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Re: Crooked Straight-edge

"He showed me this: And, behold, the Lord stood by a plumb lined wall, with a plumb line in His hand. And Jehovah said to me, Amos, what do you see? And I said, A plumb line. Then the Lord said, Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel. I will not again pass over him any more. (Am7:7-8)

What is a plumb line used for? Well, first, what -is- a plumb line? It is a string with a weight attached to one end, which is suspended at a desired location, to aid a builder in erecting some structure, and hopefully ending up with a wall or surface that is perfectly perpendicular to the ground, and that is 'straight'. The theory is that of the "shortest distance between two points being a straight line", gravity pulls on the weight, and 'string' is of such a composition to be 'straight' when it is pulled taut. A similar concept is used with a carpenter's chaulk string: One end is attached, the string is drawn taut, is snapped, to leave a 'straight' line where desired.

With the lack of the availability of a 'string', a straight-edge is also used. In desk-top situations a ruler or yard stick might be used. If you are doing like I did on Memorial week-end, in doing garden work, you might use a long board. Yes, an object lesson again. I hope you don't get tired of these occasional 'stories' from the life of PB.

After many years of just getting the rototiller out and tilling, grinding (chewing) on the edges of the garden space to try to straighten the edges that way, to compensate for how the lawn likes to grow back in towards the garden space, where the best that ever results is a jagged edge; I decided this year to specifically -straighten- the edges, and square up the garden area by stepping things off, etc. This was to involve digging into the edges of the lawn's ragged edges with a shovel. But how was I going to be certain the edges would be 'straight' once finished? Aah yes, as it so-happens, there is this long 10-12 ft piece of 1x2 'trim' in the garage. Perfect! I could lay that down on the ground and use it as a 'guide' for where I would dig with the shovel. Which is what I did.

So now, the edges of the garden are 'straight'. Right? Wrong! Once I finished digging the 'long' side, and then went down to the end to eye-ball what I had just done...this long gentle 'curve' is there. Why? Well, you see, my 1x2 piece of trim wood is a bit warped. The curve in the edge of the garden corresponds to the curve of the warp of that piece of trim. On the garden's ends I compensated for the curve, and ended up with straight ends, in spite of the board. But along the long edge, I did not make the necessary compensations. So now, that edge of the garden is NOT -perfectly- 'straight'.

Whose fault is it that the edge of the garden isn't straight? The board's? Possibly. The weather and whatever other conditions which warped the board? Certainly. But ultimately, the fault is my own. I knew, going into the project, that the piece of wood had a bend in it, but used it anyway; thinking, "It will be good enough"

And besides, what's so wrong with a bit of a curve in the edge of the garden? It is sooo much straight-ER than it used to be. Which is "better"? The way the garden was, somewhat ragged-edged; or the way it is now, with edge -mostly- straight?

Well, in a truest sense of a desire for a 'straight' edge on the garden, -NEITHER- makes the cut. Neither situation is 'straight'. If a truly straight edge, or chaulk string, were lined up next to it, it would not match up with a true standard of 'straightness'.

Well, Dear Reader:
In the Christian life, what is our 'standard' against which we adjust our lives? When encroaching sin puts jagged edges into our lives, and we are digging away at them to "make straight" the "paths" of the Lord (Mt3:3), what is the straight-edge we use by which to know of what our lives should consist? The Dummies Guide to the Bible? That slanged-up piece of blasphemy, The Message? This other "easy-to-read" perversion?

When God's Word speaks of becoming the "children of God" (Jn1:12), and the Message speaks of becoming "their true selves", that is a -deviation- from God's Truth. It is not a 'straight path' to God. It is an attempt to "climb up some other way". (Jn10:1) As such, the Message and those who composed it are 'thieves and robbers'. Robbing people of the right path to God's Kingdom.

God commanded: "Therefore, take heed to do as Jehovah your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." (De5:32)

In poking fun at the way truck drivers in 50s Japan would drive down the middle of the road, my dad would sing after an incident where the truck might have almost forced us off the road, "Don't you turn to the left, don't you turn to the right, just keep in the middle of the road". During those same years, if we were driving to some new place, and were not sure of directions, dad would stop to ask directions, and the person would vehemently point down the road with a 'straightened' arm, winced up face, eye-balling down his arm to his fingertips as though he was 'aiming', and say to go "maSSSSSugu" down this road. "massugu" means "straight" We would often chuckle at such directions because invariably subsequently, the road would be full of turns and switch-backs, thus the word "maSSSSugu"... Go -straight- down this 'curvy' road. Get it? We always thought it was funny...but such was our sense of humor.

