Please be sure to check out the new article, Seven Lessons I’ve Learned through Testing, that has recently been added to the Room for Meditation at http://histruthmyvoice.org.
Please be sure to check out the new article, Seven Lessons I’ve Learned through Testing, that has recently been added to the Room for Meditation at http://histruthmyvoice.org.
In celebration of the birth of our Savior, I put together this little video to remind us of the many wonderful things that Christ’s coming(s) have meant and will mean for us in the future. You can find it here in the Video Vault or on YouTube at the His Truth, My Voice channel. Merry Christmas from His Truth, My Voice!
Since I haven’t posted anything new in a while, you might be thinking that the Truth Train had been derailed and our Bible Study Tour through the Land of Revelation Knowledge had been aborted. But, let me assure you that nothing of the kind has occurred. It is just that following a recent move, I found it necessary to take some time off in an effort to try and get my household organized.
Now that the dust has settled, however, the time has come for us to resume our travels together. So, be on the lookout for our next study, “Blessing, Cursing, and Big Time Rebellion,” coming sometime around the first of the year.
Until then, here’s wishing you a blessed and happy Christmas and a most prosperous New Year!
I just wanted to let you know that I have added a new Graphics Gallery page to the His Truth, My Voice website. Please stop by and visit Hibbie, our artist-in-residence, and check out the first collection on display. It is one consisting of 11, previously unpublished, black and white themed graphics I created recently, just for the fun of it.
The page is easy to find–it is located on the left sidebar of the home page, right below the Room for Meditation page, or you can just click on the link above.
Friday’s Gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a re-posting of…
So far, during our extended stop-over at the Welcome Center of the Word, we have taken time out for:
Now that we have taken care of these first few essentials, let’s make our way on over to Booth #4, where we will also take some time for a vision check. Why a vision check? Well, before proceeding any further into the Land of Revelation Knowledge, and so that we will be able to behold all of the beautiful truths waiting for us up ahead, we need to make sure that our ability to see them will not be impaired in any way.
I am pretty sure that when most of us hear the word “vision,” our thoughts automatically turn to our physical eyesight, or our ability to see the material things that exist in the natural world around us. But our physical eyesight isn’t the kind that we need to be concerned with on this trip; the type of vision that we need to check, and possibly even correct, is our spiritual vision.
To better understand what I mean by this term, let’s pause briefly for another one of our DOTS—better known as a definition of terms. Referring once again to my trusty pocket dictionary, I have learned that:
So then, if we put the three of these individual definitions together, this will produce the kind of collective definition that will be most meaningful to us—and that is…
Spiritual vision is the act or power of seeing that which has no body or form.
This seems like a relatively simple and straightforward definition, doesn’t it? There is only one problem with it, though—just how is it possible for any of us to see “that which has no body or form?” Or, to put it another way, how are we supposed to see that which is unseeable with our physical eyes?
For the answers to these questions, I think we need to look no further than the following Vision Check Questionnaire:
Question #1: How can I get or know if I have spiritual vision?
If you have experienced the New Birth, then you already have spiritual vision. That’s because, when you were born again and the Holy Spirit quickened your previously dead spirit, He also opened the “eyes” of that spirit so that you would be able to “see” the things that He, over the course of time, would be showing you. Unlike our physical eyesight which (barring any impairment by accident or disease) begins to function soon after our births, our spiritual vision frequently takes some time to develop. So, even if you are not aware of its existence right now, this does not mean that it isn’t there. A good illustration of someone in the Scriptures with undeveloped spiritual eyesight can be found in Mark 8:23, where Jesus healed a blind man who had been brought to him at the village of Bethsaida:
And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again, and when he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (For more on seeing men as trees, please check out some of our earlier “tree” reflections, particularly Of Trees and Tapestries.)
Question #2: Why do I need to see spiritually?
Since God is Spirit, the only way that we can “see” Him is through our spirits. This is exactly what Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:24, when He stated, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The Apostle Paul went on to explain this principle in more depth in 1 Cor. 2:7, and in the verses that follow:
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory…these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in Him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truth to those who are spiritual. [For] The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Question #3: What is needed for me to begin seeing with spiritual vision?
To begin seeing with your spiritual vision, you need to develop eyes of faith because, as we are told in Hebrews 11:6: “…without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” And, as for what faith is, according to Hebrews 11:1ff, it is “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…by faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
Question #4: Where do I get the faith I need to see things that are spiritual in nature?
The only place to get this kind of faith is in the Bible for, as we are told in Romans 10:17: “…faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of God.” It is as we study the Word of God that the Holy Spirit begins speaking to our spirits, making known to us the things about God which would otherwise remain unknowable to the natural mind of man. He does it by using the things in the world that we can see to explain to us the things in the spirit world that we cannot see.
