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 HUNGER for THE WORD.

(Forgive me if this may be a repeat for some. I Hope you don't mind ... but I'm burdened tonight.
I just came back from reading Wesley's Journal and I felt after what I've read just a little while ago to post this to 'unburden'.)

An Exercise in Truth.

Place your right thumb on Matthew chpt. 1, leaving it there - then turn to Revelation chpt. 22 and place your right Index finger there.
Now close the Bible with those two fingers inside.

See the size of the N.T. ?
Compare that to the size of other books you've read.

So why is it, that most Christians don't even know, just their N.T. ?
Nor, can hardly use a Concordance; because they can't even remember one word out of a verse ... if they even know what a Concordance is.

It would be monumental if every Believer at least knew the N.T..
Absolutely monumental !
Not verbatim necessarily, but enough to be able to use a Concordance to find Scripture verses they remember reading.
But we all have an excuse.

One reason we don't, is because of Chapters and Verses; which is very helpful for quick reference, but was never intended to "divide" the Word of God.
The books of the N.T. were written as One Letter each and without even punctuation marks; but because someone broke it up into verses and punctuated it and split it into Chpt.s ; we feel we can 'pull out' a verse here and there, ‘out of the context of the whole chpt.’ - quote 'it' and feel we've done something. Most preachers do it too. Please check the context of the verse they give and see if that is what the Chapter, as a whole, is saying. It's an epidemic type practice in these days. Not a day goes by that we don't hear this practice used on Christian radio or elsewhere. The ‘verse’ the speaker uses, has nothing to do with the Chpt. it came from, nor his topic. Splitting verses is the leading cause of heresies.

Another reason is, all the different translations out there, makes Concordance use, word studies and memorization, etc., impossible. (Everyone quoting a different one.)
Best to pick a translation that has the most study tools, etc. to go along with it. This way, when a verse comes to mind, it can be easily looked up in the Concordance, by just remembering one word from the verse and then found in the Bible. Then word definitions can be looked up in the Strong's Concordance/Dictionary or other Hebrew/Greek dictionaries, etc., etc..
The N.T. was written in the ancient Greek language (a bit in Aramaic). Most Christians now a days could care a hoot 'Why' God chose 'that' language to write the most important book in this world's History. :(Some distain hearing it at all :)

It wasn't by circumstance that God chose it. That language was the most exact language that has ever existed. It had 24 "the"s ~ just for one word.
Talk about 'precise'. Imagine being that exact to have 24 'the'(s).
It would appear, that God did not want any question as to what He was saying.
Any debate for truth, could be won, just by the Greek's grammar alone.
The grammar was so exact, that you could tell by the spelling of each word, whether it was past action, present action, continuous action, or present yet continuous or starting in the past and still continuing, or male, female or neuter, etc. etc.. The most incredibly accurate language that's ever existed ... and that's why God chose His Word to be written at that time, (Gal 4:4, “when the 'fullness' of time had come...’’, included) when it was the language of the Jews ... (with the exception of Matthew, which was written in Hebrew, then translated back to the Greek. ). The Jews also translated their Hebrew O.T. into the Greek. It is called the Septuagint.

Now a-days, it is so easy to find books or websites or free program downloads, that will define the Greek words, etc. for us, "http://www.e-sword.net" and books
and Bible programs, that even do the grammar of each word used, for us, "http://www.christianbook.com" > (The Complete Word Study Bible and Dictionary Pack, 5 Volumes by: edited: Spiros Zodhiates), but those practices, which used to be common practice 100 yr.s ago or so, have become so rare, (and actually frowned upon on by some) and oddly enough, at a time when word study tools, are more available to us than ever before in the history of the Church. (And this; the most ‘Debating’ generation yet, on their ‘Forums’, et al.) Does this seem to be the "Laodicean" church of Rev. 3 ?

In this country, even if a person cannot read or see, the Bible is on tape or CD, and with the indwelling Holy Spirit's aide, they have all they'll ever need of The Truth... taking that; not all people, everywhere, can get to the resources that we can.

In these last days, we'll only get out of our spirit's, what we have invested into them, while we had the time.

