Thursday, February 4, 2010

An assumption

One last item before launching into God's character;  the Bible. My son Garrison and I were going to pick up our dogs from the kennel after our travels over Christmas last year.  He asked me about my "devotion" time and what I did.  I explained to him that "devotion" could be better said "conversation."  We talked about how I like getting to know him (Garrison) and if there's something about which I'm interested, I simply ask Garrison about the topic.  A conversation with the Lord is somewhat different in that I ask questions (prayer) but I don't physically hear His answer.  By His grace and mercy He's chosen to reveal Himself through His Word.  Because of the work of His Holy Spirit within me I am capable of understanding what He's trying to tell me.  I told Garrison it is as if I wrote a book that revealed my character such that when I was gone (agreed, I know, no where near on par with the reality of my living Father) Garrison could ask, "What would Dad tell me?" then open my letter and have his question answered.  We would have a conversation made up of verbal questions and written answers.

I realize that this is a woefully incomplete analogy, but for Garrison and me that day it made sense.  Something that Garrison would have to ask himself every time he opened my letter would be, "Is this really what my dad wrote?"  I say that this is the same question we must ask about the Bible.  We're going to look at God's character as revealed by His Holy Spirit through His word.  I would point you to A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith by Dr. Robert L. Reymond as a great reference for your studies on the authority of scripture.  Dr. Reymond leaves no stone unturned starting with "The Fact of Divine Revelation" and ending with "The Bible as the [Base] for Knowledge and Personal Significance."  I would also offer the Westminster Confession of Faith as it begins with "Chapter 1 - Of The Holy Scripture."  In addition the Westminster Longer Catechism touches on many of the same themes.  Basically I hold that the Bible is the word of God without error and according to 2 Tim 3:16,17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

I say all of this to point out the following:  the Lord has given you, me, us His holy, infallible word that can be relied up as we seek to know Him.  We can know Him not in the merely factual, i.e. the sun is hot, but in a relational sense, i.e. He loves me.

[As I sit here typing this morning I can feel the difference in my writing.  Today I am in my "head" mode; A+B=C.  I get this way when I feel distanced from Him.  It is my way of staying with truth even when I don't feel like it.  Have you ever seen "A Beautiful Mind" with Russell Crowe?  There is a scene in the movie where he's trying to convince his wife and psychiatrist that he can overcome his schizophrenia with his mind such that he would no longer have to take medicine that had side effects which negatively impacted his ability to relate to others.  I remember Russell runs outside and says, "They never grow older" (or something to that effect).  He could recognize when it was a figment of his imagination based on the age of the person he spoke to over time.  I have to do the same thing with truth as it relates to my emotional reality.  When my emotions desert me for la la land, i.e. I have no reason to be in a funk but that's where I find myself, I have to recognize "they never grow older" and operate out of the reality of God's truth.]

Conclusion:  we have His word to guide us in the study of Him.  His word is His revelation to us about His character and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit the scales on our eyes of flesh fall away to a relationship with our Savior.

Father, if I have in any way misrepresented You or Your word, please forgive me.  For he or she who reads and does not feel as if it tracks with Your word, please show them in Your word, not in their emotions, what is the truth.  Thank Your for Your word; Your divine inspiration of its scribes; its authenticity and authority.  Thank you that "If any of [us] lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." - James 1:5  We ask for wisdom, discernment, and the presence of Your Holy Spirit to guide us as we get to know You better.  In Jesus' name, amen.

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