4/13/14

From Jim McGuiggan... THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE

THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE

I love it when lover’s with a true heart overstate their case. That’s one of the beauties of poetry; the lover can tell his beloved what he means and how he feels even though he doesn’t mean what he says and she rapturously believes all he means without having to believe all he says.

Part of the joy of loving is to say loving things and a host of us love profoundly and sincerely but don’t have the words to say to express it to the one we love. That’s where the poet comes in. It’s no crime, don’t you know, not to have poetic words—plain or fancy—but the language of love enriches the experience for both. And there comes a point when perfectly good prose speech isn’t enough to say what the heart’s filled with, so we resort to the use of images and analogies, to outrageous claims and sometimes just plain lovely silliness. In the words of Buisson, Sananes and Carl Sigman one lover says to his beloved:

        Till the moon deserts the sky;
        Till all the seas run dry
        I’ll worship you.
        Till the tropic sun grows cold
        Till this young world grows old
        My darling I’ll adore you

He doesn’t mean a word of it and yet he’s telling the truth about how he feels about her. She knows full well she can’t take his words seriously and yet because she knows what he has said is true she’d throw herself in front of a bus for him.

I think I know that words can be cheap—God forgive me, haven’t I used words that way—but there are times when we wish we were titans and could do and be more than we are for we know that we want to do more and be more for our beloved. In light of our limits we can’t do or be to those we love all that we feel and want to be, but we’re certain we would if we could and so we make impossible claims and say silly things in a desperate attempt to express the commitment we truly feel.

Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice makes that point to Bassanio. She says she isn’t particularly ambitious to be any better or grander than she is—except when she thinks of herself in relation to him. For his sake she would like to be more. Here’s how she puts it.

Though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish
To wish myself much better, yet for you
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair,
Ten thousand times more rich;
That only to stand high in your account,
I might in virtues, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account.

We feel like that when we sings hymns in worship; hymns that say so much more than we presently live up to. We sing, “All to Jesus I surrender” or “Jesus is all the word to Me” and when we reflect on our many failures we wonder at our right to do it. I think such singing is brave because we’re sure that some who know us well will raise an eyebrow or roll their eyes at our passionate avowals and our own guilty consciences often rebuke us severely when we use grand and limitless words in praise and commitment to God. Still, because we have the longing in us [if indeed it's there] to be more and better and because the words express our hunger and our quest rather than our achievement we sing on. That is brave; gallant even. It’s like Peter walking into the upper room filled with disciples for the first time after his triple denial of Jesus when he had sworn he never would deny him, even if all the rest did. He wouldn’t allow sneers or rolling eyes to keep him from starting fresh and his Master who “knew everything” believed him when he said, “You know that I love you” (John 21:15-17). He’ll believe you too so sing on, pray on.

My Ethel and I grew up together on lovely romantic ballads and I’d sing a lot of them to her, especially in her last few years here. She couldn’t take my words seriously but she believed everything I meant and received it with undisguised pleasure and generous grace. No rolling eyes or curled lip that said it’s impossible; so I sang on. Click here.

God will do no less than graciously take pleasure in our sincere praise, confession and renewed commitment so tell it all to him and encourage others like yourself to tell him of their love even if the language is "over the top".

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div. ... What has Happened to Truth?






http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=269

What has Happened to Truth?

by  Garry K. Brantley, M.A., M.Div.

During his interrogation of Jesus, Pilate asked, “Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?” (John 18:35). Understanding the political motivation behind Pilate’s question, Jesus insisted that His kingdom was not a physical, worldly domain that would be advanced by military might. Pilate then asked: “ ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is the truth?’ ” (John 18:37-38).
Today, many react as skeptically to the concept of “truth” as did Pilate. In Western culture, epistemology (the area of study that deals with the nature of knowledge and how it is established) has undergone some radical changes over the last few decades. There is a growing consensus that objective, universal truth is an archaic concept that no longer is relevant. Scholars who have analyzed this trend suggest that currently we are experiencing an intellectual shift from “modernism” to “postmodernism.” This transition to a postmodern way of thinking, which embraces a radically different way of pursuing knowledge, is “new” only from a historical perspective, since it became a recognized phenomenon in the 1970s (Grenz, 1994, 30[1]:26). In order to appreciate more fully this development, an understanding of the two terms “modernism” and “postmodernism” is necessary.

