Tag Archives: humble

Visual Catechism 

Table Based on the ocular Catechism of Puritan, William Perkins, modified by myself.

Click link above: sample screenshot below

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Filed under New Testament, Old Testament, Theology

Servant Leaders

As presidential discussions begin, I find important to review what a servant leader should be in government or even the church. A leader is to be like the head of a body, knowing how all the parts work and function. They do not relish in the position but see it as being the one who will mobilize the body towards good works, preservation, and a direction that has the betterment of the whole body in mind. The leader as head seeks to resolve issues within the body without separation or marginalizing, because who heals a rash by cutting off the pieces that have it? Yet a leader knows when discipline is necessary to keep the body working together. 

A leader gives the body a sense of identity, community and direction. A leader has instilled identity when everyone gets a feel for who they are and the role they play in the body, so no one person or group is left out. A leader has instilled community when there is a standard by which all can live and know the boundaries of justice, discipline and good will. A leader has instilled direction when all know and work towards a common goal and see others as partners instead of as individuals all seeking their own welfare. Without national goals, the individual goal is all that remains, inwhich all pursue selfish ambitions where others are either roadblocks or steppingstones for personal gratification instead of treating people as people. 

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The lies of the midwives

The story goes something like this:

A new Pharaoh did not appreciate the Hebrew people Joseph led into their land a generation earlier. They were so numerous that their king/pharaoh thought it best to oppress and dwindle them down by hard labor and bitter bondage. This backfires and the Hebrews grow more numerous. Thus Pharaoh decrees two midwives to kill the Hebrew male children as they are born. The  midwives fear God more than Pharaoh and let the children live. The ruler hears of the lack of deaths, and calls the two to answer for this:

 “The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.” – Exodus 1:19-21 (ESV)

Basically our hang up with this passage is that it appears that lying is sanctioned and rewarded by God. How do you reconcile this? 

One way is a saying “the end justifies the means”. So if a great righteousness is the result, the means are not counted against you. This cannot be the case, because you could then justify just about anything. Even Judas would be off the hook because his betrayal of Christ brought about the highest good. Scripture tells us that although Judas was to betray, he is held guilty for it. 

Another attempt to reconcile this is to say that in a morally Greek tragedy kind of way, the lesser of two evils were brought to bear, so although they had to lie, they are guilty for it and must repent and asks God’s mercy, although lives were spared in the end. Yet again the lesser of two evils could be used to justify about anything to say that you stabbed someone in the leg, whereas you didn’t stab them in the heart, because it was a lesser, yet warranted evil. Also I don’t believe God puts us in situations were we are required to sin. After all they are rewarded for their actions, and there is no mention of repentance. 

Another option is to say that God must have a hierarchy to the commandments, so to defend a higher moral at the expense of a lesser is excusable. Yet God never pretends to wink at or cover over sins. Truth is a defining characteristic of God, and is everywhere encouraged. But here?

The reconciliation I’d suggest is that we step back and do three things. First determine what are the real motivations being described. Is someone really seeking the honor of God, or just moral wiggle room to justify their own actions? Second, review the whole counsel of God. What does all of the Bible have to say on the topic? Lastly, what are all the circumstances? When this is applied to our story, we see midwives who fear God more than a tyrant who thinks he is a god. Scripture describes in several places how it is lawful to resist the unholy, perverse and ungodly laws of a ruler or government. The midwives considered God their authority and so Pharaoh’s demand was unjust. So they were right to rebel and resist even to the point of refusing to give him the truth. Could they have withheld the truth without lying? I think that’s splitting hairs. God rewards them not for being crafty and subversive, but because these two simple women denied the laws of a hateful ruler when they came in conflict with the authority of God (a huge theme in the book of Exodus).

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Name in vain

In the same way that the second commandment is more about the worship of God, and not just an artistic limit on depicting Him, is the same way that the third commandment is more than just a prohibition of using God’s names and titles in irreverent ways. 

The command states:

 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” – Exodus 20:7 (ESV)

We usually take this from our context and assume it means to not use the name “Jesus” or God in cursing, or flippantly. This will click in your mind once I say it, but in addition to that, think of “taking God’s name” in a marriage and/or covenantal sense. In a way the deeper meaning point not just to our speech, but our entire way of life, because we (Christians) take on the name of God. We are His people, as were the Israelites hearing this from Moses. To bear the name of God is a serious reference point for one’s identity and way of life. Because of our actions the name of God can be either glorified or dragged through the mud.

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All Christians are in Service

Luke 3:14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

There is a sense in which new and old Christians wonder what they should be doing for God. Like the crowd, tax collector and soldier from Luke 3, all ask, “What should we do now”? Surprisingly enough the answer is something we don’t expect, which is, go back into the world doing what you’re already doing. The only catch is that we are asked to do those things as if in service to God and others, honestly and with the good of others in mind. This is not the climb the ladder stepping on others along the way model for success, but is instead what is real wisdom, love and community is from Gods point of view. 

This is radical thinking in some modern Christian circles, because our job is usually nothing more than an occupation (that which meerly occupies our time). Occupations are hardly spiritual, unless you work for a church in some capacity, is what most believe. The above challenges us to view a job or position (friend, child, coworker) as a calling of God to just be good at what you do, use the gifts you have, and to do so honestly and lovingly within the context of the life you are already in. This not only elevates all vocations to be a calling of God, but elevates each Christians responsibility to be that Child of God exactly where God has placed you moment by moment. There is no excuse to say, I’m not a pastor, so my work is meaningless or that in the future you plan on missions work each summer, so time in school as a student is somehow less important. We are Gods people 24-7 no matter where we are. 

This does not mean we are preaching at work or witnessing during lunch breaks, but meerly that we would be and do the best we can where God has placed us. Being good friends, workers, students, bosses, parents and children in whatever context of life you are “Currently” in. Be that child of God where you are right now, not just on Sunday when at church. 

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The Trinity of God – Diagrams

I tried to diagram this out as best and as humbly as I could.

Hope these help.

 

 

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Filed under New Testament, Old Testament