Curriculum Vitae

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Just because someone doesn’t feel the push to go into ministry doesn’t make their vocation any less important to the Lord. As Jesus was a carpenter prior to his emergence into society-at-large  as a rabbi, we’d do well to reflect on our position in the workforce and the world, whatever it may be.

“And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” (Acts 18:1)

Our best work is done…

Finish that sentence. The verse above refers to Paul. Think about other figures in the Bible (namely most, if not all, though I haven’t checked) who held down gigs that were other than standing in a pulpit proclaiming the Word. There was Stephen, called upon to fill a role as a waiter (Acts 6). We have Lydia, a “seller of purple” (Acts 16:14) and then there are the various blue-collar workers the comprise Christ’s rabbinic entourage (references throughout the opening chapters of the gospels). Point is, the “ministry” is what you do.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

As you may know, curriculum vitae is like a résumé but more so. They’re typically sent in for higher-order academic positions. Know, though, that it’s Latin, literally, for “the course of one’s life”. The road our lives take may wind in and out of any number of jobs, side jobs, careers or otherwise and while none of those positions define us, God would have us learn things about Him and about life that we would learn no other way.

In the twentieth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks about “the kingdom of Heaven” (verse 1) in terms of hiring and day labor. While all of the applicants get work and all of them work for a “penny” (the minimum-est of wages, I might add), Jesus sews up the parable with the counterintuitive “many be called, but few chosen. (20:16)” In the chapter, a couple things stand out, namely the notion that anyone serving the Lord is on his timetable and in his employ. The idea of working for profit is introduced, but we’ll talk about that in a moment. As Christ is a storyteller par excellence, one can glean so much from the simple ways in which he weaves together the ingredients to his parables. Implied throughout the story is this notion of non-judgment upon those who haven’t been serving the Lord as long as others. Yes, the vineyard metaphor most-likely pertains to the Church—as in church work—but Jesus considers the whole world to be the factory floor for his operation. So this means that we are always working for him whether we realize it or not.

Saving for retirement

“Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-22)

So, what Paul is saying here is to stay true to one’s gifts as given by God. This doesn’t mean that one’s career or vocation can’t change but that any lateral movement in the place one finds oneself must be done at the leading of the Holy Spirit. Moving on because someone wants more money or more perks is not the highest order to which one should aspire. Climbing a ladder doesn’t necessarily fill the will of God if that ladder doesn’t reach the right place. Contentment is worth more than all the money in the world. I love Paul’s little instruction there: “care not for it”. In other words, don’t let a less-than-desirable job oppress you or define you or squeeze God’s joy out of your heart. You can do so much for Him wherever you’re at. A paycheck is merely a bonus.

And if you do feel called to the ministry, more power to you (see 1 Timothy 3:1).

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In Sincerity

“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” (Ephesians 6:24, emphasis mine)

If you’re not sure, just ask. Nothing worse than going on in blindness, not knowing that you’re somehow missing the Lord altogether through some feigned authenticity. Paul closes his letter to the Christians in Ephesus with that caveat. Nearly all his canonical letters end on a grace note, so to speak. It’s Ephesians that tacks on those last two words.

“Therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” (Malachi 2:16b)

While that part of Malachi is repeated from the verse prior to it (2:15), and both deal with a husband’s conduct towards his wife in remaining true to her in heart and mind, I think the same admonition could be leveled at those who profess Christ. There is a deep work that necessarily takes place in the heart and mind of those who “love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” to where you know. You know that you know the one who “loved [you] and gave himself for [you]” (Galatians 2:20) and are beyond convinced that you are in fellowship with him. Because it’s something that is living and active, if I may.

“Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” (Psalm 138:6)

Again, if you’re not sure as to your level of sincerity (or lack thereof), just ask. When you first believed is when you received “the adoption of sons [and daughters].” (Galatians 4:5b) In other words, the same status that Christ possesses by virtue of being “the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29b) did you receive. I have to say, that a prolonged period of disconnect through the willful ignoring of him is a position that no child of his should even consider approaching. But again, reestablishing what you had when you first met him is as simple as a childlike acknowledgement or conversation. Find something to thank him for that he has done for you in the past week or so. This is how sincerity is built, one thought at a time.