Question #5: What are some of the things that will impair my vision?
Sin is one thing that will limit what we can see with our spiritual eyes. In Matthew 6:22, Jesus warned us of this when He said:
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Because they are the portals to our innermost beings, our eyes will determine the amount of light, or enlightenment, which will be sent to our spirits. If our eyes are clear, the light will flow through them in abundance; however, if they are darkened or clouded over by sin, no light of understanding will be able to penetrate, and our spirits will remain in darkness.
Another contributing factor to poor spiritual vision is our negligence when it comes to the study of God’s Word. Since the Word is the source of our faith, and faith is what it takes for us to see spiritually, then logically, No Word = No Vision.
Disease can also be an impediment to our ability to see things clearly, and the disease that is most often at fault is something that I call Spiritual Myopia. By definition, myopia is the condition in which visual images come to a focus in front of the retina, resulting especially in defective vision of distant objects. When we apply this definition to our spiritual vision, we learn that Spiritual Myopia is really spiritual nearsightedness or our inability to see distant objects clearly—with the distant object in this case being the Big Picture of God’s plans and purposes for mankind. This disease can afflict anyone at any time–with even the most devoted students of the Word falling victim to it–causing them to get so lost in the many smaller details and stories of the Bible that they often fail to see the really Big Picture that God wants to show them.
Question #6: What can be done to improve or correct my spiritual vision?
To be sure that your vision remains clear, you must:
Because this process of learning new ways of looking at the Bible is so crucial to the development of our spiritual vision, it is something that we will be undertaking throughout the remainder of our journey through the Land of Revelation Knowledge. It is a process by which we will learn to:
The very best part about all of this, though, is that once we learn to view the Bible in these new ways, not only will we able to see God more clearly, but the study of His Word will become a true delight to us; no longer being something that we have to do and becoming, instead, something that we really want to do!
Thursday’s Gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a return visit to…
Now that we have unloaded as much baggage as we can bear to part with at the present time, let’s leave Booth #2 behind and make our way on over to Booth #3—still here at the Welcome Center of the Word—where we will find maps of the land we are preparing to visit. As will any map for any traveler venturing into any new territory, these maps will prove to be great aids to us as we continue on our journey through the World of the Word. That’s because, through their clear delineation of boundaries, we will be able to determine the extent of, or the limitations imposed upon, the knowledge that will actually be made available to us on this visit to the land of the Bible.
The need for such limitations will become obvious to us once we stop to consider the entire scope of existence presented to us within the context of the Bible. That is, if we take into account all of the activity that has taken and will take place from eternity past to eternity future, as well as all of the activity that has occurred throughout the various realms of existence—from the deepest depths in the underworld to the highest reaches of the heavenly places—it shouldn’t be difficult for us to see that the overall knowledge produced as a result of all of this activity would be so staggering that, when given the limits imposed upon us by our finite minds and fallen natures, it would be way beyond our abilities to take it all in.
Fortunately for us, though—and because He is so keenly aware of the frailties imposed upon us by our humanity—when God crafted His plans for the Bible, He very wisely and graciously chose to limit the knowledge that would be presented in it to the revelation of Himself and of His redemptive purposes for mankind. And, as for how this knowledge was to be revealed to us, once again, God very wisely and graciously chose not to hit us with it all at once, but to present it incrementally, through the gradual and progressive unfolding of it over time. Since God considered this revelation knowledge to be important enough to make it the message of His Word, then it stands to reason that the acquisition of this knowledge must be the primary goal of this and every other trip through this land.
As far as we are concerned, then, the Bible will be regarded as the Land of Revelation Knowledge; a vast and often challenging land through which to travel, and yet a land that is filled with the richest of all treasures, just waiting to be discovered by us—the Revelation Knowledge of God. Before we can venture any further into its heartland, though, we will need to pause for a brief but careful study of its map. This map, through its outline of the borders which have been fixed upon God’s Revelation Knowledge, will help us determine just how far we can travel in any direction. Even a quick glance at the map will let us know that:
Here, then, is a section by section breakdown of this map.
Our Northern Border—The Purposes of God
When beginning an analysis of any map, the most logical place to start is in the north. That’s because, before any real mapping of an area can be undertaken, its position relative to “true north” must be established; then, once that has been done, each of the other directions will naturally fall into place. Our “true north” is none other than God Himself, and upon our recognition of Him as such, we will discover that the northern border of the Land of Revelation Knowledge has been laid out nicely in accordance with His redemptive purposes for man. These purposes have been spelled out quite clearly for us in Ephesians 1:3-11:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who…chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…In him, we have redemption through his blood…according to his purpose…In him, we have obtained an inheritance…according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.
