Our True Identity

‘Whole Bible Christianity,’ chapter 10, ‘Our True Identity’

In Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus resists a little bit giving help to a Gentile woman (a Syrophoenician is a Canaanite) asking for healing for her daughter. He tells her it’s not right to give the bread of children to dogs. She has an amazing response, saying that even dogs get crumbs from the table. Jesus is so impressed with her faith He heals her daughter. Her faith was shown by her humble submission and obedience.

At first it might seem off-putting that Jesus would regard her (or me) as a dog. But I think this was more of a statement of where He was focusing His work at that time (“to the Jew first and also to the Gentile”) rather than a judgment against either the lady or me. Although Canaanites were historically pretty ‘doggy’ too (Ephesians 2:12, Hebrews 11:6). Those who by nature do what God requires, even if non-Jewish, belong to Him because of their faith, and aren’t dogs at all. But even if it’s true that my identity (in the eyes of some) is that of a dog in the kingdom, I’m okay with it. He made me and can assign me any place He chooses. I’d much rather be a dog in heaven than a lion in hell.

Having Jesus

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 2 ‘Having Jesus’

Having Jesus, or salvation, is about regaining the intimacy with God that we lost in the Garden. It is not just about mouthing some words, or ‘going forward,’ or attending a meeting at least twice a year on Christmas and Easter. We simply do what He says in love. Fruit (all kinds) will come if we really have Him. It’s like, if we were to grab hold of a live electrical wire, we would certainly act differently than we would otherwise! (Disclaimer: do not try this at home.)

He is like a live electrical wire, and when we really get a hold of Him (or He gets hold of us) we are certain to act differently. If He gets a hold of us that means His life flows through us causing actions in line with His Word. By acting different, He doesn’t mean wearing the name Christian, going to church meetings, or being “emergent.” It’s not ‘speaking in tongues’ or healing services. Holy-looking actions, without His Word being present, are like empty songs.

32“Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. (Ezekiel 33:32 NASB95)

If we want true sensual and spiritual satisfaction, if we want to be truly Spirit filled, we need actions in keeping with His Law. We know Him because we keep all His commandments.

3By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6 NASB95. Deuteronomy 10:12-13.)

The way to become saved is to repent of going our own way and go His way instead. We don’t need ‘four spiritual laws’ or ‘sinner’s prayer’ (neither of which is biblical). We don’t need membership in a club (church, synagogue). We don’t need to be accepted by any group for that matter. We don’t need approval from modern-day Pharisees and Sadducees.

Law Still a Tutor

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 8 section ‘Still a Tutor’

Some people think and teach that if we have the Christ, then we “don’t need the Law” (there’s that lucky rabbit’s foot again). “Having Christ” to these teachers’ means to like Him a lot. Or ‘believe’ without action. Or to think that He’s a great teacher or prophet and nothing more. There’s a technical term for the “we don’t need the Law” teaching, which is ‘horse hockey.’ If we have the Christ, we have God, and we get God’s Words, including the Law. If we reject the Law, we are rejecting God’s Word to His people, which would show that we do not ‘have Christ.’ It’s a package deal.

If we say we “have Christ” yet do not do what the Christ says, then we are nothing more than clashing gongs and clanging cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1). And that not even in time with God’s music. When we pick and choose through the Word for what we will do and what we won’t, it does not jive with the example that Jesus set. He did it all, and perfectly. He expects us to do the same. And ‘perfectly’ means confessing and repenting when we make mistakes instead of looking for excuses or rationalizing.

We need to understand that the Law still functions as a tutor to lead a person to the Christ. It tutors anyone on their way to maturity with God. This means that God still uses it to draw people to His Son, and by living it, we can draw people to Him, too.

Further, the Laws do not go away just because we are now old enough or ‘have Christ.’ When I was a child I learned not to stick the wrong object into an electrical socket. But when I ‘grew up’ that law did not cease to be. I just graduated to the proper use of the socket without having to be told. I still don’t stick the wrong object in the socket. In the same way, when we graduate to Christ, the Law still functions. It’s just that I don’t need to be told. It is written on my heart. Having reached maturity, the Law does not cease to function. Instead, it is written on my heart so that I do what it says automatically. The Law becomes ‘second nature.’

Mayan Calendar Fail

So the Mayan calendar is wrong. What a surprise. Remember that the Mayans worshiped false gods with human sacrifice. Of course they don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground.

God just doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with the pagans very well, does He? He tells us He knows the end from the beginning. He mocks false gods all the time. Can your god do what He can do? Can it tell what is going to happen tomorrow, or even five minutes from now? No. They are deaf and mute, they cannot hear or speak. As Elijah said when the prophets of Ba’al weren’t having any success with getting their god to respond:

And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27, ESV)

Our God is alive, and speaks a living Word. Only He can tell us what is going to happen. He lays it all out for us in the Bible.

I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. (Jeremiah 23:25–30, ESV)

“Let him who has my word speak my word faithfully.”

Power Failure

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 1, section on Power Failure

No church machine that I know of encourages believers to avoid pork and shellfish (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14) simply because God said. We can diet for any reason, as long as it isn’t God’s. The entrée of choice for the pagan feasts we’ve stolen is pig’s flesh (Isaiah 65:4; 66:17). Sabbath, the last day of the week blessed and given to us by God after He rested from creation (Genesis 2:3), is no longer allowed to be a day of complete rest. What we are to set apart as holy has slipped and slid into “ceremonial” or a “shadow” or “the same as every other day.”

