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The Word that Changes Us

P1010427_edited-1_SnapseedWhat comes to mind when we hear “the word of God” or “the word of truth”?

1.  God’s word of provision behind every good gift (Deut 8:3)

2.  A living and eternal Person  (John 1:1-3)

3.  The good news of what the living Christ did and does for us (Eph 1:13) (Eph 5:25-26) (Eph 6:17) (Heb 4:12-16)

Or, by contrast, are we inclined to think first, and maybe even primarily, of the inspired Scriptures as the Word of God?

Am guessing we’d agree that the Old and New Testaments  exist as an inspired witness to the ultimate, living, and eternal Word and Son of God—who turns out to be our Creator, Sustainer, Savior, King, Lord, and Judge.

The distinction doesn’t seem small. Neither does it seem merely theoretical. According to the Apostle Paul, the written letter of the law can kill. The Spirit gives life. The Lord is the Spirit. And the Scriptures exist as a witness to him (2Cor 3:1-18).

Am wondering whether you have noticed that when a  conversation turns around Christ, i.e. what he says about the Father, i.e. what the Scriptures and our own circumstances say about our need of him, and i.e. how we are learning to read the whole Bible in light of what he has done for us…that our words are more inclined to be…  full of grace.

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47 Responses to “The Word that Changes Us”

  1. Bill says:

    Good Morning Mart and Everyone!

    This is another insightful, potentially life-changing post.

    Here’s why:

    Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”(Matthew 24:35 ESV)

    At face value, that statement is false – IF we consider his words to be contained in and/or represented by the Bible. Because, obviously, when “heaven and earth…pass away” everything will be gone. That includes books. The Bible is a book. Therefore, Bibles will pass away.

    What does Jesus’ statement mean, then?

    It means what he considers his words are not necessarily contained in the Bible.

    Words *are* in the Bible, yes. They are God-breathed words:

    “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”(2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

    Very important.

    But are they the word of God?

    I don’t think so.

    John 14:6 tells us:

    “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(ESV)

    John 1:1-2 tells us:

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (ESV)

    The scripture does not say, “the Bible is the way, the truth, and the life.” It does not say adherence to or reverence for the Bible in any way gets us into heaven. In addition, the Bible does not say “The Bible was with God.”

    So what is the Bible, then?

    There’s a famous Zen saying, “The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.”

    Did you ever point to something and ask your pet to see what you’re pointing to? Cats, especially. You can point to something you want your cat to see all day long and say, “Look. There it is” and the cat will just stare at you. Or, at best, at your finger.

    Even dogs are prone to this. And small human beings. Point to something and they’ll just blink at you. Or look at your finger. Rarely, do animals and tiny humans follow your finger to see to what it’s pointing.

    I think that’s what the Bible is – the finger pointing to the moon. It is not the moon.

    Jesus is the moon.

    Jesus is the living embodiment of everything in the Bible. So, even when the Bible itself passes away, his words will still exist because he will still exist.

    In Zen culture, when the “finger” is understood (in this case, the finger is the Buddhist sutras, the teachings), they are set aside and embodied, not constantly referred to. For us, that would mean we glean what’s in the Bible, digest it, make it part of our lives, and then embody it, not constantly referring to it as if it IS the word of God, rather than that to which it points – Jesus.

    Christian Smith wrote a book called “The Bible Made Impossible” in which he makes the case that Evangelicals have replaced Jesus with the Bible and are now, in effect, worshiping the Bible, holding it in greater reference than that to which it points. (Or, more accurately, than whom to which it points.)

    I believe this is what happened to Christianity over the decades. The “moon” has been overshadowed by the finger. We try to glean from the Bible something it was never intended to provide. We use it in ways it never asked to be used.

    I believe this is why some hardline Christian authors and teachers (and seminaries and theologies and doctrines, etc.), try to stamp out anything and everything that isn’t found in the Bible – especially when it comes to matters of the spirit. If the words aren’t there to allow it, then it must be false or wrong. If an action or attitude cannot be justified by scripture, then it must be sin.

    For example, battered wives. How many times have hardline Christians told wives in abusive homes to stay put because divorce was wrong?

    Sounds crazy, I know. But blind obedience to the words on the page of a book trumped common sense and even the leaning of the spirit of God in so many instances like that. And people suffered because of it.

    How many other issues of today are we treating as the finger? I can think of several.

    I think there’s a great deal missing from the church today. For example, mysticism, contemplativeness, and the wisdom to know that the Bible is not meant to be worshiped.

    Somehow, we’ve allowed the black-and-white words on the pages of a book replace the “moon” in our lives.

    One of the greatest examples of that is the King James Only controversy. You’ve probably heard of the King James Only controversy. It’s when some authors and denominations believe only the King James Version of the Bible is the actual, inerrant word of God. All other versions are sinful, evil, and misleading. They are false Bibles.

