10, '12 8:24 PM
By Regner Capener
After a long absence from writing and posting these Coffee Breaks, we return belatedly to begin our eighth year of publishing. That said, GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING!!
Our schedule during the past two months has been nothing less hectic beyond words. Between dental and doctor visits for Della (she's doing just fine, thanks....nothing serious!) lots of court time on behalf of friends and some members of the family, acting as an advocate and legal advisor for them, then taking a trip to Alaska to bring our young granddaughter back to her family, taking a look at some potential investment properties ..... anyway, you get the idea! Whewww!! Maybe things will quiet down to a dull roar now for awhile.
One coffee comment before we get started ... and y'all know what a coffee connoisseur I've been, and how much I've promoted Starbucks coffees over the years. Starbucks Coffee Company has within the past few weeks become an active financial backer and promoter of a successful measure in the state of Washington to legalize homosexual marriages. Their corporate leadership has taken a strong anti-family position in the process. For that reason we have taken a public position against the company and recommended to friends and family that they avoid Starbucks' kiosks and shops, and purchase other coffee brands instead.
We refuse to spend our monies with acompany which takes such a prominent public position on an issue which is clearly anti-God, anti-Scriptural and anti-family! For those of you who understand and agree with our stance, we recommend that you likewise send the same message to Starbucks -- and especially to Howard Schultz, the company chairman. When corporate leaders get the message from the buying public and that message affects their bottom line, they will respond.
Several years ago, Ford Motor Corporation's executives decided to back homosexual activists and publications. As the then-owner of a recently purchased F-150 Heritage pickup, I wrote the president and chairman of the board and let them know that if they continued this policy of anti-family activism, it would be my last purchase of a Ford Motor Company product. Literally hundreds of thousands of other Ford owners participated in a letter-writing campaign stating basically the same thing. It paid off. Ford's bottom line dropped off so precipitously that the board of directors fired the president and replaced him. The new president immediately announced that Ford would no longer support homosexual activism and activist publications, and the company began to recover financially almost immediately. We can make a difference, folks!
In my last Coffee Break I said that I would be continuing my series on Heaven. The next edition of that series is almost complete, but there are some things taking place -- both spiritually and politically -- that I need to talk about, so bear with me if you were expecting that series to continue right away. I will get back to it.
In Proverbs 4, there is a unique contrast between righteousness and wickedness and it is a prophetic picture of what is unfolding today all around us.
"But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble." (Proverbs 4:18-19)
Let me re-translate this passage out of Hebrew and amplify it a bit for you.
"But the well-trodden way of the uncompromisingly righteous and upright is like an increasingly brilliant light that shines brighter and brighter to reveal [and lead him to] his day of prosperity. The mode and course of the violator and morally, ethically wrong person is dark and progressively gloomy; he has no understanding or revelation of that which causes failure."
Guess I could have amplified it even more -- the Hebrew here is very colorful -- but you get the picture, I'm sure.
We have a very clear contrasting picture of what is unfolding around us in this day and age. The so-called "progressives" are headed down a path that is darker and darker, and they seem to have no understanding of the issues that are causing catastrophic failure for them, and for their communities, their states or provinces, and their nations.
Those who walk in the light of God's Word are being led toward greater and greater prosperity in the knowledge of the Lord as well as life itself. That's as it should be! The Word of the Lord IS revelatory for those who walk in it.
That's the key phrase, however -- FOR THOSE WHO WALK IN IT!!!It doesn't apply for those who try to play with the Word or try to make The Word fit their agenda, doctrine or thought processes.
Amplifying the Hebrew makes it clear that it is the UNCOMPROMISINGLY RIGHTEOUS who prosper in their way. Get it? No compromise! We don't get to alter or shape the Word of the Lord to fit our thought processes, our agendas or our doctrines.
