Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

name-in-vain

 

Today, reply is on blasphemy, discipline for speech and thought, and casually using the phrase “in God’s name.” Using mild expletives (e.g., dang!; darn!; shucks!) are thought to make one colorful and memorable, yet, undermine control and self-discipline. Cursing, swearing, and threatening are not the only forms of speech that introduce division, nourish immaturity, and trigger violence within the family circle and in the home. Thoughtful Christians also will stay on guard against blasphemy, exaggeration, irreverence, and lying. Properly understood, ones speech and thoughts are to continually display Christlikeness, and minister to others such elements as admonition, blessing, comfort, correction, praise, prayer, prophecy, teaching, and thanksgiving. The fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” Religion and Spirituality public forum who uses the ID “Katie J.” (Level 1 with 3 points, a member since April 22, 2010) posted the following:

 

When is it appropriate to ask questions in God’s name?

My nine year old son just learned about asking questions in God’s name and has been having an absolute field day with it. He asks everything from “where in God’s name should we order pizza from?” to “where in God’s name is the salt shaker?” and “when in God’s name was the last time the dog went out to pee?”. I asked him to chill with it and he just asked me “why in God’s name should I stop?” and I didn’t have a real answer for him. Is there certain criteria to ask things in God’s name? I need to make sure I have the rule right before I go tell him and he asks “where in God’s name did I learn that?” It’s getting out of hand.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? (Matthew 26: 59-68, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Bible Definitions Of Sin (10/01/2018); Power Of The Tongue (01/04/2018); Christianity Is Not Mindless (05/02/2017); “Good grief!” and Prophecy? (11/06/2016); Freedom of Foul Speech (09/10/2014); Dating and Worship? (09/11/2014); Blasphemy Against the GODhead (05/06/2014); Offenses to GODhead (05/07/2014); Acknowledging Divinity? (03/30/2013)

 

Katie J.”, sinners who choose to become “developing Christians” are encouraged to change their patterns of speech and thought so that their consciousness can become filled by, and continually give expression to the Spirit of GOD. Because believers are to avoid casual use of language that may be regarded as “cheap talk” and hurtful (e.g., pronouncing curses, exaggeration, gossip, lies, obscenity, profanity, rumors, slander, vulgarity), many also avoid insults, “ranking”, slang, and the use of expletives (i.e., expressions of surprise) that may include OMY Gosh/O my God/OMG.

Within the household of faith the goal of achieving spiritual maturity and becoming ripe for harvest by the Lord at his coming (i.e., the Advent; the Rapture; the Second Coming) is met through emphasis upon accountability, consistency, duty, respect, sacred practice, and unselfishness. This purpose also will be seen in the careful use of words to acknowledge the awesomeness of divinity, maintain godliness, and continually convey reverence (we say awe; fear of the Lord). Where believers use the phrase “in the name of the Lord” there are multiple meanings. Included are, I ask/command/require/speak as (1) an anointed agent, representative, or spokesperson from the Lord; (2) in obedience to the Lord; (3) having authority from the Lord; and (4) on pain of divine judgment against you. Consider again the following that uses language from the holy writings:

(1.) Proverbs 10: 18-20, King James Version (KJV): 18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. 19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. 20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

(2.) James 3: 6-14, KJV: 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

(3.) Hebrews 13: 15, KJV: 15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (4.) Matthew 12: 30-37, KJV: 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

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THE BLACK PHOENIX

Washington, DC

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Apt To Teach

 

Today, rather than attack the former First Lady, Secretary of State, and recent Candidate for President of the United States as many were doing in the “Yahoo! Answers” Religion and Spirituality forum, my reply is on teaching and volunteering within the church of Jesus Christ.  Within the household of faith, there are four callings to ministry acknowledged among believers:  preaching, teaching, music, and hospitality.  It should not be surprising that many who are activists, elected officials, leaders in their homes and workplaces, and thought leaders of the community-at-large offer themselves to the church through roles as comforters, study guides, and teachers.  Included are the positions as deacons and deaconesses, godparents, and nursing attendants as well as Sunday School supervisors and teachers.  In many church congregations, the work of the Sunday school teacher is that of a moderator who encourages discussion of the major points provided from prepared lesson booklets, or verses and passages recorded in the holy writings.  Developing believers are not to answer the challenge to serve Christ and the people of GOD on the basis of having a shared ethnic or racial background, issues of gender and sexual behavior, or even the depth of affection for their own families, friends, and relatives who are part of the congregation.  The same alertness, vigilance, impartiality and righteousness displayed by GOD in judgment should appear through their service as the children of GOD.  Therefore, these workers rarely boast having greater knowledge and skill than others within the body; and they serve on the basis of their humility, their love for the divine fullness (we also say, the Godhead; the Trinity; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit), their acknowledgment of the needs for salvation among others, their desire to continue sharing what they themselves receive from GOD, their willingness to make meaningful offerings and sacrifices along with their zeal.  One of the fighters who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile data appears) posted the following:

