The more I study and learn about J. R. R. Tolkien, his contemporaries (i.e., C. S. Lewis) and their fairy stories / myths the more fascinated I become. It’s not just my love of the story. It’s the depth of their work and the realities behind it that are so… “rich” (for lack of a better word)… I can spend the foreseeable future researching, reading, thinking, and writing/blogging… about the authors and their efforts… and not grow tired of it.
It’s “rich” because it has a true foundation: God the Creator, the Word (Logos), the Spirit and their perfection and reality. If these weren’t real, what then? …. Nothing, it wouldn’t matter… there would be no resounding thrill in our hearts when the good guy (Frodo) destroys the ring, because there could be no morality… no good… no bad… without God.
Tolkien believed that there is only a story to be told when you have a “fall” from creation perfection.
Think about this for a moment…
If Eve hadn’t been deceived…. if Adam hadn’t willfully disobeyed… before that…. if Lucifer hadn’t coveted the Supreme Position… what would we have? A very boring, flat, dry… story… history… life…. what would we talk about? What would we appreciate?
More importantly… what would we “be” without “the choice”… between good and evil?
We certainly couldn’t be “redeemed” if we weren’t “fallen”… while on the one hand, Christ would not have needed to lay down His life for us, He wouldn’t have had to be brutally beaten and that would have been a good thing…. then again, we wouldn’t really know just how bad we really are… how much He loves each one of us… the lengths to which He’d go… We wouldn’t know what grace is… nor know humility in the presence of God… we’d have knowledge of His Superiority, but not of His grace and love…
Scripture points out that there’s a very real battle going on between principalities… God and His followers versus Lucifer and the other fallen angels…. Do you see it? Do you want to?
Will we deny ourselves and follow God or will we try to agrandize ourselves and follow Lucifer? Is our choice humility or pride?
I have to tell y’all what happened….. I’m living in a hotel… in the middle of relocating…. I’ve been incredibly busy… learning a new job… driving back home to be with my family most weekends… and until we sell the old house it’ll stay this way… I’ve known all along that God has a purpose in this delay… after all He’s big enough to even control the housing market… and what had been booming, now seemed to be busting… but I knew… thanks to God’s Word… that this was one of the things in His “all” in Romans 8:28 that is working for my good… (to make me more like Christ)…. so I’ve maintained my patience…. until yesterday….
My company has a very nice relocation package, but the temporary housing (paying for my hotel) is coming to a close… it’s only initially good for 60 days, which is up next week…. so two weeks ago I started the ball rolling in my company trying to get an extension…. then last night I got an email from my boss saying I had to submit the request through the relocation company, which would then send it back through my company… now I’m faced with not having any where to live (one of my personal “fear generating” events)… Last night I started to get very upset about it…. If I’d only known… I could have submitted it to the relocation company 2 weeks ago….
This morning I awoke prayerfully asking God to lead me in this… I know that part of this experience, like many others, is all about me trusting Him…. but I felt this morning it’s also about me learning to control my temper… self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and I recall a couple of months ago praying for this specific gift… self control…
I should tell you also that one of my biggest fears is that I go out into the world making my own choices as opposed to following my Lord. You know if Jesus is Lord of my life, then I’m supposed to follow Him. Point of fact, is that one significant way I’ve always messed up in my life is when I do not follow, rather I try to lead… so I frequently pray for His guidance… it’s the only place to be… in the center of His will… looking / listening and following His guidance!
As I was saying.. This morning I felt the Holy Spirit telling me this was about me learning about self control… I was not to get angry OR fearful… as I sat down preparing for my quiet daily Bible study… I prayed… Lord, please, if I’m where I’m supposed to be… please let me know… Give me a special message just for “THIS DAY.”… Then I actually apologized to God for the short notice… after all how could He answer that kind of question immediately… as I opened the book I’ve been reading from, a daily devotional… “Thoughts for the Quiet Hour” by D. L. Moody… written some time ago…. today’s verse was part of Joshua 24:15….
Choose THIS DAY whom you will serve…
It’s the ONLY question, that matters… everything else fell away… I burst into tears… so humbled that my Lord loves me enough to speak to me… and that he planted his answer through Mr. Moody long ago… knew exactly when I’d read it, what I’d ask before hand… who am I but dust?… and disobedient dust at that… that almight God would take the time and effort to speak directly to me? … No one… I’m no one… not worthy… not good… but LOVED and REDEEMED…
I choose… yes, I do… I choose… GOD… can you hear my joy? My Almighty… All Knowing… All Loving… All Providing.. GOD… YES! Him will I serve… with every fiber of my being… for eternity… He and He alone… knit me so skillfully together in my mother’s womb… knows how many hairs are on my head… loves me… answers me… MY GOD is indeed the ONLY AWESOME GOD!
I bend my knee… I bow my head… I sing… songs of great joy…. THIS IS MY STORY… THIS IS MY SONG… PRAISING MY SAVIOR ALL THE DAY LONG!!!
ps… I didn’t get angry or upset… my house isn’t sold… my temporary housing is closing down on me… I don’t have an extension… BUT My God has it in control…. I can wait on Him!
Different topic tonight… I was on business travel this week, at the airport I stopped in a bookstore to find reading material to get me through at least the 2.5 hours to my destination.
Admittedly the bookstores in airports are smaller, but most of them have a fairly wide range of material. I look for books to enlighten me as opposed to grieving the Spirit within. Have any of you realized this is NOT an easy task?
I found a nice selection of different books on Islam, Wicca and other religions… but wait, where are the books on Scriptural Christianity? There’s even a whole section devoted to “New Age”, yet no section for Christianity. I can find a wide variety of novel type books offering alternate views of Jesus, yet nothing on the Jesus of the Bible. There are several books about religious tolerance, but have you noticed they aren’t very tolerant of Christianity?
