Archive for January, 2011

God sacrifices a great deal of his own freedom of speech, to allow ours. If people aren’t allowed to try to express their thoughts, those thoughts are driven inward. They don’t just go away. If there is not honest communication, questions are left unanswered, and hearts remain unchanged.

I don’t believe that all thoughts and ideas are equal, but they can yet all be important. I think that only God can truly judge the importance of them. Even if something doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans, if someone thinks it is important, that makes it important. I should devote as much time as I can to listening. I should first listen to God, and the people of my life, then to others as our ways cross.

Some of the ideas I personally want to talk about are difficult for me to express, and I appreciate patience. I need to try to show patience to others also. When an idea is expressed, debated, and answered, a clearer form of expression takes place. Someone has said, “The sum is greater than all the pieces,” and I certainly agree with that.

I have found however, that if the WordPress spam filters identify something as spam, it usually is. If I can’t determine otherwise, then I must leave those comments blocked, rather than take too many risks. That bothers me somewhat because I want to allow people to have their “say,” and I appreciate comments.

I want to apologize to any of you whose comments haven’t appeared on my posts. I realize there’s a possibility that some of them are not “spam,” but I can’t always tell the difference. I have tried to check some of them out, and sometimes, regretted it fairly quickly, so if WordPress identifies something as spam, I’ve got to trust that.

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According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the words “Hell,” and “Hall,” come from an old German word “helan,” which means “to conceal.” “Hel,” is the name of the goddess of the dead in Norse mythology, but the actual origin of the word “Hell,” is probably an old Hebrew name for the Devil. Many of our English words come from ancient Semitic languages such as Hebrew. According to Strong’s concordance, “Lucifer,” is a Latin translation of the Hebrew name “Heylel” in Isaiah 14:12.

The fourteenth chapter of Isaiah contains prophecies concerning Babylon, and the coming Antichrist. Isaiah 14:12-15, is primarily about Satan himself. Bible prophecies often shift from one person, or being, to another, and fade from some ancient day into another time of the future. God sees the big picture, and the past, present, and future are part of it. Chapter twenty-eight of Ezekiel is also about the Antichrist, comparing him to the prince of Tyrus, and 28:12-17, is about Satan.

The name “Heylel,” may refer to Satan’s original position among the Angels, or to his false claim of bringing enlightenment to man through knowledge. Some Bible versions translate “Heylel,” as “morning star,” but that is far too simplistic. Sometimes, looking at the origin of words may help clarify the meaning.

If we alter the spelling of Lucifer, to “Lucipher,” more of the original meaning may be evident. The name is usually said to mean “Light Bringer,” but may mean something more like “Light Writer,” in the sense of twisting enlightenment into a cipher. Satan’s version of everything is always a twist of the light. The word “cipher,” is from the Hebrew word “caphar,” which means to inscribe, or enumerate. “Caphar,” is translated “scribe,” in the Bible, and the word for a book, or a scroll, is very similar (cepher).

Much of what passes for knowledge is really just a trick of the light. If you look up the meaning of “phosphor,” it is the same as “Lucifer.” This name seems to suggest the idea of a being that doesn’t reflect a greater light, but rather glows of its own. Second Corinthians 11:14, says, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

So, what is the point of all this? This isn’t just trivia; I want to fill in some blanks. If we fill in everything we can, we can get a clearer look at the mysteries of life, and death. I once cut a picture out of a newspaper, but I seem to have lost it. It was a time-lapse photo of a candle-lit march around the White House. In this time-lapse photo, the movement through the night of all the people carrying candles, became a sea of flame. That’s what the newspaper called the picture; a “Sea of Flame.”

It seemed to me to be a good picture of Hell. “All of you who kindle fire, and feed a flame: go, walk in the light of your own fire, among the firebrands you lit.”  That is a partial quote of Isaiah 50:11, taking several translations into account. When Jesus, (John 8:12) “the light of the world,” is rejected, there is nothing left but to walk in the dim fire of your own candles. Whatever Hell is, or is not, it is at least that which we have kindled in our own lives. I’m afraid that is more than we can understand on this side of eternity.

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What about all those Bible verses heralding the glory of God? In John chapter eleven, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God….” This doesn’t mean that God was seeking glory; he was seeking lost souls. He used the resurrection of Lazarus to cause people to believe in him (John 11:45). God is glorified when people believe in Jesus.

Mankind blasphemes God, despising the name of Jesus because of unbelief. Believing in the wrong things or persons, is the same as unbelief. Faith in Jesus turns us around, and we become thankful instead of spiteful. In giving credit where credit is due, we are glorifying God.

When people have been confronted with visions of the glory of God, they have been humbled. Sometimes there have been the kind of visions where reality strikes fear into the heart, and men’s knees buckle beneath them. That in itself doesn’t change our hearts though. The true heart of mankind is revealed when we don’t see God; when if we choose, we can think to ourselves that he doesn’t exist.

Our hearts are changed when we believe in Jesus. There is no vision as humbling as an inner glimpse of our creator dying upon the cross, and understanding that we put him there. Yes, some say that this was for the glory of God, but John 3:16 gives us the reason for his sacrifice. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

People are quick to leap to conclusions, and some may think I’m trying to rob God of his glory. On the contrary, I want God to be seen in a truer perspective, so our faith in him will grow. When people believe in Jesus, they glorify God.

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God does not do anything for the sake of glory. Very often, the first interpretation of a Bible verse that comes to mind, is the wrong one. That is because words can have multiple meanings. If there’s a wrong way to see something, that’s the way Satan will try to twist it.

Look back at the first statement that I made. If I were to make that statement in church, I would be attacked from all sides, but if viewed in the proper context, my sentence is true. The word “glory” means different things to different people. To most people, it may conjure up images of pride, or power; something that is done for a show. Do you think that God would come to earth as a man, and endure crucifixion, and all the ridicule of this world, if he were seeking glory. Absolutely not. If what he sought was glory, he would have made an entrance like a rock star, but with much greater fireworks.

Once we become Christians, Satan may turn from denying the Bible altogether, to denying parts of it, or to establishing incorrect doctrines. If that fails, he will find some way to twist the correct doctrines into falsehoods. One way Satan accomplishes his goals, is to establish multiple meanings for words. That keeps us from understanding each other, and from understanding God.

When we read Bible verses that mention the glory of God, Satan will try to substitute his interpretation of “glory,” for the true meaning. Then God will not be seen in a true light. People who think they’re accepting the Bible, end up promoting misrepresentations, and someone who tries to set the record straight may get burned at the stake. In many cases, what we present to an unbelieving world, is a picture of a deity that confuses them. In other words, Satan is making fools of us.

I believe that the Bible makes sense, and I believe in making as much sense of it as we can. If a verse doesn’t seem to make sense, then we are probably interpreting it the wrong way. I don’t think Isaiah 55:9, means that we can’t make sense of any of God’s thoughts.

Whenever we speak of God’s glory, we should first think of the word “vindication.” Someday God will be seen in the true light. At the present time, the name of God suffers all sorts of abuse. The name of Jesus is so despised that even Christians are often reluctant to use it in public. To God, “glory” means being recognized, and believed. It means being shown the respect that he is due, and given credit for what he has done for us.

His crowning glory is that he was crucified for us, and his true heart is revealed by his sacrifice. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls.”(Matthew 11:28,29) Someday we’ll glorify God for all the things he’s done for our good, but he didn’t do them for the glory; he did them for us.

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