THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

‘I AM ON A MISSION FROM GOD’ (Or, ‘HAVE YOU MET MY BOSS?’)

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 [This is Part 2 Of A 3-Part Blog Bit. For Part 1, click HERE.]
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There have been some very, very intellectual people that have gone around saying God is dead. Well, He’s not dead, because I talked to Him this morning.
~ Mahalia Jackson
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Before we get into the yakking, please take some minutes to listen to this beautiful song about what Yeshua (Jesus Christ) did for us all:
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SANTANA - Somewhere in Heaven
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I’ve been known to say that EVERYTHING I write is an attempt to make people think about God. Now, someone might ask, “How is writing over-the-top wacky things like The Chihuahua Cutthroat or O, What A Tangled Web We Weave . . .  or Big Mack Attack! an attempt to make people think about God?”
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When I post the loony stuffs, I hope that someone somewhere might come across it and perhaps be amused by something I’ve written. Out of curiosity they may explore some of the other things I’ve posted and thereby eventually come across some of the things I’ve written about spirituality and religion. Then he/she will think: Whoa! This guy believes in God and Christ? THIS crazy S.O.B. knows Jesus? And then presumably, that gets them thinking that one can actually be religious and still have a personality.
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You see, I think there’s a misconception out there (and prior to accepting Jesus, I myself entertained this misconception) that once a person accepts Jesus they become some boring, staid, shell of a human being; Jesus robs them of their personality and they become a lifeless “McChristian”. I believe a lot of people think you can’t follow Jesus without turning into a Mr. Guder, or turning into this guy:
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Oh, to be sure, in embracing Jesus and His principles, your life, your thinking, your values are going to change – they would have to! But you don’t have to abandon your personality. Yes, you’re going to be required to surrender your “life” but you will be trading it for “LIFE” . . . and you will get to keep your personality – goofy and/or feisty though it may be.
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In late 1992 or early ‘93 - not long after I had moved from Los Angeles to Prescott, Airheadzona - my friend “The Countess” drove from L.A. to visit me for several days. One of the first things she said to me was, “I have become a Christian”. When she told me that, my heart hit the ground like a dog struck by a truck. I was sure she would never be fun again and that she had become a “Miss Guder”. But to my pleasant surprise, I found she was still fun, still laughing, still possessing an A-list sense o’ humor but… she had also become a better person.
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Ideally, I would like people to read some of my stuffs and think: Hokey-Smoke! I didn’t know you could love Jesus and STILL be the crazy, snarky bastard next door!
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I didn’t go looking for “the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14); He came and got me because I was screwing up my life - I was oblivious to “my mission”. Like everyone else here, I am attempting to learn to obey God’s one law: LOVE! But I also believe I’m supposed to tell others about what I’ve found – I am on a mission from God to share The Truth with anyone who will listen ‘n’ learn (just like everyone else is, to some extent). I am not an “orthodox”, “mainstream” Christian, but I have been Baptized by Jesus and taught by The Holy Spirit.
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A couple of my Christian friends asked me how I came to Jesus, and when they learned that it was the result of a series of spiritual experiences, they began to wonder if their Christian faith was somehow lacking because they had come to Jesus through the intellect without experiencing anything “supernatural”. I want to clear this up once and for all:
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In my opinion, the important thing is that we embrace Jesus as The Messiah, The Christ, The Savior of the world, and attempt to follow His teachings. How we get to that point is totally irrelevant, and I could/would make the argument that if you accept Jesus without His having to take you by the sharp lapel of your checkered coat and shake you, it’s probably because you’re brighter than I am. Think about it: Jesus did not compliment doubting Thomas for his lack of faith; had Jesus not “supernaturally” converted Saul on the road to Damascus, Saul would have gone right on persecuting Christians like a knucklehead. If Jesus is required to do something out of the ordinary in order to get you straightened out and on the correct path, it’s not exactly a feather in your cap.
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The absolutely brilliant Christian intellectual and writer C.S. Lewis has sometimes been referred to as “the man who thought [or reasoned] his way to God”. Lee Strobel came to Christ by similarly weighing all of the evidence and thinking clearly and logically about it - and Strobel has already positively influenced a lot more people than I will ever even meet. Unlike Lewis and Strobel, I was not intelligent enough to find Christ via the open, everyday evidence, and that’s why I was yanked up by the sharp lapel of my checkered coat and shaken (not stirred).
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I have written ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’ blog installments in the past pertaining to the Biblical End-Time scenario, such as It Is Written and The "Ho Bib" Tells Me So, but someone has inspired me to address another related area of study.
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About a month ago the SHORT LITTLE REBEL blog featured an installment titled ‘May I Suggest A Bible Version & Reading Plan For You?’ Susan Shannon recommended a particular translation of The Bible (the New International Version) and suggested that the Bible newbie first read God’s Word in a particular order. I really liked the idea of Susan’s post, although my suggestion and recommendation is somewhat different.
