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Adventures in Faith

RIGHTEOUS, BLESSED, AND WASHED

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Solomon stated, “Righteousness exaulteth a nation.” (Prov.14:34). If the nation I am a citizen in does righteous things, does that guarantee my salvation? No. When citizens of a nation do what is morally right, the individuals and nation as a whole enjoy the results. However, salvation is granted by God to individuals, not nations. Salvation takes place in the mind of God. Therefore, man cannot create his own way to be saved. A prophet stated, “The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life (John 14:6). God gave us the way through His Son. Jesus died in our place for the sins you and I committed. When we place our trust in and follow Him, he takes away all our sins.

In Romans 4:7,8 we read, “Blessed and to be envied, are those whose sins are forgiven and put out of sight. Yes, what joy there is for anyone whose sins are no longer counted against him by the Lord.” When a Christian stands before Jesus in the judgment, guess how many sins he will have to answer for? None. That’s right. None. Why? Because all his sins have not only been forgiven but forgotten. That person will stand before God as though he had never sinned. He will be perfect because he is covered with the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s why we must put our trust in Jesus rather than in our accomplishments. Not our works, but his blood puts us in right standing with God.

We often ask in song, “What can wash away my sins?” The answer is also given, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” That song is correct. We sing God’s truth which is called gospel or “Good News.” How can I bath myself in the blood of Jesus? He died 2,000 years ago. By faith I can die to sin and be buried with Christ into his death. Inspiration tells me that I get into this burial by immersion. What a beautiful picture Paul paints in Romans 6 of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I can be blessed by what he did by being involved in his sacrifice through that immersion. As a sinner, I must die to the body of sin. I bury that body through a burial with Jesus in water and I am raised from that watery grave as a new or saved person because I became a partner with Jesus in his death. Free at last from the old creature and now revealed as the new man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:3-4).

Regardless of which path my country takes, I can be right with God. When I am right with God, He removes all my sins. All of them. My trust is in Jesus whose blood keeps me in good standing with the Father. God has provided the way, the truth, and the life for us if we will accept it. God saves. Since He does, we can be saved by following his guide lines rather than ours.

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I FEAR!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

fearWhen I look at my righteous achievements, I fear. When I look at my perfection, I fear.  When I look at the quality of my prayers, I fear.  When I look at my life each day, I fear.  When I think about dying, I fear.  When I think about the judgment, I fear.  Am I paranoid?  Some might think so, but “No!”  Do I have panic attacks? No. How can I possess fear and not have negative results?  How can I own those fears and be a Christian?  I am one, but my shoulders are too small to bear fear’s burden alone!

My righteous achievements?  Laughable.  My perfection?  Nonexistent.  The quality of my prayers? Dismal. My daily life? Inadequate. My death? Frightening. The judgment? Questionable.

Yet, I don’t have panic attacks nor negative results.  I haven’t been defrocked.  My shoulders remain small.  I fall so short, if measured in inches, powerful microscopes would not see me. Paul may have been “chief” but I’m second.  My cry is the same as his, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  (Romans 7:24 (NKJV).  His and my answer?  Jesus!  Jesus!  Jesus!!  What’s yours?

Without Jesus, fear would be my driver.  What can I do to pay for my sins or assist Jesus’ blood in my cleansing?  If perfection is required, failure is my companion.  Perfection was Jesus’ mission, not mine.  Belief in what He did for me is required, not “Look how much I have done for you, Jesus.”  I sin, but it drives me to the one who remits it.  If I thought my prayers paid for my forgiveness, I would be a fool.  My gospel would not be good news but one rewarded with damnation.  I don’t fear dying because I know who walks with me through that valley.  I am not afraid of judgment because I will not stand there to remind Jesus about how faithful I’ve been, but rather praise Him for how gracious He is.  I will not look at my achievements, but glory in His.  He takes away fears and gives peace! He is my focus, not me!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).

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A COMPLETE BIBLE; A BLESSING!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

In Luke 14: 15-24 Jesus tells about a man who had a banquet but the invited guest had excuses and could not attend.  The master sent hbible-scrollis servant out to invite people off the street.  The hall was still not filled, so the master told the servant to “Go out to the highways and country roads.  Make them come.  I want my house to be full!  I tell you, none of those men whom I invited first will get a taste of my banquet!

We are introduced to the same story in Matthew 22:1-10.  However, a lot of things are added and the purpose is different from the one in Luke.  In Matthew, the secondary invited folks, if not properly dressed, are bound and thrown out.  The story ends with, “Many are invited, but few are chosen” rather than “none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

In Luke’s account the “excuses” are more detailed than in Matthew.  Luke doesn’t mention that this is a wedding party.  Matthew does.  Luke is more descriptive about who the servant invites.  In Luke the guest are compelled to come, but not so in Matthew.  In Luke the host is “a certain man” whereas in Matthew he is “a king.”  In Matthew, how one is dressed is important, but Luke says nothing about it.

The Holy Spirit inspired both Matthew and Luke.  So, why are their stories different?  Both are stories or “parables.”  Matthew is writing to a different audience than Luke.  Matthew fills in some details of Jesus’ story not covered by Luke.  Luke is writing to a Gentile readership.  Luke picks out a lesson that fits the audience he is writing to whereas Matthew uses what will best fit his readers.

Preachers are often approached after a service and told what the individual got from the sermon.  Most preachers are surprised because the point they were making is different from the point that person heard.  Sometimes an audience with different needs receives help to deal with that need from a sermon that wasn’t designed by the speaker to address it.  Sometimes a person is feeling guilty about a secret sin and imagines the preacher is exposing it, whereas the minister is totally innocent of the charges.  It is the power of God’s word (Hebrews 4:12)!

Matthew is not contradicting Luke.  Both are giving the essence of Jesus’ story, but dealing with different points from the story which fits their respective readers.  In the first century, most people would not have both Matthew’s account and Luke’s.  We have the advantage of possessing both so we may gain the lessons delivered to both audiences.

