Monday, January 21, 2008

I thought this a little too long-winded to put in the comments box, so here it is:

Shirley
You’re right, context does add a deeper understanding to any verse, but since my plan is to memorize a verse per week, and not the entire book, I’m sticking to verses.
To answer your question, Isaiah was speaking to the children of Israel during the time when they were practicing idol worship and living hedonistic lives. During Isaiah’s time, they were also under attack by several imperialistic Babylonian kings. Isaiah’s prophecies took place during the reign of four kings, whose histories are recorded in 2 Kings 15 - 2 Kings 20. Isaiah spoke of Israel’s eventual defeat and the Babylonian captivity, as well as their deliverance from that, but his concern isn’t just for his contemporaries. He prophesies the coming of Jesus. Matthew Henry’s commentary says, “He (Isaiah) has been well called the evangelical prophet, on account of his numerous and full prophesies concerning the coming and character, the ministry and preaching, the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and the extent and continuance of his kingdom. Under the veil of the deliverance from Babylon, Isaiah points to a much greater deliverance, which was to be effected by the Messiah; and seldom does he mention the one, without alluding at the same time to the other;”
I knew all this before I chose this particular memory verse and I’m inspired by the fact that the words speak just as eloquently to me of God’s concern for me in the here and now as they did to the Israelites of Isaiah’s time.
You’ve wasted your time at the Bible studies if you have not been taught the truth of God’s great concern for your eternal existence.
Yes, He wants us to be happy and productive within His will while we are here, but more than anything else, He wants an Eternal relationship with each and every one of us. He did not send Christ to suffer the agony of the cross so that we would learn to be nice to each other and have a good life here on this earth. His life and death accomplished much more than that: it separates us from our sins and makes it possible for us to have a restored relationship with God.
As for learning a new language and culture, that is exactly what Christian Missionaries have been doing for centuries. The Bible has been translated into over 700 languages, about 400 of which (including many North American Indian groups) would never have had an alphabet or written language if Missionaries had not gone to live with them and learned their culture and language in order to create for them a meaningful translation of the Bible. And the work continues to this day: CBC is right now supporting a young family who has moved to a remote area of Peru to do just that as well as another couple (parents of the young man in Peru) who was living in Indonesia doing the same thing until the Muslims took control of the government and ran them out.

13 comments:

Mary Connealy said...

Well, you were right about that being a little long for a comment. :)

Jim said...

Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!
Happy Birthday Randy!

That's about all the better good I can sing, Randy.

Mrs. Jim and I will be there in July. But please may we bring Adi? Pretty please?
Adi will be traveling with us, she always does when we take the car places. Daughter, Karen, keeps her when we fly or boat out.

Keep us posted, thanks for the invite, and once more, Happy Birthday Randy!
..
BTW, I'm glad you aren't depressed today on this "Most Depressing Day of the Year" or "Blue Monday."
..

Janell said...

Thanks, Mary. I hope that's not the only thing that I was right about today.

Randy thanks you for the birthday wishes, Jim!
Yes, you can bring Adi, as long as she'll get along okay with my Lab and not chase my cats.
See you in July!

Shirley said...

OK - try this one -- a woman praises Jesus on her phone's answering machine, on her bumper sticker, and let's everyone know she has just come from her weekly Bible class. With the next breath she takes, she is gossiping about her neighbors, coworkers, the waitress, whoever. And she is condeming the actions of others that have nothing to do with her, and using horrible derogatory slurs to describe others. She knows she's saved, she gives thanks for God's grace and her food before she eats. Now tell me she's got her relationship with God right. And tell me I've got it right, too, even though I know I can't help my judging her.

If God only sent Christ to suffer for us, then what were those 3 years of teaching about? He could have just as well let the sacrafice be a lamb, if we don't have to live up to those teachings.

I'm aware of what Christian missions are doing. It's basic to our church. And I write a check every week to support those efforts. Is that enough? Writing checks doesn't get my hands dirty. I often wonder how we are going to get that camel thru the eye of the needle.

cdroses said...