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The important thing is that you study The Bible, and whichever translation you have available to you is fine. I read through the entire Bible - cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation - every year (I’m currently reading it in its entirety for the 19th time) and I have read several different versions of it. If you have a choice, or you’re planning to purchase a new Bible, I’ll tell you that my own favorite is ‘HOLY BIBLE From The Ancient Eastern Text’, translated into English from the Aramaic by George M. Lamsa.
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Unfortunately though, the George Lamsa translation of The Holy Bible comes only in one gigantic edition and it isn’t very practical for carrying with you. Perhaps a smaller ‘New American Standard Bible’ or ‘New King James Version’ would be a better choice to begin with – I’m a fan of both translations. The NIV, as recommended at ‘Short Little Rebel’, is probably the most popular translation in the U.S. today.
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The Old Testament is that portion of The Bible written prior to the birth of Jesus; the New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ and the history of the early Christian church. It has been accurately stated that “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”.
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People often ask me, “How do you study the Bible?” The first rule is, never open your Bible without prayer. Bible study is not an intellectual exercise; it is a spiritual exercise. Study with prayer. Develop your personal relationship with the Author of the Book. Second, set aside your presuppositions. All of us bring the baggage of previous misconceptions to a subject, and they are often wrong. Cultivate an open mind, and investigate diligently. ... You will find that even the simplest texts will prove inexhaustible in their yield of insights. And that’s what you would expect from the Word of God Himself.
~ Dr. Chuck Missler
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Pray for wisdom and pray for guidance each time you open your Bible. ... And by all means, keep a pencil with you AT ALL TIMES!  Because you will most definitely want to underline and mark the especially meaningful or interesting passages!
~ Short Little Rebel
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Stephen T. McCarthy: Yeah, what they said. You might try this one: “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of The Lord. Jesus, please send The Holy Spirit to enter into my heart and mind to teach me what God would have me understand regarding the Bible verses I am about to read. I thank You for hearing and for having answered this prayer.”
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The order in which Short Little Rebel recommended that a Bible newbie read The Holy Book can be found by clicking HERE. There is nothing wrong with her suggested order, however, I have a very different suggested order:
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It is my opinion that THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN contains the ENTIRE message of The Holy Bible in just five brief chapters. I have often said that if someone cut all of the pages out of my Bible with the exception of 1st JOHN, in those five short chapters I would still have the entire Bible; God’s complete message to His children.
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Bear in mind that I am not referring to The Gospel Of John, the fourth “book” in the New Testament; I am referring to 1st JOHN, the first of his three letters found at the back of The Bible, just before Jude and Revelation. 1st John is a perfect overview of Scripture. For that reason, I would urge you to begin by reading THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN – 5 chapters; about 20 minutes of reading time – and I am going to suggest you read it three times before reading anything else in the Bible. Three times: Father, Son & Holy Spirit; Body, Mind & Soul; Conscious, Subconscious & Superconscious.
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Link: The complete “book” of 1st JOHN at BibleGateway.com.
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After reading those 5 chapters, 3 times each over a period of a few days, you will have an excellent understanding of the essential message of The Holy Bible: God’s Love, Christ’s Sacrifice, and our calling.
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Next I’m going to say, read the book of JAMES once. Again, just five short chapters that could be described as “A Crash Course In ‘Practical Christianity’.”
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After that, read ‘The Gospels’ – MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, and JOHN – the first four “books” of The New Testament that tell the story of Christ’s birth, life, crucifixion, death, and Resurrection.
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FYI: If you read just three chapters from The Holy Bible daily, but five chapters every Sunday, you will go through the entire Bible in a single year. The Word Of God is easier to contemplate and seems less intimidating when only small, bite-sized portions are studied on a daily basis.
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Remember these:
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And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
~ Hebrews 11:6
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The very act of prayer honors God and gives glory to God, for it confesses that God is what He is.
~ Charles Kingsley
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But perhaps for some people, in order to first gain sufficient faith in The Holy Bible to study it seriously and develop faith in Jesus, instead of beginning by reading IN The Bible, it might be advantageous to start by reading ABOUT The Bible. But do read quickly because the time is short.
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I have recommended some excellent books ABOUT The Bible in Part 3 of this series. Go to Part 3 by clicking HERE.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy 
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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6 comments:

  1. You said: "Jesus, please send The Holy Spirit to enter into my heart and mind to teach me what God would have me understand regarding the Bible verses I am about to read. I thank You for hearing and for having answered this prayer."

    This is a great prayer! It is a humble, loving request of the Our Father. It also - by implication - acknowledges the truth that God is always pouring forth goodness and answers our prayers. Like Solomon, you are asking only for wisdom in understanding His Word. You will reap tremendous rewards from following this advice!

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    1. MR. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~

      Brother, thanks SO MUCH for the nice comment and the approval! You definitely discerned the "secrets" in the prayer (and I'm not surprised, knowing the Spiritual background you're coming from).

      Yes, God is ALWAYS being God, and our prayers really are more directed toward seeking guidance in RECEIVING what has ALREADY been GIVEN (hence the words "having answered"), as you obviously know.

      However... you left out a very significant something when you copied and pasted the prayer! What's up with that?

      You did not include the first sentence: "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of The Lord."

      That is something that The Holy Spirit taught me personally (I did not read about it in any book other than The Bible), and most if not all of my prayers directed to Jesus begin with that sentence.

      OK, I have an assignment for ya: Do you have a Bible concordance? One way or another, investigate that phrase, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of The Lord", because I think you'll be surprised at what you find, and you will understand why my prayers to Jesus begin with that sentence.

      Let me know whatcha find, Bro 6.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  2. Cool! I love an assignment like this. Yes, I have several concordances. It sounds great, and I want to know what The Holy Spirit taught you.

    I only left out the first sentence because it did not pertain to the specifics of what I wanted to comment on. Obviously, there is more to learn every moment from the Bible, and I think that I should listen carefully to someone who has read it through 19 times! I sheepishly admit that I have never read it straight through, though I have read all the chapters at one time or another, and some many times. I generally do what I think most people do, which is having identified some passages that are special to me which I tend to hit over and over again. But I know that is limiting, because the Bible is rich in little lessons and insights throughout.

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    1. Right on, SIX BROTHER!
      As Missler said:

      "...even the simplest texts will prove inexhaustible in their yield of insights. And that’s what you would expect from the Word of God Himself."

      I have found The Bible to be EXTRAORDINARY. The more I studied it, the more it amazed me! Year after year I found more and more things in it that simply blew my mind.

      There really seems to be no bottom to The Holy Bible, and I am convinced that Jesus Himself is the only Person who has ever truly understood every single detail in it - because He lived and died it!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  3. Excellent advice on taking on the Bible and doing it often. Truly this book has a depth that can never be totally fathomed by our minds. Something new comes to me nearly every time I read. And Solomon's words of "to everything there is a season" can equally apply to reading the Bible. Our moods, the time of day, the events around us--everything-- can make us see passages in entirely new lights. Most amazing book ever.

    Also your description of the attributes of Christians rings true. There are a lot of different people out there and it can take different types with different abilities to reach all of these people. We change yet remain essentially the same in the sense of what type of personality we are. Spiritual gifts are enhanced and brought out with God's help.

    I've grown to love the Book of James. I'm glad you included that one.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. LEE ~
      Thanks, my friend, for reading and commenting!

      >> . . . Most amazing book ever.

      I'll go you even one better and say it's the "most amazing artifact ever". The only thing more amazing than 'The Word Of God' - The Holy Bible - is the people, the men and women, that God created.

      The more a person studies The Bible with an open mind, the more astounding little details begin to show themselves, in the Light of God, enlightening the mind that contemplates them.

      It probably took me eight full trips through The Bible, Genesis through Revelation, before I finally felt that I had a fairly solid understanding of it. But I still don't believe I've come close to understanding its every detail. No way!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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