    If you believe the word of God is contained in black-on-white words in a book, then the King James Only controversy makes a little sense. It seems plausible. But further scrutiny and the application of a modicum of logic quickly tells us that’s a spurious argument for many, many reasons.

    Yet, the King James Only controversy is the ultimate example that we’ve missed the point of the Bible, and that Christian Smith is correct.

    NOTE: I don’t intend any of you to believe what I just wrote in this post. It is not my job or place to tell you how to live your Christian lives. I’m just sharing years of research, reading, observing, and deeply thinking about the matter. My conclusions may not be yours. And that’s okay. I’m not you, and vice versa.

    For the past few years, I’ve tried to live my life thinking the Bible is the finger, and that Jesus is the moon to which it points.

    And that, to borrow Robert Frost’s words, has made all the difference.

    Love to All,


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Thank-you for the Scriptural reminders that in Jesus the veil that hid the face of the mediator Moses has now been removed. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! It is not a fond memory of Christ that delivers us from the darkness of a fallen world — it is God’s presence in the blessed Holy Spirit, as much the presence of God as Jesus of Nazareth. As you quoted, Mart:

    “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” (Eph 1:13)

    So, much more than any prophet, seer, guide or teacher, Jesus keeps the promise he made to the disciples then (and now):

    “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (closing remarks, Gospel of Matthew)


  3. poohpity says:

    I fully believe it is the Spirit of the Lord that resides in our hearts who brings about change. He is the only One capable since it was God who created us in the first place, it is only Him that can remodel and reshape. The desire to read the Bible or hear His Words seem to be a direct result of that change, a yearning to learn more about the One who gave and loved me so much. A desire to seek and search.

    I shared a long time ago about a dream I had thinking of the sword of the Spirit. I had thought that it was God’s Word as in the Bible but in my dream I learned it was Jesus who is actually the defense. I was standing in an arena and these dark things kept coming at me then someone came and stood at my back. I kept wielding my sword until I was so tired I could hardly hold it up any more. This light had been shining down on this arena like a spot light and from that light came a voice saying, “are you done doing things on your own?”. I said yes and He said this whole time all you had to do was look up and ask for help. So I lowered the sword and looked up and asked for help and all the dark things disappeared so quickly I was totally amazed, relieved and at such peace. That is when I learned what is meant by the Sword of the Spirit.

    The Bible is not a tool to be used against others it is a means after a heart change to get to know the One who is the Savior, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Almighty God and Counselor. It tells of the grace that was established since Genesis through Malachi until God was born of woman in the Gospels and lived with and among us. Then the story of the establishment of the early church when we were given God in the form of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

    God the Father–OT; God the Son–Gospels; God the Holy Spirit–the epistles; and our relationship with God in our lives through it all until the end; Revelation.

  4. marma says:

    My conviction of sin and change of mind culminated while reading John 8, especially verses 42 ff. It was as if Jesus were speaking to me personally. I’m glad The Lord used His Word to reach me — both the written, and Jesus, and the voice of the Spirit telling me this is truth.

    Jesus made connections between himself, the Father, and the Word. Seems to me we humans are more comfortable parsing them, but that isn’t the reality in Christ. John 1, after all.

    Pooh: re your question from last post. Oh yes, my brother thinks there are strings big time. Trust is VERY hard for him,



  5. quietgrace says:

    Hello Marma, I have been thinking of and praying for your brother since you mentioned him. I used to work with people with MI and my heart and prayers go out to you and him. Blessings, Grace

  6. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and BTA friends

    When I hear “the word of God” what comes uppermost in my mind is the “source” of the word – God – and the majesty, power and glory that He possess.

    In Isaiah 55:6-11 I learn that God’s thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than mine- as infinite as the distance between heaven and earth but He has graciously revealed Himself through His word. Like the rain and the snow which moisturizes the parched soil so it can produce good things, so is God’s word to my soul – it nourishes me so I can be a blessing to others.

    God sent His word to accomplish His purpose –so man would know and fear/revere Him and give Him the honor and glory that is due Him.

    God’s word reveals His heart and His mind and in it I learn about Him and about myself as God sees me. Hebrews 4:12

    God’s word is an expression of Himself and to question and doubt His word is akin to doubting His person and character. It is faith in the word of God that saves. Romans 10:17 John 20:31 John 3:16

    Because God is eternal, I can have complete confidence in His word. Isaiah 40:8 Psalm 18:30
    These are the things that come to my mind when I hear “the word of God” Psalms 150:1,2,6

  7. SFDBWV says:

    I have given this topic a great deal of thought and *listened* first to the thoughts of others before making a comment.

    Yesterday after reading Mart’s thoughts I started to write twice and ended up deleting and not saying anything. I could have, but something held me back as my thoughts sounded more like rhetoric than inspired.

    Odd when reading Mart’s last sentence and the word *grace* used, I immediately thought of the “Rosary” and the simple prayer that accompanies it.