MODERNISM

The period commonly styled “modern” had its roots deeply embedded in the soils of the Renaissance. This era can be characterized by Francis Bacon’s (A.D. 1561-1626) conviction that humans could exercise “power over nature by means of the discovery of nature’s secrets” (Grenz, 1994, 30[1]:25). The subsequent intellectual movement of the Enlightenment (A.D. 1600-1700) built upon the foundation laid by the Renaissance, and placed even greater emphasis on humanity’s role in understanding reality. Prior to this movement, the Bible generally was held aloft as the universal authority in all fields of knowledge. However, by the close of the seventeenth century, science, history, and philosophy became detached from biblical authority and the traditionally recognized experts in these fields (Krentz, 1975, p. 10). Hence, the Enlightenment spawned a new perspective regarding the relationship between humankind’s reasoning ability and God’s revelation—it both elevated human reason above, and freed it from, God’s written revelation (see Marty, 1994). Modernism is an extension of this movement, placing implicit—and inordinate—faith in the rational capabilities of the human being.
Stanley Grenz has cataloged several assumptions that form the foundation of the modern intellectual superstructure. “Specifically,” Grenz has written, “the modern mind assumes that knowledge is certain, objective, and good, and that such knowledge is obtainable, at least theoretically” (30[1]:25). While some aspects of these modern assumptions have merit, it is important here to make this clarification. “Objective” knowledge to the modern mind is that which it alone determines to be true by sense perception and reason. Thus, in modern epistemology, knowledge is not revealed to humankind; it is determined by humankind. The importance of this distinction is that truth no longer is centered in God, but rather is centered in humankind.
Modern thinkers also assumed that the human observer could be completely free from all historical or cultural influences as he or she pursued knowledge. Thus, knowledge gained in such a clinical manner would be both reasonably certain and universally applicable. Modernism’s implicit faith in humanity’s reasoning capabilities, with its presumed ability to gain increased control over nature, impinged upon, and inevitably expunged the need for, a transcendent God.
Modernism further dismissed the need for God’s written revelation, the Bible, since reason alone was sufficient to determine ultimate reality. In light of these assumptions, the person who epitomizes the modern era is the naturalistic scientist, whose research allegedly is totally objective, and uninfluenced by mythical (or religious) beliefs. “Objectivity” in science becomes synonymous with “naturalism,” which assumes that our world is a closed system of natural causes and effects. As a result, the modern world view prohibits anything beyond nature to exist or to exert any influence upon it (see Johnson, 1991, p. 114). There simply is no room for a transcendent God.
A final assumption made by the modern mind is the belief that the quality of life can be improved through technology. This idea influenced the general perception of how knowledge was obtained. Since technology is the result of applied human knowledge of nature, empirical science came to be considered as the exclusive, or at least the most reliable, source of knowledge (Johnson, p. 114). This produced the optimistic illusion that empirical science, coupled with continued education, somehow would “eventually free us from our vulnerability to nature, as well as from all social bondage” (Grenz, 30[1]:25).

POSTMODERNISM

Though voices were raised against the modernistic world view through the centuries, the frontal assault against it began in the 1970s. The optimism undergirding modernism proved to be an illusion. Improved technology did not produce the anticipated advancement in society toward a global utopia. On the contrary, it became increasingly apparent that our world, despite the technological explosion and increased emphasis on education, was degenerating. For the first time in many years, people of the emerging generation were pessimistic that they could solve the planet’s problems or that they would be better off economically than their parents (Grenz, 30[1]:27).
A postmodern approach to reality began to develop from this new perspective. As the term suggests, “postmodernism” is a reaction to “modernism,” and has challenged the central assumptions of modern epistemology (see DeYoung and Hurty, 1995, pp. 241-259). Consider two postmodern developments that strike at the foundation of the modern world view.