“If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it no; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:12)

Authenticity has to be the hardest thing to fake. How would one even go about doing that? As an image presented necessarily needs not just a model but also a sounding board (audience), authenticity on the order of Christ must have him in view. When Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:9) he implies that when one is transparent in heart, they’ll see through everything to the Father. Point is, there is a level of sincerity and authenticity that Jesus builds in to you when you endeavor to live as did he: with reference to God. And if you’re having trouble with your sincerity, he’ll help you. Meanwhile, act like him. Be kind and thoughtful and present with those whom you encounter. Lift people up before the Lord and pray for them and you’ll look back at intervals and see yourself becoming the person God thought of when he first made—and then remade (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)—you.

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:19-20)

Aliquot

“Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.” (Job 9:10)

If you really know how to look—I mean take the time to focus your attention on how many things that God has done to speak to your heart, you will see the proliferation of his blessings to you. There are some things he does for us, however, that require a little more focus, a little more attention and care.

“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.” (Proverbs 17:8)

Think nothing of it

Some gifts he gives are more like pieces of him. Take, for instance, the gift of the Holy Spirit in whatever capacity the Lord has showered on you. In the case of Christ, he had the full measure (“…and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him” Luke 3:22a) but as we take our inspiration in the things of the Spirit from him anyway, that’s a good place to start. When, in the next chapter of Luke’s Gospel, he stands up to explain why he has this gift and what it’s to be used for, we understand that our own ideas as to what we’re gonna do with what we’ve got don’t always go to the top floor with reference to God. Here’s that verse from the next chapter:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

It sounds like the gift of “The Spirit of the Lord” ensured Jesus would be quite a busy guy. Those six things he listed were the laundry-list of acts that he went about doing during the three years of his ministry.

Dead giveaway

Paul quotes the 68th psalm in his letter to the Ephesians. He’s equating the psalmist’s declaration of God with Christ—as, I suppose, he had the authority to do (see 1 Timothy 1:11)—when he says:

“Wherefore he (David) saith, When he (Christ) ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.”

Interesting distinction: whereas the version of the verse in Ephesians uses “gave” with reference to the “gift of Christ” (4:7), the original scripture from the Psalms (68:18) uses the English verb “received”, indicating that the gifts have been taken back and then reallocated for us. It might be nothing more than a triviality. But as with many things in the Word of God, fine details often have a way of opening up grander vistas than we ever thought were there. Treasures hid in a field, as it were.

An “aliquot part”, as you may know, is simply a piece of a larger whole. Speaking with reference to the science of chemistry or in mathematics, “aliquot” takes on a little more complicated definition. The thing about the gifts of Christ—the gifts of God that are like pieces of him, in my opinion—is that they are for a specific purpose and will only work correctly when used in the service of the God who gave them.

So what is it that you’re doing with your gifts? Use your imagination. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Does it help you plan out your schedule and your weekend? I’m serious. Forward thinking is a gift, just make sure you have your focus trained on the one who’s letting you see things in the first place. How ’bout the gift of teaching? Very simply, the desire to break things down into their constituent parts and then assemble them in a coherent way to those listening is an aspect of it. Use it well. Do you have the gift of helping others (see 1 Corinthians 12:28)? Perhaps that manifests itself in an a way of thinking that doesn’t really consider the person in possession of the gift. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!

As it says at the top of the page, God is abundant and generous and wholly unselfish with his gifts. But all of them are aspects of the greatest gift of all. And that’s love. And, well:

“God is love.” (1 John 4:8b)

Known and Unknown

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” (2 Corinthians 5:16)

The risen Christ is altogether more than he is seen as prior to his crucifixion. The risen Christ is the Jesus that is known in the heart and only perhaps seen with the eyes (but not always). The risen Christ is the one “with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13).” Yes, he’s “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).” But there had been, as the writer of Hebrews points out, a death. His.

“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (Hebrews 9:16)

In other words, the writer of Hebrews is relating Christ to the biblical figures from the first testament (called the Tanakh in Jewish tradition) and indicating through a series of precise, back-and-forth comparisons, just exactly what Jesus did in fulfilling rabbinic tradition and then allowing himself to be taken (essentially kidnapped) and beaten and crucified. “Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh…” In other words, we saw him as a mere human. Now, upon resurrection, he’s so much more. Savior, friend, architect, “the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).” How can Christians be so crazy for someone they’ve never met face-to-face and who died nearly two-thousand years before this generation came along? Rhetorical questions.

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:9).”

