Re: Following Instructions
"If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you Heavenly things?" (Jn3:12)
Of what am I speaking?
These writings get posted to the website, and are also e-mailed to a bunch of subscribers. Subscriptions are managed through a series of pages inter-linked to each other for the purpose. As people sometimes have seemed to be confused as to 'how' to fill out the forms, over time the forms have undergone changes, in an on-going effort to make things as 'clear' as possible; to make things 'unmistakable' and 'simple'. Recently I've even added links on the e-mail forms for those wanting to change their subscriptions, because some would use the 'mail' form for 'subscription' matters, and I would then have to reply, asking them to go to the subscription page.
But the real puzzler to me is those who are already subscribers, and have been receiving the mailings for some time. For you who are subscribers, you will recognize the little banner header that accompanies each and every mailing, right at the very top, right in plain sight. First thing you see... e.g.
----------------------------------------------- To Subscribe, Un-subscribe or Change Address Click on: http://www.a-voice.org/subscrib.htm -----------------------------------------------The puzzler is when somebody has changed addresses, they CC their notice to everybody in their address book, announcing, "Here's my new address" And VW is on their list. The only thing their e-mail announces (often excitedly) is their 'new' address.
Okaaay... soooo... Who are you? and, what was your 'old' address? You see... that's why the banner is included with each mailing... and why the subscription pages exist at the website. They are designed to 'force' a person to give the necessary information as concisely as possible.
Or others, for whatever reasons... I don't know why... click the 'reply' button to some mailing, and include some words about their address having changed. I will reply, pasting this familiar banner back in the reply to them, asking them to click the link and take care of the matter through the subscription page. Sometimes their request will then come from the subscription page, and the matter is taken care of. Other times I never hear from them again. Why? Did they not actually change address? On other occasions after I reply with the banner pasted back to them, they reply to my reply, via e-mail, making the same request in the same manner... they don't click to the subscription page, even though I replied and specifically asked them, in so many words, to do so.
They do -not- FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. Even when being 'led by the hand'.
The head-scratcher for me is: trying to figure out 'why' people do these things. Are they being stubborn? Are they dense? Do they not understand? If I ponder whether or not they are 'confused' as to 'how to' proceed, I scratch my head wondering how I could possibly make things any clearer. Do they presume that 'replying' to a mailing with jumbled words is more "personal" somehow? That by doing so, I will give them the "personal touch" in dealing with their listing? I haven't been able to figure this out; and on something of minor significance (unless they want the mailings to continue arriving) I haven't felt the gumption to ask, for fear of 'offending' unnecessarily; as in: Why do you do this???
So then, I think about the writings, themselves. I've mentioned in the past how I often wrestle with the fact that most of the studies are not at all 'deep'. The walk-thru's, for instance, by design, skim across the tops of Biblical Truth of the passages under consideration; highlights; like walking down the aisle of a grocery store, picking this, picking that, picking something else. But when some people have problems with something so simple as 'clicking' a link (that's in plain sight) to change their subscription data, I then wonder how much of the studies, that are already simple, is being understood? The studies are already waaaay simple. But if the reader cannot understand something like "click on:", how do they understand more complex spiritual matters?
As Jesus said to Nicodemus: If earthly things are not understood, how does a person have a ghost-of-a-chance in understanding Heavenly things? If "click here" is not understood, how can a person possibly understand things related to holiness, repentance, salvation, waiting for Christ's return, living Godly lives, keeping pure from the world's defilements, and all such things?
Or is it actually, what I shudder to think: Rebellion? The instructions say 'this', so instead I'm going to do 'that'? For the mere fact that instructions are given, to be a purposeful "anti-directionarian', doing something 'else'? Like the hippy rebellion... rebelling against anything that hints of 'authority'? Just -because- it was instructed to to 'this', so instead do 'that'? Like the rebellious 2-year old, 'anything' the parent instructs, the answer is always, "No!" ??
And if that is the case, what is such a person's view of the Scriptures? God's Laws? God's directives?
God, through Jeremiah, exhorted the remnants of Israel to stay in the land after the Babylonian exile. God continually sent the prophets "rising early and sending them" to "not do this abominable thing which I hate" but the remnants retorted to Jeremiah, "As for the Word that you have spoken to us in the name of Jehovah, we will not give heed to you. But we will prepare and do whatever goes forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our rulers, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem." (Jer44:4,16-17)
So they disobeyed, and went down to Egypt. And it is that same heritage that produced distorted copies of the Scriptures that have resulted in the text base from which today's perVerted English translations of the Bible have come.
As this is being written, somebody 'recently' asked why so many people prefer and hold to the perversions, like the NIV, RSV, Message, etc? I answered that this is what they've been fed, being told they are the "best thing since sliced bread".