 

Is Hillary Clinton really a Bible scholar ? Hillary Clinton says she taught Sunday school Could Hillary Clinton be classified as pastor ?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:  That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  (Titus 2:  1-5, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Conversation In The World (04/03/2018); Comparing Sacred and Secular (03/15/2018); Duties of a Christian? (03/13/2018); …Gathered In My Name (05/29/2017); Understanding Spiritual Growth? (03/13/2015); The Gift of Meekness (11/25/2014); Concerning Meekness (11/26/2014); Driving Under the Influence (02/07/2014); Immortality (02/08/2014)

 

“Anonymous”, here are some thoughts I can share that may help as you continue to examine the operations and process within the body of Christ:

(1.)  Academic achievement, degrees, and titles are often acknowledged and respected among Christian believers; however, the primary requirements for pastors and teachers are aspects of divine personhood and Christ-likeness.  Included are faith, forbearance, forgiveness, gratitude, humility, longsuffering, lovingkindness, sincerity, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

(2.)  Many who have been professionals in classroom and school settings volunteer to serve in counseling and teaching roles within the church.  They bring secular knowledge, skills, and accounts of experience in the world along with such traits as adultness; skill using language and spoken word; and experience with curriculum development, classroom management, preparing lesson plans, and sharing through lectures and other forms of presentation.  In many assemblies those in these roles receive no money as payment for their work, and it is more in the nature of sharing and exchange than formal instruction.

(3.)  Clergy and leadership in the church family are respected and venerated as elders where they will continually display accountability, approachability, balance, completeness, mature perspective, sobriety, and stability.  

(4.)  Commitment to Christ, faith, love of the Scriptures, and a host of other factors explain why a person believes and stands up to offer themselves in ministry.  This is true not only for Bible study classes; there are many roles demanding unselfish service such as praise and prophecy through music (i.e., the choir), church feeding programs, and programs for healing that focus on health, hygiene, and wellness.  Even so, many are called, and few are chosen.  Members do best when they acknowledge the eternal motives of divinity, avoid self-promotion, and continue in the discipline and works of prophecy.  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(a.)  John 7:  14-18, King James Version (KJV):  14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory:  but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

(b.)  1st Corinthians 12:  27-29, KJV:  27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

(c.)  1st Corinthians 14:  26-33, KJV:  26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.  27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.  28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.  29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.  30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.  31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.  32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (d.)  1st Timothy 6:  3-11, KJV:  3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;  4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,  5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:  from such withdraw thyself.  6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.  7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  10 For the love of money is the root of all evil:  which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

What is written in the law and the prophets? how readest thou?  Today, I respond to a blog follower who requested I share my understandings on the Creation of Adam.  Those who seek to discredit the Bible, the operations of faith, and the existence of a sovereign deity, are quick to complain that the texts appearing in the Bible do not provide all the necessary detail; and, according to some believers, the accounts there do not agree.  Often, it is more important to ask what are the divine principles and purposes shown in the Bible, instead of asking, What is recorded and written there (i.e., what does it say in the letter)?  Consider the following points:

(1.)  Where ones investigation of divinity starts with a focus that is in error—seeking explanations that are carnal, fleshy, and material in their nature that would apply to present day living—they can not be in harmony with the first premise for study to acquire sacred knowledge:  The aim and purpose of the Bible is to reveal divinity, not mankind.  Wrongly focused, readers naturally go on to conclusions, and a finish that are inadequate and unsatisfying.

(2.)  Many accept notions that the male was formed, became a living soul through the operations of GOD, and continued in fellowship with Deity before the creation of the female.  It is reasonable (some say, logical), therefore, to believe that sufficient feeling and knowledge were imparted to Adam from GOD that made possible the exchange, interaction, and sharing that describe a unique personal relationship.  More than simply the simultaneous existence for abstract and mechanical presence of object and maker existed with GOD, the Father, and Adam, the offspring.