The first part of the scripture from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians at the top of the page says “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh…” This is the King James translation and it comes across a little archaic. A modern revision would read something along the lines of “After believing in Jesus-as-Christ, it isn’t all the outward signs of achievement, wealth, social standing, physical appearance or personal bearing that his followers first see when they look at other individuals.” A little more longwinded, admittedly, but it gets the point across. All the qualifiers of which fall under the broad category of “the flesh”. I say all of this to say that the first half of that scripture implies that we as Christians now look at others as we see (the risen) Christ. Question: how would we look at Jesus if he hadn’t died on the cross and if the, uh, festschrift—that is the Bible and all its attendant literature—hadn’t made its mark on the world? To be sure, he wouldn’t be known at all. He would have been an obscure Jewish carpenter, plying his trade, and who decided on a vocational shift as he neared midlife. Perhaps a unique story, made all the more salient for the sole fact that he had some radically counterintuitive proclamations. Things that, while they might sound like some of the things put forth by other religions the world over, hold a freshness and lightness in spite of their weighty implications. But he was just a man! Someone lost to the sands of time and who died a gruesome death through the gerrymandering, bureaucratic, conspiratorial positioning of both elitist, Pharisaic Judaism and imperious Rome. Just a man, one of thousands, if not millions, who had come and gone, before and after. If this is all Jesus was then what’s the big deal? All fantastic utterances aside (see John chapter 10, verses 10 and 30), he was just a man. Oddly enough, one of the Roman centurions who stood by while Jesus was hanging on the cross, said at his expiry “Truly this man was the Son of God (Mark 15:39b).” Evidently something had happened when Jesus died that caused the centurion to see Jesus in a different light than “just a man”. It says in verse 37 that “Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” The next verse talks about the veil of the temple being torn down the middle (symbolizing the emergence of God’s Spirit into this world) and then we have the centurion’s conversion upon hearing Jesus cry out.

The whole point of Paul’s fifth chapter in his second letter to the Christians in Corinth is this idea of “living in our body”. Verse 2 and 3 say “For in this (this life) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed e shall not be found naked.”

The whole point of Easter (as seen from the Christian’s point of view) is that there is more to this life than the body and more to what happens after death than its decomposition. If one chooses to look at the gift of existence as consisting of more than what we can see, then they’re on the way to understanding the profound implications of all that stuff in the Bible that makes absolutely no sense to a worldview that dismisses the spiritual. We are more than our “house”. So was Jesus. It is my prayer that you would take him at his word and see, not just the sacrifice, but also the resurrection, as two sides to this very real and very much alive individual who loves you.

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)

Lionizing Jesus

To lionize someone means that you treat them other than what they really are. Humanly speaking, it means that you see them in an unnatural light and maybe perhaps think they’re more than human, more than down-to-earth and approachable.

Halo effect

“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, He departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6:15)

Reading through the testaments, one gets this idea that the children of Israel wanted nothing more than a physical representation of that which God the Father promised to them in eons past: namely, that of a king, on a throne, dispensing judgment and edicts, etc. But, true to form, God did things different than expected. He sent His Son to be born in obscurity and grow up among the hoi polloi (yes) and, after that incident in the temple with reference to that long-forgotten prophecy in Isaiah (see Luke 4:21, Isaiah 42 respectively), Jesus is on the scene. He’s the Messiah and all of humanity is left to deal with it the only way they know how. Thank God He sent the Holy Spirit to truly discern the nature of Christ and what it means to approach Him on His terms (see the passage at the bottom of the page).

“The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He.” (John 4:25)

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the knowledge of just who Jesus is with reference to history and humanity seemed to come to a select few—those whose hearts were ready to hear it. The woman at the well referenced above was eminently set in her ways and yet with a simple realigning of her priorities (and a little bit of sin-conviction), she was lit from within and ended up going out and evangelizing a city that most likely would not have heard the Gospel till God-knows-when (they were Samaritans and they didn’t mix with the Jews; racial tensions, you understand). But think about it: The children of Israel were promised many times—if they had read the scriptures (see Psalm 132:11, Isaiah 7:14, et al.)—that God would send a Savior, a Messiah. And here you have the man himself walking “through Samaria” (John 4:4b) and looking into the eyes of one individual (of many), telling her that He is that One. How then is this example different than the one from the sixth chapter of John above? The rabble, gripped with a mob mentality that looks to hoist Jesus high on their shoulders in order to take him somewhere and make him something other than what the Father had in mind when He sent him, is the wrong response. I can imagine the ignition, the pilot light that started in the eyes of the woman from Samaria when Christ leaned in and whispered those words. Evidently she didn’t see him as anything special before that.