Pluralism

While modern thinkers believe in objective knowledge that the human mind can discover, postmodernists have adopted a more relativistic approach to truth. Postmodern thinkers argue that one’s socio-economic, ethnic, gender, and educational statuses exert such a dominating influence on his or her interpretation of the world that there can be no abstract, universal statement of truth that applies in every circumstance, or to everyone (Russell, 1993, p. 32; cf. Dembski, 1994, 31[8]:1). Such a concept of truth reflects the postmodern idea of pluralism (see Brueggemann, 1993, pp. 8-9).
Pluralism is a philosophical ideology that not only recognizes the diversity of our multi-cultural world, but affirms that such plurality is inherently good. This is both an important distinction and a serious development, since such an approach has broad religious implications. For instance, philosophical pluralism rejects the idea that any “particular ideological or religious claim is intrinsically superior to another...” (Carson, 1996, p. 19). As a result, every religious system is viewed as one of many equally valid alternatives.
An unsavory implication of this position is that Christianity no longer can assert legitimately its exclusive claim of salvation, since salvation can be found among non-Christian belief systems as well. Letty Russell, a postmodern feminist theologian, has argued that though “there are plenty of persons and churches still laying claim to God’s preference for their form of Christianity, the discovery of the whole inhabited world and the many faiths of that world has made the claim to salvation for only a few seem less and less credible” (1993, p. 120). To clarify the extent of her ecumenism, Russell quoted favorably Hans K√ľng’s observation that while “salvation is inside the Church, salvation is open to all, not just to schismatics, heretics and Jews, but to non-Christians too and even to atheists if they are in good faith” (1993, p. 120).

Radical Hermeneutics and Deconstructionism

Closely associated with the pluralistic thrust of postmodernism is the concept of deconstructionism. At the risk of oversimplification, deconstructionism basically has to do with the relationship between language and meaning. For postmodern interpreters, words, phrases, and sentences (the stuff of language) do not reveal meaning, since that would imply an objective, transcendent perspective of truth. Rather, language constructs meaning. To put it another way, language does not describe reality; it creates reality. Since, it is argued further, language is a product of society, all statements about reality are colored, and inevitably warped, by cultural conditioning (see Leffel, 1996a). An implication of this position is that language can “convey only the illusion of truth” though in reality it is “a cover for the power relationships that constitute the culture” (Veith, 1994, p. 54).
Working from this assumption, the deconstructionist is not concerned with discovering the intention of an author’s words, since the idea of “authorial intent” is rejected (see Adam, 1995, p. 20). He or she believes that an author’s expressions, while on the surface saying one thing, implicitly support power structures that benefit the author’s own vested interests. It is the deconstructionist’s purpose, therefore, to expose the power relationships that underlie the text.
To illustrate this process, consider a deconstructionist interpretation of the classical words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (see Veith, 1994, p. 55). The deconstructionist would argue that, while the text appears to promote social equality, the language excludes women (all men are created equal). Further, since Thomas Jefferson, the author, owned slaves, these words ground only the wealthy, white male’s privileged status in God Himself, while they tacitly deny women, the poor, and minorities the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Hence, for all their apparently noble intent, these words actually buttressed the existing power structures that benefited the author.
Deconstructionists also employ such a “suspicious” interpretive method to biblical texts, with similar results. Feminist theologians, who have been influenced by postmodern deconstructionism, read the Bible with the assumption that it is a “monument of patriarchal oppression” (Chopp, 1992, p. 43). Their purpose is to expose and condemn those expressions where God is used to condone patriarchal power structures, while affirming and proclaiming those discourses in the Bible that speak of liberation for the oppressed. Thus, oftentimes the deconstructionist’s interpretation discloses the social conflicts that allegedly are hidden beneath the text. From this interpretive perspective, the book of Job, for example, only on the surface addresses the theological problem of why the godly suffer. A deconstructionist probe beneath this superficial reading of Job reveals that the book really is about a “class struggle” between the oppressors and those who are oppressed, i.e, the rich and the poor. Accordingly, it turns out that Job is an attempt to “allow the oppressors [i.e., the rich—GKB] to deny their responsibility and to enable the oppressed [i.e., the poor—GKB] to forget their suffering” (Clines, 1994, 11[2]:35).
This postmodern approach to biblical interpretation denies, not merely that human reasoning is capable of fully understanding a text, but that there is any inherent meaning for the reader to discover in a text. As Stanley Grenz has observed, a text’s meaning emerges “only as the interpreter enters into dialogue with the text” (1994, 30[1]:26). The meaning of a biblical text, therefore, is created when the interpreter interfaces his or her contemporary situation with the text. Out of such an interactive process, the relevant message of the text (which is very different from the elusive original intent) emerges. Hence, though some interpretations might be considered more persuasive than others, there can be, and are, as many different—and legitimate—meanings of a text as there are readers of it.