(3.)  The creation of Adam should not be considered merely the beginning of a peculiar ethnic minority, or human family.  Initially, there were no language groups, tribes, or national states.  No command was given that such things be developed, and maintained.  Rather, Adam was to have dominion upon the earth, and his work would be to maintain this new sphere of life.  Only after the female was introduced, did the command become, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

(4.)  The creation of a female companion for Adam is regarded as a separate account of a different Creation by those who become entangled within the expressions and specific words that appear.  Because a recognizable feature of narrative (e.g., the phrase, “once upon a time”) is repeated in order to add new information, the continuation of the single account is taken to have its own beginning and end.

(5.)  Such features as atonement, forgiveness, praise, prayer, salvation, and solemn worship have been provided to encourage recovery, and their return to GOD by finite beings following the appearance of divine wrath against sin, condemnation of sin by sacred law, division, recurring separation because of sin, and divine silence.

There are many other points that should be carefully considered, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example:  (6.)  Adam was introduced to the sacred operations of death, re-awakening, and sacrifice—he laid down his life, so to speak—for the female to live.  GOD placed Adam in a profound sleep, and required all the aspects of dependence, faith, respect and trust be exercised.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

New Disclaimer

Focus upon meekness as a spiritual gift through the Holy Spirit is continued, today.  Meekness is to characterize and be visible in both the believer’s approach to learning from GOD as well as their approach to sharing and teaching the things of GOD to others.  Meekness is an appetite for spiritual nourishment, and appears as readiness to learn, receptiveness, and willingness to respond to divine instruction with enthusiasm, humility and zeal.  In the same way a small child may repeatedly express a desire to contribute to adult work, and to help their parents when they see them doing chores and tasks about their own home, mature believers will express a desire to cooperate in the spiritual work of those sent (i.e., the bishops, deacons, evangelists, pastors, praise and prayer leaders, and other servants of GOD).  While the gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues are welcome within the church as supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit, meekness with willingness to learn and study should be understood as primary for the process of acquiring sacred knowledge on a day to day basis.  Because they have not “done their homework” and they lack correct spiritual knowledge, young people often are frustrated, and feel their prayers go unanswered.  Many developing believers mistakenly insist that they need not listen to preaching, or read such holy writings as the Bible, commentaries by anointed teachers, and devotional materials.  For them, GOD is to be experienced through episodes and one-time, rare events.  In their understanding, faith, feelings, intuition and miracles are to direct a believer.  More correctly, mature believers choosing to build up and edify the community of faith also will display lesser known spiritual gifts such as discernment, discipline, gratitude, hospitality, meekness, perseverance, restraint, and vigilance.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  The Gift of Meekness (11/25/2014)

Isaiah 1:  16-18, KJV—Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;  17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.  18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:   though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 26:  8-10, KJV—Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.  9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:  for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.  10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness:  in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

Isaiah 29:  17-24, KJVIs it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?  18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.  19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.  20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:  21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.  22 Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.  23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.  24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

Matthew 11:  28-30, KJV—Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

John 7:  16-18, KJV—Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory:  but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

Psalms 119:  40-45, KJV—Behold, I have longed after thy precepts:  quicken me in thy righteousness.  41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.  42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me:  for I trust in thy word.  43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.  44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.  45 And I will walk at liberty:  for I seek thy precepts.

Psalms 119:  57-63, KJVThou art my portion, O LORD:  I have said that I would keep thy words.  58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart:  be merciful unto me according to thy word.  59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.  60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.  61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me:  but I have not forgotten thy law.  62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.  63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

Psalms 119:  98-105, KJV—Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies:  for they are ever with me.  99 I have more understanding than all my teachers:  for thy testimonies are my meditation.  100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.  102 I have not departed from thy judgments:  for thou hast taught me.  103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  104 Through thy precepts I get understanding:  therefore I hate every false way.  105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

1st Corinthians 12:  1-11, KJV—Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.   3 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.  4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  10 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:  11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Isaiah 50:  4-10, KJV—The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary:  he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.  5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.  6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:  I hid not my face from shame and spitting.  7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded:  therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.  8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.  9 Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.  10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

Proverbs 15:  33, KJV—The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

James 1:  5-8, KJV—If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

James 3:  12-14, KJV—Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.  13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

James 1:  16-22, KJV—Do not err, my beloved brethren.  17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.  19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Matthew 7:  7-8, KJV—Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Galatians 5:  13-23, KJV—For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.  16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:  and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:  of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  23 Meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.