There are several prophecies in Isaiah that describe a multi-faceted individual. Someone altogether human and yet concerned with one thing. The forty-second chapter, second verse says “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.” This means that doesn’t have to do what normally a person seeking an audience would be inclined to do. Yes, he had an entourage of twelve disciples but that was only because he was a teacher and it was tradition to find students and teach them. All throughout his time walking the streets of Israel, he was affecting the change talked about back in the prophecies of Isaiah. Another one from that book (53:1b-2) says “To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” In other words, there’s nothing about the outward appearance to Christ that suggests a knight in shining armor or an individual who has an unfounded messiah complex. He’s simply here to do what he was sent to do. It took a widescale realigning of the human experience by those who knew Him to understand, to apprehend the enormity of his person as he went about his day, doing things that were totally ordinary. He asks Philip (one of the twelve) “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” (John 14:9) It takes time to have the light of God diffuse into us to where we see Christ for who he is while we’re here and as we are.

Help is on the way

Here’s the thing about Christ: He’s amazing. He’s the Man. There is a gravitas to His person that keeps one from being flippant and glib in His presence. But this isn’t to say that He inspires a mindless hero-worship bereft of our faculties. To see Him in what light one is accustomed brings a peace and a beauty that nothing else in this world is able to substitute. And He loves you. Don’t be fooled: He is the “Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David” (Revelation 5:5) and due all the worship one is able to wring out of their person. But He’s also a friend. He’ll help you see Him for who He really is.

“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:25-27)

Head in the Clouds

“And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth…” (John 3:32a)

That was John the Baptist speaking of Jesus. He leads into that statement with “he that cometh from Heaven is above all.” (John 3:31b) It isn’t just that we see Jesus as descended from the clouds (i.e. Heaven), but that we understand all He went through in order to be ordained a “high priest” (see Hebrews 4:15-16).

Silver linings

There’s a scene in Luke’s Gospel (12:14) where this guy calls on Jesus to talk to his brother so that he would “divide the inheritance” (verse 13) with him. Jesus answers back and says “who made me a judge or divider over you?” Evidently the guy trusted Jesus enough to be able to settle the dispute but we also see that Christ was more pragmatic than that. Jesus goes one further and warns everyone there about getting caught up in wordliness an an overreaching materialism. The thing that you’ll find as you read through the gospels is that Jesus is always changing the subject, derailing long-established trains of thought and generally disrupting patterns and norms with, as John described up top, “what He hath seen and heard.”

One of the most amazing incidents happens in the Gospel of Mark at which time we see Jesus tell a palsied man that his sins are forgiven. The thing about that statement I find so remarkable is that it looks, for all intents and purposes, to be a simple religious-sounding utterance. Like, “Blessings be upon you!” In other words, something purely platitudinal and that’s great. Those that were there (whose hearts were blinded) thought Jesus was crazy for saying something so outlandish, thinking that only “God” could do something like “forgive sins”. In other words, it was like Jesus was opining on something He wasn’t qualified to talk about. What happens next is pretty cool however: He parries the scribes’ petty complaints and then goes on to prove that He can reach into another realm for wisdom and inspiration. He tells the paralyzed man to “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” (Mark 2:1-12) Which the man does, proving that the former statement Jesus made carried weight. One cannot simply say these things and have them take the intended effect unless they really know what they’re talking about. And Jesus definitely knows what He’s talking about. “What He hath seen and heard…”

“And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:27)

Jesus knew stuff, He had been around. His parable about the steward who was audited, so to speak, by the man for whom he was employed (see Luke, chapter 16) not only includes some very practical instruction on dealing with debt (pay it down little by little) but also allusion to a higher kingdom, one that doesn’t revolve around money and capital (see verse 8). Where does He get this stuff? Probably from the same place one gets cloudberries. Just joking, cloudberries are common in the northern hemisphere. But one would necessarily have to go higher in order to be able to talk about stuff of another plane and have it make sense in light of ours.

“Whence then cometh wisdom? And where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.” (Job 28:20-21)

I haven’t the foggiest

The following paragraph comes to us from Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason:

“We can a priori and prior to all given objects have a knowledge of those conditions on which alone experience of them is possible, but never of the laws to which things may in themselves be subject without reference to possible experience.” (my emphasis)

Suffice it to say, Kant is looking to explain away the idea that there can be knowledge of things without actually having experienced them for ourselves. I think we all encounter that temptation to merely “talk the walk”. The implication behind everything (true) written about Christ is that He actually went through the things He talked about. But He wasn’t alone in doing so: His Father was with Him.

