Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us!

For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,  And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.            (2 Timothy 4:3-4 Amplified Bible)

lazy-guy

 Too Much is too much!

We are living in a day in which we’re continually being made aware of what we eat.  Going to the doctor’s office and sitting in the waiting room, you can’t help from picking up a Health Magazine and thumbing through the pages.  There are articles and ads reminding us as we wait to hear our name called, eat wisely, avoid junk food, and be sure to read labels on cans and boxes before we buy them.  All to confirm that the contents will be HEALTHY for us.  By the time the doctor finally enters the scene, asking the peruvial question–“So how have you been feeling since the last time I saw you?”  After spending 15 minutes reading every magazine available, I’m tempted to answer: “Evidently, LOUSY!”

But how many of us are as concerned about our SPIRITUAL DIETS as we are about are natural ones?  Are we using discernment in choosing the material we read, the Christian programs we watch, or the preachers we listen to?

Are we able to distinguish between the MEAT and the MIXTURE?  The HOLY and the PROFANE?

Many people today are so used to mixture, they’ve lost a taste for what is pure.  Lavish presentations, displays and methods to get our attention to the given message.  They often become more important than what is being served and the servers more important than what they serve–sitting down at the spiritual “table of reason”:  “If it looks good and multitudes are eating it, then it must be OK.”

EXEGESIS: A Healthy Diet Plan, Rich in Protein needed for a spiritual health awakening –

Rich in Meat
Rich in Meat

The definition of Exegesis: An “exposition or explanation.”  [*Footnote [i] ]

BIBLICAL EXEGESIS involves the examination of a particular text of Scripture in order to properly interpret it.  Good biblical exegesis is actually commands us in to do so in 2 Timothy 2:15:

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (Amplified Bible).

Exegesis has many principles, as most diet plans do.  But in this blog, I want to put the emphasis on the Literal Principle to help in being faithful to the plan– [Note: See Footnote [ii] for the other principles of “exegesis’.) 

QUESTION:  “Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?”

Not only can we take the bible literally, we must take the bible literally.  

It is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us.  When we read any piece of literature, especially the Bible, you must determine what the author intended to communicate.

Over the years in my Christian life, I’ve listened to many sermon messages.  I’ve heard many well-meaning pastors, who will read a verse or passage of Scripture, then give their own definition to the words, phrases, or paragraphs, ignoring the context and the authors intent.

“JUNK FOOD” Preachers serve up a diet of unhealthy, fast food, but little else–real“meat” is never on the “reason table.” 

But this isn’t what God intended, which is why God tells us to correctly handle the Word of Truth (discernment)–the “meat”–the “spiritual food” according to 2 Timothy 2:15.

One Good Reason to take the Bible literally?

Because JESUS took it literally; He had no appetite for “junk food.”.  Whenever Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, it was always clear that He believed in its literal interpretation.

As an example, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in LUKE 4, He answered by quoting the Old Testament–word for word.  If God’s commands in Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:23, and 6:16 were not literal… then Jesus would not have used them and been powerless to stop Satan’s mouth, which by the way, certainly did!

The disciples also took the commands of Christ (which are a part of the Bible) literally.

Jesus commanded the disciples to GO–make more disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

And in Acts 2, we find that the disciples took Jesus’ command literally and went through the known world of that time preaching the Gospel of Christ, telling them to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be SAVED” (Acts 16:13).

Just as the disciples took Jesus’ words literally, so must we.  How else can we be sure of our salvation if we don’t believe Him when He says “He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); to pay the penalty for our sin (Matthew 26:28) and, provide eternal life” (John 6:54)?

A Side Note of EXEGESIS:  FIGURES OF SPEECH PRINCIPLE –

Although we should take the Bible literally, there are still figures of speech within the pages.  An example of a figure of speech would be if someone said, “it’s raining cats and dogs outside,” you would know they didn’t really mean cats and dogs were falling from the sky.  They would mean it’s raining really hard.

There are figures of speech in the Bible NOT to be taken literally, but those are obvious (See Psalm 17:8 for example).

“Junk Food” OR “Meat” on the table–It’s our CHOICE:

Some of what we are eating in these last days, is frighteningly unhealthy.  Let me give you some examples of the types of spiritual “junk food” (“wrong thinking”) being served, along with the “meat” (“solid food” – 1 Cor. 3:2) we should be eating instead.

FOOD CHOICES –

JUNK FOOD:  Times and conditions in our society have changed in defining gender roles in the church today.  Women can and should be designated Pastors; having authority over everyone in the body of Christ.  The principles instilled in the early church by the Apostle Paul were purely cultured, therefore inapplicable to believers in the church of the 21st Century.

MEAT:  “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself (John 1:1); “O Timothy, guard and keep the deposit entrusted [to you]! Turn away from irreverent babble and godless chatter, with the vain and empty and worldly phrases, and the subtleties and the contradictions in what is falsely called knowledge and spiritual illumination” (1 Timothy 6:20); “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. Allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence [in religious assemblies]. For Adam was first formed, then Eve”  (1 Timothy 2:11-13).