From this brief passage, it should be easy enough for us to see that:
And, it was through these purposes that the orientation for the rest of our map has been determined.
Our Eastern Border—Our Positions in Christ
With our northern border thus established by the redemptive purposes of God, our eastern border immediately becomes visible by its provision of the gateway to redemption that was called for by those very same purposes of God. This gateway is the salvation that was made available to us by Christ’s death on the Cross, and it is this doorway that we must enter by faith, if we are to move into our new positions as the sons and daughters of God.
However, just moving into these positions is not the “be-all and end-all” of God’s purposes for us. That’s because, at this point in the process, our mindsets, characters, and behaviors are still those of children born originally as slaves to sin. Since God’s purposes also call for us to be transformed from these sin-saturated children into the sanctified children of God, it is here that that a Helper—the Holy Spirit of God Himself—comes along side of us and becomes our tutor—teaching us how to think, speak, and act like children of God—and the source of divine power that we will need if we are to overcome the power of sin in our lives.
In John 14:15-16 and John 16:8, 13-14, Jesus gives us some insights into the work of this wonderful Helper when He says:
If you love me and keep my commandments, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive…And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but …He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
And, as a result of His faithful ministry on our behalf, we will learn what it means to…
“…walk by the Spirit, and [you will] not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Gal. 5:16-17”
Our Southern Border—Our Personal Purity
This work of empowerment by the Holy Spirit—made available to us through our positions in Christ—and our successful appropriation of this power is what now leads us to the identification of our Southern Border; for, this is the border that is formed as a result of, or in response to, the level of Personal Purity that we choose to maintain in our lives.
In Ephesians 4:30, we are told, “…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption,” and, in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” You see, if and when we tolerate sin in our lives, we will actually be grieving, or hurting the heart of the Holy Spirit who is living within us, and quenching, or extinguishing through our disobedience and questionable practices, the work that the Spirit desires to do through us. Once that happens, our minds will become darkened and unreceptive to the Revelation Knowledge that God desires to share with us.
According to Colossians 3:1-10, as the sons and daughters of God who should be growing in the Revelation Knowledge of their Father, we are to:
…seek the things that are above…set your minds on things that are above, not on things which are on the earth…put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these things, the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Our Western Border—Our Passionate Pursuit of the Knowledge of God
So far in this little map study, we have learned that:
This, then, leaves us with one border—the Western one—that remains to be defined. But this is a hard thing for us to do right now because, unlike the other three borders–which were firmly fixed and are constantly being monitored by God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit–this fourth border is one which we will have to define for ourselves. That’s because, this border will be determined by our Passionate Pursuit of the Revelation Knowledge of God, demonstrated through a dedicated and disciplined study of His Word. In other words, the limitations created for this border will be directly proportional to the hunger we have in our hearts for the knowledge revealed in God’s Word, and to our diligent efforts to obtain it.
This principle is clearly set forth for us in Proverbs 2: 3-6 and 9-10, where we read:
…If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God… for the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding…then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
So, given that the definition of this Western Border is entirely up to us, let’s make a commitment here and now to extend it as far west as we possibly can—by dedicating ourselves to seek as much Revelation Knowledge as possible during our upcoming tour through the Bible.
Wednesday’s gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a replay of my favorite teaching video, “The Bible: The Story Behind the Bible.” I originally created this as a PowerPoint presentation to be used in my Bible Studies and then later converted it to a video. If you have ever wondered what the Big Story of the Bible is, then this video should help explain it to you.
Tuesday’s Gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a return visit to the reflection,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Try to imagine with me, if you can, what human history might look like to God, as He surveys it from beginning to end. From the prophetic insight given to us by Isaiah in the passage above, it seems quite likely that God would view it as a forest of trees, one stretching all the way from the Garden of Eden to the coming Paradise in the new Heaven and Earth; trees which, in His eyes, are representative of the countless lives of men and women throughout history who have been made righteous by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. As plantings of God, they have come in every size and shade imaginable, yet they have all produced the same desired fruit of holiness by which the Lord God, the creator and sustainer of all the earth, will forever be glorified! What a truly satisfying picture this would be for God to behold; nothing less than a magnificent tapestry depicting His marvelous and ages-long redemption; an intricately woven work of art designed to surround His throne and to testify of His unfathomable love, grace, and mercy for all eternity.