    “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Amen.
    Hail Mary full of *grace*, the Lord is with Thee.
    Blessed art Thou among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus.
    O Lord, open my lips.
    And my mouth will proclaim Your praise.
    Incline Your aid to me O God.
    O Lord make haste to help me.
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.”

    If we think of *The Word of God* in the sense of John 1:1, then yes we do worship the “Word”, but if we think only of the *Written Word* as a collection of Books “breathed” by God whereas we may and should hold them in reverence, we should not *worship* them. Even though the very statement “ Written Word of God” refers to the expression of who God is, written down for us to *begin* to understand and relate to Him.

    Funny as I wrote “down” it expressed itself to me that God has to express Himself to us by talking “down” to us or toning it “down” so we could understand.

    My thoughts move on to ask this question, “Where would we be *without* the Bible?”

    The relationship we have with the Bible is vital to our faith, yet though our prayer life seems to take our relationship with God a step farther, without the Bible we may not know how to pray at all.

    Last night before I turned out the lights Matthew ask me a very serious and revealing question, “Dad why do you *believe* in God?”

    The question took me by surprise and off guard, as I fumbled for an answer he could understand, I settled on this answer before kissing him goodnight.

    “I believe in God because there is *love* in the world and I can love you and know you can love me, I can know that He is and loves us both.”


  8. Artle says:

    The spoken, written and heard word all described the God born into flesh (word made flesh). John 1:14 (NASB)

    The book points to Jesus, but it also describes Him in minute detail, like a world sized painting by the Master Painter and like a 3D painting that the light and view change as you move around and through it, but it all describes one Jesus.

    All 66 books of the big book describe one Jesus, so there can be no contradictions and all scripture is correct. It is all about one Jesus. If one verse here does not fit another verse there, Jesus is still Jesus; we are just looking at part of the painting or view that does not see all of Jesus there is to see.

    If we cannot reconcile grace with obedience, faith with works, love with wrath, life with death, judgment with mercy, your verse with my verse, then we are not seeing the whole painting. This does not mean we do not know Jesus, but it does mean we do not know everything that Jesus is to all people. No single person does.

    I can share the small part of Jesus I know and each of you can share the small part of Jesus you know, or if preferred, we can keep talking about ourselves. That’s what we do when we are off topic; we are telling the world who we are and helping everyone else miss the point along with us.

    I can tell that I can see parts of the painting that other people do not see, because they think they see the whole painting as I once thought. And the burdens they carry are no longer mine. Maybe they see 1% and I see 1.01%, so see, I’m not saying I know everything and everyone should listen to me. I’m saying stop listening to yourself and listen to Jesus.

    Jesus is so much more than any of us have the ability to imagine.

    The topic is always Jesus.

  9. poohpity says:

    I do not know what reading the scriptures would be like without first knowing God’s grace. I doubt if there would even be a desire to read them if it were not for grace. The scriptures seem to be used by some as a weapon to tell others how they need to live their lives when what I have seen it is a guide on how to live mine. God seems to use the written word with the skill of a surgeon as I grow in my relationship with Him the word changes not really changing as change goes but in what I see.

    Sometimes it is as if someone has come in and put a whole other book in my cover and I could swear that some things were not there before but are there now. I know now that is because some truths I was unable to handle at the time but because the Lord continues His work in me the scriptures seem alive and fresh with each journey through it. So that is the evidence that my mind is being renewed and only the Lord can do wondrous things like that not the book made out of trees, ink and leather but it is what is written on the trees with ink bound together with leather.

  10. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… If we can not reconcile… that was huge. :)
    You have profited much and shared much in those words.

    If we can not reconcile…Jesus can!

    Like the little boy in Sunday school who was asked to answer the question, or fill in the blank.
    He said, I know it has fur, climbs trees and eats nuts, and builds its nest with leaves in the branches,
    But, I also know we are in Sunday school, and Jesus has to be the answer!

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I would say anyone can read the whole bible every word of it and many times as well, but without the Helper living in them, they are read it as the rest of the world reads it, alone and with no Divine helps…
    Bible knowledge alone is not really knowing Christ, it is only knowing about Christ, and there is no salvation in knowledge alone.
    Many cult leaders, (like the Pharises) know the bible words and can quote them, but they do not know what they read.
    In His Love, Gary

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I love how you come here throwing all those lovely verse at us, first, then spew your mess about hardline Christians and battered wives.

