Saturday, October 18, 2014

Let's start reading the Bible....

I don't know if you know anyone who talks with God, but I am one of those who listens as I believe He speaks to me.  So, I respond - a lot.   And it seems that things are happening in my life that would indicate, He is listening.  For example, as I re-read my last entry, I began to wonder why very few take the liberty to respond.  I know I often say things that ought to challenge others and in the absence of a response, I have to wonder, are they listening, do they even care to listen?  That was one of the thoughts I was pondering yesterday.

Today, I have to think, God responded.  I was at a community picnic, eating with friends and a fellow walks up and takes a seat across from me.  We started a conversation without any specific ideas in mind and I started to tell him how I used to challenge job applicants to be encouragers when I was in the recruiting business.  And since he was about to seek a new employment opportunity, I tried to challenge him when he responded, "And what is your challenge?"  Wow!  Could I answer?  I hardly knew the guy, but I began to think, perhaps that was God challenging me, using my new found friend as an intermediary.  The more I think about it, the more I believe it was.

So, here goes.... I just told a friend, my new offering ought to be, "Sherwood reads the Bible" and that is what I mean to do.  Starting with Genesis all the way through to "The grace of the Lord be with all, Amen"  (Revelation 22:21, if you were not aware of that)   And isn't that an interesting comment? Did it challenge you to think about it?  That will be the gist of what follows, day by day, the Bible as I have "seen" it through my eyes and ears and senses for nearly forty years.  Here we go....

Genesis 1:1  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." and you probably have heard what will be added in the following few chapters, at least.  Let's be aware that most people who might be reading this are aware of the garden, our first ancestors and the reason they were exiled.  I want to say something that is very pertinent to our daily lives as I "discovered" in a response from God, but first....

Let's not overlook all that is written in that first verse.  Note, it is not heaven, but heavens, plural, and I know there are those who teach the concept of heavens, but for most of us, heaven is our place of abode after this life.  But heavens, plural?  I had a glimpse of them, I believe, as I was on a troopship bound for Japan, almost seventy years ago and suddenly I was frightened at the thought of living in a nation among the very people our nation had taught me that they were, actually, blood thirsty killers. Because I could not sleep below deck with 2-300 other basic recruits, I got up and went on deck and found a place to sit and think about my future.  I was really scared.  And then, I looked up and from the East to the West, from the North to the South, there was this "blanket" of stars, there had to be millions of them, and I could see a number of the planets, hundreds of shooting stars, comets, etc.and I was amazed and it seemed to me, I heard a voice, "All of these are part of my creation" and that was it. Well, I knew about God, our Creator, I learned all of that in Sunday School, but now, I began to wonder if a day would come and we would know of life on those planets and ask myself, what about all of those stars?  I don't know how long I stayed there and whether I continued to think about all that I had seen, but this I do know, suddenly, I had found peace, there was no reason to be fearful.

And the day would come as I turned to Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" and I realized something I could not grasp while I was sitting there, alone, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean."  Oh, I had heard about this as a child, but then, I had no reason to fear.  My mind was filled with other concerns.

"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, He plants His feet along the sands and rides upon the storm."  My grand Dad had taught me that while I was little and it would take me years before I would come to a full understanding of that promise.

Heaven, or heavens?  What do you think?  You have heard what I have said.

Let's go back to Genesis, chapter 3, verse 8, and God has appeared in the garden only to realize the two had hidden from Him - because, Adam said, "...they were naked."  Actually, he did not make reference to the woman and most often, Bible studies lead us into discussions of the man, the woman, the serpent, good and evil, etc., etc,, but I have been more intrigued by God's response.  "Who told you that you were naked?"  (v. 9a)   Who told you that?  That they were naked was obvious and given the fact that most of us who study these chapters are content to deal with the frailties of the two and tend to ignore the four words that form the question - I have to wonder, who told us that?

Why do we seem to be obsessed with sex and servants and not realize, in the days in which we live, this "age of information", we are prone to believe what we hear, regardless of the reliability of the sources.  I listen to Christian programming a lot and an hour hardly passes when I do not hear words and thoughts that do not conform to the truth we discover in our Bibles.  Why do we listen?Thousands, probably tens of thousands, listen to such programs and accept what they hear only because they want to believe what they hear.  That is one aspect.  Turn to the secular media and it gets worse, far worse, as people believe, obviously.  If they did not, the programs would lose their ratings and would be off the air.

Who told you that?  Four simple words that form a question that - in my opinion, ought to be foremost in the minds of every Christian as - if they have studied what is written in the Bible, they would be turning away from the media and turn to the most basic responsibility we all have and that is, to love one another.  That is the foundation stone of our belief system.

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