POSTMODERNISM: A CRITIQUE

Although I plan to address the problems associated with postmodernism, I first must acknowledge its positive contributions. Postmodernists have exposed (correctly) the vulnerabilities of modern thought patterns. They have pointed out that the “objective scientist” is subject to the same bias as the oft’-caricatured “naive religionist.” Postmodernists, for example, have argued that scientists, though claiming to be objective, can be susceptible to configuring their experiments in such a way that they discover the data they expected to find (Adam, 1995, p. 13). While their point is not that all scientists are dishonest, and consciously protecting their own vested interests at all costs, postmodernists do suggest that human nature, being what it is, can make total objectivity a very optimistic and elusive goal. Further, postmodernists point out that naturalistic scientists work from certain assumptions that can, and inevitably will, skew their interpretation of the data. In these connections, postmodernists have provided a legitimate (and much-needed) critique of modernity.
Despite its positive critiques of modernism, which was hostile in many ways to Christianity, postmodern thought, as we have seen, is not totally friendly to historical Christianity. At this point, it might be helpful to understand the different challenges that modernism has posed, and that postmodernism poses, to Christianity. On the one hand, modernists, consistent with their belief that empirical knowledge is objective, would argue that Christianity simply is not true. On the other hand, postmodernists reject the claims of Christianity, not because they are false, but “because they purport to be true” (Veith, 1994, p. 19, emp. in orig.). In a postmodern world dominated by philosophical pluralism, there is no tolerance for exclusive truth claims about right and wrong, since no “objective truth” exists by which such determinations can be made. Therefore, traditional Christianity is “false” precisely because it makes such absolute claims to truth.
Since many theologians and sociologists have written the obituary of modernism, and heralded the birth and maturation of postmodernism, Christians need to be prepared to deal with the challenges (and opportunities) of this new world view. Space constrictions, and the inherent conceptual difficulties of this developing paradigm, prohibit an exhaustive critique of postmodern epistemology in this article. However, the following are broad principles that demonstrate its most obvious vulnerabilities.

Biblically Inconsistent

First, the pluralistic stance of postmodern epistemology is inconsistent with the biblical world view. The Bible presents Christianity, not merely as one among many conflicting, equally valid alternatives, but as the only true religion. Among other similar statements that could be referenced, Jesus and Peter made exclusive claims about truth. In His response to Thomas’ confusion regarding His imminent departure, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Echoing these sentiments, Peter said to the religious rulers of the Jews, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
On at least two levels, such biblical teaching conflicts with the radical pluralism of postmodernism. (1) These statements imply that the biblical writers, and early Christians, believed in the concept of objective, transcendent truth. This was Jesus’ point to skeptical Pilate. In His incarnate state, Jesus was the embodiment of eternal truth—truth that was not merely the linguistic construction of the dominate culture. (2) Such biblical teaching does not present Jesus as one among many, equally valid means of salvation. Rather, Jesus is the truth, and is the only One Who legitimately can offer salvation. As unpopular as it might be in postmodern thought, Christianity does make exclusive truth claims. Thus, at these foundational levels of thought, the biblical and postmodern world views are incompatible.

Self-Defeating

Second, the postmodern assertion that “there is no absolute, objective truth” is intrinsically contradictory, and self-defeating. It is a statement put forward as being objectively true and universally applicable—something that it argues is impossible. Such a statement also militates against the idea that all statements (linguistic constructions) of reality are incurably warped by cultural conditioning. After all, are not these postmodern propositions also linguistic expressions of reality? To be consistent, postmodernists must admit that their own statements of reality also are mere arbitrary social constructions. As such, they, too, are culturally conditioned, and offer no compelling reason to accept the theory. If, however, postmodernists can demonstrate that their world view is true, they will have defeated its main thesis (i.e., there is no objective truth), for, to do so would be to establish at least one objective truth—namely that postmodernism is true. From these considerations, postmodernism “either denies the plausibility of its own position or it presumes the reliability of reason and the objectivity of truth” (Leffel, 1996b, p. 53). In either case, it is self-defeating.
To extricate themselves from these apparent contradictions, some postmodern thinkers have argued against the legitimacy of logical principles that guide the reasoning process. Yet, such a move only sharpens the horns of their dilemma, for to deny the validity of reason, reason itself must be employed. Such an attempt ends up being an argument that no argument is sound, or proof that no proof exists, which is nonsense.