In studying Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, one needs to research the parallels of each to gain all that is being said.  Our studies are enriched by this advantageous blessing.

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WHAT’S YOUR ASSURANCE?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A few Sundays ago one of our songs was, “Lord, I Need You,” written by Matt Maher in 2013.  Some of the words are:

assuranceLord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart.

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You.

As the congregation sang that song I wondered how well those words were sinking into our consciousness?  How many believe God will save them because of their righteousness, performed to co-host His?  One faith teaches that we must have more “good” works than bad ones if we are going to heaven.  In other words, you are on a “point system” and must work to produce “x” number in order to save yourself!  If that is our religious foundation, we have no business singing Matt’s song!

In discussing the righteousness of Jesus as compared to ours, an individual asked if his obedience didn’t amount to something in procuring his salvation.  Is “obedience” necessary?  Yes (2 John 1:9 NIV).  If one loves the Lord, he will willingly obey Him (John 14:15, 23; 15:10).  However, that is altogether different than saying, “My righteousness is worth __% in paying for my salvation.”  Actually, “our righteousness” is like a dirty rag, that if you touched it, you would want to immediately wash your hands (Isaiah 64:6)!

At the judgment, one will not remind Jesus about how well his works measured up to Jesus’ actions upon the cross and expectantly state, “You owe me something for what I’ve done!”  Those who do such have missed the Good News completely.  In fact, it could be another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

If my trust in going to heaven is based upon how obedient I am, my failure to “do enough” will leave me frustrated, ridden with guilt, depressed, and with a fear that will consume me.  Why?  Because our obedience will never be sufficient to make a down payment on our sin debt.  However, I can with assurance say that Jesus is my Savior and I trust that He paid it all for me!

“Lord, I need You, oh, I need You, Every hour I need You, My one defense, my righteousness, Oh God, how I need you.”

Jesus paid it all!!  I am not capable of adding even 1%.  Jesus is not a 99% Savior.  He is my 100% Lord and Savior!  He is the one who saves, not me (Hebrews 5:1)!  I obey Him, not to make points, but because He made the points for me.  I can never repay Him.  My obedience does not supplement the full price he paid for me (1 Corinthians 6:20)!  Why do men demote what Jesus did in order to glorify what we think we’ve done?

What is your assurance built on?  You??

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Monday, December 26, 2016

This family got up together.  The boy dressed and went to milk the cow.  The father cut and retrieved wood for the cook stove and started the fire.  The mother prepared breakfast for going-to-church-2everyone after she got the youngest child dressed.

The father fed the livestock.  The mother gathered the eggs and fed the chickens.  The boy strained the milk, separating the cream, and put the milk where it would stay cool.  Everyone finished breakfast, got the Bible, and finished getting ready to go to church.  The mule was harnessed and each member mounted it.  Snow was still on the ground, but the weather had warmed causing the yard and road to be soft and muddy.  They rode five miles to the church building in town, arriving fifteen minutes early.  The year was 1895.

The alarm goes off.  An arm manages to swings out from under the covers and hit the snooze button.  Fifteen minutes later, the scene repeats itself.  He and his wife finally drag out of bed.  He retrieves the Sunday paper and sits to read the funnies.  The wife yells at the two boys to get up, “IT’S SUNDAY”!  There is no response.  A second, third, and fourth warning is called out, each getting louder.  Grumbling is heard.  Arguments begin.  It signals that both are up!

Mom heats up some Pop-Tarts for breakfast.  Three times “Breakfast is ready” bounces off the walls before anyone appears.  There is bantering between the boys but breakfast is soon consumed.  Instructions again about it being Sunday and the boys are admonished to “quit messing around and get dressed.”  Dad is included in the instruction!  He shaves and combs his hair.  He and she get dressed.  A few more admonitions and the boys look half way decent.  It takes a few more warnings to get everyone in the family vehicle.  Off they go.  They live four block from the church building.  The speed limit is 40, but dad fudges 5 miles more.  This morning they hit all the green lights.  They arrive but parking near the entrance is taken.  Four part grumbling fills the car.  They are in the seventh row of parked cars and down about 300 feet.  All four doors open and the family exits, heading for the church entrance.  The wind is brisk and cold.  More grumbling. They are ten minutes late rather than the usual fifteen.  They congratulate themselves on being five minutes earlier!  The father is the great grandson of the youngest brother pictured on the mule.  The year is 2016.

The wife sees that picture every Sunday and wonders if their ride was on a mule rather than in a Ford Bronco, would they arrive at church fifteen minutes early?

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JESUS AND THE SWORD!

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 09/19/2019

Jesus was not anti-gun, or I should say anti-sword.  He believed in a person protecting himself and those he loved.  In Luke he told his disciples that if they did not have a sword, they should sell their garment and buy one (Luke 22:36).  Then in verse 38 when they informed him that they had two, he said that was sufficient.  Such advise does not fall from the lips of someone who is against personal defense.   Later in the garden, Peter wishes to protect Jesus from the arresting mob and draws his weapon for that defense (John 18:10; Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:49; Luke 22:5o).  Jesus stopped Peter, not because it was wrong for him to be defended, but because this event was foretold by God and needed to be fulfilled (John 18:11; Isaiah 7:14; 53:4-12; Zechariah 12:10).  Jesus did not object to Peter nor one of the other apostles wearing a deadly weapon nor Peter’s wiliness to use it.  Peter’s weapon was so sharp that with one blow he took off an ear.  I doubt if he was aiming for Malchus’ ear.