    Just for the record Bill, any true Christian who has the Holy Spirit living in them, would never recommend that anyone stay in an abusive, destructive,unhealthy, or damaging environment, just to save a marriage, or for the sake of marriage, because that would not be properly following the word of God about what a marriage approved by God would look like.
    Husbands love your wives like Christ loves the church.
    So, there is no real God honoring marriage going on there to begin with, Sir.
    Yes, God hates divorce, but He would never apply His Word in that way. He will never support that sin to save a destructive marriage.
    Your premise is that hardline nuts are to tell another that their living in their destructive sin is God’s will for them?
    Yes, that sounds crazy!
    But, there probably are fringe wackos in every religion because they all have people like us.
    So, why come here and do that injustice to us.
    I’m glad you are so well read on all the other religions
    and so willing to share all with us.
    Thanks Bill

  13. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I drew a hard line with my comments and would like to soften them for the eyes and ears of all.

    God knows who he is dealing with when it comes to us, our making wrong choices, even in marriage, so He also has made a provision for divorce as well.
    Maybe the repetitive Zen teachings have frayed my hard line Christianity a touch, but nowhere in the word does it say we are to worship anything other than God, who is a very jealous God.
    So, all the other religions, and the hallowed quotes of man, although entertaining and possibly even enlightening and true, those I, nor we, do not worship.
    Please forgive my rant, as my humanity has shown itself again.

  14. phpatato says:


    It will always just continue.

  15. foreverblessed says:

    Be cheerful Pat, look to Jesus, no matter what other people write, at least,that is what I am trying to learn here.
    Jesus is the Living Word of God, the bible is the written Word of God, but it can only be read with the Holy Spirit giving it the spiritual life, otherwise it can be used for anything. As many have said here, everybody can read the bible, what benefit has it when read without the Spirit telling us the deeper truth it has, for our hearts, Grace, a relation restored with our God and Maker, through faith in Jesus Christ our Savior, who came to rescue us, and give us the full life, the spiritual life in Him that will never end.

  16. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends —

    It seems to me when we see a stunning, 3-D, hd, Technicolor view of…humanity…it is surely time to sing:
    “Shine, Jesus Shine!
    Fill this land with the Father’s glory!
    Blaze, Spirit, Blaze! Set our souls on fire!
    Flow, river, flow flood the nations with grace and mercy.
    Send forth your Word, Lord, and let there be light!”

    Joyfully yours,
    Maru :o)

  17. cbrown says:

    Gary,I agree with the Spirit of your post on 2:58 but hope you were referring to the 1st sentence and the 2nd to last sentence when you amended it.Also, the subject of divorce.I think in the New Testament there is a provision for divorce, but even that provision is narrow.There is provision for Grace though.

  18. phpatato says:

    Thank you Forever! You always seem to put things back in their proper place! I just get so downhearted sometimes. I can’t imagine how it must pain Mart.

    Thank you!

  19. bubbles says:

    Maru~ I hope you do not live where the fires are happening. It was on the news this morning. Hope you are out of harm’s way.

  20. street says:

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and [a]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [b]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown… I’m no expert on the issue of divorce according to the word, but it does say that marital unfaithfulness is one condition.

    Been there, done that, when living as the old man, who I was before my relationship with Christ who renewed my mind, and changed me.

    So, in my past twisted mind, and my past ungodly personal experiences, I say, if we take the vow to love, honor and obey, we are being faithful to the marriage if we continue to practice those things, for there is no law against them.

    But, being an abuser, whether physical, sexual, and especially a mental abuser is never honoring, loving, or obeying the spouse, the vow of marriage, or word of God, and certainly is not the will of God for any marriage.

    The vow is broken, the law is broken, the abuser is of course broken and needs fixing, and the wife is never to be treated as property, or a lesser party, or as a toy, or to remain as a victim either.

    God did make one exception in His word though, when he told a husband to take back his prostitute wife!

    In most cases today, God would certainly rather honor separation and divorce and not perpetuate or continue to justify the actions of any sinning unfaithful abuser.

    Could He heal all that? Of course!

    He is the great restorer.

    But we as the church, had better protect her from that injustice, dishonor, lack of love, ungodly and abusive behavior, when it becomes revealed.

    Would it honor God for the wife to remain in that marriage until God chooses to do a work in that unfaithful husband and restore that broken marriage because God hates divorce?

    Should the church support their staying together when abuse becomes the weapon used to destroy the marriage?

    I can’t speak for other churches, but mine will never tolerate abuse in the marriage to continue for the sake of the marriage, nor would we counsel a couple who both will not honor God first, then work to restore that broken relationship and marriage.

    We can not turn a blind eye to sin, or justify abuse in any godly relationship, and be following the word and will of God in my opinion, we must act to restore the brother, the relationship, and if possible the marriage.

    Omission, or not acting, is never a proper excuse, or neither is a blind eye, a deaf ear, or a calloused hard heart to any marriage that is threatened by abuse.


  22. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    No, Bubbles, I traveled way down south near the Rancho Cucamonga fire last week. It was nightmarish because all airport radar and computer function was disrupted by the smoke. Every flight headed toward LAX, Ontario, Burbank and other SoCal airports was diverted or sent back to its origination.