There are many roles today for a woman to serve in ministry along side of men–still adhering to the literal understanding of the Word of God.  Remember, God spoke through the Apostle Paul.

JUNK FOOD:  Because God “so loved the world,” we must accept all religions in the name of love without insisting the followers repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

MEAT:  “For God did not send His Son into the word to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil”  (John 3:17-19 NIV).

JUNK FOOD:  Apostles, prophets, and pastors have absolute authority. “Because I am your appointed leader, you are to respect and obey me without question no matter how I live or what I do.”

MEAT:  “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame–who set their mind on earthly things”  (Philippians 3:17-19 NKJV).

JUNK FOOD:  It’s not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others.  Don’t worry, be happy!

MEAT:  “If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].  If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformance to His will in purpose, thought and action]”  (1 John 1:8-9)

JUNK FOOD:  “Michelle and I join our fellow Americans and others around the world in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia tomorrow, May 17–2015.”  [the President of the United States quote: Constitution Rising.com].

MEAT:  “So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],  Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].  For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions…”  (Romans 1:20 b., 21, 23, 26 a). 

THE RESULTS OF OUR EATING POORLY:

In a spiritual sense, the result are numerous.  

— We forget our WITNESS in favor of majority thinking.

— Popularity overrules purity.

— Fear of man replaces the fear of God–“to RESPECT and HONOR God in our lives with the audacity to obey His Word.”

Acceptance of JUNK FOOD translates into allowance… and love loses its power because of our fear of being judgmental.

FINALLY, when we make ourselves as the final UMPIRE–of which parts of the Bible are to be interpreted LITERALLY, we elevate ourselves above God.

Who is to say then, one persons interpretation of a biblical event or truth, is more valid than another’s?  Confusion and distortions would inevitably result from such a system that it would render the Scriptures null and void.

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD to us and He meant it to be believed–literally and completely.  Are you ready to get started on the healthiest diet plan available?  It starts with Genesis and finishes with the Revelation to John.


 Footnotes & Credits for this post:

Footnote [i] and [ii] – What is good biblical exegesis? Got Questions.org

Credit to,  Ministry Today, Iverna Tompkins Learn to Discern Spiritual Junk Food.

Photo Credits:  Google Images and Photo Pin (Shutterstock).

Bible Credits:  Amplified Bible translation, except where noted in text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s Been Long Enough–Now Grow Up!”

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH–Chapter 28:10, 13:

“[10] For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:  [13] But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and spared, and taken.”  (King James)

I love the way THE MESSAGE Bible words these two verses:  “Da, da, da, da, blah, blah. That’s a good little girl. that’s a good little boy.”

The Amplified Bible reads,  “Precept upon precept, rule upon rule”–

Well that’s sounds much clearer…or, does it?  At first glance, it sounds like BABY TALK.

USUALLY INTERPRETED…

The words are usually interpreted to mean “life is like that–when constructing a house you put ‘brick upon brick’ [“precept upon precept”] until the building is up.  Or in writing a blog; you put ‘sentence upon sentence’ until the blog is ready to post; made public.

My wife was just explaining to me this morning how she paints on a canvas; putting down layer upon layer of paint in giving the picture depth.  I immediately responded to her saying, “That’s just like it says in the Bible, ‘precept upon precept.’

But is that what this bible expression means?  Let’s take a closer look:

[10] “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”  (KJV).

[13]  “Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them [merely monotonous repeatings of] precept upon precept, precept upon precept; rule upon rule, rule upon rule; here a little, there a little; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken”  (AMP Bible).

If we spell the Hebrew words in our alphabet, it would look like this, “tsav latsav tsav latsav – kav, lakav kav lakav”. The repetition of single syllables reminds me of BABY’S FIRST WORDS we delight to hear as parents,  “Ma Ma,” “Da Da.”

By the way, I found in my DETECTIVE investigation a word, made-up of repeated mono-syllables, “murmur” [Mur Mur] in 1 Corinthians 10:10 (ASV):

[10] “Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer.”

“Ma Ma”, “Da Da”, “Mur Mur”

Perhaps the message is, “grumbling” (the word used in the NIV) is a rather childish behavior.

What then, do the Hebrew words mean?

–The word “Tsav” signifies a little precept, such as “is suited to the capacity of a child” (Adam Clarke).

–The word “Kav” signifies the line that a mason would stretch out building a layer of stones or a brick wall.  After one layer or course is placed, the line is raised and another layer is added.  Thus “line upon line” is used until the building is complete.

ISAIAH’S MESSAGE:

His message has to do with TEACHING:

(verse 9)  “To whom will He teach knowledge?”

At first glance, this sounds like a POSITIVE thing.  After all, this is how young children learn (or suppose to learn).  BUT the point made here is that the prophet’s audience are no longer children that Isaiah is addressing.  However, due to their unwillingness to move on in their relationship with God, he must treat them as little babies; keep going back to the primitive methods, “tsav latsav tsav latsav – kav lakav kav lakav’ – “precept upon precept, rule (or “line”) upon rule.”