Some will point out that the Lord told his disciples to, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35).  Yes, and he also said, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19).  If I have to make a choice between a criminal and my wife and family, I will defend my family because my love is greater for them than someone who wants to harm them.  Some will object by saying “Your family is saved and will go to heaven if murdered.  However, the criminal is not.  If you kill him, you take away his opportunity to later become a Christian.”  There may be some truth in that statement, but what if he later goes on a kill spree?  Wouldn’t your failure to stop him make you partially guilty of allowing him to continue on his murderous rampage?  What if those others he murders are not saved?  Wouldn’t that make you guilty of failing to give them a second chance by not stopping their murderer when you had the opportunity?

Jesus gave his permission to the apostles to buy a deadly weapon.  Should one indict Jesus if those apostles killed a criminal defending themselves?  A person who would sacrifice himself rather than shoot a criminal has a right to that belief.  However, is it fair for him to make his decision mandatory for his family if they have the ability to use a weapon to stop the criminal?  I will not bind my convictions on him, and he does not have the liberty to bind his belief upon me nor upon his family!  Some argue that if a break-in is in progress, the homeowner should call the police and allow the law to protect him.  The usual response time of the police is five or more minutes unless they happened to be cruising in your neighborhood.  However, if one’s faith will allow him to sacrifice his family to the whims of a criminal, why put a policeman’s life in danger by calling him?  What if the officer is not a Christian?  By calling him, you put him at risk.  Why not keep your faith consistent by trusting God to either deliver you or help you to face death?

Some argue that one should trust in God rather than place their trust in a gun.  On the surface that sounds biblical, yet when examined, inconsistencies appear.  If trusting God means one cannot own a firearm to stop the criminal, when he desires to steal, rape, and murder, then why do those who say they trust God possess house, car, hospitalization, accident, and warranty insurance?  Don’t they trust God to protect them?  When Jesus told his apostles to sell an article of clothing and buy a sword, was it because he didn’t trust the Father to protect them?  The argument judges the gun owner with the sin of misplaced trust.  Yet the hand that points has four fingers that condemn the pointer with that same type charge!

Peter had his sword because Jesus authorized him to buy one.  We are not told who possessed the other sword.  He too was authorized to own one.  Jesus gave them that authority.  If I were guessing, a good candidate would be Simon the Zealot.  That is just a guess.  What is not speculation is that Jesus authorized his followers to buy, carry, and use weapons when necessary.  Each individual must decide for himself whether his conscience will permit him to possess one and use it.  For whatever reason, ten out of twelve apostles did not carry.  They depended upon the ability of the two to protect them if that help became necessary.

 

MAY WE CHANGE WHEN CULTURE DOES?

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, September 16, 2019

During Stephen’s trial the following charges were made against him, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.  For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” Acts 6:12-14.   Later, the Hebrew writer stated, “For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.”  Hebrews 7:12. Then that writer states, “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete, and aging will soon disappear.”  Hebrews 8:13.

The Old Testament is the foundation upon which the New one is built.  With the introduction of the new covenant, some changes would be implemented and some would seem radical.  Jesus told the Samaritan woman “a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” John 4:21. Jesus prophesied about the Romans destroying the city and Temple.  This happened forty years later (Matthew 24).  As a results, this left Judaism without a priesthood, Temple, and scriptural sacrifices.  Also, the church itself went from Jewish domination to a Gentile one.  No longer would anyone continue to follow the example given in Acts 21:20-26.  Yet, some Old Testament practices continued for several hundred years after the Temple’s destruction.

When Rebekah arrived at Abraham’s camp and she and Isaac met one another, “Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her.”  Genesis 24:67.

She was the daughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor.  Isaac had never seen her before.  She was chosen for him by the slave Abraham sent to find a wife for him.  Cousins marrying was not against the law.  There was no “dating,” nor “falling in love” before marriage.  That was not a requirement nor expected.  She left all that was familiar to her and went with this stranger to another country to be married to someone she had never met, did not know, and yet knew they were related.  They did not know whether their personalities were compatible.  She went willingly.  No marriage ceremony is mentioned other than going into Isaac’s mother’s tent with him.  Since she covered her face when they met, Isaac did not know what she looked like.  Today, people will base their entire marriage on how handsome or beautiful the other is.  They are looking for a “trophy” mate!

Isaac loved Rebekah after they went into the tent.  He never took another wife nor slave women as an additional bed partner.  A unique individual in his time.  On the other hand, Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel, but he also bedded their servant slave girls, Bilhah and Zilpah.  These four women gave him his twelve sons.  Laban switched out Rachel for Leah, but Jacob did not know this until he woke up the next morning (Genesis 21-25).  Jacob worked for seven years and went to bed with a woman he did not love.  Another seven for the second wife.  No dating.  No ceremony other than taking the woman to bed with him.  Both wives offered him their slave girls.  Love is not mentioned in his relationship with either Bilhah or Zilpah.  They had no choice in their being given to Jacob to produce children.  In spite of that missing ingredient, he dutifully impregnated both giving him two sons each.

In Jesus’ day, daughters were pledged as a wife to a male in another family.  When that contract was made, she was no longer available to any other man.  When she reached a proper age, usually teens, she was given to that man to take as a wife.  A dowry was paid by the man’s family to the girl’s folks.  After marriage, if the man died before children were born, she was given to the next oldest brother to perform that necessity (Matthew 22:24-28).  Such “giving” was expected of the female in that culture.  God’s covenant recognized such as “marriage” and the first son as the child of the departed husband.

In our society, the couple usually date one another.  They decide if they want to marry.  No chaperons are required in our culture.  No dowry is expected by the girl’s parents, but the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal meal.  The bride’s family is responsible for the expenses of the wedding and reception “feast.”  Once the ceremony is over, the honeymoon follows.  The groom is expected to shoulder those expenses.  A marriage license must be obtained prior to the wedding, usually from the county where the ceremony will take place.  The one who is citing the marriage ceremony is required by law to sign the license and return it to the county office in the time prescribed.  What is said in that ceremony is often left to the preacher, judge, or county official but may include dialogue from the couple.  The process employed is left up to how much the bride’s family wishes to spend on the entrance and exit of the bridal party.  In the marriage, each is expected to be faithful to the other.  The man is not allowed to sleep with anyone other than his wife.  Two wives or two husbands by law is illegal and labeled bigamous.