    I live 900 mi. north of there — practically another world! My reason for going south was an opportunity to hear NT Wright give a seminar (The Apostle Paul and the Faithfulness of God). The “blaze” I mentioned in my earlier post (5/14 – 5:34 pm) refers to the fire of the Holy Spirit that gives life and hope and consolation to Jesus-followers in the face of humanity’s willful blindness to God’s great love.

    Often, it seems to me, when there is a less than complete witness of God’s transforming Word — the only path open is prayer and praise. Argument and efforts to correct only bring more distortion — and even retaliation. It is sometimes better to simply “Shine for Jesus.”


  23. bubbles says:

    Maru, glad to read you are far from the fires.

  24. SFDBWV says:

    “The Word that Changes us”.

    Several people whom I have heard from including many here, are repulsed by “televangelists”, perhaps even their counterpart on radio as well.

    What is it about the *delivery* of “the Word” that can either encourage us or repulse us?

    I have, and I believe so do others, hit *dry* spells where reading Scripture does nothing for me insofar as those *halleluiah* moments, in fact it sometimes is like trying to eat another bite when you are so full you just can’t put anymore in your mouth.

    How long the dry spell lasts varies. And I believe depends on God.

    I believe that many ministries including RBC recognize this and so put out those little daily verses for us to read, like Our Daily Bread and others.

    One thing I do know, unless you have a good knowledge of what the Scriptures say you are vulnerable to others who sound like they do, whether they do or not. Cults depend on your limited knowledge and so try and make you believe what it is they are trying to convince you of.

    They rely on your limitations.

    People don’t like to believe that they have limitations when it comes to learning, but we all do and for a long list of reasons.

    Being a genius is often associated with being absent minded. The reason for that is because genius’ focus their attention so intensely on one subject that they don’t think about other things at the same time and so seem lost or absent minded.

    Many of the rest of us clutter our minds up with so many *things* that we can’t stay focused on any one subject for long at all, as one thought quickly leads to another.

    Revelation 2:25 and Revelation 3:11 both tell these churches to hold on to what they have, that more will be added when Jesus returns. Revelation 3:8 says to that church “for thou hast a little strength”.

    I believe that God will reveal to us what it is we *need* to know in order to continue, I also believe that God knows our limitations and will put no more on us than we are capable of understanding.

    When we try and convince another of what God has revealed to us, it is entirely possible that they are not ready, or even able, to understand what you may already know. So the result can either be seen as wisdom or arrogance depending on the heart of the receiver.

    So great caution must be used in the delivery of what you or I may have already learned from reading the Word of God, sometimes the only thing we need to remember or relay to another is that the accumulated knowledge of all the Scripture leads one to Jesus and it is Jesus who offers *grace* to all who ask for it.


  25. cbrown says:

    Steve, I am blessed by your posts. Yesterday and today were especially good! Gary,My church teaches that if a husband is physically abusive remove yourself from the home. In the new Testament there is much written about marriage and also divorce and the Word is powerful when studied in God’s Spirit. Sunday our pastor preached concerning Timothy’s mother Eunice,Acts16:1 and then 1 Corinthians Chapter 7. Ultimately the Holy Spirit makes all things new in time as put so well in this mornings Daily Bread.God Bless you.

  26. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Yesterday, in devotional reading, Luke 2:34-35 was part of the material covered. Was struck, in view of some of our conversations here at BTA — and other places in my faith journey, because humanity is spoken of prophetically by Simeon (in the temple at Jerusalem):

    “And his (Jesus’) father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,’Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.'” This is, to my mind, a word that changes.

    Simeon spoke at that time about Jesus being the salvation prepared by God “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to (God’s) people Israel.”

    That salvation and light for revelation and glory are always the point of sharing about Jesus, it seems to me. The word that changes us is God’s love.


  27. remarutho says:

    Hoped to write: This is, to my mind, a word that changes humanity (us). Maru

  28. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Maru, “That salvation and light for revelation and glory are always the point of sharing about Jesus,”
    As Mart wrote “if we read the Bible in light of what He has done for us, then there would be more grace in our communication”
    What is the Grace God has given me:
    One thing is that the realization the the bible is nothing if there is not the life of the Spirit blown into it. I have had too much bible reading from my youth with too less of the Holy Spirit.
    So my upbringing with the Word was: Man is head of the wife. Ephesians 5:22

    Strange thing is that the submission of the women was emphasized, but not the men laying down their lives for their wives, just as Jesus had done for His Bride Eph 5:25
    I believe that if a man is so living his wife, not putting his own interests first but that of his wife and children, there would be no problem submitting at all.
    Anyway, we have discussed this husband-wife thing intensively a few years ago. And it always stirred up many emotions.
    Why I bring this up is because the whole of the bible is important, what does it say about Jesus, in that light we have to interpret everything. Jesus is the living Word, and this can only be revealed by the Father Matt 16:17 and 2 Cor 3:18
    “For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ”

    To tell my own story, I was protected by God, He gave me a healthy sense of what He meant, that husband and wife should stand viz-a-viz with one another, so I escaped all these men that just were looking for wife, somebody with a skirt on, so to speak.