I remember my parents telling me in growing up, “Mel, if you would have listened and obeyed the first time we told you so, we wouldn’t have to keep saying the same thing over and over again.”

When the people heard Isaiah talk this way, like a teenager might do today, they started mocking the prophet as they staggered through the streets in town (Isaiah 28:7).

The Time is Now to Take Full Responsibility for our Own Relationship with God.

That’s making sure that our lives are fulfilling in the God-given purpose for our being here in this world.  That we are LIVING in a way that is pleasing to Him.  The plain (let’s say “crude”) way to say it is, “GROW UP ALREADY!”

ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN TO US TO “GROW UP” SPIRITUALLY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT:

The apostle Peter recognizes as new Christians, we are likened to “babies” who need milk for nourishment–a tasty, warm, liquid that can be ingested using an instinctive muscle system–SUCKING.  Now there’s a striking picture on Sunday mornings: A bunch of “sucking” Christians in the church building.

#1.  This is what Peter writes:

“SO BE done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind.  [2] Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation,  [3] Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord”  (1 Peter 2:1-3 AMP).

Yes, we start with milk, but then GROWTH is expected:

[3] “For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).  [5] For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),  [6] And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),  [7] And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.  [8] For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  [9] For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] short-sighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  (2 Peter 1:3, 5-9 AMP).

“MAKE EVERY EFFORT” (NIV) or “EXERCISE and DEVELOP” (AMP)–

We each bear the responsibility in our own spiritual growth in the development of our character.  Quit assigning the responsibility to your pastor/teacher.

#2.  Paul also understood this matter of moving from childhood to adulthood.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside”  (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Earlier, in the same church letter, Paul gave his teaching in the need to move from “milk” to “solid food”:

“HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to non-spiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!]  [2] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you are not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it],  [3] For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under control of ordinary impulses].  For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?”  (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 AMP).

The parallel here in these verses is between “worldly” and the “infantile.”  The CONNECTION is that being immature, they were not standing up against the world’s point of view around them–they were demonstrating attitudes and behaviors like those seen in the world–jealousy and quarrels.

#3.  The Third Time on the subject of Moving from Milk to Meat.

The Book of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:12-14):

“For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word.  You have come to need milk, not solid food.  [13] For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]!  [14] But solid food is for full-grown men, for those senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.”

The point here is that we no longer need to be given the same old rules and regulations on how we are to live in righteousness.  We no longer need “precept upon precept, line upon line.” 

We’ve now come to the place where we have trained ourselves to be able to distinguish what is right and wrong.  As my folks would tell me, “You should know by now the difference between what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.”

But again notice where the responsibility lies, “to full-grown men [the mature]…have trained themselves.”

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PERSONAL GROWTH DOESN’T START WITH THE CHURCH:

The responsibility doesn’t begin with your pastor/teacher either but with each individual. 

Coming to church, reading the Word, and praying is less like going to eat at a restaurant, and more like spending time at a grocery store.  The money is in our pockets, the food is in the store, but it is our responsibility to find, buy and prepare food providing nourishment necessary for our health, growth and strength.

No longer may we expect someone else to lay it all out for us, “precept upon precept, line upon line” or “rule upon rule.”  It is our responsibility and true maturity only happens when we are willing to accept that responsibility.  And only then will we avoid the judgement of God in the “last day.”

“Milk is Good but Filet Mignon is Better!”

A recently released study by a Christian research organization shows that churchgoers do not read or study the Bible on a daily basis.

Transformational Discipleship Assessment released by Life Way Research noted that 19% of respondents report reading or studying the Bible ‘outside’ of church “every day.”  By contrast, 36% said they either engage their Bible “once a week”, “once a month”, or a “few times a month.”  And to my surprise, 18% reported rarely or never reading or studying the Bible outside of worship.

Scott McConnell, director of Life Way Research told this to the Christian Post:

“Regular Bible engagement is both personal and requires discipline.  Neither are popular in Western culture today.  Too many churchgoers want the benefits of salvation without investing in personally knowing Christ and the abundant life He offers.”

“MILK” or “MEAT” — SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY or SPIRITUAL MATURITY?

“Gala” in the Greek language is the word used for MILK.  Figuratively speaking, MILK is the Word of God used to nourish newborn babes in Christ.  So if all you’re taking for nourishment is the “milk of God’s word, the basic elements, you must be a “baby.”

If I may so bold, I would like to ask 4- important questions before concluding my message:

1.  Are you still on a “milk only” diet spiritually?

2.  Are you still reading devotionals which include a few tidbits of Scripture?  Like a baby in the high chair, going from “sucking” on the milk bottle’s nipple to “solid” finger food.

3.  Are you reading “Christian books” instead of The Book?

4.  Are you primarily listening to tapes or CD’s rather than your primary Teacher, the Holy Spirit?

If your answers are yes to all of the questions or even one yes…you need to change your dietary habits.  It’s been long enough–it’s time to GROW UP!