Since it was sanctioned in the Old Testament and continued into the New, could a man do the following?  May he take a woman to his mother’s house, that he had never met before, and be married by that process without obtaining a marriage license or standing before an official recognized by the State?  If not, when did our modern scenario begin and when was it recognized as lawful after that introduction?  Did everyone vote to change it without anyone abstaining?  Why was Isaac’s way of getting married made unlawful?  When a society’s culture changes and that change becomes law, does that make the old way sinful to practice?  It would make it unlawful, wouldn’t it?  Today, is one society’s culture accepted by other cultures that do not practice the same method of getting married?  In other words, is a Jewish marriage accepted by Christians, or a pagan one accepted by Jews and Christians?

Cultural changes have always been a sore spot with Bible students.  These problems have resulted in divisions where fellowship disappears.  Few churches have escaped this nagging scenario.  When a tradition is accepted as scripture and it is violated, the offender is seen as a destroyer of God’s word.  The first century Jewish church had problems accepting uncircumcised Gentiles as Christians (Acts 15:1, 5).  All those Gentiles had to do was undergo that surgery and peace could continue.  No, Paul had to add to the problem by refusing to take the Jewish side in the controversy!  Although the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem and James gave a solution, some continued to live in the past.  James was respected, but some continued to abide by first covenant law and customs rather than accept the new one.  The Isaac kind of marriage was accepted then, but not today.  Culture changed and God’s word encourages us to keep the law we are under (Romans 13:1-2).  Basically, Paul seems to state a modern type axiom, in each situation, “When in Rome, be a Roman” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 compare with TLB)?  Of course, his authority was the law of God in those cultures.  Due to Paul’s statement, a truer one would be, “When in Rome, be a Christian.”

THE CONSERVATIVE CHANGE AGENT!

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23).

The expression “change agent” is used to describe someone who is thought to be adding to or subtracting from the Word of God.  Labels are easy to stick on another, but not always deserved by the recipient.  The accuser needs to recognize for every finger used to reinforce his labeling, four are pointing back at him (Matthew 7:1-2)!

A popular biblical quote is, “If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).  Just because one cites Peter’s words doesn’t guarantee that the labeler is following the truth.  Tradition is a cruel taskmaster that convinces its followers that their face is pointed toward Jerusalem while their feet are headed to Egypt.  What is sad is that those individuals believe their traditions are the Good News.

Saul of Tarsus was a converted Jew.  Yet, he claimed to be a late-start apostle.  Some felt he did not qualify (Acts 1:15, 21-23).  The apostles had not cast lots over him as they did for Matthias (Acts 1:24-26).  This caused some in the Corinthian church to deny that he was a valid apostles (1 Corinthians 9:1-2).  These individuals were the “change agents” of the first century.  They weren’t as ready for the second covenant as they should have been!

The assembly in Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, and elsewhere practiced the kiss as a “holy” greeting (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; and 1 Peter 5:14).  The handshake finds its origin in Greece in the fifth century.  Although some cultures today continue the “kiss” as a greeting, most Westerners prefer a handshake.  The problem is when one culture clashes with another and one believes his culture is the God ordained one to follow.  The demand is made that since the majority favor the handshake rather than the kiss, one should stop the “holy kiss” greeting and only accept the “holy handshake.”  Paul recognized this spirit and wrote to the Gentile/Jewish congregation in Rome to stop such demands (Romans 14:1-13).  In the Corinthian letter Paul corrected those who were “strong in the faith” because they were not respecting those who were weak (1 Corinthians 8:7-9).  Sound advice even today.

A few years ago, there was a controversy over the use of “you” and “you’re” in addressing God in prayer.  The tradition of the Church of England was to use “thee, thine, and “thou.”  This tradition continued for three hundred and fifty years.  It became a “special” prayer language that illustrated “respect,” which supposedly the modern “you” and “you’re” did not.  It was well entrenched even in the Churches of Christ.  Some were very close to condemning anyone as a blasphemer who used the modern terms in their prayer!  Traditions are hard to change.  Accepting something “new” is difficult because it conflicts with the traditional.  It took about twenty-five to thirty years for some to realize they were following for doctrine a cultural practice introduced by the Anglican Church in the seventeenth century.  That same battle continues today over what is lawful, 1) tradition or 2) scripture!

If any man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).

AN ASSUMPTION, AN ASSUMPTION. MY KINGDOM FOR AN ASSUMPTION!

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, September 9, 2019

Have you ever noticed how we unconsciously add our assumptions to passages we’re studying in the Bible?

In John 8:11 Jesus’ response to the adulterous woman was:  “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Do we take that statement at face value and keep our assumptions to ourselves, or do we feel there is a need to supply something to complete the story?

What about?  “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic” (Luke 6:29; Matthew 5:39)?

Do we supply any assumptions to those two Jesus commands?

What about the passage where the apostles inform Jesus concerning their status with, “‘Lord, look, here are two swords,” and he replies to them, “It is enough” (Luke 22:38)?

How about Paul’s statement to the plagued ridden church of God in Corinth?

Women should remain silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

What do we assume that passage needs to be completed, or something subtracted to be adequately understood?

Are our assumptions needed?  If we add them, does it involve us in a contradiction?  If one person has the authority to add his assumptions, why wouldn’t another have that same freedom?  By adding our assumptions, aren’t we making truth relative rather than absolute?

BEING FAITHFUL?