Another reason could be laziness and/or "other things to do". We've exalted Pastors, Teachers, Authors, etc., to the place of a Pope or Cardinal, in that, all knowledge is dribbled down through them and not from our own studies anymore.
The Word commands that we study, (more intensive than just reading), but now we leave it up to our gurus to "lead us into all truth".
A man may be a very good teacher, but if we don't study for ourselves, then we've made that person a guru. The 'sermons', Etc., have become more important to us than what God Himself had to say. We'll sit and listen to them for 45 min.s or so, but not give that much time on Monday-Friday to study for ourselves. In most sermons/teachings now a days, we get maybe 3 verses and a bunch of the entertaining (or sometimes good) words of a man and think we've gotten 'The Word' ... but only the Bible is the very words of God/Inspired. No Pastor, etc. can write the Bible or add one verse to it, to be printed within it.

No person is 100% Inerrant ~ 100% of the time -- but the Word Is.
And, The Spirit of Truth.
Why would we settle for a man's opinion, rather than The Author's True meaning and intent. John 6:68 And Jesus prayed in John 17:17.
But we'd rather be "fed", than labor in the Word for ourselves.

A funny but sad account of one good Pastor was that, he wanted to test how 'Bible literate' his new congregation was, so he got up and said, "Please turn to Hezekiah 4:14." Much to his dismay, he could hear pages rattling throughout the building.

In this day and age ... almost every Bible study tool on earth, can be found at our finger tips - on our keyboards or an Academic bookclub or even in Libraries.
Just type "Christian Apologetics" into Google and see what you'll find.
Never before in History has Bible Study and Research been made so easy, (at least for now, in the free world), yet never before in History have Christians been more lazy. (Again, ‘in the free world.’ ... In some countries, they walk for miles just to get a segment of a Bible. Others risk their very lives to smuggle Bibles for others.)

Those Huge Multi-Volume Classic Commentaries we use for Bible Studies were hand-written ... as was our Bible ~ Countless times, since it was first written (and some of it hand-written from/in prisons). What’s our excuse ?
We can just "copy and paste" Bible verses now and write up a few pages of study with a computer, in less than an hour. All libraries here have computers now also.

[b]Our Love Affair with Jesus.[/b]

If someone we really loved was far away and wrote us a letter ... we'd probably read it over and over. We'd want to know every detail of all that is in their mind and how they feel, etc.. Matt.6:21 (His Word IS our Love Letter.)
If our friend asked us, what was in the letter, we'd be excited to tell them all that our loved one had written. But in these days, if we read at all, we'd rather hear or read what someone else 'thinks' the Letter is saying (and only a sentence extracted from it here and there), rather than dig through the whole of it ourselves.

I've seen baby birds, that were bigger than their mothers, chasing their mother around with their mouths open, waiting to be fed by her, when they were old enough to fed themselves (and did on occasions when she refused). That is modern Christianity. "Feed us", but not for more than an hour (or 1/2 hr.)."
The Apostle Paul spoke all night and the people drank it in... and No wonder; because he was speaking the Very Word of God that we have written in our Bibles ... not his 'opinion' of what the Bible says... which is all we can get from Pastors, etc. (people as a whole... as said, are not 100% accurate, 100% the time). 1Th 5:21 They can be 99 % correct in their sermons, teaching, or beliefs ... but that 1% Untruth, could be heresy... but the people would rather risk hearing error, then to feed themselves. Had the people known their Bible, they would catch that 1% arsenic and spit it out ... but they drink in the whole thing, as in the Dark Ages, when only the priests could read and deliver the so-called truth of God. (.....While the ‘preacher’ brags, “Now ain’t that good preachin’ ?” Or they’ll say, [of themselves], “You won’t get a sermon like this anywhere else !”): Jer. 5:31

In the Greek, the word used for "heresy or heresies" was the word for "choice - to choose for oneself - the opinion ‘chosen.’ ". (Strong's # 139 is from # 138)
In other words, whatever we hear or read - We choose whether to believe it or not.
"People believe what they 'want' to believe." Heresy is "our Choice", God says.

Personal responsibility again... To choose. To quench the Spirit of truth or to not.

Pastors and Teachers are only two gifts in the Church, they were never meant to have an elevated position, any more than any of the other gifts. Nor take the place of our own "searching out".

We are headed to the Dark ages again, Prophetically speaking, (by choice, so far) the Bible calls it 'the last days'... where "most shall fall away from the truth" and when there would be a famine of The Word of God - His Truth.
Three Scripture verses per sermon, is like living on bread and water alone.
How could we think 'our' or some other man's words, matter more than God's ?
We have Pastors and Teachers galore, but where are the Prophets ? From those whom I've known of, they're castigated out of the 'feel good' Churches. No different than the O.T. days, where most were treated that way. 2Tim 4:1-4
That is why the Lord admonished us through Paul, "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings."