Although some may not be all that familiar with tapestries, they have been around for quite a long time, with some known to have been in use as far back as the ancient Grecian era. Similar in texture to carpets, but hung on walls instead of covering floors, tapestries have served as portable murals for centuries, often gracing the throne rooms of kings as ways of depicting the memorable events or victories that have taken place during their reigns. Typically, tapestries are woven on vertical looms, or large wooden frames, that hold two sets of threads—the longer set being the stationary, immutable threads running lengthwise which are called the “warp,” with the shorter set being the variable threads running width-wise which are called the “weft.” The threads making up the warp are held in place under tension by the two sturdy frames at the end of the looms; while the shorter and discontinuous weft (threads) are woven in and out of part or all of the warp to create the design of the tapestry.
With this imagery in mind, let’s now try to imagine how such a weaving process might be applied to the story of God’s redemption. To begin, let’s close our eyes and try to visualize an enormous loom being set into place by God when, “In the beginning…,” He bracketed the timeline for His redemptive story through the placement of two sturdy frames, one marking the beginning and the other marking the ending of human history. Having already discussed these at great length during many of our previous visits, we should be quite familiar with the two wooden frames by now; for they are the two trees that man was given to choose from in the Garden of Eden. The tree that was chosen, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in its choice, became the beginning frame for the tapestry; while the tree that was rejected, the Tree of Life, took its place as the end frame—the frame toward which all of the design work was to be directed.
Given the enormous distance between these two frames and the incredible number of events that the design of this tapestry was meant to depict, we should not be surprised to learn that an additional piece of wood had to be inserted at the midpoint of the loom in order to secure and support the weight of the weaving work which would be taking place upon it. This plank was a tree, too, and one that we have also already discussed; for it was the Cross on which the Son of God was crucified; the lifeless tree which, throughout time, has served as the embodiment of all of mankind’s dead works and futile attempts at self-salvation.
Now, with the framework for the loom all set up in our minds, let’s begin to visualize the commencement of the weaving process as the first set of threads are placed on the loom. These are the warp (threads), and for the purposes of this tapestry, they are ten unbreakable cords which have been stretched tautly from, and then securely fastened to, the first side frame, over the middle plank, and on to the other side frame. White in color and extending out across the ages, these cords are God’s eternally fixed standards of holiness–His unchanging rules for righteous living–known to us as the Ten Commandments; the plumb lines against which the actions of all men will be and have been measured. It is only fitting that these should be the first threads that are woven into the fabric of redemption because, unlike everything else:
– The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
– The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
– The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever, the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether (Ps. 19:7-9).
Given the nature of these laws, what better foundation for redemption could have been laid, other than these?
With God’s laws now securely attached to the frames of the loom, the really intricate work on the tapestry can begin to get underway. What makes this part of the process so tricky is that before the weft (threads)—or those short and variegated “loose threads”created by humanity’s failures to measure up to the standards of God’s laws—can be woven over and under that holy warp, they must first be tied to the crimson cord that runs through the entire length of the tapestry’s design. This cord was introduced into the human story immediately following man’s first violation of God’s command and, as the cord of redeeming faith, it went on to connect every image in the story, from the beginning frame at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, all the way to the Cross, and then on to the end frame at the Tree of Life.
Of course, this cord was none other than our blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ; the One who was promised, the One who came, and the One who will come again—and, the only One capable of salvaging all of the threads left dangling by the sins of mankind and then incorporating them into a beautiful and eternal work of art for all to behold. And how was He able to do this? By dying the death that should have been ours, on the tree representing all of our dead works, He was able to remove sin’s curse, and open the way to the Tree of Life once more, to any and all who would believe.
Try to imagine with me, if you can, God looking around His throne room, gazing lovingly upon His glorious tapestry of redemption—the one depicting the millions, perhaps even billions, of oak trees that were made righteous through their faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ; each tree springing up from a seed sown in the earth and then growing toward heaven, and each tree reproducing that one seed many times over through an abundant spiritual harvest, some of which will include:
– the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” that was produced through the discipline of the Lord (Heb. 12:11);
– the fruit of a life transformed by the Spirit, one in which the very character of Christ was reproduced;
– the fruit of many answered prayers;
– the fruit of souls that were won for the Lord; and,
– the fruit that was produced whenever fear was overcome by faith, darkness was overcome by the light, and the flesh was overcome by the Spirit.
Try to imagine with me, if you can, the kind of joy a sight such as this would bring to the heart of God.
When, at the end of time, God scans His forest of trees, will He find you there? Will you be a part of His tapestry of redemption—one of His oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified? If not, can there possibly be a good reason why not?
The Tapestry of Redemption presented in song, by the Tally Trio in “He Saw Me/Jesus Paid it All.”