My Thoughts. . .
Monday, September 2, 2019

There is a chapter in the book of Hebrews that some refer to as “God’s Hall of Faith.” Regardless of which is your favorite translation, most begin that chapter with, “Now faith.” The writer defines it through illustrations. He begins with, “By faith Abel” (v.4). He continues saying the same about Enoch (v.5), Noah (v.7), Abraham (v. 8, 17), Isaac (v.20), Jacob (v. 21), Joseph (v.22), Moses (v.23), and “they” or Israel (v.29-30). He refers to “Sara” with “through faith also Sara” (v.11). When he arrives at verses 32-33 he writes,

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, WHO THROUGH FAITH conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised” (Hebrews 11:32-33 NIV, Caps mine, RH).

Out of those 6 individuals named, which one doesn’t seem to fit? If you said, “Samson,” you are correct. His life is mentioned in Judges 13 through 16. He doesn’t seem to be someone that we would classify as faithful. Why? Here is what the book of Judges reveals.

1. Growing up, he is blessed by the Lord. He will have superhuman strength through his long hair. That part goes well. The rest of his life seems egotistical or narcissistic.

2. Most marriage contracts were not made by the two who are being married. Often such arrangements were made by the parents of two families, the parents of the future groom, and the parents of the bride to be. Samson tells his parents who he wants to marry. He believes this pagan girl “is the right one for me” (Judges 14:3).

3. An Israelite was to marry a good Jewish girl. But, that is not what Samson wants. He wants to marry a pagan woman and does so against his parent’s wishes. Yet, God uses the situation to His glory.

4. Samson gives a riddle to his 30 pagan groomsmen and they have a few days to figure it out. If they don’t, they owe Samson 30 changes of clothes and linen garments. If Samson loses, he owes the thirty men. They put his future wife up to finding out what the answer is. He finally tells her. They reveal the correct answer to him. Samson’s response is that they would not have known but they have been “Plowing with his heifer.” Today that description of the bride by the groom would cause the girl to call off the marriage!

5. Samson finds 30 different pagans and murders them to get their clothes and belongings to pay off his debt. The father of the bride believes Samson doesn’t want to marry his daughter since she has revealed his secret. He pledges her to another man. This angers Samson, he catches 300 foxes, ties them together in pairs, sets their tails on fire and releases them. Pagans lose their crops to these fiery animals. Today Samson would be jailed for being cruel to animals and being destructive of private property. He would also be sued by those property owners. When the pagans found out that Samson is responsible, they blame his future father-in-law and the girl and kill them. This enrages Samson who kills those who were responsible. The passage does not give the number killed.

6. The pagans put pressure on the tribe of Judah and 3,000 of them go and bind Samson and turn him over to them. Verse 13 tells us that “the Spirit of the Lord was upon him,” causing him to break the ropes binding him. He took up a donkey jawbone and slaughtered one thousand pagans.

7. Samson is recorded praying twice. After killing those pagans he was very thirsty and thought he would die. So he prayed asking if God was going to let him die of thirst. God gave him water. The second time is at the end of his life. He ask God to give him strength so he could avenge himself against his captors for putting out his eyes.

8. Samson apparently celebrates his victory by going into a prostitute. The pagans knew it and was planning on kill him at daylight. However, he arose early, found the city gate close, tore it off it’s hinges and left. Today he would be charged with destroying public property. He believed he had a right to do what he was doing due to the things that had happened to him.

9. He meets Delilah and falls in love with her. The Philistines wanted her to find out what made Samson so strong. She was finally successful after several false starts. They put out Samson’s eyes and made him work as a slave in the mill grinding. The pagans had a large gathering of just over three thousand for a banquet. They brought Samson out to taunt and ridicule him. They believed that their pagan gods had given them victory over Samson and delivered him into their hands.

10. Samson requested that he be tied to the two support pillars. At the proper time he was able to pull these out of their support status so the roof would kill him and the banquet crowd. We would refer to his decision as suicide. He was faithful in his twenty years as a judge of Israel. What was his faithfulness based upon?

Some believe God knew his heart and that it was good. However, there is no written evidence revealing this.

Some believe his prayers are a testimony of his great faith. Yet, his prayers are centered on thirst and getting revenge for losing his eye sight.

He is listed in Hebrews 11:32-33 along with other men of great faith. What was his faith action that caused the Hebrew writer to include him with the other five that are mentioned?

He was successful in killing 4,030+ pagans. The Philistines were idolatrous and God’s enemies. Would you define Samson’s actions as being “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10)?

1 TIMOTHY 2:8: IS IT A MALE ROLE ONLY?

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, August 29, 2019

“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8 KJV).

I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing” (ASV).

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (NASV).

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (RSV).

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing” (NIV).

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (NKJV).

So, everywhere, I want the men to do the praying, lifting up holy hands.  No anger.  No arguing” (IEB).

Paul begins with “I will,” “I desire,” and “I want.”  He uses the Greek word boulomai which may be translated as: “Desire, Desirous, Disposed, Fain, Intend, List, Minded, Will, Would, Willing, or Wish.”  That explains the differences in translation.  Is Paul giving Timothy inspired instruction or his personal preferences?  There is an example of Paul giving his preferences in 1 Corinthians 7:25.  James appears to do it in Acts 15:19 with his expression, “my judgment” (ASV, NASV, RSV, NIV, and ESV).  The IEB has “I think” which is a viable translation.  Although none of the above Versions use the words disposed, fain, list, minded, will, would, willing, or wish, those words also correctly translate the Greek word boulomai.  This may be why some think Paul is only giving his preference.  However, some reject that possibility believing he is giving God’s absolute law concerning who may scripturally pray aloud in a mixed assembly.

That men pray everywhere,” “men pray in every place,” “men everywhere,” and “everywhere, I want the men” to pray.  Where are men to pray?  “Everywhere” or “every place.”  Some interpret this to mean that ONLY men are to LEAD in prayer whenever that praying is offered IN A MIXED AUDIENCE.  This Law is applied to both public and private gatherings of male and females.