    Still this husband and wife thing is only understood with the Holy Spirit, and it is a great Mystery, so Paul says, talking about Jesus Eph 5:32

  29. foreverblessed says:

    A shorter version:
    “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matt 19:6 and Mark 10:9
    This is also speaking of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit,

  30. foreverblessed says:

    Matt 19:6 is also good to ask: did God put these two people together?

  31. poohpity says:

    Whenever I see a movie that I really enjoy I can watch it over and over. I might even know every word of the script but I never tire of watching it. Believing as I do that the scriptures are one of the ways that God has chosen to communicate with me, I never tire of them because they contain the wisdom of God. Knowing that God is omniscience there is a never ending to the amount of things I can learn from Him so why ever stop pursuing that, not for self importance but out of love.(Matt 13:12 NLT; Eph 1:17 NLT; Phil 1:9 NLT; 2 Peter 1:2 NLT; 2 Peter 1:6,8 NLT; 2 Peter 3:18 NLT) Knowledge of God grows as our desire for Him grows that is one relationship it would behoove us to never let it grow stagnant.

    I agree Steve if we are not grounded in His word then we will fall for anyone who says they teach it but do they really? It is up to me to take that step to gain that knowledge that is available to all. I can listen to preacher upon preacher or book author upon book author tell me what is in the Bible being bottle fed or go to the Bible and find out for myself and eat the meat.

    Mart in your post the scripture was used to show evidence that Jesus is the Word if you had not known the Bible or used scripture to prove that truth then it would have been just another opinion.

    Further evidence comes in experiential living. It seems one has to read it, live it then learn that it is truth. Pretty soon whatever experience one faces with familiarity of scripture the Lord can and does pop those things into your mind. An example was my mom even though her memory was very challenged her final days but she could rattle off scripture as if it was right in front of her.

    In counseling classes we learned that different ways of thinking, of seeing and of hearing replaced all the old ways we did those things. Replacing the old tapes with new ones. Some of the old thinking which they referred to as stinken thinken, i.e. I am worthless, everything I touch turns to poop, there is no hope, etc. you get the picture. I had street thinking not that it does not still help me especially in reading people but who I am now in Christ replaced the old garbage and that is what I found in Christ and I know that is why He put the desire in me to read His Words. That is what I hope to share with people is they are of worth to God and He can and does use anyone. Rom 12:2 NLT

  32. Artle says:

    My apologies that my first comment in this topic wandered afield.

    Yes, I have noticed when we think and comment around the central figure of our faith, that our comments are tempered with His Grace. I don’t know that I would describe my words as full of grace, but I suppose if what I share is about His Grace, one might hear His Grace in my words, so okay, yes.

    I’ll stop there lest my words fall from grace. :-)

  33. poohpity says:

    forever, so when you first read the scriptures you were filled with legalism but now when you read them full of God’s grace do they seem different?

  34. Artle says:

    If we make no effort to listen with our heart, we will hear neither of the options offered in the topic.

    If we listen with our heart, we will hear them all.

    As far as understanding what we hear, we do have a helper that teaches us what we need to know when we need to know it. (John 16:13 NASB)

    All of either the word or the Word is more than we can handle at one time. If we knew everything at once, we would not be able to handle the information. Pooh mentioned recently about finding a new bible in her cover. Though it was the same bible she had read before, she found new things. I imagine that everyone who has read the bible more than once (or same scripture more than once) can report the same phenomenon. The Spirit guides us in what we need to know and it makes sense it would be when we need to know it. (John 16:13 NASB)

    Is the Spirit then going to abandon us as we listen to each other? No, because the Spirit is still our guide and teacher and protector.

    Jesus is more than we can imagine.

  35. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all!
    Pooh I like Rom 12:2 NLT and how it uses the word “think”. It took me a while to realize that as I read scripture I read it according to the way I thought, which was worldly. It takes a long time to read scripture for what it says, and not for what I think it says or want it to say. But Jesus interprets it perfectly every time if I am listening to Him. Does God always and only speak to me through scripture? No, that’s another thing it took me a long time to realize, that God speaks through others, nature, books, music, etc. He is amazing, isn’t He!!!!!

    I agree that to find our worth to God is vital to carrying out the great commission, and the scriptures are replete with positive, useful, and corrective words to build us all up in our most Holy faith.

    Thank you, Pooh, for being a counselor of Truth and for all you have loved and taught and encouraged through the years of your ministry. I am blessed to know you. Grace

  36. poohpity says:

    Artle, Amen to Jesus is more than we can imagine or even wrap our minds around. We seem to be given a life time to get to grow in our knowledge of Him but until we see face to face it all sort of passes through our minds. I guess that is why we have to be reminded everyday in our devotions of His great love and amazing grace.