The majority of this material is designed for one purpose only… to provide an alternate option to salvation. Oh yeah, haven’t you heard? Man can now set the rules… anything he wants them to be… If we don’t like one commandment, well, we’ll just ignore it or we’ll make up our own stuff… more palatable, more to our liking; stuff that makes more sense to us. We say to ourselves… Wait!Why do this God’s way? We can form Him to our image and then be able to basically do what ever we want. Isn’t that great? We can lay out the rules of whatever philosophy we want, we can even restate history (as is the case in one popular book) to our liking. And then we’ll be really free! Won’t we?
In college I took anthropology and the Professor told us that the one thing that was found in every society, ancient and modern alike was evidence of religion. Isn’t that interesting? Every society looks for God. I’m sure you can remember hearing about Roman and Greek mythology… so just imagine everyone, everywhere always trying to find God… lends credence to the old saying, “nothing new under the sun”, doesn’t it? (Which by-the-way is Ecclesiastes 1:9.)
Do you have any idea about why every society shows evidence of religion?
The first chapter of the book of Romans tells us that God made the truth evident to us. Another Scripture passage says He wrote knowledge of Himself on every heart. In Romans it goes on to say, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.”
Man has not changed… even today, s/he tries to account for God; even the atheist who tries to push Him away. If God truly didn’t exist why would the atheist work so hard to try to kill Him? Under the guise of “tolerance” others work just as hard to make Him not matter, to make truth about God irrelevant.
All of this boils down to one thing and one thing alone…………..
People simple do NOT want to be accountable for their actions. They don’t want to acknowledge that they are (1) much, much less than holy ( hey this is me too… I’m right here beside you – I’m not better than you) and (2) folks don’t want to accept that there’s a huge price to pay for not being spotless in God’s eyes.
Even though you spend your whole life living by a creed, any creed, or none at all… what will you say when you are finally face-to-face with God? God gave you free will for a reason, He doesn’t want robots…. How have you used your gift of free will?
If you really want to know truth about God… you don’t need me… all you have to do is honestly ask God to reveal the truth about Jesus to you… find out for yourself. Because when you do see God, He isn’t going to be asking you about what I did with the truth…. He’ll be asking you…. about you.
The last part of that section of Romans 1 says, “… so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
What book did I buy? “Taming Your Tongue”….
Yesterday, I talked about how important truth is and how it’s not “my” truth. In that post I also quoted scripture that says we can’t know/understand and we can’t do good in and of ourselves.
I’d like to clarify something… both of those statements in Romans are talking about us BEFORE we accepted Christ as our Savior. If you’ve never done that then those Scriptures are talking about you. But, if you have been saved then they are talking about your “old self”, the one that was crucified with Christ.
Now you’re redeemed and John 16:13 applies, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak…” So, if you’re born again the Holy Spirit, which lives in you will illumine Scripture for you. But, before that (that is before you accepted Christ) you could not on your own understand. In fact, 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” This basically explains that God understands the unsaved folks will think Scripture is nuts and they do don’t they?
It’s also very important that we all understand we are not to argue over the details. As long as we have saving faith, the rest will get sorted out later.
Secondly, I’d like to explain a couple of other facts about me….
I have no preference that God says A or God says B… I want to simply know what exactly God says. When I attend a Church, I’m not looking for one where the Pastor preaches about things the way I “believe” them to be… rather I look for a Church where the Pastor tells me what the Bible says… I’m not looking for anyone to interpret Scripture for me… I want to know what God says… because I take Him at His word. (I talk about the Scriptures that support this in several of my other posts, predominately under “Truth” on your right.)
I can accept that God isn’t into tricking me, nor keeping things obscure from me, and that He laid what He wants from me out clearly. He expects me to study His word so that I can obey 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” and 1 Peter 3:15, ” … sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”.
I’d like to share with you the fundamental approach about interpreting Scripture. Now, I’m not going to bore you to death by repeating verbatim hermenuetic text books. But, lets look at this with logical clear thought.
As with many things there really are very clear steps to correctly interpreting Scripture:
- Work from the assumption that the Bible is authoritative – anything else (i.e., tradition, feelings, or even our own reasoning capabilities) places man on top not God.
- The Bible interprets itself; Scripture best explains Scripture – if a passage is obscure or vague use clearer passages. Don’t leave things out, and don’t ever add things in. Why would you or anyone – and I’ve already stated where I stand here – want less than the truth or a different truth. What good would alternate truth be? What value would a false view have? Simply let the Bible speak for itself.
- Saving faith and the Holy Spirit are necessary for us to understand and properly interpret the Scriptures. If you haven’t already, but want to, confess to God that you haven’t met His standard of Holiness, that you’ve sinned and accept what Christ did on the cross to pay the debt for you. Romans 10:9 is very clear, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Then ask God to give you understanding.
- Interpret personal experience in the light of Scripture and not Scripture in the light of personal experience.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 say, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
- Accept all Scripture at face value, exept when either (a) an inanimate object is used to describe a living being, or (b) Scripture explicitly tells us the passage is allegorical.
- Interpret the words in their usual meaning.
Some other points to consider…
Scripture must be internally consistent… there can be no contradictions within Scripture. If there are then it all is waste. What good is truth if it’s not always truth… that would be an oxymoron, wouldn’t it? This doesn’t mean that we have to understand all the points of Scripture (example coming right up)… the point is that they are either things I don’t completely understand or they are inconsistencies… if they are the later I want nothing to do with it… The example of this is God being 1 in 3 persons… I don’t understand this concept, but I can accept it as true any way… fact is this side of the veil I don’t need to understand it… do I?
The truths of Scripture must be livable… again, what good would it be if we couldn’t do what God wants us to do?