THE PUZZLE

January 5, 2017

I believe that God has given me an illustration to explain the importance of searching out His Word, which is the Bible.

I am posting this for those who do not follow all of the comments. (I really don’t blame you if you do not)

Our Father has given us a great gift in the Bible, and as one studies it, one of the things that stands out is that we must search out understanding. (Prov 25:2 NIV) “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”

You see, God hides understanding and wisdom from everyone. One must search it out to acquire it. That is not too hard to understand if you look at it through the eyes of our Father. He has given us everything that we have. Even the lost has been given all that they have, though they do not grant God the least respect or gratitude. If one doesn’t care to search out wisdom and understanding, then he or she, in my opinion, just doesn’t care very much about God.

I believe that God wants children. Not just any children, but children that want to be His children. Eternal life is one of the rewards of becoming a child of God, but that is a reward, not the goal of becoming a child of God. The goal is to love God and to reach that goal requires understanding God. God is only revealed completely in His Word: the Bible.

Everyone wants to live forever. I believe that it is wrong to turn to God if the only reason is to acquire eternal life. It is true that eternal life is one of the reasons that humans turn to God, because His Word says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa 111:10 NIV) and we all fear death. Even the Muslim that states he loves death shows that he does not, because he wants to live forever in a paradise of his own desires, but the fate of anyone else is of no concern to him. That is not the kind of children God wants. The person that has no regard for others would have no regard for God, when they did not get what they want.

Well, enough of the lead in, here is the illustration.

The Bible, which is the Word of God, is like a jigsaw puzzle. This puzzle is offered to everyone, but those who do not care or appreciate the God of the universe will not even take the gift. Some will take the gift, but will not even try to assemble it!

The picture that is produced when the puzzle is assembled is shown plainly on the box that the puzzle comes in. It is the same puzzle, with the same picture, that is offered to all mankind: each individual. It should be obvious that one does not assemble a jigsaw puzzle in order to discover what the picture looks like, because the picture is on the box. A jigsaw puzzle is assembled to see how the pieces fit together, that is the challenge; not to just see the picture. The picture can sometimes be used as a clue and other times as proof of proper assembly.

God’s jigsaw puzzle is the Bible and the pieces are the verses. The proper thing to do is to take the Puzzle to a quiet place, dump it out and start to assemble the pieces (verses) so that you can understand how they fit together. God even numbered the pieces of the Puzzle and we call the pieces verses.

This blog is an attempt, by me, to show you how I have put the pieces of my Puzzle together. It is only an attempt to help you solve your Puzzle. No one can put your Puzzle together but you.

If I could assemble your Puzzle for you, I would be responsible to do so, but then you would place your trust in me and not the Lord. So God will not allow it, and rightly so, as I am only a man, full of sin, defiled, and not worthy to reveal God to anyone.

So you might say that it is not important to put the pieces together, because you already know the picture. The picture on the box shows that there is a God and that God loves man and saves those who turn to Him. Well, even the lost can see that.

As I assembled my Puzzle I found that oil represents understanding and understanding is worth all that I have.

Then there is the parable, the part of the picture that indicates oil is important. That is Matthew 25:1-12.

Do not be found to be without oil. Get as much as you can.

Consider the part of my Puzzle that God has shown me.

(Prov 4:1-7 NIV) “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Do not stop at verse seven, but read the rest of the chapter as it supports the first part, “Though it cost all you have, get understanding”.

So, do not look for wisdom in me, or your friends, or your favorite preacher, or any Commentary, or anything but the Word of God. That is your Puzzle and the greatest gift God gives to the living. Appreciate it, study it, live it as best as you can, even if it cost all that you have.

Aw, but what do you own but yourself? Give everything back to God, because you really do not own anything and God will honor your truth and your trust.

The best advice that I can give is for you to go to a quiet place, dump out your Puzzle, and begin to put it together.


THE ONLY TRUE COMPASS

June 28, 2016

If you have not noticed, comments on this blog lead to lengthy discussions and can get rather boring so I do not blame anyone for not following them.

For those who do not follow all of the comments I have something to share with you.

This blog is a Bible Study by a student and not a study of any other source.

I have an analogy that might help everyone when it comes to the study of Scripture.