Fellowship is what The Lord commanded of us, and Pastors and Teachers and Prophets and Evangelists and Apostles, etc., have their place, but not to take the place of our own active participation of 'rightly dividing the Word of Truth', with the Lord's Spirit's help and having the freedom to be used in our own gift(s) during fellowship, for the Lord has given gifts to all his believers. Those are Biblical Fellowships. "Can the eye say to the hand, I don't need you ?" 1 Corth. 12

Our desire should be, to give people a hunger and thirst, to go to God's Word for themselves and show them where or how to go, for any resources, if needed, to assist in their own Bible exposition. (The same principle as "give a man a fish and he'll eat for one day... but teach him how to fish, and he'll eat forever")

We are to be the "salt", that makes men thirsty for The Word of God ... not to attract people unto ourselves, to sit at our feet for all wisdom or knowledge. Nor to put books 'about' The Word, above reading/studying The Word itself.

Only the actual Word of God is "Living and sharper than a two-edged sword."
It's the Holy Spirit's job, to lead us into all truth, not humans.

Devotional books are great, but not as the sole diet for the day.
Commentaries have their place, but all things should be tested against our own studies and prayerful dependence on the Spirit of God to instruct and discern for us.

A quote from the side notes of the Geneva Bible: Eccles. 12:12 ........... of making many books (z)[there is] no end; and much study (of them) a weariness of the flesh.
Notes on (z) "These things cannot be comprehended in books or learned by study, but God must instruct your heart that you may only know that wisdom is the true happiness and the way to it is to fear God."
Wisdom is knowing, by the Lord, how to use Knowledge.
( ie. "The Spirit of the law" vs. "The letter of the law".)

John 16:13 Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, HE will guide you into All Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself (as humans do); but whatsoever He shall hear,{nothing that contradicts THE TRUTH}, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.

Imagine that ! HE will also "show us things to come."
"MY sheep HEAR My Voice". John 10

Paul says it best, about following men in 1 Corth. chpt. 3
The Lord 'can' and does use people to teach us ... but if we do not Know the Word of God for ourselves, willfully, then we will eventually be deceived by false teachings and teachers - period. That's Bible !

Those Berean Jews, who even doubled-checked Paul's teachings, were 'commended' as being "more noble" ... Act 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

The O.T. has a word for "pause and reflect". That word is "Selah" (found in Ps. 3 and 75 times total in the O.T.). It was the common practice to read God's Word in that way.
Slowly reading, as a 2nd grader would, and reflecting on each word and pondering 'why' God used each word and what it could mean and what was the message of each verse in context of it's Chpt. and it's book ... because they knew ... God doesn't mince words, waste them and each one has a significant purpose for being there. The word Selah is similar to our word "ruminate", as how cows eat. They chew and chew ... swallow, then bring it up again and continue to chew (cud).
Since the Christ died and sent the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we don't 'ruminate' alone anymore. John 14:16 & 17

The God of Heaven is omniscient ... meaning "all knowing" , or having an IQ beyond human conception (immeasurable actually) ... and He wanted us to know as much as 'humanly' possible about Himself and His ways and desires. Yet, He knew that we would need One Book and one that was not too big to carry around. So He had to condense all of what He wanted us to know and that we Need to know, into our Bible. So needless to say, because of how reasonably sized it is (compared to His Knowledge) ... He could not afford to waste one word or not have a purpose for each and every word He chose to use. Matt 5:18

In John chpt. 1 and Rev. 19 - Jesus is called, "The Word of God".
To Not know the Word of God, is to not fully know Jesus.
To Love the Word made flesh - is to Love 'His Word'. The two cannot be separated.
We cannot "Love Jesus" or hunger for more of Him and not Love and hunger for more of His Word. They're inseparable.

It is the only book on earth that has been written by the very hand of God Himself, yet we have more important things to do, rather than study ... and despite the fact that, how we spend Eternity lies in "what we have done with His Word."
What could be "more important"; seeing that "life is but a vapor", but Eternity is Forever.

Some say that, when the FBI is trained to learn 'counterfeit' money, they are given a real bill to examine over and over and over, so that they could peg a counterfeit by knowing the real.
That is how God has provided instruction to us, on how to know a 'false teaching or teacher', by giving us the real thing, to examine over and over until we know it. Then the false will give us a check in our spirits, (where the Word has been stored), that something in the teaching or manifestation or presentation is amiss.