I know what some of you are thinking now. Go on. You can say it out loud. You know you want to. “Those are just small things. They’re not important at all.” But the Bible has an answer for that, too. He who is faithful in little is faithful in much. The church who isn’t faithful in little won’t be faithful in much (Luke 16:10). Faith is not about size or quantity. It’s about doing what God says in all things, whether we think they are big or little.

I submit that we cannot, in fact, claim to be faithful in the big things while sitting in judgment on His Word for (alleged) small things. Jesus tells us not to ignore the lighter commands while placing proper emphasis on the weightier ones (Matthew 23:23). The Bible makes no split between salvation issues and non-salvation issues. I can’t find any biblical proof that some of the Law is not worthy of our attention. A loving relationship with God does not have room for judging what we are willing to do and what we are not. He gave us everything including the blood of His only begotten Son in boundless love and grace. Returning that gift with partial effort and picky sentiment doesn’t reflect a new heart.


‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 10, section on Tassels

Numbers 15:37-38 tells us about wearing tassels with one blue thread on the four corners of our garments. Some people want to make an issue about what is a corner (has to be a right angle in their opinion) and what shade of blue should be on the thread. This is too nitpicky if you ask me, and can’t be sustained from the Word.

The earth is round, and yet it has four corners. Any circle has at least four corners. All you have to do is draw a plus sign, like the crosshairs on a rifle scope, on the circle to see where they are. I’m round, so I must have four corners too! That’s why I wear tassels on my pants in four spots. I tie them myself in the Jewish prayer shawl style in order to identify with Israel, but you can have any kind you want. I’ve seen rainbow colored (just make sure to include a blue one) short ones and long ones. The more different kinds we have the better it is I think.

We wear the tassels as reminders to follow God’s ways instead of our own. You might think that wearing tassels is no big deal, but it helps more than you know if you haven’t tried it. They don’t guarantee you won’t sin. They only work as well as you allow them to work.

Sometimes, after I’ve messed up (again) and said or done something I shouldn’t, I look at them and think, “Well, at least I’ve done one thing right.” And from that, I can rebuild, remembering all the things God has done for me. I refresh myself by touching Him through this command. Wearing tassels as He instructs helps me feel I am surrounded by His love. I renew my love for Him by a determination not to fail again.

Sandy Hook Thoughts

Today I headed out to a birthday celebration for a little girl, a friend of my own youngest daughter, who I remember being born 3 yrs ago. We were out celebrating all morning, and came home at lunch time. I plopped down on FB and was jarred by the news and information screaming from the wall. So awful, so sad and so tragic. 10 minutes after reading up on the news, I had my own little 3 yr old come up to me and ask me to help her put on her dress-up dressy dress. with a black cowboy hat on top. And all I wanted to do was hug her to me, squeeze her tight, and Thank God that she was with me, and is still. Hearts, thoughts, prayers and sorrows going out to Connecticut today, on this sombor 7th evening of Chanukah. Hope you have had a a blessed week, and that you have a peaceful Sabbath this evening.

The Purpose of Law

‘Whole Bible Christianity,’ Chapter 8, The Whole Purpose of Law

Another blessing from the Law that could use a whole book is justice. Everything God gives us is connected together and balanced, and justice is right there in the mix, with love and mercy. Micah tells us this in a summary of the Law, which is similar to the ‘two commands’ and many other summaries.

8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)

His Law teaches us real justice, which is mixed with mercy, love and humility. Everyone has some sense of justice. Anyone who has raised children, or been a child, knows the laser-like focus on justice a child has when mom is handing out deserts and a sibling has a larger slice. Generally, though, our innate sense of justice is very self-centered and lopsided. God’s justice, outlined in the Law, is much more balanced, holy, loving and merciful.

Many, many blessings flow from learning and applying His brand of justice in the Law. Sadly, in modern culture, justice is falling by the wayside. Lawyers tell me that juries convict on feelings rather than testimony and facts. Jail has replaced paying restitution. The death penalty is taking a holiday, but the blood of innocents aborted cries out for justice, and surely deafens heavenly watchers. Murderers, kidnappers and rapists go free, but tax problems get you jailed.

The church is right in there with modern culture in what it approves. We do not make thorough investigations (Deuteronomy 13:14, 17:14, and 19:18). We judge by appearances (John 7:24). More weight is given to a wealthy person’s opinions over a poor person’s (Exodus 23:6). In general we do not speak out against abortion, homosexuality, adultery, witchcraft, drugs, and other behavior as we should. Nor do we restrict it in our assemblies. Matthew 18 is never applied correctly to my knowledge. Well, maybe to thin out the disagreeable. To make us feel better we throw a coat of ‘social justice’ over the gaping mud holes made by ignoring His real justice, and call it good. At least until we step in the hole and find ourselves up to our armpits in alligators.

Remember, the root of blessing is the presence of God. A curse, at its root, is the absence of God. Creation is under a curse, meaning that God has withdrawn to some extent. That’s why we have thorns and poisonous critters to fight all the time. If we reject the Law, we compound the curse with a lack of justice, and God will not allow injustice to continue forever.

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God:” (Psalm 46:10) Do you ever have trouble being still? I wonder why we feel the need to try to make the rain fall, instead of waiting on God to send it in His perfect time. I am learning much about this right now. What is God teaching you?
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