1st Corinthians 14:  1-5, KJV—Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.  2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God:  for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.  3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied:  for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

1st Corinthians 14:  27-33, KJV—If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.  28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.  29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.  30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.  31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.  32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Colossians 3:  1-10, KJV—If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Colossians 3:  12-17, KJV—Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Exodus 4:  10-12, KJV—And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant:  but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.  11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?  12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

1st John 2:  26-28, KJV—These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.  27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:  but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.  28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

2nd Timothy 2:  15-16, KJV—Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  16 But shun profane and vain babblings:  for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

2nd Timothy 2:  22-26, KJV—Flee also youthful lusts:  but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.  24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Galatians 6:  1-10, KJV—Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  5 For every man shall bear his own burden.  6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  9 And let us not be weary in well doing:  for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

1st Peter 4:  9-11, KJV—Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth:  that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Today, I share an anecdote (intended to serve like a parable) cautioning believers to focus upon the meaning, purpose, divine content, and spiritual value of human events, rather than their appearance, fashion, and form.  Some of our most difficult and necessary life lessons as Christian believers come to us in the appearance of day to day life experience.

THE BATTLE AXE:  On Youth Doing Enough (02/06/2014)—Like other young people dwelling in the earth, Christian youth all will face challenges, disappointments, times of uncertainty, and “growing pains.”  Yet, they will be continually supplied with tools from GOD that make possible lasting victory over confusion, fear, frustration, and weakness.  While growth, learning and preparation to serve will be a shared duty throughout the entire experience for those who are followers of Christ, new believers and youth often must be given added encouragement and support suited to their levels of maturity and understanding.  So to speak, the eternal life of a believer begins at their baptism; and there is only one truth for all the children of GOD, no matter what their ages.  Even so, genuine authority vested in children often is not properly acknowledged and obeyed without conflict, and unpleasantness.  Moreover, those in such roles as apprentices, beginners, disciples, and students often require added guidance, nourishment, and support.  Usually, minor children, teenagers, and young adults are not called to perform independently or without adult supervision in the vital offices and work whereby congregations and faith communities are initiated, organized, and maintained as worship assemblies.  Within a body of believers, consecration, intercession, pastoral counseling, and many other sacred tasks require continuous and full-time attention that would result in imbalance for young people still in stages of development that are not yet stable and complete.  Scripture reports that, at twelve years old (the age of bar mitzvah), Jesus was eager to begin service to GOD the Father when he visited the Temple at Jerusalem.  However, the Lord had to practice restraint and self-discipline until the time year later that was appointed for his appearing in public ministry.  See again, Luke 2:  40-52, King James Version.

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:  knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:  yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  (Romans 5:  1-10, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  That We Might Know (01/07/2014); Unguarded Chocolates? (11/07/2013); Jesus Rose? (11/08/2013); Why Jesus Used Parables (11/03/2013); Denying Baptism to Others (11/04/2013); Issues for Children’s Church? (04/06/2013); Outgrowing Childhood Prayers? (04/07/2013); GOD in Schools? (12/20/2012); Naaman the Leper (12/21/2012)

Yesterday, I shared an anecdote with my neighbor and his visiting friend.  A question came up regarding companies that provide automobile insurance, and the discounted costs their customers must receive.  I talked about my time as a driving instructor, here, in the District of Columbia.  I could not find work at that time in my chosen fields of management consulting and college level teaching, so I decided I would put pride aside, and respond to a newspaper advertisement for teachers at a driving school in nearby Silver Springs, Maryland.  My older sister had worked for this same firm, and I was sure it would be a solution for me, at least for a short while.

The company advertised that it would provide training to licensed drivers.  Having eight years as a licensed vehicle operator (and miscellaneous experience behind the wheel as a “renegade”), I was given two in-vehicle orientation sessions (in a car filled with four other instructor candidates), and challenged to apply for an instructors permit in the District of Columbia.  This meant taking the same written test given to new license applicants (that I aced), and passing a commercial driver’s “road test” (the same one—Oh happy day!—given to beginners).