But perhaps the reason goes even deeper? The ones responsible for the perverted texts retorted: We will NOT obey God. And just as there is a "witness" (Rom8:16) of the Holy Spirit on the part of those who insist on the 'right' versions, is it the case that the "rebellious house" "impudently" (Ezk2:4-5) gravitates to the perversions because they do not -want- 'truth'? And the perversions are already in accordance with their rebellious hearts?
"...this is a rebellious people, lying children; children who will not hear the Law of Jehovah; who say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Do not prophesy to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy deception; turn away from the path, thrust aside from the way, desist from the Holy One of Israel from before us." (Is30:9-11)
A perverted translation -already- promotes a false way, which their false prophets proclaim. And the people "love to have it so" (Jer5:31)
God's Word says, "This is the way, walk in it" (Is30:21) But the "many" going down the broad way to destruction (Mt7:13) go "[turning] each one to his own way" (Is53:6)
They -REFUSE- to "follow instructions".
God chided Israel to -obey- His laws. "But they did not obey, nor extend their ear, but made their neck stiff, so that they might not hear nor receive instruction." (Jer17:23)
But the "wisdom that is from above" (Ja3:17) calls out: "Hear instruction, and be wise, and do not refuse it." (Pr8:33) The word "hear" means to 'pay attention', to 'obey', to 'follow'.
One day last summer I found myself behind another vehicle where the driver was wobbling all over the place, from lane to lane, back and forth, at one point driving down the street straddling the lane divider line; and I was trying to figure out how to get around her and get out of her periphery. (When there's a crazy driver, I try to put 'distance' between myself and them) We eventually came to a red light, and she managed to fine a 'lane' in which to stop, and I pulled up alongside her. Summertime and her window was open, me on the motorcycle. So I did a rare thing: looked her way and asked "what lane are you driving it?" She was obviously frustrated about 'something', as she pointed (generically) in a forward direction, saying something like, "I want to go -there-." So I asked again, "What -lane- are you driving in?" Her answer was the same. Does she not know the rules of the road? Or did she not care? What she had been doing, if an officer had been around, she would have been pulled over for erratic driving, maybe even being asked to submit to a breathalizer test. She was not "following instructions" of the rules of the road, to drive in -a- lane, and 'signal' if changing lanes. She was driving kinda like they do in Montreal, when I used to commute there for the Tudor Singers. "Lane?" What's that?
But when it comes to Heaven and hell, God has certain rules. He has given instructions. And for those calling themselves "Christian", there are rules for holy living. Doctrine.
God commanded Israel, "you shall be holy men unto Me" (Ex22:31) And Peter reminds Church believers of the Jewish Disaspora, "as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also become holy in all conduct, because it is written, Be holy, because I am holy" (1Pt1:14-16)
What does it mean to be holy? To be 'cut' apart from the world, to be 'sepaparate' from the filth of the world (1Jn2:15, Eph5:11,etc), to "turn away from" those who "cause divisions and snares contrary to the doctrine" (Rom16:17)
But what we see is many thieves and robbers who have "[climbed] up some other way" (Jn10:1) Jesus says, "I am the door" and offers 'Salvation' and pasture to those who come and go through Him. (Jn10:9) Jesus is "the Way" to salvation, and He says, "No one comes to the Father except through Me" (Jn14:6) But today's religion does like the one who read this passage at President Ford's funeral at the National Cathedral: he read "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" Period. Leaving out the qualifier, which Peter boldly proclaimed, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men that is required for us to be saved...the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (Ac4:12,10)
There is only One Way into Heaven. Jesus Christ. But rebellious man REFUSES to FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.
We've all heard the saying, and repeated if often in joking when something hasn't been going right: When all else fails, follow the instructions.
But mankind is 'failing', because they -REFUSE- to follow God's instructions.
"As many as -received- [Jesus Christ]" for them there is salvation. (Jn1:12)
Whether people follow the directives regarding their subscription to this mailing list is not of eternal consequences. Depending on their willingness to "click" or not, they will either be successfully 'on' the mailing list, or not.
But when it comes to the Eternal Destiny of a person's soul and spirit, and of their future; either in Heaven or the Lake of Fire, following the instructions in God's Word, or not, is the difference between Life or Death.
And wherein are God's Divine Instructions? The Scriptures...
Dear Reader: are -you- getting it?
Perhaps you give mental assent to this? That is not enough. It is not enough to "believe", even in Sound Doctrine (Tit2:1), unless a person -acts- upon their belief. If they do not -act-, do they even, in fact, -believe-? Paul says that "All Scripture" for the doctrine, correction, instruction and completeness is to a single end... "every good work"
And God's Word is not a 'head-scratcher' to understand; one does not need to stretch into the lofty heights of the heavens to reach for it, nor plummet the depths of the oceans: "But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." (De30:14)
Related topic: Are You a Coward?