Practically Inconsistent

Finally, certain aspects of postmodernism not only are fraught with analytical discrepancies, but also prove to be inconsistent from a practical standpoint. In other words, postmodernists often are guilty of practicing that which they deny. For example, consider the concept of deconstruction mentioned earlier. From this hermeneutical perspective, the meaning of a written text (biblical or otherwise) has nothing to do with what the author of the text intended to convey. The interpreter has the liberty to create a meaning that grows out of his or her peculiar life situation. Ultimately, the determining criterion of “correct” interpretation is whether it is meaningful to the interpreter.
However, deconstructionists expect their readers to comprehend, at least to a limited degree, their communicative intentions (whether written or oral). To illustrate this point, D.A. Carson described his encounter with a deconstructionist that exposed her own practical inconsistency (1996, pp. 102-103). This doctoral student protested Carson’s point that “true knowledge actually is possible, even to finite, culture-bound creatures.” She insisted that the ambiguities, and “social nature,” of language, together with our rational limitations, prevent our reaching such an optimistic goal. After further, non-productive conversation, Carson then said, “Ah, now I think I see what your are saying. You are using delicious irony to affirm the objectivity of truth.” The student emphatically responded, “That is exactly what I am not saying.” As Carson continued to place his intentionally skewed interpretation on the student’s words, she became increasingly irritated that he would so misrepresent her speech. After she exploded over his persistent misinterpretation of her position, Carson said, “You are a deconstructionist, but you expect me to interpret your words aright.” His point was well made. Postmodern deconstructionists expect their communicative intentions to be represented fairly. Shouldn’t the same benevolence be given to all communicators—even biblical writers?

CONCLUSION

The extent to which postmodern epistemology generally will become accepted is difficult to determine at this point. However, the shift from modernism to postmodernism is real, presenting both new threats and new opportunities to Christianity. Just as early Christians proclaimed the finality of Jesus Christ in their own pluralistic world (see Acts 17:21), we now have the awesome privilege and responsibility to hold aloft God’s Truth amidst the philosophical turmoil of our society. In so doing, Christians need to guard against fully embracing either modernism or postmodernism, while at the same time learning from both. In addition, we must be careful that our zealous—and legitimate—critique of various features of postmodernism does not unwittingly buttress the destructive elements of modernism. As we go about the task of living out our Christian confession in these dangerous, yet promising, times, we should do so with the humble realization that humankind is incapable of directing its own steps out of the confusion (Jeremiah 10:23), and with the promise that God’s Word has lightened, and will continue to lighten, our darkened paths (Psalm 119:105).

REFERENCES

Adam, A.K.M. (1995), What is Postmodern Biblical Criticism? (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress).
Brueggemann, Walter (1993), Texts Under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress).
Carson, D.A. (1996), The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Chopp, Rebecca S. (1992), The Power to Speak: Feminism, Language, God (New York: Crossroad).
Clines, David J.A. (1995), “Deconstructing the Book of Job,” Bible Review, 11[2]:30-35,43-44, April.
Dembski, William A. (1994), “The Fallacy of Contextualism, Part I,” Bible-Science News, 31[8]:1-3.
DeYoung, James and Sarah Hurty (1995), Beyond the Obvious: Discover the Deeper Meaning of Scripture (Gresham, OR: Vision House).
Grenz, Stanley (1994), “Star Trek and the Next Generation: Postmodernism and the Future of Evangelical Theology,” Crux, 30[1]:24-32.
Johnson, Phillip E. (1991), Darwin on Trial (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity).
Krentz, Edgar (1975), The Historical-Critical Method (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress).
Leffel, Jim (1996a), “Our New Challenge: Postmodernism,” The Death of Truth, ed. Dennis McCallum (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany), pp. 31-44.
Leffel, Jim (1996b), “Postmodernism and the ‘Myth of Progress’: Two Visions,” The Death of Truth, ed. Dennis McCallum (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany), pp. 45-57.
Marty, Martin E. (1994), “Literalism vs. Everything Else,” Bible Review, 10[2]:38-43,50, April.
Russell, Letty M. (1993), Church in the Round: Feminist Interpretation of the Church (Louisville, KY: Westminster/ John Knox).
Veith, Gene Edward, Jr. (1994), Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway).

