Thursday, May 05, 2011

I should be writing my OT Exegesis Paper, but I'm too much of a slacker to do so. For those that know me, they know that I always work well under pressure (which is a nice way of saying I'm a procrastinator). Nevertheless, I thought I'd share what I am learning from this.

The passage that I've chosen to do my exegesis on is Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.

This is a passage that has drastically changed and is changing my prayer life. I use to say anything and everything to God in my prayers. After all, God is someone we should be open with about everything because we are in relationship with him if we follow him, right? However, this passage teaches me something completely different. It teaches me to choose my words wisely when I am in God's presence. That less just might be more in this situation.

But why would less be more? Why do words seem to matter so much? When I think of the answer to this question, it causes me to think about the people that have spoken the loudest to me in my life. The people that have done so are people that speak very little. Yet when they speak, they resonate the most because they are thought out well before they are said. Maybe this is true for our prayer lives. Maybe we should think out what we want to say before saying them to God.

The next thing that is taught is that if you make a vow to God, be quick to fulfill it. This is also stated earlier in Deuteronomy 23:21. It says it's better not to make a vow than to make a vow and break it. Jesus further adds to this in Matthew 5:33-37 with any commitment to anyone. When reading this, I began to realize how contrary this is to our culture. We frequently make promises we can't keep or as is said in the south "we write checks our butts can't cash." What this is saying to me that this is one of those calls where Christ calls us to be counter-cultural and for us to follow him and not the culture in this incident. We need to be men and women of our word.

The next part is what struck me the most. According to the New Living Translation, it says "Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead." This clashes i n my mind because I've learned that dreams play an important part in Ancient Near Eastern culture. On a more personal note, I'm a dreamer at heart so to hear that what I do is useless activity hits me at my core. However, according to many commentaries, what it means is those who have many troubles may fantasize of performing great and noble acts, but their aspirations are meaningless. Similarly, many words mark a person as a fool.

Bottom line: When it comes to what you promise God, don't make a promise that you are not sure that you can keep. If you make a vow, be quick to fulfill it. Don't use many words, but rather keep it short and sweet so that your words will have value. This goes for not only with God, but with other people as well. If you want your words to mean something, think them through long and hard before saying them.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Seminary has been probably the toughest challenge to me spiritually that I've ever experienced in my life as a Christ follower. However, through it all, I've told myself "have your rock built on Jesus and your foundation will never be moved." This is a lot easier said than done. I find that there are ideas and beliefs out there that are constantly at war for my mind and my soul. I have to be willing to say no to things that are good and to be willing to be taken over by things that are the best for me.

Jesus said it best:

"Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

If I build my argument on my own logic, I'm a damn fool and an insensitive one at that. If I built it on pure passion, I'm too sensitive and am prone to change based on feelings. No, my friends, neither one of these work at all. My only hope...our only hope is to build it on Jesus. After all, his community is built on foundation depends on listening to him and following what he says. It is not built on theological or philosophical issues...It is not built on politics or global issues...It is not built on music, art, or literature...It is not built on mathematical or scientific laws or is built on this:

On Christ the solid rock, I stand
All Other ground is sinking sand....

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Being hurt about situations or by people in life is something that is a part of life even though it should never be enjoyed by anyone in any situation. When those times of hurt come, we should embrace them and work through all those emotions that we are feeling. I don't think there's anyone that would deny that every person should do that.

Where people differ is how they react to these situations and how long they work through those emotions. There really isn't a specific way that everyone reacts to these situation or a specific time table as to how long it takes someone to work through it. Some people keep it inside and internalize it in order to work through it. Some people verbalize it to their friends in order to be able to move forward. Whatever way you move forward, every way is different. The length of time it takes may take some people a matter of a week or two. Some people it may take them much longer to work through things. Whatever the length, every person is different.

We can't control the way people react or how long it takes a person to move through the emotions. What we can do during these times is grant them the grace to deal with things the way they need to and to be patient in the length that it takes the person to work through those emotions. To expect a person to react the same way you do or take the same length of time as you is a distasteful assumption as well as a condition that you have no right to place on a person....

