RED LETTER DAYS

RED LETTER DAYS

(Acts 23:11b) …”be of good cheer, Paul”…

1) (John 16:33) I’m flashing back to the last time  Jesus is recorded as saying “be of good cheer.”

2) I’m also remembering Paul’s consent to submit to to his colleagues’ request to keep up appearances with his brethren, and perhaps not suspecting any malicious intent.

3) That may also explain why Paul is being commanded by name here, a rare moment indeed, where God honors someone’s being renamed.

…”for as you have testified of Me at Jerusalem”…

1) It seems Paul needed to reminded of the main thing.

2) Believe it or not, it isn’t to win an audience.

3) And we do know from later writings that Paul harbored a deep commitment toward this particular audience.

…”so you must also testify of Me at Rome”…

1) I may be one of a few that believe Paul thought it less daunting to stand before Caesar than his own people.

2) However, one thing is clear from this text, that there comes at least one moment in a disciple’s life in which the testimony of Jesus is all that foot-follower has, regardless of destination.

3) That may be why Jesus’ last words in this book appear this way…for any good work in the world must have His witness testimony at its base, or it won’t hold up in real court.

PETER PASSES THE TEST

PETER PASSES THE TEST

(Acts 11:1-18)

1) There are issues in my Bible I still don’t appreciate…like this next one coming from Peter’s religious colleagues.

2) It took some honest study…including everything from Anti-Semitism to the effects of segregation in modern Western culture.

3) It seems these Israeli descendants who had their Messiah revealed unto them were also becoming quite passionate about the Old Testament Law, which can facilitate an prejudiced mindset if not handled carefully.

4) Reminder: Israel got brought out of Egypt, but the effects of Egypt still had to be brought out of Israel…and so it is with “the Church,” this “inside job” of breaking away from the world out of which “whosoever will” is called.

5) Peter gets the unique privilege of recounting this phenomenon to his brethren as he and his witnesses saw it happening before their eyes…something he’ll have to do again a few years later.

6) As previously stated, I don’t think Peter intended to grandstand or disobey a direct order by taking witnesses to Cornelius’s house…but I suppose he’s glad he did.

7) “God granting repentance unto life” is for everyone…and apparently for some it will take eternity to really get that one.

SUBTITLE 5 “LEARNING”

(…taken from some poorly edited notes I’m prayerfully sharing from this morning with some friends.)

(Job 38-41)

1 Sam. 12:23, 16:7 (1-13)

(I Kgs. 19:1-18)

Ecc. 12:11-14

Isa. 50:4, 5

Jer. 6:16

Hab. 2:1

Mat. 11:25-30, 13:9

Luke 8:17-18, 10:38-42

John 16:7-14, 21:25

2 Tim. 3:16

Heb. 6:1, 2

2 John 8

Our Bible already has the appearance in the minds of many as that of an “owner’s manual,” even though that’s not how it’s written. There’s a strong message for “us” in the fact that our Bible is written in the form of “witness testimony.” With this in place, it’s important that I know my own story, my own “witness testimony,” especially if I contend that I’ll be telling it all at least once, and without interruption, before an audience of One. 

Then it’s even more important to “own up” to my story, which isn’t the same thing as “telling my story,” nor can be approached successfully without “getting the whole story” first. That involves “learning.” Surely Jesus means what He says by “…learning of [Him] for [He] is meek…” Some learning must be done sitting at His feet, while some only occurs while in motion following Him. 

It’s also a great idea to revisit the tradition from which “Follow Me” came about.

It didn’t originate in what we would refer to as “the Church,” but it seems Messiah cherry-picked it out of Jewish history for the Church. Whereas the local rabbi at that time was recruiting what he believed to be the best of the community for religious leadership, Jesus is calling the individual, as only He sees that individual…unto Himself. 

For an example of “learning how to listen,” look at your computers, phones, radios, TV sets, etc., in other words, anything that sends and receives electronic RF signals, whether by air or cable. In order for any of this functioning equipment to be of any practical value it has to be tuned in to the right frequencies. 

This whole business of “tuning” is a spiritual exercise in which time and repetition factor in by way of all we’ve been dealing with so far. Messiah only asserts that we participate in His  loop of communication by tuning in to Him. Most of our tuning in involves tuning out. There’s all that background noise both around us and then, more importantly, within us. As to which one the individual can tune out first, I cannot say, although for me, it was the outside noise first…until someone gave me a tip about that one day…

It took time to get to this, and it was revealed, not discovered, but I eventually recognized that I resent what I envy or resemble the most. That’s just one way I’m prevented from “tuning in.” Giving these things to the Lord and “tuning out the world” became easier once I was able to recognize a bit better how I was processing the input, especially the distractions, that I was responding to.

By now we should know this to be important when broadcasting our signals toward the Lord or anyone else, when in fellowship, meditation or prayer, when in praise or worship of The Lord, for we really are broadcasting, sometimes without prior knowledge.

In fact, we’ve been broadcasting the whole time we’ve been alive, sometimes without prior knowledge. For this cause and much more, it is so critically important to listen, or as we sometimes say, “pay attention.”

The scientists of the world have a more precise definition of “learning.” Precise, though incomplete. They say it’s “a newly opened pathway in one’s nervous system.” That by itself involves, but isn’t limited to past or present experiences or testimony. One of several things that has caught my attention is the idea of placing a barrier excluding the learning process from certain things like “righteousness” while pointing toward one’s mistakes as a better way to learn…

Now while there are some things for which we have to make diligent search, some things only require “paying attention.” I’m unsure how the English vernacular turned such a phrase to include “paying,” but it turns out that “paying attention” is cheaper than the alternative, or “paying for one’s mistakes.” Either way, the  basic point is to be open. For the obvious reasons, we make due emphasis on being familiar with His Word, and not just because He’ll never contradict Himself, and is always eager to share. 

But in that same light, we need to find out what’s going on around us. After all, at some point one will eventually ask, “How do we know what we know?” These and many other questions will arise. We can’t avoid them nor the answers when that happens. Besides, unlike Him, the world only determines to justify itself, and is unwilling to share, despite all the “information” that’s available. We need to deal with all diligence the facts and parameters behind “the world’s origins.” In the light of right understanding, everything, from beginning to end, even the background noise,we’re tuning out, has its proper place in God’s program of action, including the relationship He’s been having with “us” from the beginning.

 

Church Anniversary

There are a few people today in my “camp,” maybe more, who are actually observing the official beginning of this phenomenon sometimes referred to as “the Church.” However, it would be somewhat unfair at this point in history if I were not to include the fact that most people gathered within my “camp” aren’t entirely sure of what they’re celebrating. In fact, it would only be natural to assume that 1,986 years later people would either “get it,” or at least “get it right.” However, both Biblical and world history indicate otherwise…a rare but significant phenomenon in its own right, in which both have at least something of value in common. As for me, I thought I’d at least have gotten to the point by now where I’d maybe “get it right”…only to find out how much more I’m still missing. Conversely, the majority of the answers to my questions are somehow bound in the answers to others’ questions…(scratching  my head)…and it’s probably a very good thing that I can’t ruin that phenomenon for someone by trying to explain it away.

Meanwhile, with all the misunderstanding, with all that’s happening and with the pathway I leave behind me, both good and bad, I can’t think of a better time or place to be alive, watching this Mystery slowly being revealed.