From Mark Copeland... Heavenly Wisdom Vs. Earthly Wisdom (James 3:13-18)

                        "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES"

               Heavenly Wisdom Vs. Earthly Wisdom (3:13-18)
                               
INTRODUCTION

1. In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, we are encouraged to seek
   after wisdom - Pr 3:13-18; 4:7-9

2. Likewise, in the New Testament we are exhorted to walk with wisdom
   - Ep 5:15-17

3. But in Jm 3:13-18, we learn that there is more than just one kind
   of wisdom (READ)

4. In this lesson, we will take a look at what James describes as two
   different kinds of wisdom:  "Heavenly Wisdom Vs. Earthly Wisdom"

[In discussing these two, James does so by making several contrasts;
the first being...]

I. A CONTRAST IN THEIR "ORIGIN"

   A. EARTHLY WISDOM IS NOT FROM ABOVE (15)
      1. It is EARTHLY
         a. I.e., worldly
         b. Wisdom that is according to the world's standards
         c. But this wisdom is foolishness to God - cf. 1Co 1:20
      2. It is SENSUAL
         a. Appealing to the senses, the emotions, the passions
         b. Wisdom according to what FEELS right (but that doesn't make
            it right)
      3. It is DEMONIC
         a. The kind of wisdom possessed by the devil and his angels
         b. A wisdom that often finds its origin in the influences of
            Satan!

   B. HEAVENLY WISDOM IS FROM ABOVE (17)
      1. It comes from GOD - cf. Jm 1:17
      2. It comes via PRAYER - cf. Jm 1:5-8

[Knowing the origin or source of each kind of wisdom ought to encourage
us to select the right one.

But if that is not enough, then consider how James describes...]

II. A CONTRAST IN THEIR "NATURE"

   A. EARTHLY WISDOM (14,16)
      1. Full of BITTER ENVY
      2. Possessing SELF-SEEKING IN THE HEART
      3. This wisdom extols as virtues such qualities as:
         a. Power
         b. Position
         c. Privilege
         d. Prestige
      4. It was this kind of wisdom...
         a. That prompted Satan and his angels to rebel against God
         b. That prompted the disciples to argue over who would be the
            greatest in the kingdom

   B. HEAVENLY WISDOM (17)
      1. It is first PURE
         a. Above all else, it is true to God's Will
         b. Not one to compromise truth for the sake of peace
      2. Then it is PEACEABLE
         a. Holding firm to the truth, it makes every effort to be at
            peace - cf. Ro 12:18
         b. For example, speaking the truth in an attitude of love -
            cf. Ep 4:15
      3. GENTLE
         a. That is, kind in one's dealings with others
         b. Not harsh, even when right and dealing with those who differ
            - cf. 2Ti 2:24-25
      4. WILLING TO YIELD
         a. Not in matters of truth
         b. But in matters of opinion - Ro 14:1
         c. In matters of liberty - Ro 14:19-21
      5. FULL OF MERCY
         a. Quick to forgive the offenses of others
         b. Wisely understanding one's own need of mercy - cf. Jm 2:13
      6. Producing GOOD FRUITS
         a. Notice verse 13, where it says we are to show by our
            conduct our true wisdom and understanding
         b. This wisdom takes one beyond being a HEARER to being a DOER
            - Jm 1:22
         c. Understanding that "faith without works is dead" - Jm 2:26
      7. WITHOUT PARTIALITY
         a. Showing no respect of persons - cf. Jm 2:1-13
         b. Rather, treating all fairly, on the same basis
      8. WITHOUT HYPOCRISY
         a. Indicating that all of the above is not an "act", a "show"
         b. But that it comes from a heart desiring to please God, not
            man

[Certainly the superiority of "Heavenly Wisdom" over "Earthly Wisdom" is
apparent in this passage.