My Presbyterian and Episcopalian friends are in the midst of real turmoil right now because their denominational leaders have compromised the Word and tried to make it fit with societal decay and the moral decadence that has infiltrated parts of the body of Christ. You have denominational leadership okaying homosexual "pastors" and homosexual "marriages" and justifying their acceptance predicated on a deliberate alteration of Romans 1:22-32 and other like passages in the O.T.Tens and hundreds of thousands of Presbyterians and Episcopalians are choosing to leave their denominations because their consciences simply will not allow them to tolerate this abuse of the Word.
Then you have "Christians" and church leaders of many stripes ignoring the context of Psalm 139 (and specifically, verses 13-16) or perhaps Jeremiah 1:5 in order to justify abortion and the myth of "a woman's right to choose" as though this is somehow enshrined in our nation's Constitution. Our nation's founding fathers could not have even imagined the evil that has been perpetrated using a divinely inspired Constitution to justify horrendous violations of the Word of God -- that same Word they all held sacred.
That brings me to the title of today's Coffee Break: CONTEXT. Within the body of Christ -- and growing increasingly so -- is the practice of taking the Word out of context in order to create (or justify) a doctrine which is comfortable. Even well-meaning believers have fallen into this trap, and it is an easy trap to get caught in.
Let me go back in time to draw some perspective of what I'm trying to share.
First, consider the Old Testament. Who was it written by, and under what inspiration? The Old Testament -- without exception -- was written by men whose mindset, whose thoughts and whose culture was entirely Hebrew. It's been said -- and I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but I agree with this -- that the Hebrew thought and mindset as it is revealed in Scripture is not simply "Hebrew" or "Hebraistic:" it is the thought and mindset of God. What we refer to as a "Hebrew mindset" is honestly the mindset of God Himself.
When you look at the New Testament nothing has changed. Every writer of the New Testament was Jewish. While Paul the apostle was certainly a Roman citizen, he was groomed at the feet of Gamaliel, the chief rabbinical teacher or professor of the day. He was of the sect of the Pharisees. The writers of the gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- were all Jews, all raised with the same Hebrew culture, thought patterns and mindsets. Luke was the author of the book of Acts, and other than Peter, James and Jude whose writings and epistles we have in addition to the aforementioned, every one of them were Jews with a Jewish or Hebrew upbringing.
Mark was considered to be the lone exception having been raised in a Greek-oriented lifestyle; and yet, he too was a Jew and a disciple of Peter's.
Virtually every translation of the Scriptures that we have today is "westernized."Our modern "church" concept is totally foreign to everything of either Old Testament or New Testament life. There were no churches in the first or second or even third century. An old Roman temple in Nova Roma (the city later became known as Constantinople) was remodeled in 225 or 226 AD during the reign of Alexander Severus for use as a gathering place for Christians, but the idea of a "church" didn't take place until after Constantine's Edict of Toleration in 313 AD -- and even then, the mode of gathering scarcely resembled anything we know today.
One of the problems in our modern church setting is that we try to fit Jewish or Hebraistic understanding and thought into a westernized picture. In doing so our understanding of the Word loses its context and frequently loses sight of a very clear picture of what the Word of God was given to communicate. I frankly find it nothing less than miraculous that in spite of the westernized setting we've tried to fit the Word into, the Holy Spirit still manages to communicate the very fundamental truths of the Gospel into our lives bringing change and transformation to us.
I'm often amazed at the silliness that comes out of the mouths of some Christians when you talk to them about the need to accurately divide or discern "the Word of Truth."
One oft refrain is, "Whaddaya mean? It's right there in front of you in plain English!"
The only answer one can give is that the Word wasn't written in English to begin with; what we have is an attempt to translate two picture languages -- the only two languages in the world that do this: Hebrew and Greek -- into something that closely approximates their meaning in our language. Even the best of our English translations -- such as the Amplified Bible -- sometimes miss it because it can take a whole paragraph to describe the picture that is drawn by a single Hebrew or Greek word. Within that picture are nuances that are easily lost in our language.
Let me share a classic example of how a simplistic English translation can lose the context of what the Holy Spirit is seeking to communicate.