Much to my surprise, I flunked the first road test, and was embarrassed.  I flunked the second, and was shocked.  I flunked the same test a third time, and began to panic (that the license I already had would be revoked; and I would not be accounted as fit for the necessary job).  Upon taking the test the fourth time, I realized that this was the “training” new drivers were to receive.  I was shown that I had become comfortable driving by feeling, habit, and instinct; and I was not relying upon knowledge and a commitment to safe driving.  Like others in the driving public at large, I conformed to patterns of the cohort (groups of cars moving at the same speed, and in the same direction).  I was not responding correctly to the markers (on the ground), the signals (electronic indicators), and signs (postings above ground).  I passed the test, understanding that I had become aware of every mistake that beginning drivers usually make.

On one occasion, I was dispatched to the home of a new driver, whom I was told was an older person who wanted only a few lessons that would fit her for an already scheduled road test.  When I arrived to her home for her first lesson, she opened her door, and fainted.  I was stunned!  I did not know what to do.  She fell against the door, shutting the door in my face.  I thought she might be dead from a heart attack!  At first I hesitated—I did not want to have to touch a cadaver—and I was sure, if I opened her door, I would be liable for breaking and entering (a person can end up in trouble for trying to help somebody!)  Finally, I decided I should check and see, and perhaps call for help.  Somewhat revived, she insisted she be given her one hour lesson.  So, on our way to the car, and before she could step completely out of her door, she fainted again—this time, into my arms!  I was stunned at the thought of what it looked like—me, with my hands and arms all over this woman on her front porch, and in her doorway!  Scandalous!

This lady insisted (who had only a learner’s permit) it was her right to take the city’s exam, and that I prepare her for her coming road test.  She introduced me to her husband (and insisted he be allowed in the car as her passenger during her lessons).  So, I decided I would spend the hour parked in front of her home describing the features of the vehicle, and the startup procedure.  No, no, no, no, no, no!  We must go out on the street; surely, the two steering wheels and dual brake system were all she would need for safety!  Reluctantly, I  submitted; and we went out to intersection at the end of the block (that happened to be one of the major arteries of the city).  Turning into a safe position, I told her to merely guide the car in it’s lane.  However, being in the left-most lane, when she saw the oncoming traffic, she threw up her hands, and covered her eyes.  I went off!  What are you doing!  Don’t you ever take your hands off the steering wheel!  How dare you cover your eyes when you are the driver of the car!

Thinking that, I have to accept my responsibility to my company, I figured I must acknowledge:  We are in this for the money!  After two or three sessions (she refused to pay for more), she legitimately insisted we assist her in taking the road test by escorting her to her appointment.  I counseled her that she was not ready.  Again, she insisted that she had a right to try, and to do her best. 

Once in a second vehicle with the examiner (one owned by the school I work for, however, not having the dual brakes and steering systems), the examiner directed her to start the vehicle, go up the ramp to the street, and make a left turn onto the thoroughfare.  I had been careful to caution this student that most beginners flunk their test at this very point.  Two stops are required:  one before entering or crossing the pedestrian lane (the sidewalk), and one before entering the vehicle traffic lane (the street).  By these two stops, the speed of ones vehicle is controlled, and the likelihood of collision is reduced.

To my surprise, this student acknowledged both these necessary cautions.  Even so, she flunked her test; and the examiner (the same one who had been my “instructor”) came down on me like a ton of bricks.  Mr. Jackson returned the vehicle to the test lot in less than 45 seconds!  Her left turn had been into the oncoming traffic lane, and she had exposed them both to the most fatal form of automobile casualty—head on collision!  Officer Jackson exploded on me:  How dare you put my life, the property and lives of others at risk!  How dare you bring this person here, knowing she was not ready, or able to safely compete the road test!  He was right, and I felt like dirt.

Just as the mechanics and processes of driving a car requires more than the application of feeling, instinct and intuition, becoming and serving as a mature Christian believer requires more than arrogance, audacity, presumption, and self-confidence.  Believers must be instructed in and practice divine truth as provided through the sacred writings, the performance of sacraments, and the pronouncements of fellow believers continuing with us in fellowship.  To teach beginners, believers all must think like beginners, yet, not continue in the errors of starting believers.  Also, experienced believers must be prepared to accept that all are not on their same level; and no one has a right to have more and receive more of the things given by GOD simply because they have desire or need.  More important are balance, commitment, contrition, conviction, faith, integrity, meekness, sobriety, and trust.

There is far more to be said, properly shared, and spiritually understood.  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.  (Proverbs 21:  21, KJV)

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC