Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Stages Of Development

Concerning him we have much to say, and {it is} hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes {only} of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.
{Hebrews 5:11-6:3 NAS}
To make it even more clear: When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things{1}. For the time has come to grow-up—again{2}.

No, this is not meant for everyone{3}. For it all depends upon what our Heavenly Father wants to accomplish in and through someone{4} that determines when, and unto what extent, He will allow and enable them to come into the knowledge and understanding of His absolute truth{5}.

It is, however, meant for a lot more than want it to be. For far too many are well content with the knowledge of already having everything that they need in Christ Jesus{6} without having any idea just what that really means{7}—nor having any desire to learn{8}.

No, this has nothing at all to do with earning our keep. For we are saved from receiving the just wages of our sins{9} by grace{10}: And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.{11}

On the other hand: it does have everything to do with the kind of relationship that our Heavenly Father wants to have with His children by faith{12}. For to think that there is nothing more unto it after accepting Christ Jesus as your own personal Lord and Savior is like a wife thinking that there is nothing more unto her marriage after the ceremony is completed!!!

Alas, have we not been given written confirmation of this? Yes, we certainly have been. For it truly is as it is written: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”{13}

No, this should be taken as a threat. For this is for the benefit of all concerned{14}.

It does involve some things that are naturally unsettling—be assured{15}; and not the least of these has to do with coming to terms with the realities of our situations in this world. For it truly is as it is written: I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust—there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, to deny a man his rights before the Most High, to deprive a man of justice—would not the Lord see such things? Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?{16}

Yes, the rest of the passage goes on about being justly punished for sins{17}; and in many cases: this is exactly what is going on{18}. For there are times when we do bring more hardships down upon ourselves than would be absolutely necessary to accomplish our Heavenly Father’s purposes{19}.

Nonetheless: that does not discount the absolute truth of the matter truly being that there would not be any hardships unto our lives in this world if it was not for it being in accordance unto our Heavenly Father’s will. For it truly is as it is also written: I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.{20}

No, there is no way of getting around it. For what did all of those children (most being of His own chosen people{21}) who died in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust do to deserve their plight?

Yes, many would argue that it was just a result of being born into a fallen world. Some would even go as far as to insist that it was because of being Jewish; but what choice did they have: either way{22}?

No, there is nothing to be gained by ignoring what has been made so very obvious{23}. In fact: there is actually much to be lost; and not just in regards unto integrity—neither{24}. For the more it is made clear that our Heavenly Father truly is responsible for ALL that happens: the more satisfaction He can receive. For it takes a very special kind of love to want to still be with someone who has done you much harm{25}.

Yes, it naturally sounds rather crass (to put it mildly); but when all that our Heavenly Father has endured{26} (even going as far as to experience the spiritual death of a full and equal part of Himself{27}) is added unto the mix: a much weightier issue must be considered. For why would He subject Himself unto all that He has (let alone: us) unless it was worth it{28}?

[{1}1 Corinthians 13:11NAS; {2}Ecclesiastes 1:9; {3}Matthew 13:10-12; {4}Ephesians 2:10; {5}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {6}1 Corinthians 1:4-9; {7}1 Corinthians 3:1-3; {8}Luke 9:23-26; {9}Romans 6:23; {10}Ephesians 2:8-9; {11}Romans 11:6 NIV; {12}John 15:15; {13}John 15:1-8 NIV; {14}Jeremiah 29:11; {15}John 15:18-25; {16}Lamentations 3:1-38 NIV; {17}Lamentations 3:39-66; {18}Colossians 3:25; {19}James 1:2-4; {20}Isaiah 45:5-7 KJV; {21}Genesis 17:1-21; {22}Job 5:7; {23}Luke 12:1-3; {24}Matthew 25:14-30; {25}Job 1:21-22; {26}Genesis 6:6-7; {27}Matthew 27:46; {28}Romans 8:15-39]

5 comments:

  1. Amen. Your words ring out truth.

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  2. Pastor Rob SingletonNovember 14, 2007 at 7:22 AM

    Great post and blog. I appreciate your laying the truth out in a relevant and real way. Too many are deceived today and your scripture references show the truth in God's word.
    Also, just curious… I wonder if you ever have the same frustration as I do? As a pastor of a large church, I have close to 1,000 readers a day on my blog, but still have a very low authority on Technorati. I’ve learned that this is because I don’t have enough links to my site.
    I was wondering if you would be willing to put in a link exchange with me at www.robsingleton.net. If so, please send me an email to robtherev@gmail.com showing me where you've linked it and I will do the same.

    Look forward to hearing from you!
    Rob Singleton

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  3. I have noticed, not to take away from the very Biblical content and meaning of this particular blog, that it seems to be human nature to need to go 'back to the basics' in everything we do.

    For instance, my son plays tennis. So much is second nature in his game that he does things without thinking. Then sometimes he reaches the point that he might forget a step, and he realizes, "my game is off", I need to go back to basics.

    This happens less when he is teaching tennis. He reminds his students of all the steps, he remembers them too.

    Those that are students of the Bible, are constinately being reminded.

    Your blog, tells us all that we must be 'students of the Bibile', in fact, we are to "Hide the words in our hearts" aren't we?

    Keeping these basic truths close seems so basic, but we do stray.

    I have a hard time understanding how some never wish to grow and mature. I love learning, and so much so what God is, and what he wants us to learn.

    I have seen very good people just be content with a level of learning and just stop. I love them, and they are loving people, but I can't understand that kind of thinking.

    ``````````
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your recommendation of it.

    Barb

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  4. In reality: what I have been given to say about "hiding His word in our hearts" is about truly accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts. For He is the true "Word Of God": not the book that He had written about Himself. For it was given to serve as written confirmation of what He Himself (even if in the form of His Holy Spirit) wants to personally reveal unto each and every one of us.

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  5. Great stuff, as of late I have been turned off religion, not because of religion itself but the people who try to spin it into politics, money, and hatred. This is so refreshing to be able to read and get back to the basics of what the good book teaches and not all the junk that unfotunatly surrounds it in the mainstream media

    ReplyDelete

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