There was a group of ultralight aircraft pilots that were attending a fly-in. They had flown there from basically the same area, but they took off at different times, from slightly different places. When the fly-in was over, they decided to fly, in a group, to a small airport that was close to their homes. One of them stated that he knew the way home very well and wanted to fly the lead. The other pilots, though far from home, were pretty sure they knew the way also. After all, they had flown from home to the fly-in and although they were in a strange area, they all had compasses to guide them.

Just so they could all fly in a group they decided to let the one pilot lead. So they took off, one by one, gathered together in the air, and then headed for home.

It did not take long for the pilots to begin to realize that they were headed in slightly the wrong direction, but the leader had boasted that he knew the way and there is always some doubt in everyone’s mind about everything and anything. So the group followed the leader and the error grew by the minute.

Ultralights, in this Country, are only permitted five gallons of fuel and that limits the time they can fly without landing. Two and a half hours is about the limit for most of them and after a little over an hour one of them decided to follow his own compass, combined with his own experience, and he broke with the group to head in the direction he was sure, in his mind was right.

It did not take long before the others, one by one, also turned and headed in the right direction. The previous leader, after seeing no one was following, finally rejoined the group and followed the new leader.

They all landed at the small private airport that was close to their homes and they asked the first leader why he had set a wrong course.

His answer was hilarious!

It seems as though he thought that his compass was not reading correctly, so he mounted another compass on his aircraft to check the first one!

As you know, a compass is a small magnet that is attached to a display. It is attracted to the earth’s magnetic pole which causes the display to show the direction of the magnetic pole. If one places two compasses close to each other they tend to point at each other, because they both have magnets. Not directly at each other, because of the earth’s magnetic field. However, neither compass will be accurate.

I use this story as an analogy. However, it is a true story, as I was one of the pilots.

My point is that we should only have one compass. Our compass for spiritual understanding is the Bible. If one chooses to have more than one compass, then even the true compass will not indicate an accurate reading.

Your favorite Bible may be a different translation and use different words to display the way, but the direction is the same. North is still north, no matter if the compass uses the letter N or the number zero to indicate north.

If you place the same importance on some other writing, as you place on the Bible, even the Bible will not show the way. That writing may have been recent or ancient, many might claim it authentic, or many may claim it false: it does not matter. The only thing that matters is it is not the Bible and therefore it will not show the way. It will only confuse the way. Do not place the same importance on anyone’s writing, especially mine, that you place on the Bible.

I have the perfect Teacher (John 14:26), the perfect Navigator, that keeps tapping me on the shoulder and pointing toward the only true compass, the Bible, to keep me on the right course.

You have the same Navigator, listen to Him.


I AM A HERETIC!

April 12, 2016

her•e•tic (hµr“¹-t¹k) n. 1. A person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. (The American Heritage Dictionary)

Actually, I am a complete heretic as I not only do not accept the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, I do not accept the dogma of any Church that I have or do attend!

1. The Tithe – Every Church that I have attended taught that the Israelites in the Old Testament were to give ten percent back to God every year. That is totally false and a study of tithing, using only God’s Word and not anyone else’s word will prove me correct.

2. The Trinity – Then there is The Trinity. God says over and over that there is only one God. Men, who do not yet understand the Word of God, and do not admit they do not yet understand, have invented a way to say there are actually three Gods! It is true that the concept can be argued, but not if you believe the Word of God, when it/He says there is only one God.

(Isa 43:10-11 NIV) “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
(Isa 43:15 NIV) I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.”
(Isa 45:21 NIV) Declare what is to be, present it– let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

3. Prayer – Scripture says do not pray in public, but I am surrounded with people that pray in public! They seem to think that they know more than God! They do not realize that praying, when done properly, is really listening to God, not talking to Him! It is a conversation with God and we should listen much more than speak. Public praise for God is certainly correct and should always be done, but that is praise and should be called what it is and not called prayer.

4. Country – I live in the United States. Almost all of my Christian brothers and sisters believe that we must determine the best candidate and vote him or her into office or the Country is lost! God says that He is in control of the kingdoms (governments) of this world and that He sets over them the lowliest of men (Dan 4:17 & Rom 13:1). My brothers do not believe God!