These prayers are to be offered by “Lifting up holy hands” or “lift up holy hands.”  The prayer is to be stated without “wrath” or “anger.” and without “doubting,” “disputing,” “dissensions,” “quarreling,” or “arguing.”  It is believed, by those who make this passage a pattern on prayer, that some items in this section may be ignored and substitutions introduced.  The choice of what is to be bound or loosed is left with men.

Is this a “male role ONLY” law?  The Bible states, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  If we accept Paul’s words as God’s command, without subtraction or addition, his desire is that men pray.  Where?  Everywhere.  Whenever a man prays, he is to lift up holy hands without anger or doubting.  The substitutions that are added to this passage are done because assumptions are needed to complete Paul’s instruction so it will fit today’s binding and loosing.

THINGS PAUL DID NOT ADD IN HIS LETTER TO TIMOTHY:

First, Paul did not say “ONLY” men are to pray everywhere and “ONLY” men are to lift up holy hands without anger or doubting.  If so, women are excluded from all that this passage states.

Second, Paul did not say “I desire therefore that ONLY the men who LEAD prayer are to LEAD everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”  If so, ONLY the leaders are required to lift up holy hands, while the listening men are exempt.

Third, Paul did not say, ““I desire therefore that WHEN WOMEN ARE PRESENT, ONLY the men are to pray IN the WORSHIP assembly and OUTSIDE that assembly, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”  Neither did he say, “I desire therefore that WHEN WOMEN ARE PRESENT, that men LEAD all prayers in that everywhere place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”  In either case, someone is left out and the specifics leave us with a limited and very small group that are to do what it says.

Fourth, if verse 8 authorizes ONLY men to pray (LEAD everywhere), then a man (or husband) would not be authorized to be in the presence of the female (mother, wife or daughter) when she is engaged in payer.  If he was with them, it would be his scriptural obligation to LEAD that prayer or be in transgression for refusing to do so.  He would need to exit their presence for them to engage in scriptural praying.

Fifth, if the expression “men pray” means “men LEAD prayer,” then when scripture states “woman. . .prays,” she would be leading those prayers.  This would include all who are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:4-15.  Some students believe 1 Corinthians 11 is a meeting OUTSIDE the “worship” assembly.  If so, then you have authority for a woman to lead prayer and prophesy when she wears a veil and men, who are hat-less, in those gatherings outside that restrictive WORSHIP assembly.

Sixth, God did not ADD the word LEAD to this passage.  Men do by assuming it must be inserted.  The subject of “LEADING” is not mentioned nor introduced in verse 8.  One is forced to go to some other passage to find that subject because it cannot be found here.  This passage directs both men and women when they pray.  Each time the prayer must be offered “lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”

Seventh, if men must literally “pray everywhere” when prayer is offered, then a woman may not pray unless a man is present to LEAD that prayer.  If the verse demands ONLY and LEAD, why would it not demand that also?  If the “everywhere” is not all inclusive, it would be unscriptural to make this passage teach that.

Eighth, in 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul continues with, “In like manner” (KJV, NKJV, ASV).  “Likewise, I want women” (NASV).  “Also, that women” (RSV).  “I also want women” (NIV).  “In the same way” (IEB).  “Likewise, also” (ESV).  Paul’s follow up is that women, like the men, are to pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.  Then he continues with how she should dress and her character.  Paul desires that men and women pray, “lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.”

Who should pray?  Both male and female.  How?  Both are to lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting.  Where?  Everywhere the context indicates.  This is a simple passage which has suffered man’s additions and made to say things that Paul never wrote.  Who leads is not under discussion?  Since “leading” is not the issue, would this not eliminate it as “a Male Role ONLY” passage?  If assumption requires the word ONLY and ““LEAD” to be added, where is that demand found in this passage?

Most Bible students believe verses 11 and 12 put the three preceding verses in the public “WORSHIP” assembly.  If so, verse 8 still does not contain the word LEAD nor ONLY.  Also, if verses 8 through 12 identifies the “every place” specifically as the PUBLIC WORSHIP assembly, that would exempt that requirement OUTSIDE that public assembly!  All women and men pray in the assembly everywhere that assembly is held.  All men and women raise up holy hands without wrath and doubting in those everywhere WORSHIP assemblies.  However, when a woman is not in the assembly, she may still pray, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting just as the men do whenever they pray.  Who leads?  The question is not asked in the passage.  Notice, that question is not raised when women only are praying either.  The only passage in Acts that specifically mentions a prayer being offered in an assembly, a “leader” is assumed but not mentioned (Acts 4:24-31).

The question may be asked, “How can a woman pray if she is to be ‘silent’ in that assembly according to verses 11 and 12?”  One has to assume that 1 Timothy 2 includes prayer and some woman was being called on to lead it.  Some students answer that question by lumping the “silence” of 1 Corinthians 14:34 with the “silence” of 1 Timothy 2:11 as if they originated from the same Greek word.  Paul used two entirely different words and applied them to different situations.  Cementing them together creates inconsistencies and contradictions.