But as additional proof, notice also...]

III. A CONTRAST IN THEIR "FRUITS"

   A. EARTHLY WISDOM (16)
      1. Causes CONFUSION
      2. And EVERY EVIL THING
      3. Makes you wonder what kind of wisdom...
         a. Is behind denominationalism
         b. Is often manifested in some congregational meetings

   B. HEAVENLY WISDOM (18)
      1. Produces PEACE, instead of confusion
      2. Bears the fruit of RIGHTEOUSNESS, instead of every evil thing

CONCLUSION

1. Certainly when we compare their ORIGIN, NATURE and FRUITS, the wisdom
   to be preferred is "HEAVENLY WISDOM"

2. What kind of wisdom do we have?
   a. Those who have "EARTHLY WISDOM" boast of theirs (14)
   b. While those who have "HEAVENLY WISDOM" show theirs by their
      good conduct done in meekness (13)

3. What kind of wisdom do we want?
   a. If EARTHLY, then no effort is necessary
      1) Just do what the world tells you
      2) Just do what feels right
   b. But if HEAVENLY, then we must be diligent
      1) To seek such wisdom from God
      2) To demonstrate such wisdom by our conduct

4. What kind of wisdom do you have in regards to the gospel of Christ?
   a. EARTHLY WISDOM makes no response to the gospel, or if any, only 
      that which is convenient
   b. HEAVENLY WISDOM receives the commands of the gospel joyfully and
      obediently - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38

Have you demonstrated "HEAVENLY WISDOM"?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary.... Bible Reading April 13



Bible Reading  

April 13

The World English Bible


Apr. 13
Numbers 17, 18

Num 17:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 17:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and take of them rods, one for each fathers' house, of all their princes according to their fathers' houses, twelve rods: write every man's name on his rod.
Num 17:3 You shall write Aaron's name on the rod of Levi; for there shall be one rod for each head of their fathers' houses.
Num 17:4 You shall lay them up in the Tent of Meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you.
Num 17:5 It shall happen, that the rod of the man whom I shall choose shall bud: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against you.
Num 17:6 Moses spoke to the children of Israel; and all their princes gave him rods, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.
Num 17:7 Moses laid up the rods before Yahweh in the tent of the testimony.
Num 17:8 It happened on the next day, that Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and put forth buds, and produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.
Num 17:9 Moses brought out all the rods from before Yahweh to all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.
Num 17:10 Yahweh said to Moses, Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the children of rebellion; that you may make an end of their murmurings against me, that they not die.
Num 17:11 Moses did so. As Yahweh commanded him, so he did.
Num 17:12 The children of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone.
Num 17:13 Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of Yahweh, dies: shall we perish all of us?