Friday, April 30, 2010

Do not judge?

We have always been told to never judge people. However, we never take the time to understand what the word
judging actually means. According to our good friend Webster, judging means to formulate an opinion about. If that is what judging means, people judge all the time. It's almost unavoidable to judge someone.

In the book I follow and read, it says "Do not judge, or you will be judged." The important concept in this passage is to realize it is not just saying to not judge. Rather, it is saying that unless you want to be judged the same way you judge others, do not judge. An important question to also ask is this: Who is doing the judging here after you judge someone? In the end, we all will be judged by YHWH for the things we have done. That in mind, I think the individual doing the judging is the one that we have judged. So basically, if you don't want to be judged the same way, don't judge anyone else by that standard.

Now their are a few stipulations I would like to add. The next part of the passage it talks about do not talk about the speck in your friend's eye when you have a plank in yours. It says to first remove the plank in your eye before you remove the speck in your friend's. What this is saying to me is that before you go and make a judgement about someone else's faults, you need to make sure that you're doing it for the right reasons, which are out of genuine humility, love and concern for the person. You also need to make sure that you have things set right in your own life or they will come up in the conversation. It may even be that if you struggle with the same thing, the last thing you should do is judge someone for the very same transgression that you commit. Instead, maybe confront the person about the transgression and tell them you struggle with the same thing so that you both can hold each other accountable.

Also, judging is something that should happen within the body of believers. This is called church discipline and is something that is rarely used today. You are to point out a brother's/sister's faults if they are slipping so as to correct them and put them back on the path to where they are more genuinely following Him. This does not mean that you should judge those that do not follow. After all, how can you hold them accountable to standards of the scriptures when they themselves don't even know or much less follow Yeshua?

Lastly, judging in this context, I believe, should only take place if you have a good, trusting, and loving relationship with that person. If I was approached by a person in my church about correcting something about myself and I did not have any kind of personal and deep friendship with that person, I would feel a little insulted. However, if I really knew the person and that they cared about me and that I trusted them, it would motivate me to try to change that part of my life.

What people are really saying when they say do not judge is that you should not condemn. This means that you do not know a person's heart so you have no right to determine that person's salvation or not. In that, people are right, because only condemnation can come from YHWH and we are not YHWH. So when someone tells me to not judge, I'm typically going to ask them what they mean by judge.

Judging is not forbidden, but condemning is...

Lyrics of the Week

Like sex when you're too young
Like youth when you've got none
Like home when you're too drunk
Like getting every you wanted with a line of bad credit
It's never quite worth what you give up to get it

Like style made by slaves
Like bribes to throw the race
Like women who know their place
Like an indian casino or a tank of unleaded
It's never quite worth what you give up to get it

Stand back
You love it now but it's too much

Like fame for what you're not
Like joy that you bought
Like pleasure that never hits the spot
Like security for liberty, you gotta admit it

It's never quite worth what you give up to get it

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How do you build a friendship after the trust is gone? How do you build back up trust? I find in life that anything else can be gained back pretty easy, but in the mountains of friendship, building up trust after you've lost it is life's Mt. Everest. It is the toughest thing to overcome after one has done something to lose it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is there a difference between making a judgement and making an observation? Sometimes I wonder and chew on this question. I don't consider myself a judgemental person at all. However, if a person calls themselves a follower, I do expect for them to live the life that He calls for us to live and I hold them to that standard. The problem is that I forget that often times, I do that without people granting me that permission and that's where I screw up.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Someone said once that we need to love others. The problem with that is that it just leaves me with more questions. What does it mean to love others? How do we love others? It all seems so terribly complicated and subjective. Where does truth come into the equation? When is it a good time to speak truth to someone? I guess this is where wisdom comes in... a wisdom which I'm nowhere near arriving to yet in my life.

The one I follow knew the perfect time to speak love and be love, but he also knew the perfect time to speak the truth as well. He wasn't always supportive of decisions he knew those who were watching his every move. The older that I get, the more I admire him and how he did things the way he did. I just do not comprehend how he does it.