5. Teachers – God says we should not be called teacher (Mat 23:10), but every preacher claims to be one. The flock listens to the preacher, but no one understands everything and so the flock is led astray.

6. Baptism – There are those that say baptism is not necessary for salvation! I would ask the same question Jesus asked “baptism—where did it come from?”

7. Vows and pledges – God says it is better not to make a vow (Deu 23:21-23, Eccl 5:4&5), but my brothers say that we should make vows to give money to the Church!

8. Iron sharpens iron – Only a Christian with no understanding of the art of sharpening would say that iron sharpens iron. They would be laughed out of any place where swords are sharpened. By the way, I spent seven years trying to teach that iron does not sharpen iron and was not successful one time, so do not try to convince me that it can, because I will not respond. I will remove any comment that tries to, so that the error is not spread. At least not by me.

9. Politics – same as Country, God is in charge and for me to vote would prove, by my actions, that I did not believe Him. I do believe my Father, therefore I will not vote.

10. Church – My brothers and sisters place their faith in church, but the church is only people, not God. The church can save no one. Only God can save.

11. Understanding – (Prov 4:7 NIV) Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Understanding is not given from the mouth of a man. (Prov 2:6 NIV) For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

We were given the Holy Spirit when we were baptized to teach us all things (1 John 2:27- John 14:26). God speaks to us through Scripture, not through man.

Yes, I am only a man, but I am not saying that I have the answers. I have only questions, but if you consider my statements, using Scripture, not man, to guide you. You will sound just like me.

Do what God says (Prov 2:1-6 NIV) My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

I wish there were more heretics in this world.


THIS CHRISTIAN AND THE LAW

June 16, 2015

Not only am I under the law, but I want to be under the law.

This is to explain what I said, so that you might know what I mean. Sometimes what I mean is confused by what another knows. That is not to say that another does not understand; only that we are looking at Scripture from a different angle.

This is how I view God’s law “I am still under the law”. That is not to say that I am under the penalty of the second death, for violating the law. However, not only am I under the law, but I want to be under the law!

All of the law is built on the two main, or most important, commandments. We are told this in Matthew.

(Mat 22:36-40 NIV) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This is also said in Mark 12:28-34.
(Mark 12:28-31 NIV) “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

And also said in Luke 10:25-28.
(Luke 10:25-28 NIV) “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Think about these two commandments and combine them with Mathew 5:17-20.
(Mat 5:17 – 19 NIV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

While you are thinking about Mark, then think about (Mark 12:33 NIV) “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, but the man, that was speaking with Jesus, was “not” told that he was wrong; therefore that Jesus was more important than obeying the law. But he was commended as answering wisely! (Mark 12:34 NIV) “When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.”

I am trying to say that obeying the law is more important than relying on Jesus to take the punishment, that we deserve, for not obeying the law. Then, looking at that statement from a different angle, because I have not always obeyed the law, Jesus is more important than the law to me. What I mean is that if I had always obeyed the law I would not need a Savior.

You see that when this test is all complete, we will be made like Jesus and we will no longer sin. We will be made perfect, like Jesus, who was and is perfect, and we will no longer violate the two greatest commandments, and therefore we will not sin.

That is not to say that Jesus is, or will not be important. Jesus will be our King, instead of our Savior. One could certainly say our Savior first, and our King second, but, to me, that would be just splitting hairs.

You may have considered me an amateur at studying the Word of God, because I said that we are still under the law, but if everyone could obey the law we would not have needed a Savior and Jesus would not have had to die in our place. I am not exalting myself for my understanding, but admitting that I am a sinner, in dire need of a Savior. My failure has resulted in the death of Jesus!

In Heaven we will all obey the law and there will be peace. And we will all, “perfectly”, love the Lord, our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength. And we will Love our neighbor as our self.

So, if you follow my logic, not only am I under the law, but I want to be under the law! I am most grateful for Jesus, that He died in my place, and that, because he did, I have the chance to become a child of God. However, as I understand, obeying the law is very, very, very important.

(Mat 7:21 NIV) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Though we no longer face the penalty for disobeying the law, shouldn’t we instruct others to obey the law, instead of just saying “we are no longer under the law”?