Some believe a woman may not lead in teaching nor in prayer because the word “silent” in verses 11 and 12 forbid it.  The word “silent” in 1 Timothy 2 means “quietness,” not “shut your mouth” as found in 1 Corinthians 14.  The ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NIV, IEB, and ESV use the word “quietness” in 1 Timothy 2:11.  We do not require women to sigao (shut her mouth, 1 Corinthians 14) in the WORSHIP assembly when singing.  In fact, some songs are written requiring a female LEAD.  We do not require women to sigao (shut their mouth, 1 Corinthians 14) when making the good confession in the WORSHIP assembly.  Yet, in both scenarios the woman is speaking and/or teaching in “quietness” (Greek: hesychia).  She is not usurping or exercising authority over the men in the assembly when she is doing that KIND (hesychia) of speaking.  That being the case, she is also not violating 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 because she is not guilty of the KIND of speaking Paul is restricting.  When a woman sings or confesses, she may be heard by all in that assembly.  There is a KIND of speaking and/or teaching which a woman is authorized to do in the WORSHIP assembly regardless of where it meets or the number of men present.  There is a KIND of speaking and/or teaching which she is NOT allowed to do there but is COMMANDED to do it “at home” (1 Corinthians 14:35).  We have no authority to silence her (shut her mouth, 1 Corinthians 14) from speaking and/or teaching the KIND that is authorized by 1 Timothy 2:11-12.  We have no authority to use either 1 Corinthians 14 or 1 Timothy 2 to restrict her speaking and/or teaching OUTSIDE that WORSHIP assembly.  In fact, 1 Corinthians 14 restricts a woman from a specific KIND of speaking and/or teaching IN that WORSHIP assembly.  That being the case, she is not restricting from all speaking!  It does not restrict her from speaking and/or teaching that KIND OF speaking “at home.”  INSIDE the WORSHIP assembly there is a KIND that is shameful.  OUTSIDE, that WORSHIP assembly, that specific KIND of speech is authorized by COMMAND.  1 Timothy 2:11-12 gives her the right to speak and/or teach in the WORSHIP assembly with the “quietness” KIND of speaking and/or teaching.  When a woman makes the good confession, she is speaking and/or teaching with that KIND of authorized action.   When she sings, it is the same KIND of speaking and/or teaching.  To misunderstand that difference and apply the wrong KIND places that individual in the position of binding what God has not bound (Matthew 15:9).

1 TIMOTHY 2:11-12

 1 Timothy 2:11-12 commands that a woman, in the WORSHIP assembly is not to usurp authority over the man.  She does not do so when that speaking is within the parameters of “quietness.”  Singing and the Confession are two ways which fall within that guideline.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Paul restricts the woman in the WORSHIP assembly from a KIND of speaking and/or teaching which she would be “shameful” if she engaged in it.  However, he authorizes her to speak and/or teach “at home” or outside that assembly that same KIND of speech because there it is not shameful but COMMANDED.

1 Timothy 2:8-9

Paul tells both men and women to pray in every WORSHIP assembly, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting.

A Side Note

Paul mentions that men and “likewise” women are to “lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting” in prayer.  We keep and insist on the “without wrath and doubting,” but ignore the “hands” and substitute a “holy attitude.”  If someone raises his hands in prayer or in song today, some will criticize and/or condemned it as denominational or too emotional.  It is neither.  It is scriptural!  To condemn what God has authorized may align us against God’s instruction and be ridiculing a practice that was engaged in by the very church and its worship we claim to restore.

FREEDOM IN CHRIST!

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, August 26, 2019

In the book of Deuteronomy, God warned Israel,

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”  (Deuteronomy 4:2, Cf. 12:32).

Despite one’s attempts to heed such warnings, that adding has already been accomplished.  We simply accept it without realizing it.  Some have innocently made the King James Version of the Bible into an infallible translation.  In their mind it does not add to nor delete from God’s word.  In their view it is a word for word translation from the Hebrew and Greek languages.  Some don’t realize that the translation committee was from the Church of England.  The head of that church was King James.  As members, they were influenced by that church and its doctrinal practices.  They refused to translate some words, instead substituting an English spelling of the Greek or Hebrew, to enhance that church’s religious beliefs.  They also added words to the text but italicizing them.  The reader is supposed to believe they italicized all added words.  They didn’t.  The translators felt those additions would help the reader understand the passage.  Sometimes those additions create more problems in understanding than helping.

The KJV also added chapter and verse divisions to make it easier to locate different subjects.  It also added headings to help the reader understand what that chapter or section contained.  Human endeavor may produce some noble goals but not always accomplish them.  The manuscripts available at that time were very late works, dating from 1516 called the Textus Receptus.  Despite the shortcomings of those human scholars, the King James Version finally established itself as the most popular English translations of that time.  In the twentieth century older manuscripts were found with some dating back to the end of the first century.  These older manuscripts did not have the added material that was found in the Textus Receptus.  This difference meant that scribal additions, which had been penned into the text, were missing from the older manuscripts.  The King James Version also added some traditional Jewish “fears” that were incorporated into the text through substitutions.  These additions were later brought over into future English translations.

An example of this shortcoming in the Old Testament is the personal name of God.  In Hebrew it is spelled out as YHWH or JHVH with the vowels.  The Jews came to believe that God’s personal name was too sacred to be pronounced.  They substituted the Hebrew word adonay (“Lord”) and capitalized it each time they came to one of the 6,519 times Jehovah or Yahweh was found.  Most future English translations continued this traditional trend.

Although the King James Version adopted this tradition by substituting “LORD” in the place of YHWH/Yahweh or JHVH/Jehovah, it created its own inconsistencies.  If the name Yahweh or Jehovah was too sacred to pronounce and must be substituted with the expression LORD, why include “Jehovah” in Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; and Isaiah 26:4?  If it wasn’t too sacred to translate it in those four passages, why would it be wrong to do the same in the remaining 6,515 times?  This inconsistency causes people to be apprehensive about reading God’s name aloud.  It is a Jewish tradition being made into scripture and accepted by some as God’s command!

Folks may not be guilty of adding to the word by substituting “LORD” for “Jehovah” when reading the Old Testament but may unconsciously accept a dangerous precedent which leads folks to believe tradition is God’s word.  Translations like the American Standard Version and International English Bible display “Jehovah” instead of “LORD” in those 6,519 text.  Both are consistent in not following that Jewish tradition but staying true to the Hebrew Bible.

The problem arises when people refuse to accept the corrections needed in the King James and continue to treat those corrections as efforts to destroy the Word of God.  They elevate the King James Version up as THE standard which all future versions must be judged by.  Condemnation is often levied at newer translations when in reality they are following the precedent set by the KJV itself.  Remember, it is a Church of England Bible and mirrors the beliefs of that church.  It was rejected when it was first published just as people rejected the ASV, NASV, RSV, NIV, and NKJV when they were first introduced.

