One of Pastor Carroll's many weekly Devotionals is well worth reading over a few times. It is titled:
"God's Mind Does Not Need Changing"
And as this particular Devotional is so worth a second or, perhaps, multiple readings, it is being made available at the link shown below. Please check it out. It is inspired thinking, indeed!
The link displayed below has been displayed in this spot before, and it's a link to where a visitor may access entertaining videos that teach about the ways and traditions of the Methodist Church. The link is titled, Chuck Knows Church.
If you have questions about the Methodist Church, why and how the Church does what it does, please click the link below.
Below is a video presentation by a Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jew. And, his message is unique and quite revealing. As Gentile Christians, I am convinced we are simply not "Jewish enough" to readily or adequately understand all the customs, traditions, meanings, analogies, metaphors, nuances, and, more importantly, the ins and outs of the Mosaic Law as we pursue our biblical studies. The Scriptures were, by far, written by Hebrews to Hebrews, and to those Hebrews living in a unique Hebrew culture. Much of what is presented in Scripture is simply lost to us Gentiles living out our lives in a modern Gentile world. I feel, as Disciples of Jesus, we would be well served in serving our Lord, if we took advantage of the uniquely Jewish perspective on the Scriptures that Jewish Messianic believers can provided. The video below is a message that is to our advantage to understand.
July 12, 2017
WHAT'S IN THE ROCK???
A highlight of our visit to Florence, Italy a few years ago was to visit the Academy and see Michelangelo's sculpture of "David." The postcards and the photographs in coffee-table books simply do not reveal his corporeal dignity. People line up to take in this masterpiece.
Easily eclipsed by David's splendor is a less famous series of sculpture by Michelangelo called "Slaves." They slot in along the gallery. They do catch your attention but in a different way for they are rough and unfinished. "Worry-worn and crumbling in despair of ever stepping free of the shackling stone, thy remain forever incomplete," writes Martin Laird.
The ancient theory of sculpture is that the artist sees within the stone the figure that needs to emerge and sets it free. It is a beautiful image of how God's Spirit works in our lives. God knows us really well and sees us hidden within our "rock,' if you will. The Spirit beckons us to be in contemplation, in which we are released by the chiseling away thought-shackled illusions of separation from God. An Orthodox monk proclaims, "You should be joyful! Jesus holds a chisel in his hands. He wants to make you into a statue for the heavenly place." Contemplation is the practice of letting go and letting God (Spirit, Jesus) go to work on who we are - so that hidden gift God has given to us can be released.
Imagine in a time of quiet this week what it would be mean to let God chisel away some of the things that are holding you back?
...but do you know about God's Week, God's seven day/seven thousand year Week? Consider what Peter wrote in his letter: 2 Peter, Chapter 3:3-4,8-9
"...scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.' "
"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness..."
To read a series of essays on this fundamental and important doctrine of God's biblical 7000 year plan for mankind...
July 23, 2017
The revision displayed here addresses only the explanation of the 2nd Day of the 7 Day Creation Narrative essay titled: "Days of the Lord." That essay, however, in its entirety, explains the Creation Narrative from a metaphorical perspective, and will shed some light and understanding on what some have assumed are biblical contradictions, but yet are not.
Once again, the 2nd Day examination is presented here now solely because of its resent revision. I strongly encourage any reader of this revision to visit the entire essay to get a full understanding as to the metaphorical nature of the "Days of the Lord!"
The explanation of the 2nd Day of Creation narrative follows:
Part 4 -- Day Two
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day". (Genesis 1:6-8 ESV)
In prophecy the term “waters” is sometimes used to denote peoples, the “sea” of humanity. Revelation 17:15 illustrates this:
“And he saith unto me (an angel), The waters which thou sawest...are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”
Psalm 65:6-7 likewise illustrates the water/people metaphor:
“...the one who by his strength established the mountains,
Being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,”
The symbol of waters identifies peoples of earth; and I suspect, it can likewise speak of those who are of the heavens. It should be noted it is written that the two waters were separated by the expanse, or as it is sometimes identified, as a dome, the firmament, the sky or the atmosphere. Neither waters were in the expanse, but actually separated by the expanse -- separated by the sky. I believe that disallows for the waters being interpreted as being actual water, the waters of the earth and waters (rain and/or mist) in the sky. It is not actual water that is of concern here. The waters are metaphors, representative of living beings, earthly and heavenly.
Beings of heaven are spoken of frequently in scripture, and these beings abound in their limitless multitudes (their millions of millions of millions!) and some have interacted with mankind throughout biblical history. Among the many interactions of angelic beings one pivotal scripture narrative tells us how sons of God took daughters of men for their wives in the second millennium.
"When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown." (Genesis 6:1-4)
As many do, I suspect those particular "sons of God" were among the rebellious followers of Lucifer, a.k.a Satan, inhabiting earth. It is shown in the book of Job that the Sons of God cannot be confused with human beings. As it is described in the book of Job the Sons of God present themselves before God from time to time and, as in the instance described in Job, in the company of Satan, himself. (Job 1:6) The implied union of these sons of God and the daughters of men depicted in Gen. 6:1-4 did not go well. Its produce was a growing evil on earth.