In the last days, Jesus said, false teachings-teachers and prophets will be rampant. (Besides multitudes of "signs & wonders" that will deceive.) And admonished us to "not be deceived." So we have a mandate to read and ruminate over the Word, asking God to give us understanding by His "Spirit of Truth", being humbly and totally dependent on Him, to translate it for us and putting forth the effort to Study - not just race through it.

He commanded that we must 'worship' Him "in Spirit and in Truth".
Not just Spirit - Not just Truth, but both equally combined.

Being fully penetcostal, I've seen all 'spirit' (so-called) and little truth, happen in some Churches or gatherings.
All 'spirit', without Truth, is not "Truth" in action, so it is not THE Holy Spirit, (Who IS The Spirit OF Truth), so it is either fleshly worship or 'another spirit'.
(The gift of "discerning of spirits" is for this purpose, to identify what is operating)

The Spirit of God will not contradict His Word. A lot of excitement is not a
sign of a move of God. Most of these last days Churches are nothing but "entertainment", the giving of goose bumps or an excuse to boogy. No matter how many times I read the Book of Acts, I cannot find one similarity in the First Church and our 'churches' of today.
'We' are the Church, not a building. There is virtually nothing left in our ‘churches’ of the book of Acts today: with rare exceptions.
The "Church" met in homes. They were close to each other. They all shared at fellowship times. None would amass wealth - they had "all things in common". Read through the book of Acts sometime and see if you can find any similarities with today's "Churches" or today's preachers. Can you see Paul in a $300 suit, driving a fancy rig and living in luxury on the backs of the people ? Are they "Suffering for Christ's sake" ?? Phil 1:29 Col 1:24 1Corth 4:10 2Corth 4:5 & 12:10

W.W.J.D. ?

Pastor means "shepherd" and they are supposed to be like our Chief Shepherd - Jesus.
If Jesus wouldn't do something ... they shouldn't.
Paul said, "follow me AS I follow Christ".
Do you know many Pastors that are like, or living like Jesus or Paul did ?
There are a few of those who do, but their congregations are usually small. Why ? Because we don't want anything like the fellowships the first Church had, under the Apostles.
Not enough Fun, freedom, we may have to give up some more T.V., or see the Lord in action as He was back then.
We don't want the True gift of Prophecy operating in our Church ... it may rebuke our lives.
We don't want the discerning of spirits operating, it may embarrass someone.
We don't want to sit for hours listening to the Word.
Doesn't Fellowship mean, "Having Fun" ?

Imagine yourself in Lydia's house and Paul shows up. (getting squeamish ?)
I imagine we would feel a bit uncomfortable, because of how far we've come from what the true "fellowship of the Saints" was like .... absolutely Nothing like today's.
Christianity has been almost totally redefined and mostly within the last 60 yr.s or so.
Rock concert participants, get equally as excited as those "entertained" at church.

When the real Truth is preached, in it's fullness, then the true gifts of the Spirit will operate. Many cults 'speak in tongues', etc. and in the absence of Truth, it is "another spirit", as Paul called it and "another Jesus".

The Pentecostals have gotten away from the 'academics' of studying God's Word (being Bereans) and have over-emphasized 'the move of the spirit' (putting the Holy Spirit higher than The Lord and His Word Jn 15:26, Jn16:13 & 14) and those denominations that are into academics, fear any outward signs, because they've seen such abuse of the phenomena. But God asks for both... Spirit and Truth (His Word).
Today's pentacostals are mostly just 'touchy-feely' folks.
They want that "feeling" and not just Truth and when they hear full-Bible, they complain, "too hard" - "you're too judgmental" - "where's the love ?" - "you're too negative".

When God in 2Thess2 mentions "the love of the truth" (and that those who did not have ‘it‘, would be “given over to the strong delusion and believe the lie“), He used the word that meant "unconditional Love" ... that means, loving the whole of God's Word ... the 'bless me' stuff and the so-called 'hard stuff' of it.

Jesus said He IS The Truth and said, His Word is Truth, but 'Just Truth' has become quite bland to most.
They'd have walked out on long-winded Paul, after an hour or so. Not entertaining enough to hold us, like television can (for hours).

