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MAY 2017

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Cunningly Devised Fables?

 

2 Peter 1:16-18

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

 

What does it mean to be Cunning?

One who is cunning is usually clever or skillful.  In the Bible cunning people were usually good at deceiving.  Satan was cunning or subtil in the Garden of Eden when he convinced Eve to take the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1). David's son Ammon was crafty or subtil when he convinced Ammon to seduce his half-sister Tamar.  Absalom was perhaps the master at cunning or skillful deception.  We read, “And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel (2 Samuel 15:5-6)."  And when he was ready to rebel against his father we read, “And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything (2 Samuel 15:11)."

 

In one case in the Bible, being crafty or cunning or subtil seems to have been a good thing.  Saul called David crafty when David was hiding from Saul (1 Samuel 23:22).  In war and conflict it seems that being crafty or cunning is a virtue.  Paul was charged with being deceitful or cunning or crafty by getting messengers to take money from the Corinthians even though he did not burden them personally.  But Paul maintains his innocence and said that he never did that.  He never burdened them or deceived them but always tried to build them up. 

 

Truth is the Foundations of the Gospel

The Lord is the personification of Truth.  We read, “And the Word (the Son of God) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).  Again we read, “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).”

 

I am glad that the Gospel writers left us with a true record of the Lord and of His life.  They were inspired by the Holy Spirit to remember and record that which we need to know today.  And one of the things that we need to know today is that Peter was with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration.  He almost slept through one of the most profound events in his life; but when he tells about it in his epistle, he says he is telling the truth.  This is important because this event proves several things.

 

First, it proves that death is not the end.  When Moses died, his burial place and body were not found.  He was never allowed into the Promised Land because of his disobedience on earth, but he made it into the Promised Land after he died.  The mount was in the Promised Land. Second, both Moses and Elijah knew all about the coming crucifixion (See Luke 9: 28-36).  Third, we get a glimpse of the brightness of the glory of the Lord.  Fourth, we find out that the Lord is the One with whom the Father is well pleased, and He is the one with whom we should be occupied.

 

This was Not a Fictional Story

Peter says tat this really happened and that it wasn't a clever deception.  Neither was the resurrection a clever deception even though the priests and Pharisees tried to convince people that His body had been stolen away.

 

In a day when we often cannot tell what is true and what is a clever deception.   I am glad that I have every confidence that the events that Peter experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration were real.  By extension, I believe that the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord were real.  I believe that the Bible is the Truth and that the Lord cannot lie.  As a result, I believe that the Lord put away my sin and that one day I will enjoy seeing the Lord in His glory.  I believe that the promises of the Bible are bedrock Truth.

 

While Satan is very cunning in his deceitfulness, the Lord was never crafty or cunning, the Lord's people should not be crafty or deceiving nor should they justify those who are.  Our yes, should mean yes, and our no should mean no.  We should keep our promises and we should always do our best to tell the truth.  If we don't tell the truth about practical things, how can unbelievers know that we are telling them the truth about spiritual things?

 

Meditation for the week of May 7, 2017

Honor or Value Your Mother

 

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  "HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER," which is the first commandment with promise: "THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU AND YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH."

 

Healthy Families

We have celebrated another Mother's day and I have seen a lot of good comments by children praising their mothers on social media.  That is as it should be.  In a healthy family, a mother should be obeyed by the children that she is raising and she should be respected or valued or honored even after the children leave home.  I have always assumed that there is a difference between the responsibilities of children in the home and adult children who are establishing independent lives.  Children in the home are to obey their parents “in the Lord”.  I think that means that even a child would have the right to disobey should a parent ask them to do something illegal or immoral.  I do not think parents have the right to make decisions for their children who have reached maturity.  But I do think those adult children should always have respect for their parents who raised them.  In the Bible, honoring them includes taking care of them in their old age.   

 

Unhealthy Families

Most of us can be glad that we were born into families that raised us to respect God, industry, morals and governmental authority.  We can be glad that we can respect the parents we were given.  I have always been glad that Jezebel or Athaliah was not my mother.   In 1 Kings 21:25 we read, “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.”  She killed the prophets of the Lord, she tried to kill Elijah, and she did kill Naboth   He was a man who would not sell his property to Ahab.  Jezebel had him killed so that Ahab could take possession of the property.  She was a woman who worshiped Baal and who had no conscience.  Or how could one honor Athaliah who killed all of the children of her son who had been king so that she could usurp the throne?   How could children obey these women while growing up and how could a godly adult child honor them?  While the Old Testament command to honor your father and mother seems to require children to honor their father and mother at all times, I am glad that the New Testament explanation clarifies the need for children to obey “in the Lord.”  I am glad that sometimes honoring a parent requires children to put the Lord first when the parents are not honoring the Lord.  I am sure that it was assumed that parents where reverent and serving Jehovah in the Old Testament when the command was given, 

 

Honorable Mothers

As we review Bible stories, there are a number of mothers that were beautiful examples of what mothers should be.  Mary the Lord's mother was one of those.  Ruth in the Old Testament was another one of those. Timothy had a mother and a grandmother that are godly examples of what mothers and grandmothers ought to be as they pass their own example of faith in the Lord on to their children.  In 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul reminds Timothy of “the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.”  Other scripture makes it clear that Timothy had to have his own personal faith in the Lord but having a mother and a grandmother that could teach him the truth and model it for him, certainly would have given him a reason to believe what they believed.

 

Godly mothers don't hide the fact that they are sinners who needed to be saved. They don't presume to teach their children to be Christians before they have taught them how to become Christians.   If you had a mother like that, be glad.  My mother is now in heaven; but if you have a living mother that you love and appreciate, tell her.  It will make her day.

Meditation for the week of May 14, 2017