At the very least shouldn’t we say that if we obeyed the law Jesus would not have had to die?

Having said all of this, I do not believe you will accept it as gospel. Even though most Christians believe that iron can sharpen iron, it can not! No one tries to sharpen a knife, with another knife, and yet everyone claims that it is possible! (Well, only Christians. Those who actually make knives and swords do not). The verse really means that man cannot sharpen man. So, I cannot sharpen you. Please forgive me for trying.

If you do not accept what I said about the law, then please consider which commandment that you think we should not, or are not required, to obey: 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, or 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

What comes first in my mind? Shame that I did not, and do not, obey the commandments, or relief that Jesus died in my place? First shame, because if I had obeyed, Jesus would not have had to take my place. But, then, absolute love for him, because He did.

You see, it is not about me, or us, but about God and what He wants from, and for, us.

I hope this eases your mind about me. I am a Christian, a child of God, and Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am not saying anything different than you would say. I am only using the phrase that we all use “Under the law” and adding my understanding to it. The phrase triggers a set response from some brothers (and sisters), but not from me and it seems to cause discord between us.

One more try, on my part. Suppose Judgment Day has come and you have lived your life not trying to obey the Law, because you believe that you are saved by the sacrificial death of our Lord and the Law is no longer important. So, you stand before God and make that claim. But our Father asks you this question, “Why do you think that it is of little importance to love Me, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and then to love your neighbor as yourself?

Form your answer now, while you still have time to think it over.


THIS CHRISTIAN AND THE 4TH OF JULY

June 9, 2015

I say “this” Christian, because I am, and can, only speak for myself.

I was born a citizen of the United States. I was raised to believe this Country was a gift from God. That we were a free Country, not under a king, dictator, or any ruler, but ruled by all of the people. The home of the brave, where we chose those to guide and lead us and if we were not satisfied with them, we should vote them out of office and someone else in.

This all sounded pretty good to me. It was what I wanted to hear and to believe!

However, I began to explore the question of “Is there really a God”. I found the same answer as anyone, who will ponder “truthfully” that question. I say “truthfully”, because many think about it with the goal of attempting to prove there is no God.

When I finally reached the point where I had to admit to myself that there has to be a God, I knew that I was dead to God, because of all my sins. The proper thing to do with a dead body is to bury it. So, I allowed someone to bury me in the water of baptism. When I came up out of that water the Holy Spirit was a part of me and because the Spirit of God cannot die, I cannot die. That is to really die, as this body will perish, but I will not die.

I am a new being. I was a six, the same number as Satan, but God added one to me and I became a seven, the number of completeness. The one, that He added, is the Holy Spirit.

Now, all my brothers should already know this, but they do not seem to understand why God gave us His Spirit. The answer is to teach us all things (John 14:26), but my brothers do not ask the Spirit about all things. That is all things about God, not all things about this universe. Questions about this universe are not important, as this universe will pass away.

I said this so you might understand that I only listen to God now. I question everything that this world tells me, using Scripture as the ultimate reference of truth.

The world told me that this Country was a gift from God, but when I read Romans 13:1&2, I reached a different conclusion.

I was told, when I was a child, that if you want to understand as someone else understands then “put yourself in their shoes”. In other words try to see things as they do.

So, I read Romans 13:1&2 as if I lived in Pennsylvania and the year was 1775, and the verse clearly said, do not rebel against the king, because God had appointed him and if I rebelled against him I was actually rebelling against God Himself.

I know Scripture said the same thing to the Founding Fathers as it says to me, because they had the same Bible that I have.

Now, this year, I will not attend Church on the 28th of June and the 5th of July, because one of those days the Church, that I attend, will celebrate rebellion against God. And they do not even know that they are!

I understand, so I will not participate. I have tried to explain to my brothers, but iron cannot sharpen iron and so I cannot sharpen them. They will not ask God if this Country is a gift from Him and then read His Word for the answer, but they will ask each other the same question; and believe the answer of their fellow man!

At first I was angered by their refusal to understand, but now I am deeply hurt by it. My brothers are lukewarm, just as Revelation says the last Church will be. They believe what they want to believe and hire preachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim 4:3), just as Scripture says. They are in great danger and do not, will not, see it.

