In His Coming…

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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!

A Timely Message

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Dear Friends,

News FlashSince 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!

Judy

Visit His Truth’s New Graphics Gallery!

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Welcome to the Graphics Gallery

Dear Friends–

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  It is one consisting of 11, previously unpublished,  black and white themed graphics I created recently, just for the fun of it.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.

Blessings,
Judy

 

 

Fridays’ Gift…

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Friday’s Gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a re-posting of…

“Time Out for a Vision Check at Booth #4.”

So far, during our extended stop-over at the Welcome Center of the Word, we have taken time out for:

Eye exam

It’s Time for a Spiritual Vision Exam

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:

  • Spiritual—is defined as of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit:  incorporeal;
  • Incorporeal—is defined as having no body or form; and,
  • Vision—is defined as the act or power of seeing.
Vision: Seeing the Unseeable

How Can We See the Unseeable?

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?

The Eye of Faith

The Eye of Faith

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.

Open Bible

No Word, No Vision

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:

  • Be vigilant in guarding your heart against sin;
  • Stay in communion with God through a regular program of prayer and Bible study; and,
  • Learn to identify and eliminate any spiritual farsightedness which may be hindering your ability to see through your eyes of faith.  To do this, you must learn to expand your spiritual vision by exploring new ways of looking at the Bible; ways which will allow you to see the broad, over-arching story that God wants us all to know.

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:

  • Distinguish between story and structure—for when we do, we will find that there is One Main Plot to the Bible;
  • Think corporately—for when we learn to view the people in the Bible collectively, we will find that there is a very small but specific Cast of Characters there;
  • Acquaint ourselves with God’s Principles of Explanation—for when we understand that God’s method of explanation is to use the known to explain the unknown, it will be easy for us to identify the recurring Theme or Motifs running throughout the Bible; and,
  • Interpret the text on multiple levels—for when we do that, we will discover the Different Levels of Truth that the Bible reveals to us.

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!

Smiley Face with Earphones2
Join Selah in “Be Thou My Vision…”

 

Thursday’s Gift…

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Thursday’s Gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a return visit to…

“Mapping Out the Land of Revelation Knowledge.”

Map and compass

Some Map Making Tools

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:

  • To the North, we will only be able to go as far as the Purposes of God have ordained;
  • To the East, we will only be able to go as far as our Positions in Christ empower us;
  • To the South, we can only go as far as our Personal Purity will permit; and,
  • To the West, we can only go as far as our Passionate Pursuit of the Knowledge of God will take us.

Here, then, is a section by section breakdown of this map.

Our Northern Border—The Purposes of God 

Compass and Map

True North Must Be Determined First

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:

  1. God had a purpose in our creation—that is, before the foundation of the earth, God’s purpose was to have a family, and it was for this purpose that we were created;
  2. God had a purpose in our redemption—that is, in order for us to be adopted His sons and daughters, we would first have to be redeemed—or “bought back” from our lives of slavery to sin—by the blood sacrifice of Christ on the Cross; and,
  3. God had a purpose in our glorification—that is, once redeemed, and for His glory, we would become the children of God, and the heirs of all His riches, just like Jesus.

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 

Eastern ArrowWith 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 Himselfcomes 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 

Southern ArrowThis 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:

  • The Northern Border of the Land of Revelation Knowledge has been fixed in accordance with the Purposes of God;
  • The Eastern Border has been fixed in accordance with the Positions in Christ provided for us by His redemption; and,
  • The Southern Border has been fixed in accordance with the degree of Personal Purity that we maintain in our lives through the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Western ArrowThis, 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.

Smiley Face with Earphones2
As we begin to make our way through the Land of Revelation Knowledge, let’s do so with this prayer, as offered by Steve Green in “Oh, I Want to Know You More…”

 

 

 

Wednesday’s Gift…

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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.