We cannot separate Jesus - ('The Word' made flesh) from The Word (the Bible).
"We cannot fully know the Jesus of the Bible, until we know Jesus 'from' the Bible."
(Then 'who' are these willfully-Biblically-illiterate folks 'worshipping' ?)

One of the early events in the first Church, was the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. (That would make some "worship service" now, wouldn't it ?)
But who killed them ? The same LORD that we sing about.
The same God who destroyed Sodom and punished the Israelites in the desert, Etc..
The Jesus we shall see, as described in Rev. 19:11-21.
Does that make Him less "loving" ? (actually, He is not just 'loving' - He IS LOVE.
( 1JN 4:8)

To "unconditionally love" God, we must "unconditionally love" His Word and what's in it, even these 'tough' things. Both Old and New Testaments have these 'tough things' in them.
It's not all fluff and warm fuzzies, and neither is God/Christ.
He IS Perfect Love ... which is 100 % mercy and 100 % righteous judgment.
(hard for us humans to understand without His help)

The parable of the seed sown on the 'stony ground' basically says, the joy-bell-only-believers are going to bail out when the going gets rough. And, as said before, in the last days, "most" fall away.

At Passover, the Jews were commanded to eat the 'whole' lamb. We're to
take in the whole of Christ and His Word.
The Mannah was given fresh daily and yesterday's would rot. We need to partake of Him daily. Yesterday's high won't get us through till tonight.

Rev. 20:12 says, "the books were opened", and because we know that His Word is eternal ("Forever" Ps. 119:89); we know that one of those "Books" is the Word of God, our Bible, by which we shall be judged.
He will ask us, "What did you do with My book, that I wrote you and My Holy Spirit that I sent you, to lead you into All Truth ?" John 16:13
And what did 'the Word made flesh' use against Satan's temptings ?
Only God's Word..... Then so must we.
If we blame our error on someone else, like "my Pastor taught me", that won't fly.

Paul warned, watch your life AND DOCTRINE (Teachings you believe) closely. 1Tim 4:16.
The word Doctrine (= teachings) is mentioned 44 times in the N.T.. So the teachings that we believe are equally as important as how we live our Christian lives. They go hand in hand. "Walk by Faith..." but "Faith cometh by the Word..."
“Sin not...” but with “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.” etc. etc.
Everything we do, think, decide on, etc. etc., should be based upon His Word.
So then, ‘how’ can we walk according to His Word (and thus, “Please Him“, unless we know what The Word says) and “be renewed in the spirits of our minds“ without it ? To walk autonomously ?

He laid equal importance on both; Life and Doctrine.
Not just living a life we believe is acceptable unto God, but also having our doctrine (beliefs) straight and right from studying with prayer.
We are personally responsible for ourselves and not who we sit under or read from.
Be a Berean !

Remembering the size of the N.T. (About a half inch) ~ Christians have a responsibility; to He who died to provide it for us (from His heart to ours); to know within our souls, that we've done all we can do, to know His Word - in Spirit and in Truth; less we stand before Him without excuse. It’s our Love for Him in action.

When asked “why” do we believe this or that belief; we should have enough understanding from Scripture to show them why.

Scripture itself, is the most powerful counselor, convincer, convictor, sanctifier and proof of what is true, more than any book written by man himself... because It is the Living (Eternally alive & active, from His Spirit to our spirits) Word of God.

Because His Words are Living, they are the weapon used, “the sword of the Spirit” in combating temptations, life’s queries, troubled times, etc..

What a love affair He offers through this. What unspeakable joy and full of Glory.

Eph 1:17 & 18 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints .......
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Col 2:2 & 3

If you don’t already own a Strong’s Concordance, please purchase one.
You’ll never regret it. Then if you want to go further, the Set mentioned
earlier is great and both can be bought at that book-website given on page 2.

As we read through books, like 2Kings chpt.s 22 & 23 or Nehemiah 9:3, we see days when the Jews would listen to the reading of the Books of the law for up to 6 hours, and would have repentance and then rejoicings afterward, for getting to hear God’s Word’s again. These were the times that Revival would come to Israel.

This is how personal Revival will come for us and strength for the days coming ~ from devouring the Living Word.

His promise is 'Joy' in return for our seeking Him out, through His Book.

Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Psalm 119

If we love Him, we must seek Him with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength.

He is found through His Word, with prayer and is a rewarder of them, who diligently seek Him. Heb 11:6

Philippians 3:7~14


His Love & Joy for Him & His Word first.

Annie

 2006/3/3 3:31





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