I am to the point of tears, as I write this. I was taught not to cry for myself. It is a form of self pity and only reinforces the pity. But the sadness that I am feeling is not for myself, but for my brothers.

Please brothers, wake up, this Church is the Church of Laodicea. The last Church spoken of in Revelation; the last Church in time. It is lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. It has one foot in the world and one foot in Heaven and it doesn’t put forth the effort to understand.

If you think your attitude brings me to tears, what do you think it does to our Heavenly Father, that we celebrate rebellion against Him: and even in the very house that we claim is His!


IRON SHARPENING IRON and my sin.

March 28, 2014

This is almost an exact copy of the last comment that I placed on the post ‘IRON SHARPENS IRON?’ So, you might have already read my thoughts. However, for those who have not read the comments, I am repeating what I said here.

I am old now. All my life I have enjoyed repairing, modifying, and making mechanical and electronic machines of many kinds.

I have found that the more one knows and understands about any subject the better the out come of the task. So, I have always tried to learn more about almost everything.

When I read Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. I knew it meant that a man cannot sharpen another man, because I know and understand how something is sharpened.

In my ignorance and unbelief, I thought that others should know and understand how something is sharpened, so they might also understand the verse. So, I wrote a post and when someone commented I attempted to explain what I knew, but no one could understand!

Seven is the number of completeness and I have been trying to make others understand, as I do, for seven years and not one has said, “You are correct, iron cannot sharpen iron”.

Do you see that my attempt to teach others was a sin of unbelief? The very verse that I was trying to teach stated that it was not possible for a man to teach another man! If I had been successful, even once, I would have proven myself wrong!

The Holy Spirit that lives in me had taught me the meaning of the verse and because I am a sinner, who would like to sharpen others, I tried to sharpen others! What a stupid sinner I am.

I tell myself that I believe God, but God has given me seven years to prove to me that I do not really believe Him.

I am just like the father spoken of in Mark 9:17-24 and I make the same request to God “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

If iron could sharpen itself, then I could sharpen myself, but I cannot. I need the Spirit, along with the Word of God, to sharpen me and He has just given me a seven-year course, just for my benefit, that I might believe God when He says something.

Trying to do something that Scripture says is not possible only leads to frustration for both the speaker and the one that listens. Frustration leads to anger, So, I apologize to all that I have angered for these last seven years.

I give up. That is quite a statement for me to make, as I am not one to give up, but I am only opposing God and that was not my intention.

Usually, I return any comment about what I have written. However, after seven years, I am done with any reference to iron sharpening iron.


WHY IRON DOESN’T SHARPEN IRON.

January 14, 2013

First, God made iron and God gave it the properties that He wanted it to have. It is not possible to sharpen iron with iron. God made it possible to sharpen iron with a stone and then He had written in His Word, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.

God made man and just as God gave the properties to iron that He wanted it to have, He also gave man the properties that He wanted man to have. Just as it is not possible to sharpen iron with iron, it is not possible for one man to sharpen another. It is written in His Word.

Now, because we have grown up in a world that does not study God’s Word for themselves, letting the Stone sharpen them, almost everyone believes that a man can sharpen another. After all, it seems to make sense, that if God would grant some understanding to someone that they should share it and I think that is right. However, because the verse has been interpreted wrong, it has lead to many mistakes.

Do you know the story of Cyrano de Bergerac? If you do not, it is a story about a man that loved a woman with all that he had. He thought the woman would not love him and he thought that the woman loved another. He wanted the woman to be happy and the suitor that she fancied was lacking in romanticism. So he spoke for the other man. He put his words in the other man’s mouth and the woman fell in love with the other man: not with Cyrano. Actually, she did fall in love with Cyrano and his words, but she thought they came from another, so her love was misdirected.

Do you see that is what happens when a mere man speaks the Word’s of God? People tend to fall in love with the man, not God.

If you have come to your senses and have been baptized, then you have the Holy Spirit. He is given to you so that you can understand the Word of God. Go to a place where no one can bother you, read, and think about Scripture and God will reveal Himself to you. Then you will fall in love with Him, not with someone that speaks His Words.