A verse of Scripture which we have all heard hundreds, if not thousands of times, is found in II Timothy 2:15.The KJV renders it, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."This is an absolutely tragic translation. Although the NASB and NIV both render it more accurately, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth," the KJV rendition, "Study," has been a mainstay of many messages and doctrinal presentations.
I felt quickened to read this passage in the original Greek text, and discovered that it has some very powerful applications in that to which the Lord has been calling His Bride.
The verse begins with the Greek word, "spoudason."While the NASB rendering, "Be diligent," is an acceptable translation, this word has some deeper meanings. It would be more accurate to translate it, "Be instantly responsive..."
Where the Greek word, "dokimon," is rendered "approved" in most of the translations, this word has a unique background, and a special application for this particular passage.
"Dokimon" was a word originated among numismatists to identify the process by which gold and silver coins were tested after smelting in a crucible. It was the process which allowed them to determine the genuineness and purity of coins, as well as to detect any counterfeit coins, bars, etc. The coins were heated to the melting point. If they were real, there would be little if any dross. If they were fakes or counterfeit, there would be very little real silver or gold in the crucible. The process duplicated the smelting of the gold or silver ore during refining. If the coins were real, you would have the same amount of molten gold or silver in the crucible used to stamp the original.
In the same vein, the word, "parasteesai," translated: "to present," was first used by the Septuagint translators within the context of "making oneself available for the purpose of being questioned," as well as "making oneself available" metaphorically "for fellowship and intimacy."
It therefore becomes a powerful message from the Holy Spirit when we translate it thus: "Be instantly responsive to the Lord, making yourself available to Him in the midst of the crucible, a tried and tested laborer, who has no fear of being examined -- one who, by virtue of God's testing and the time spent in the crucible with Him, knows the proven word of truth."
The "proven word of truth" in this instance can be identified as a "rhema" word from the Lord which has been walked out and put to the test in our lives. It is an experiential word! It is an incontestable word no man can combat with any doctrinal argument or theory. How else would it have been possible for men and women to stand in the face of martyrdom? Once the Word had been worked in them so that they -- like Jesus -- had become "the Word made flesh," there was no threat leveled against them with the power to dissuade or convince them to recant the truth, even with their lives forfeit! They had been in the crucible! The Word had been tested and tried and proven in them!
Verses 16 and 17 of the same chapter reinforce this. Without taking the time, here, to break down each of the pertinent Greek words and phrases, it can be rendered, "Stand aloof from, and avoid the untested, untried "word" which comes forth from those who would propagate speculation and create their own doctrines. These profane speculations and so-called "words" are empty babblings which will only serve to advance ungodliness; and those who spread these doctrines will only yield a gangrene pasture -- a source of poison to those who ingest their "word"......"
The unbalanced emphasis on "Study" which has been ingrained into the fabric of church structure has led to a large number of the doctrines which skillfully bring division among God's people. The push to "study" (and I'm emphasizing the academic focus) has led to the creation of seminaries and Bible colleges, with the subsequent "ordination" of those who complete the "approved" courses of study. Those who graduate are supposedly ready for "ministry," ready to step out and speak in the name of the Lord, ready to administer guidance and correction to those who are growing in the Lord.
This, my friends, is what happens when the Word loses its context.This is what happens when the Word becomes academic rather than revelatory and experiential. Jesus NEVER intended for anyone to go forth to preach and teach something from "book learning."Every command that He gave to the disciples incorporated a living, tangible demonstration of the power behind the Word.
They were commanded to "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)See also Luke 9:2 and Luke 10:9.
Mark 16:15-18 reads like this: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
When the Word of God is put into you, tested in you in the midst of the crucible and tried in actual practice, it ceases to be a theory; it ceases to be a religious doctrine; it ceases to be a theory! NOW it is the Word in its proper context!!
"In the midst of the turmoil all around us we need to see the coming Kingdom. The shaking has started and the Kingdom of God is about to be manifest in this world like never before. The greatest move of God that the world has ever seen is knocking on our doors if we have ears to hear and inner eyes to see." (Neville Johnson)
Blessings on you!
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