1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz., Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah.
(2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah.
(3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel.
(4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi

SUMMATION:  THE GIFT OF PROPHECY ENABLES ONE, THROUGH THE ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO FORETELL.

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Discernment of Spirits

FROM THE ISBE:

Discernings, of Spirits
(di- zurninz hdiakriseis pneumaton, “judicial estimation,” “through judgment or separation”):Occurs in 1 Cor 12:10 as being one of the gifts of the Spirit. The Greek word occurs in Heb 5:14; and Rom 14:1:”But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples.” This translation scarcely expresses the meaning, which Thayer has freely rendered, “not for the purpose of passing judgment on opinions, as to which one is to be preferred as the more correct.” Taking these three passages together it is evident that the Greek term which is rendered “discerning” means a distinguishing or discriminating between things that are under consideration; hence, the one who possessed the gift of “discernings of spirits” was able to make distinction between the one who spoke by the Spirit of God and the one who was moved by a false spirit. This gift seems to have been exercised chiefly upon those who assumed the role of teachers, and it was especially important in those days, because there were many false teachers abroad (see 2 Jn 1:7; Acts 20:29, 30)

THERE WE GO!  The Gift of “Discerning of Spirits” as related by the Greek text, is:  ONE WHO IS ABLE TO MAKE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE ONE WHO SPOKE BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND THE ONE WHO WAS MOVED BY A FALSE SPIRIT.

This was especially true in the time Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, as there were many false teachings there at the time that competed with the TRUE teachings of God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit.

VARIOUS TYPES OF TONGUES & THE INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES:

I, having been raised in a Pentecostal Church, feel especially qualified to comment on these gifts, which are not surprising listed as the LAST two.

We see in the Scripture, on the Day of Pentecost (the First one), that the Disciples spoke in languages they did not know, and thereby communicated with people of myriad languages (tongues).  This would be in Acts 2 methinks.

Paul states elsewhere, that he would rather give one word of prophecy, than a thousand in tongues, and also that he spoke in tongues “more than you all.”  That said, remember that in the Book of Corinthians, Paul is writing to reprise the people of Corinth, who were a mixed congregation of Greek and Jew.  I repeat, HE WAS WRITING TO REPRISE THEM.  

Allow me to ask a question here:  IF there is no translation when the gift of tongues is exercised in a congregation, especially a congregation that includes those who are not familiar with, or endowed with, the interpretation of tongues, what purpose then does that gift serve for the Church?  Does it edify?  Does it make things more clear to those listening?  I think not. It was my experience in the Pentecostal realm, that when someone spoke in tongues, and there was not an interpretation, it was nothing to me but “jibber jabber.”  And that my friend, is a shameful thing for the House of God!

Therefore, if one speaks in tongues, then another should be given, and speak the interpretation of the spoken tongue, otherwise it serves no edifying purpose!

That leads me to the next thing I noticed in the Pentecostal realm….a LOT of people allegedly speaking in tongues, and after doing so, there was not an interpretation.

If there is no interpretation, then there is no understanding.  If there is no understanding, then it is impossible to receive knowledge, and if it is not possible to receive knowledge from such a message, then why would the message be given in public?

I absolutely DO believe in the gift of tongues, and the gift of interpretation.  However, I also have seen it used in a confusing manner, and SATAN is the Author of Confusion.  Hence it is safe to say that such uses were not valid examples of this gift.

What I really believe in very strongly, is the gift of tongues being exercised as a means of praying directly to God. A “prayer language.” He certainly understands such prayer, and the Holy Spirit gifts the prayers to someone in order for them to speak them, so I can only presume that, in our modern society, at least in America where we have English as THE major and official language, there is currently no need for tongues in public, and therefore no need for interpretation of said tongues.

This is NOT to devalue the gifts, but rather to communicate that they are often used improperly and confuse people outside of our little “folds,” when in fact, if anything, we should be exercising the Word of Knowledge, so that we may edify the body of believers and reach out to the world.

The very last point I want to make about “Speaking in tongues” is that I absolutely detest those who say that it is the ONLY evidence of “being filled with the Holy Ghost,” hence indicating the completion of what “they” feel to be the “process” of “being saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost.”  That entire line of thought and irrational, non-scriptural theology just really gets under my skin.  I should simply be meek and humble and not say anything about it maybe, but then again, the Spirit in me is one of boldness, so in this I must speak as I have on the topic.

Okies, well, that’s it for the Gifts of the Spirit.  It would really tickle me to have some conversation on this topic, but I fear a lack of response as well.  Whatever the case may be from this point on, I feel I have done my part now to educate as well as I am able to do.  If indeed you have input or differing opinions, please do feel free to comment.  After all, that is what blogging is about right?  The exchange of ideas following a Blog entry?  I think so, and hope you do as well.  We could possibly learn some stuff from each other.  I am NOT close-minded, and will discuss anything with anyone here.

Peace & Blessings be Upon You ALL,

~S~