But the concept that, when a direction is given; FOLLOW IT. But also beware -what- you are following. If you want to find your way to someplace in Japan, go "massugu" down the road. If you want to find your way to Heaven, and once arriving there to hear "well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt25:21), you -must- follow God's Word. Yes, I said "must". Is that not what God means with "take heed"?

What happens if you spend your life searching for your "true self"? It comes time to die, and God asks, "Why should I let you into My Heaven?" Well, Lord, I have discovered myself. But what does Scripture say? "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." (Ac4:12) What name is that? John Smith? Jane Doe? My -self-? No! "JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth" (vs10) We do not get to Heaven by being our -selves-, but by being "CHRIST-ians".

And in being a "Christian" we must be using the correct standard of measure. We cannot use a warped piece of 1x2 and then wonder why the edge of the garden didn't turn out straight. We cannot hang that plumb line, and then along the way put little things against that string that push it back and forth so that it is no longer hanging free and 'true'. A Christian does not originate from pagan Rome. One is not a Christian by reading the "church fathers" of the reformation. One is not a Christian by embracing Hinduism and mantracizing 'worship' and being shamanistically "spirit-filled" of the religions "from the east" (Is2:6)

If a person wishes to be a -Biblical- "Christian", of the sort that receives the invitation to "come up here" (into Heaven)(Rev4:1), what is it that makes for such a Christian? Being a "disciple" of Jesus Christ. (Ac11:26) These are those who have experienced the "grace of God" (vs23) The "grace" by which we were saved was necessary because we were "dead in trespasses and sins". (Eph2:8,1,5) God is not one who "loses His -temper-" (as Message says), but God's wrath "abides" (Jn3:36), is "revealed" (Rom1:18), and is prophesied for the future "upon the sons of disobedience" (Col3:6) Being a "Christian" is to be "in Christ" (2Co5:17)

And so... what does the Bible say about being one's "true self"? "A fool has no delight in understanding, but only that his heart may reveal itself." (Pr18:2) The Message is a work of blasphemy for "fools"! It is not the road map to Heaven.

So, what if you spend your time reading it, and following it, and God says to you, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work out lawlessness!" (Mt7:23) Where does the fault lie? With the Message? Perhaps. With the authors who devised it? They will certainly receive their due-share of God's wrath. But just like it was my own fault for using a crooked piece of wood and ended up with a curved edge on my garden; if you rely upon something like the Message for Eternal Life, when you've been warned, (certainly there is a "witness" Rom8:16 in your spirit that it is not God's Word!)...the fault will be only YOUR OWN.

My piece of 1x2 trim may have been warped, but nobody put a gun to my head and forced me to use it; after checking it out first and seeing the warp, I decided, "It's straight enough", and used it anyway, with full knowledge. And in the case of my garden, indeed, I have decided that the edge -is- straight 'enough' for my purposes.

But God's entrance requirements into Heaven are not so lenient! Jesus says that, "...narrow is the gate and distressing is the way which leads unto life, and there are few who find it." (Mt7:14)

And along with that 'map' He just gave through the "narrow gate", He also warns against the "falst prophets" (vs15) Whatever roadmap you are following, that's where you will end up. If you have a perverted map, you will end up in a different place than you were intending to go.

Yes, there are many proliferated perverted translations of God's Word, but you are not forced to use them. And "good enough" in your own eyes is -not- good enough for God's holy standard of righteousness.

If you want to do "as Jehovah your God has commanded you" (De5:32), then you need a True record of what God commanded. Yes? A perverted translation (crooked straight-edge) is not going to provide that. Stick to God's Word. When you do, you can be as Josiah, who followed in David's footsteps, who followed God. "....because David had done what was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and had not turned aside from anything that He had commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." (1Ki15:5)

"And he [Josiah] did what was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." (2Ch34:2)

When you have thrown that perversion into the trash can, and gotten a copy of God's Word for yourself, then read it and do it. You will understand that "...the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." (De30:14)

And then... "Do not turn to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil." (Pr4:27)