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself (i.e. from myself): but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” (John 14:10, emphasis mine)

God the Father ensured that Jesus went through everything necessary in order to be your advocate, my advocate (see 1 John 2:1). God was not about to allow someone to die on behalf of everyone if that person wasn’t willing to live everyone’s life. See, Jesus has secrets (see Deuteronomy 29:29). Things He’ll share with you if you endeavor to get close to Him. It says in Hebrews that because of what He did, we can “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (4:15). Paul’s letter to the Colossians (2:3) says “in [Him] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” I have found Jesus to be the most giving and generous person in this (or any other) world and more than willing to answer what questions I have.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Extrabiblical

Extrabiblical—the prefix in this case meaning “outside” from the Latin—refers to or instance or event or happenstant (singular of happenstance) that is tied in some way back to God. I suppose if you wanted to get extra picky with the etymology, you might just see “extra” as I’ve outlined above and then “biblical” as meaning “pertaining to a book”. Any book, albeit one that is the authority on whatever subject it addresses. For the case of argument, let’s assume we’re talking about “The Holy Bible”.

“I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name.” (Psalm 138:2, emphasis mine)

Playing outside

Jesus, when teaching about trusting the Father for the things that fathers provide uses the illustration of the “lilies of the field” and the “fowls of the air” (Matthew 6:28, 26 respectively) as proof there’s a God who provides abundantly. The psalmist takes all of Psalm 104 to detail the grandeur and majesty of the Lord, even going so far as to make mention of the “innumerable” things in the sea that “wait all upon Thee” (verses 25 and 27). The Lord truly is good and you don’t have to crack open the Good Book to know this. The beauty of it, though, is that once you do start reading it with an open heart and mind, you will begin to see a true picture of the author form.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.”

Another implication of the word “extrabiblical” could reference a mis-management or misconstruance of something found in the Bible. Peter says “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) The idea of taking the information contained that very definitely points to a certain thing—even something as-yet unseen or unknown—and then making it mean what we want it to to somehow ensure we’ll get out ahead, is dangerous.

“But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” (Psalm 50:16-17)

“Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?” (Proverbs 17:16)

There is power in the Word of God. But even then, if one doesn’t know the “Lord Christ” (see Colossians 3:24), then the sea of lies and misinformation in which we wade around day in and day out will inundate. It’s hard (impossible) to keep one’s head above that tide. And if we think we can get through this life without the “Spirit of Truth” (See 1 John 4:6), we are supremely mistaken.

Even things of the interior, while beautiful and wondrous and remarkable will lead us astray if we don’t take them to the Lord for appraisal. Say you had a dream full of ambiguous and obscure symbolism and action and you awoke with a mixed feeling akin to what John experienced in Revelation (Revelation 10:10): “and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” What would you do? Would you dismiss the evident message-from-God as heresy, something from the enemy? Wait a minute before you do that and pray. Understand the God that Jesus talks about in the parables referenced up top. There are things that He tells us that maybe aren’t meant for us or about us. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and He’ll sift through, not just lies and truth, but meaning. The Lord is still speaking to this day and He wants to speak to (and through) you. But it’s not one-sided. He wants to hear your thoughts on the matter.

In closing, look at Peter. He had gone through all he had with Jesus—we know his story—and it would seem that he went back to some of the old ways of thinking that he had, for lack of a better term, waded around in during his time before meeting Christ. But that’s okay. The Holy Spirit is still speaking. In the tenth chapter of Acts (verses 10-17), the Holy Spirit visits him with a vision (He has to show Peter “thrice”; verse 16), the vision that would forever solve Peter’s adherence to the old ways of the Law of Moses in favor of the Grace offered through Christ (see John 1:17). This is serious! The Holy Spirit continues to clean out Peter’s mind and thinking to be more in tune with Heaven and then look what it says in verse 17: “Now Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean…” Peter is still dealing with an old, dusty, cobweb-filled thought process as to what the pure word of God really sounds like. And remember, the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak anything to us that isn’t directly from the throne of God (see John 16:3) and intended to bless and help us as we serve Him. In the eleventh chapter, he recounts the story of this vision and says “the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting (verse 12, emphasis mine). Peter was doubting. The more we live and grow and learn, the more information we process, the, not harder but more important it is to remain in the simplicity of the words of Christ and of His presence in our lives as provided by the Holy Spirit. They will speak to you—they want to, they are—but nothing they say will contradict what He’s already told you in His Word.