Num 18:1 Yahweh said to Aaron, You and your sons and your fathers' house with you shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
Num 18:2 Your brothers also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, bring near with you, that they may be joined to you, and minister to you: but you and your sons with you shall be before the tent of the testimony.
Num 18:3 They shall keep your commands, and the duty of all the Tent: only they shall not come near to the vessels of the sanctuary and to the altar, that they not die, neither they, nor you.
Num 18:4 They shall be joined to you, and keep the responsibility of the Tent of Meeting, for all the service of the Tent: and a stranger shall not come near to you.
Num 18:5 You shall perform the duty of the sanctuary, and the duty of the altar; that there be wrath no more on the children of Israel.
Num 18:6 I, behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are a gift, given to Yahweh, to do the service of the Tent of Meeting.
Num 18:7 You and your sons with you shall keep your priesthood for everything of the altar, and for that within the veil; and you shall serve: I give you the priesthood as a service of gift: and the stranger who comes near shall be put to death.
Num 18:8 Yahweh spoke to Aaron, I, behold, I have given you the command of my wave offerings, even all the holy things of the children of Israel; to you have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to your sons, as a portion forever.
Num 18:9 This shall be your of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, even every meal offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render to me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons.
Num 18:10 You shall eat of it like the most holy things. Every male shall eat of it. It shall be holy to you.
Num 18:11 This is yours, too: the wave offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the children of Israel. I have given them to you, and to your sons and to your daughters with you, as a portion forever. Everyone who is clean in your house shall eat of it.
Num 18:12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the vintage, and of the grain, the first fruits of them which they give to Yahweh, to you have I given them.
Num 18:13 The first-ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to Yahweh, shall be yours; everyone who is clean in your house shall eat of it.
Num 18:14 Everything devoted in Israel shall be yours.
Num 18:15 Everything that opens the womb, of all flesh which they offer to Yahweh, both of man and animal shall be yours: nevertheless you shall surely redeem the firstborn of man, and you shall redeem the firstborn of unclean animals.
Num 18:16 You shall redeem those who are to be redeemed of them from a month old, according to your estimation, for five shekels of money, after the shekel of the sanctuary (the same is twenty gerahs).
Num 18:17 But you shall not redeem the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat. They are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and shall burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.
Num 18:18 Their flesh shall be yours, as the wave offering breast and as the right thigh, it shall be yours.
Num 18:19 All the wave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to Yahweh, have I given you, and your sons and your daughters with you, as a portion forever: it is a covenant of salt forever before Yahweh to you and to your seed with you.
Num 18:20 Yahweh said to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them: I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.
Num 18:21 To the children of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they serve, even the service of the Tent of Meeting.
Num 18:22 Henceforth the children of Israel shall not come near the Tent of Meeting, lest they bear sin, and die.
Num 18:23 But the Levites shall do the service of the Tent of Meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations; and among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
Num 18:24 For the tithe of the children of Israel, which they offer as a wave offering to Yahweh, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance: therefore I have said to them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
Num 18:25 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 18:26 Moreover you shall speak to the Levites, and tell them, When you take of the children of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall offer up a wave offering of it for Yahweh, a tithe of the tithe.
Num 18:27 Your wave offering shall be reckoned to you, as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress.
Num 18:28 Thus you also shall offer a wave offering to Yahweh of all your tithes, which you receive of the children of Israel; and of it you shall give Yahweh's wave offering to Aaron the priest.
Num 18:29 Out of all your gifts you shall offer every wave offering of Yahweh, of all its best, even the holy part of it out of it.
Num 18:30 Therefore you shall tell them, When you heave its best from it, then it shall be reckoned to the Levites as the increase of the threshing floor, and as the increase of the winepress.
Num 18:31 You shall eat it in every place, you and your households: for it is your reward in return for your service in the Tent of Meeting.
Num 18:32 You shall bear no sin by reason of it, when you have heaved from it its best: and you shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, that you not die.




From Gary... "I'm sorry"






























Have you ever met that sort of person who delights in doing something mean or demeaning to others and then says: "I'm sorry", but does it again and again and again.  After awhile you realize that the words "I'm sorry" really mean nothing at all- they are just for show. But what about the person who does something wrong, says "I'm sorry" and then changes- what then???? And what if what was done was really horrendous!!! Do you believe them, or is there that lingering doubt in your mind?  And then we come to the book of 1st Corinthians, followed by 2nd Corinthians...

2 Corinthians, Chapter 7
8  For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while.  9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing.  10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death. 

Someone who called themselves a Christian actually engaged in sex with his father's wife- now that is bad by ANY STANDARD!!!   Paul writes 1st Corinthians and rebukes both that person (for doing it) and the church there (for tolerating it). And they listened!!!  The message that they received was acted upon and all of them changed.  I can only imagine all the fuss and PAIN all this engendered!!!  But, through it all- THEY CHANGED!!!  After all, this is what Christians are supposed to do, isn't it!!! Saying "I'm sorry" is easy enough- most people can do that without a problem.  But ACTUALLY CHANGING- THAT IS THE STUFF OF TRUE REPENTANCE, WHICH LEADS TO SALVATION!!!!  Something to think about, the next time you hear someone say "I'm sorry"!!!!! 

Think this doesn't have anything to do with you, well, maybe it doesn't, but then again, maybe it will.  I mean, someone MAY hurt you and say "I'm sorry" and what do you do then? Forgive and keep on forgiving until its obvious that the offender deliberately will not change and then follow the Biblical example found in 1st Corinthians.  If you just happen to be the perpetrator- change what you were doing and mean it, for the way of repentance leads to heaven!!!!