(attempting a tie-breaker here)
Both Janell and Shirley are right. We need to have a relationship with God, this includes accepting Jesus as our Savior. As a follower of Christ, we are expected to be Christ-like. The woman Shirley describes is stereo-typical of a church-goer. She's not quite walking the walk. That being said, we all have our faults and vices. As I said before, we are expected to be Christ-like. Considering Christ was the one perfect human, we are never going to be able to BE Christ. It's the non-Christ-like times in our lives that we really need to have that walk with Christ.

Janell said...

Shirley; There will be no end to the number of people who can be held up as poor examples of the Christian Faith. Apparently her weekly Bible study hasn’t yet studied the book of James, or she would have tamed her tongue a long time ago. Because of the incongruity of her actions, you are right to question the sincerity of that woman’s profession of faith, but Christ said you will be held to the same standards to which you are holding her. (Matthew 7: 1-2) Christ’s illustration of separating the sheep from the goats probably applies to her. She will be held accountable for her behavior. (Matthew 25: 31-46) It’s interesting that, because of her claim to be saved, you immediately held her up to a higher standard than you would a person who makes no such claim.

I didn’t mean to imply that we can ignore the 3 years’ worth of Christ’s teachings. Certainly, His words are the most valuable treasure on this earth. But based on John 3:16, as well as the entire conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus in chapter 3, I still maintain that the most important decision in anyone’s life is whether or not they will place their faith in Christ as the Son of the Living God. Your statement that we “have to live up to those teachings” reiterates salvation by works, which is the biggest lie that has ever been perpetuated. Our salvation is offered to us as a gift of God’s grace and accepted through our faith alone “For it is by grace you are saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9 (In context, see Eph. 2: 1-10)

I don’t know what you mean by, “Is that enough?” If you are giving from your heart to promote the gospel message, then yes, it is. We can’t all be Missionaries. God appoints some of us to provide the support. Is it enough to earn eternal life? No. (See the Ephesians passage.)

I’m not sure what your reference is to the camel passing through the eye of the needle. Christ said, “…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” I understood it to mean that the more wealth you have to lose, the less likely you are to want to give it up in order to follow Jesus. But that passage closes with a word of hope, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” The entire passage is Luke 18:18-27.

Mary Connealy said...

Here's my take on this. You wanted this right?

When Zacharia heard that his wife would give birth to a son(John the Baptist) he doubted and God struck him dumb until the child was born.
When Mary heard that she would bear a child through the Holy Spirit, she doubted and God comforted her and blessed her.(reread the two passages, she and Zacharia used almost exactly the same words in their doubt)
The difference is as simple as what was in their hearts.
So that's the difference between our actions and God's gift of salvation.
God knows our hearts. We all sin but that's not the yardstick God used to measure us for heaven.
Yes, we are called to spread the word.
Yes, James says 'faith without works is dead.' But this all comes down to our hearts, do we have God in our hearts.
Faith without works is dead if our hearts are dead.

cdroses said...

I like what Mary said about how the works and hearts are joined. This was obvious at the workcamp in Canada. There was a group from Ontario. Some of the kids were "fulfilling work obligations", others were there because they wanted to be. You could tell the reason each one of those kids were there, without even asking. I discovered (along the way) it's the gratitude in our hearts that makes us want to share with and serve others. Some may go into serving, as an obligation, only to discover the benefits of serving.

Janell said...

Here are the passages Mary mentions - Luke 1:18 Zecharias (11-20) Luke 1:34 Mary (26-38). Good point. And of course, I always want your input – as long as you agree with me (just kidding).

Cindy – you bring up a good illustration that the opposite is also true: work without faith can be just as dead.

Flip Flop Momma said...

I agree with most of the comments u and everyone has written..

two things I avoid

politics
relgion..

hehe...

Janell said...

Good idea, FlipFlop. I'm ready for a new topic here.

Jamie Dawn said...

Whoa!
I read the back forth here between you & Shirley.
My head hurts now.
:-)
Keep learning those verses, Janell. There's no downside to memorizing them.

Janell said...

Sorry we gave you a headache, JD. Thanks for the encouraging word!