  37. poohpity says:

    Wow Grace, thank you. I feel blessed to know you as well as your gift of mercy shines forth through your written words. I wish I could take credit but we both know the real source. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, yes, I still have problems reading the bible. Many times it will speak to me as if I have to do a lot of things:
    Come to me you who are wearied.. Matt 11:28
    Be you perfect, as I am perfect. Matt 5:48
    Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling Phil 2:12.

    All verbs, things I have to do myself so it seems.
    And that is why I read devotionals that I know that are full of Grace, and then go to a bible verse and stay in the grace mode, and I can read it. I missed the Grace part a lot.
    Don’t worry, I am praying to Holy Spirit to talk to me directly, and make things alive in the Spirit.
    That is also why I have so much trouble in reading Gary’s comments, I have told him that too: If he would the pastor of my church, I would have ample opportunities of giving all my worries to Jesus.
    Matter of fact is: the truth the bible speaks of is:
    that we can do nothing of ourselves, we have to come to the end of self, of relying of anything good we can do of ourselves, on relying on our own strength, religious strength, self strength, until we are completely empty, and humble. blessed are the poor in spirit
    Without Me you can do nothing John 15:5
    But so many commands Jesus gives, and yet we cannot do them of ourselves. So always I have to think: so help me Jesus, but my first reflect is: I have to do something myself, try hard.

    You are full of praising the bible, I am not, I say: it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus plus the bible. The Living Word is Jesus. That is my light! So I live with Jesus, and speak to Him, and He talks to me, and I understand, and that is without the bible around me. I guess, there are so many bible verses in my head, as of a young age, I studied them, And now He brings them to Light in the grace mode. Thanks be to God.
    Let me say now something controversial, could we go without the bible? Yes we could, as long as we have Jesus with us. Jesus can put into our mind directly what He wants if we abide in Him. He could write it all anew in our hearts. Matter of fact, when I was really depressed of all that legalism I did not read the bible, and yet Jesus spoke to me directly to my heart, He was very very close and comforting me, and guiding me. The bible came back into my life after that period. Bus as I said, I was not without the bible, as they were in my head, but now in a new light that Jesus.
    But it is good to study the bible, drink it in with the Holy Spirit guiding, learning by heart many many verses, and wait till God explains them.
    I do agree with Artle to read with the heart too. As when I read the submission part I read it with the heart, and asked God to explain the realm meaning of it. There are so many layers in the bible verses.
    But you may pray for me, that reading the bible would be always full of the Spirit and in Grace, that the Spirit will teach me directly, and I would be in no need of Grace teachers. Like Andrew Murray, Spurgeon, Jesus calling, Oswald Chambers (this man is the reason I am on this blog).
    Sorry for being sooo long.
    God bless you all, and especially Gary! With His Grace, mercy, peace, wisdom and above all His love!

  39. poohpity says:

    forever, thank you for your answer. The Bible I use has the help of many biblical scholars, theologians, etc. I don’t know what my understanding would be without all the helpers the Lord has provided over thousands of years. So I understand completely what you are saying.

  40. poohpity says:

    I do not know that we could have the knowledge we do without the Bible though. God seemed to make it a point from Moses through the prophets to write down God’s Words so to me it is completely relevant, useful and I do not know what or how we could know things without it. I guess God could find a way. Jesus when He was on this earth taught from the OT. Luke 24:27 NLT

  41. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, but Jesus also brought in many new things, like:
    Love each other as I have loved you.
    That was new, or wasn’t it?
    Of course we need the bible, but say, when you would be kidnapped, and tucked away for a couple of months, would you survive as a christian without a bible. Like this happens in Nigeria, and all over the world. I guess you would, God would find a way to communicate through the Holy Spirit, He would bring to mind all of the bible verses that you have read, and probably even more then that.
    Corrie ten Boom did have a bible when she was internated. She took great care to smuggle her little bible into the nazi camp, and that little bible was greatly used by the Holy Spirit to talk to them.
    I guess that if you would live in dangerous areas, have a little bible with you. Tucked away, but most of all, Abide in Christ!

  42. quietgrace says:

    Pooh and Forever may I interject something into your conversation about whether we need the Bible or if Jesus is enough? Well, here goes…

    Forever I see that your are a mystic as I have been in the past. I say ‘have’ because I started finding that some things I was hearing in the Spirit realm caused me some confusion as I searched the scriptures to make sure what I was hearing was from God, and not from an angel or an angel of light in disguise. When I started to be able to know things about others that I could not have known otherwise I quit listening to the ‘spirit’, as I knew I was being deceived and used by the enemy. One thing I learned that is dangerous is if you want to hear something, there is always something out there that will oblige your desires. It made me feel powerful and almost superior to others to have such information. Now I only consult my Bible, the standard of Truth for too long to be false, and also listen very carefully and watch for answers as the Lord Jesus gives me wisdom, knowledge, or nothing at all, which usually means “wait”.