Understandably the implication of heavenly beings (sons of God) taking as they chose daughters of men for wives and producing offspring of a different nature than man himself is difficult for most to accept and/or fathom. But then, of course, many do accept this biblical implication as simple fact: that heavenly beings, Satan’s fallen followers, came to earth, found the daughters of men attractive, took those whom they chose as wives and sexually produced some sort of hybrid offspring. Cosmically speaking, who can say what is and what is not possible in God’s limitless, unknown and unexplained universe? As an example, and as millions do, I for one, certainly believe the dead, many of whom have been dead and utterly decomposed, totally disintegrated, for thousands of years, can and will be brought back to life at a future resurrection. So, if resurrection is possible, then other extraordinary and unfathomable things may be possible, too. However, I think the narrative of Genesis 6:1-4 where it states...
“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.”
...is to be wholly understood as metaphorical! Consider the following:
In Scripture it is a common occurrence that feminine metaphors are used to define Israel and/or the Church. Throughout The Old Testament Israel is likened as to a young girl, a woman, a bride and a wife. And when she, Israel, turns to idolatry (as she frequently did), she is spoken of as an unfaithful wife, an adulteress, a harlot or a whore. In the New Testament the Church is identified as the bride of Christ, pure and chaste. And further, in Revelation, a presumed false Church is referred to as a harlot riding a beast and sitting on many waters. Yes, in Scripture a girl or a woman is most definitely a metaphor for Israel, the Church or, undoubtedly, as any religion or religious practice.
So, in Genesis Chapter 6, the “daughters” of men could well be, and more than likely are, a metaphor for the many varied, prolific and man-made “religions” of the ancient world from the beginning right up to now. Likewise, the “Sons Of God” could be a metaphor, or an allusion to, God’s rebellious “Sons”, fallen angels, just as some suspect -- or, perhaps not. As it is, however, we are dealing with metaphors here, and the metaphors may well stretch even a bit further.
The ancient religions of the past would have looked rather “attractive” to spiritual beings to “take as wives" (similar to Jesus having his wife, the Church) and “go into” them as a means to masquerade as gods (Ra, Horus, Baal, Zeus, Jupiter, Hermes, Apollo, etc) to continue and further the deception of humanity begun in the garden. And the “joining” of fallen spiritual beings to the false religions of antiquity might well have produced many “children”, either mythical “Men of Renown” (Vulcan, Sosis, Isis, Osiris, Achilles, Hercules, etc) or actual, idolatrous, human kings, noblemen or priests of great power, influence and prestige.
As already stated, whatever the true meaning of Gen.6:1-4 is things ultimately did not go well. It is prudent, however, to understand that it is irrelevant if the story as written is historically accurate or not, whether actual spiritual beings mated with human women or if the story is a metaphor for rampant idolatry overtaking mankind up to that time. Nonetheless, whatever the case may be, the produce was a pervasive and growing evil on earth.
"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5).
The Second Day of Creation is a preview and a metaphor, itself, of what God would do in the 2nd millennium to foreshadow and demonstrate, that He would ultimately "separate" His beloved mankind from sin and evil, from the influence, deceit and "way" of Lucifer (Satan), the Great Deceiver. And, God would do so dramatically. He would demonstrate this destruction of evil through Noah and the Flood, which of course, took place near the end of the 2nd millennium -- God's 2nd 1000 year Day.
God's 2nd Creation Day narrative where he created an expanse, calling it heaven, (not God's habitation, Heaven, but earth's sky, heaven) and separating the waters below the expanse (humanity) from the waters above the expanse (heavenly beings, sons of God) foreshadows the Flood, where, as the highlight of the second millennium, God separates and protects a righteous Noah, and his family, by removing out an encroaching unrighteousness apparently introduced and magnified by the influence and interaction of fallen angels -- or perhaps, simply the overwhelming spiritually idolatrous ideas and practices of man’s own inventions. Either way:
"..there was evening and there was morning, the second day." Genesis 1:8
(Actually, the second millennium.)
Pastor Carroll has recommended a website that many might find interesting. The site is called the Upper Room and it provides the visitor with access to a Daily Devotional. Please check it out at the following link:
We have recently come across some interesting history of the North Salem United Methodist Church. To check out some milestone dates and a list of past and present pastors...
"View From The Pew" is here for you! With this spot you, the user of this site, may write in to have posted a spiritual, social or biblical thought, an observation or an idea on just about any topic at all. The intent of this is to give voice to our membership - you. Here it is hoped you will be encouraged to share your thoughts, feelings and/or understandings with us, your brethren. An exchange of ideas and an understanding of the thoughts and views of others will undoubtedly edify and strengthen our church community.
To submit your thoughts, ideas or comments, fill out the from below and click "SUBMIT". (Pasting a message from a word processor is very convenient.) In a day or two your message will appear here on our Home Page following Pastor Moore's Weekly Devotional, "Thoughts From Our Pastor".