These human mistakes do not negate the KJV from being God’s word.  The problem is when one makes the KJV, with all its shortcomings, THE ONLY true Bible and the rest are heretical because they are not a word for word rendering like they believe the KJV is.  One is not in danger of losing his soul because he believes he should not orally voice God’s name Jehovah or Yahweh.   That person has every right to his convictions as long as he does not make everyone else conform to his convictions.  Neither should one who has no problem in vocally reading “Jehovah” or “Yahweh,” attempt to bind his belief upon the person who refuses to do so.

I continue to use the KJV because people my age are familiar with its passages.   Everyone has his preferences.  We are to respect one another in that regard (Romans 14:1-9, 13, 19).  I also use other translations when they do a better job of bringing out what is being written and because younger people are more familiar with them.  In our convictions to be Bible believers, let us not forget that there is freedom in Christ!

 

FACTS ABOUT MEMBERS OF THE KINGDOM

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Members of God’s kingdom are human.  They are riddled with faults.  It contains the disobedient.  It contains those who look for faults.  It contains the imperfect.  It contains the arrogant.  It contains the pseudo faultless.  It contains those burdened with fault.  It contains those who think you have faults.  It contains those who pray.  It contains they who may.  It contains those who feel worthless.  It contains those who are.  It contains the gossip.  It contains those with secrets.  It contains those who confess.  It contains those who are wealthy and those who aren’t.  It contains those with University degrees and those who finished high school.  It contains those who are serious.  It contains those who believe Jesus laughed.  It contains former prostitutes.  It contains The divorced.  It contains the remarried.  It contains the argumentative.  It contains the educated know-it-all.  It contains the mundane.  It contains those who are full of faith.  It contains those who are just full of it.  It contains those who are helpers.  It contains those who need help.  It contains those who can teach.  It contains those who think they can.  It contains the happy.  It contains those who are not.  It contains those who can sing.  It contains those who sing also.  It contains the former drug addict.  It contains the former alcoholic.  It contains people who are leaders.  It contains people who can follow.  It contains those with big hearts.  It contains those who have some heart.  It contains those who can speak much but say little.  It contains those who use a few words with much meaning.  It contains those who are discrete.  It contains those who aren’t.  It contains folks with a perpetual smile.  It contains folks that sometimes do.  It contains those who give.  It contains those who take.  It contains the high and mighty.  It contains those of low estate.  It contains the boaster.  It contains the introvert.  It contains the friendly.  It contains those who work at it.  It contains the spiritual.  It contains those who try.  It contains those who love cats.  It contains those who prefer dogs.  It contains conscientious workers.  It contains those who enjoy supervising.  It contains nitpickers.  It contains those who wish they would pick on someone else.  It contains those who believe they are more faithful.  It contains those who recognize their shortcomings.  It contains those who believe God needs their help.  It contains those who wish they had done more.  It contains those who are excellent Bible students.  It contains those who are fair.  It contains folks who magnify the sin of others.  It contains those who magnify their own sins.  And then there are the others which it contains!  If I have left your characteristic out, please do a little mental addition.

All members of God’s kingdom are sinners (1 John 1:7).  Yet, all are wash in the blood of Jesus to remove their sins (1 John 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2).  God does not count our sins against us (Romans 4:8).  Our sins are forgiven and forgotten (Hebrews 10:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21).  We are dead to sin (Romans 6:2).  We are God’s new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  God dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20).  We are covered by His grace (Romans 3:24; 5:20; 6:14; Ephesians 2:5).  We are not of them that “draw back unto destruction” (Hebrews 10:39).  We are those “who believe and are saved” (NIV).

The word “gospel” means Good News.  It is.

WHAT IS WORSHIP?

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, August 19, 2019

As one reads the Old Testament, he encounters believers who are “worshiping” God.  The Hebrew word is sha-ha.  It is used 99 times as “worship,” 18 as “Bow Down,” 3 times as “fall down,” and once to “stoop” and once to “crouch.”  It means to “bow down, crouch, fall down (flat), and to stoop.”  Out of the 99 times it is translated as “worship” in eight it specifically gives their posture which is either falling down or bowing down to worship.

In the New Testament the primary word for “worship” in Greek is proskuneo.  It is found 60 times.  This is the word Jesus used in John 4:23-24.  The definition of worship is “kiss like a dog licking his master’s hand, fawn or crouch, or prostrate oneself.”  Out of those sixty their posture is mentioned five times.  They either fell down, fell on their face, or fell at the feet of the one being worshiped.  Whether in the Old or New, the definitions are not literally practiced today as they were in both testament periods.  The reasoning today behind that substitution is, their posture in worship was connected to their culture not to their act of worship.  The reasoning continues by surmising that since our culture is different, we may choose what worshipers are comfortable with today.   The conclusion is that we may worship sitting or standing.

All English Bibles were produced by those who were in well-established practices which they called “worship.”  The Anglican Bible, referred to as the King James Version, did use the word worship (proskuneo) once with the New Testament assembly in Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:25).  The drawback is that the worshiper is not a Christian, but someone coming in off the street.  He falls down to practice his worship.  Something that some sects engage in, but not most Protestant or Catholics churches.  Strangely, the actions of the Corinthian church of God in chapter fourteen are never mentioned by Paul as “worship.”

There was a time in our history when men crouched on their knees in prayer and women wore a veil in the assembly.  Both practices yielded to the incoming culture.  If a man bowed down on his knees today in prayer, some might consider it a violation of 1 Corinthians 14:40!  If a woman wore a veil to the assembly, she might be considered a “show-off,” trying to get attention.  Anyone who would lift his hands in prayer as Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy 2:8, might be viewed as out of place, even non-biblical.  To challenge someone’s comfort zone today may be considered by some to violate God’s word.

So, what is worship?  Has anyone licked God’s hand lately?

 

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