    I too read the teachings of many dead saints, and gain wisdom and insight from these, but make sure they are proven true by their words, and the words of scripture.

    Thank you for letting me interject into your conversation! Blessings to you both, Grace

  43. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Quiet for your lovely concern, but I do not hear anything spiritual that is not out of the bible, mostly I meditate upon a subject that is brought up in a devotional, totally biblically.
    But things like: focusing on Jesus, is something that we do as soon as we wake up in the morning, we focus our thoughts on Him, and our faith says we believe He IS here with me. That is something I did not get out of reading the bible myself, but I learned from Jesus calling, and as we focus with whole our heart, and open it up to Him, then His life flows through us. I guess that that is mystical, but is it unbiblical?
    But I have read some things, the John Gospel by Jacob Lorber, that I at some point suspected to be of a religious spirit. There I stopped, and started to ask to Holy Spirit to show me in the bible what is true and what is not.
    But thanks for your concern, I hope I am clear now.

  44. quietgrace says:

    Forever you have made things much clearer to me, thank you. If you will, please bear with me as I share another story of my spiritual journey that comes to mind as you talk of the presence of Jesus.

    When I was a new Christian I counseled with a Christian counselor that used a process of visualization in therapy. I was to recall events from my past and visualize Jesus intervening. Having had horrific experiences my visuals of Jesus were also terrifying at best, and only led me to ask, Jesus, if you were there, why didn’t you stop the abuse, why did You just stand and watch? Took me many years to figure that one out! Maturity and studying scripture in higher education helped me to see Jesus for who is really is, not just as how my damaged psyche imagined Him to be. See why I am so wary of anything outside of scripture?
    One thing I have learned through experience is that the devil is way smarter than I am, and I have had some terrible battles with him, but following the simple way of trusting Christ through all things is what keeps me safe and sane!!!! Now when I sense the enemy is involved I just say- I am not battling with you- Jesus,help! And the enemy slinks away.

    Whew! Not sure how I ended up here, but here I am. Christ alone! Christ alone! All other ground is sinking sand.

  45. foreverblessed says:

    QUietgrace, thank you for sharing, your story looks a lot like the lady I talked about last week. I sense that the darkness of her life, and yours is soooo much darker then I can imagine. I understand why you are very careful with mystical experiences. Yes, best so.
    What I also know is that the grace that is flowing through her when she is set on Jesus is so much deeper and full of grace then of other christians. That is when she is up, but often she falls again, and the darkness seems to take over again, very very hard to watch. And when she calls Jesus’name, and starts pronouncing many bible verses the peace comes back again, but she needs other christians around her to help her. What a battle.
    How do we end up here? I have to go to bed, it is very late. God be with you and He is sooo Gracious to you, thank God. I have to trust Him that nothing on earth happens that He cannot turn around into something good. All through Jesus Cross! All blackness is absorbed by Him, and He gives His righteousness to us.
    That is the message of the Gospel, and not only that, because He is risen His life is now in us, for those who believe in Him.
    What would we be without Jesus, God, give us more faith in Him!

  46. poohpity says:

    forever, actually love others is in Leviticus 19:18 NIV. I think what happened is the religious leaders added to the original intent of the law which then caused them to elevate themselves into sort of like being god to the people but Jesus taught that all the law and what the prophets wrote is summed up in Matt 22:37-40 NLT. If you read Matthew 23 Jesus warns about ultra religious type people who follow the letter of the law but miss what God’s intention was by it.

    I believe God speaks not only in my head but in scripture and through dreams but if I am not familiar with His written Word it may be the deceiver who can come in any form he chooses to accuse, break down the believer by thinking that his works are what makes one right with God or to earn His love. Some are easy to see others are not that easy to see because they use the name of the Lord but they really do not know Him at all.

    When I first began this journey with the Lord but still craving for my parents to be proud of me. I was raising my sons, very active in church, working and going to college after leaving 21 years of substance abuse. I was talking to my dad over the phone from my mom’s apt. and his comments were because I was only working 32 hours a week shouldn’t I be doing more. Needless to say I was crushed and left for my apartment sobbing and this voice in my head said, “I am proud of you” and I knew it was the Lord because this warm peace came over me. So I can’t say how the Lord will get a message to us but that He will.

  47. street says:

    Am wondering whether you have noticed that when a conversation turns around Christ, i.e. what he says about the Father, i.e. what the Scriptures and our own circumstances say about our need of him, and i.e. how we are learning to read the whole Bible in light of what he has done for us…that our words are more inclined to be… full of grace.

    I think this is why we need to practice the bread and the cup as often as we can to remember how Great a debtor we are to Jesus. You can not trivialize the smallest sin when you understand this is Gods Justice on any and all sin. Thank you God for sending your Son, please send Him back soon.

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