Friday, February 17, 2017

Two truths

Hello, and welcome to our very first post; in this blog at least. The Walking With God devotional got it's start back in 1994, as a devotional newsletter. To learn more of this, check out our 'about' page. Now, on to the devotional.

I want to share with you two truths. Here they are:

Truth 1 - 
Jesus did not want to be popular.

Truth 2 - 
Jesus was not an immigrant or a refugee.

Now, let me share with you some background behind these two truths. The stories behind them, they both relate to pastors. One was fairly recently, and one was years ago. But they both made the same mistake, in that they said publicly, something about Jesus Christ that was not true nor was it biblical. Here's the more to these 2 truths.

Pastor no. 1
Now this happened many years ago, back in the 1990s. My husband and I, who is a now-retired pastor, visited a church that we had visited before on occasion. We were familiar with the church and the pastor.

Well, we were sitting there in the congregation when the pastor got up behind the pulpit to preach. When I heard his opening, and his topic, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

His sermon was that Jesus wanted to be popular, just like you and me.

Well, that is completely untrue, and not at all biblical. To put it mildly, both my husband and I were both shocked and surprised. We sat there as people in the congregation nodded their heads in agreement and even an amen or two was said.

We never said anything about it to the church members or to the pastor. We talked about it to each other, but that was all.

Jesus never wanted to be popular. He only wanted to do His Father's will, to do the work that His Father had sent Him to do. Popularity never entered into the equation at all.

Pastor no. 2
Now this Reverend, was one of those preachers on tv, and this one seems to be almost more activist than preacher. Anyway, one day, this reverend tweeted:
         "Before you head to church today, remember to thank God for his son, Jesus a refugee who fled to Egypt."

He was using Jesus to make a political dig on a current event being talked about greatly. And once again, like the other pastor, this is completely untrue. 

He justified what he said by using the dictionary definition of the word fled. Here are 2 definitions of fled, the first one being the one he used to justify his remark, and the second being a definition that I googled:
-- one that flees; especially :  a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution
-- a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

And this is the scripture he referred to in justifying his remark:

Matthew 2:13-14
King James Version (KJV)
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

I have problems with what he said on two fronts. First, he used Jesus and God and the Bible to make a political dig/statement on a current event. That is simply not right. I'm put in mind of the following Bible verse:

Mark 12:17
King James Version (KJV)
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

Given, that passage is talking about whether it was right to give tribute to Caesar or not, but it has been on my mind in relation to this.

Secondly, his statement simply isn't supported biblically. If you accept his statement, then that means that Jesus and his parents were forced flee to Egypt by men and not as part of God's plan. 

Let's begin examining this aspect of it by defining the word that he used, refugee:
-- a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

He focused on the word flee. It's a word play that he did, to justify what he said. A word play based on secular rather than biblical. 

Know this - 
Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. - 1st John 4:9
Jesus Christ was where he was supposed to be every second of His life. Luke 2:41-52

So to say that Jesus was a refugee is so wrong in so many ways. 

Winding up

So the stories of these 2 truths, which were first 2 erroneous statements made by men who were reverends, points out the need for every person, every believer especially, to study God's Word. It's not good enough to sit in church and listen to the pastor's sermon, or the Sunday school teacher's lesson. 

It is a need, and obligation, upon you, to study God's Word yourself. It's not hard, it's a very easy thing to do. And the best way to study God's Word is to simply read it. 

Now let me tell you another story, this one about me. Many years ago, when I was still in high school I believe, my mom laid a challenge before me. Now back then, and today too, I was a voracious reader of fictional novels. I had always loved reading, going back to when I was a wee child. Well one day, my mom said to me, that if I had the time to read all these other books, that I should take the time to read the Bible. So I did. 

At that time, I had a soft cover The Way Bible. Still have it. And I did it the way I did any other book. I picked it up and started at the beginning, and read it all the way through, to the last verse in Revelation. Some days I would only read 1 verse for the day, but I read it through. Then when I finished that, by then, I had a new Bible, a New American Standard version Bible that was a leather cover, letters of Christ in red, and all the bells and whistles. My first really nice Bible. And I did that one the same way, read it through, from Genesis to Revelation. I did this at least one more time, if not two, reading the Bible through from cover to cover. Each time, in different versions. 

Also along the way I added daily devotionals of different kinds and other books. When I married my husband, I gained a lot more in Bible study help, in the way of his library of books, and the knowledge of a man who had graduated seminary. 

But I studied and read. And so, when I heard these two statements from these two reverends, though they occurred years apart ..... I knew that their statements were false, and what the truth was. 

What to do
So I encourage you to study and read the Bible. Now days, you don't even have to buy a Bible. There are plenty of free resources, such as Bible reading apps, and sites like Bible Gateway, where you can read various versions of the Bible for free, in a variety of languages. 

Today, with the internet and our electronic devices, reading and studying God's word is even easier than ever before. 

Closing scripture:
2 Timothy 3:16-17
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16 Lit God-breathed
2 Timothy 3:16 Lit training which is in

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Parting words
So I wish you well in your Bible study, so that you may be able also, to discern the truths from the untruths.