IF YOU CAN READ, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE (Part 2)

LockedBibleYou love Jesus and yet you know something’s not quite right. You can’t really say what it is, but you know something’s wrong.

You go to church every Sunday, but outside of the music, you feel like it’s a waste of your time. And to be honest about it, if it wasn’t for your kids you’d stay home. You’re afraid to voice your concerns to anyone because they might get the idea that you don’t love Jesus. You do love Jesus, and you love people, but your walk with Him seems more like a religion than a relationship. You’ve got questions but you’re afraid to ask them. And when you work up enough courage to ask them, the pastoral staff has to schedule an appointment for you during normal “business” hours. You know, like a doctor’s office, or a dentist’s office, or to get your car serviced. And thank God for doctors, dentists and mechanics. Without them, we’d all be sick, toothless and walking everywhere we go.

If, on the other hand, you’ve got it all figured out then reading this is a waste of your time. You’ve got your favorite minister that you watch regularly. You’ve got their books and other “resources” to help you understand truly what Jesus is saying to us. After all, they spend their time writing books and preparing their presentations and going from city to city peddling, I mean marketing, their understanding of what Jesus wants you to know about Him. Why on earth would Jesus bother to talk to YOU, when He’s got them on television and on the internet to tell you what He wants you to do? That’s exactly what a religion is all about. It’s about people more knowledgeable than you who can hear Him better than you. And “Praise the Lord”, they’ll tell you what He wants you to do. All you have to do is purchase their newest DVD series, newest book or buy a ticket to see them when they come to your area. And that’s exactly what religion is all about. It’s a business and business is booming!

That’s not what we’re called to. We are called by Him to have a personal relationship with Him. It’s a real relationship, not religion. It’s a relationship built on His love for us. He proved it when He was nailed to that cross. And when we forget that, we’re headed down the road to just another one of the world’s “great religions”.

God is an intelligent Creator. YOU are His intelligent creation. Common sense would tell us that an intelligent Creator would have an intelligent way to let His intelligent creations know how He thinks and acts in every situation. That’s right, in every situation God wants YOU to know what He thinks and what He wants us to do in order to overcome any situation or circumstance that we often find ourselves in. Think of it this way, You’re a parent with kids. Your kids may not believe you’re smarter than them. You know the way things work better than they do. That’s just a fact. They may not agree and that’s understandable because they’re kids. Let’s say you’re a manager with people under you. You’ve been with the company longer than those under you. You know the way the systems work better than they do. They may or may not agree. Doesn’t really matter what they think about this situation. If they knew more than you did, they would be your manager. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand this.

Obviously any good parent, or manager, would want those who look to them for guidance to understand the instructions that you’re giving them. You would want them to understand exactly what you’re saying to them. Unfortunately, we humans have a bad habit of not being very good listeners. When we were kids and a parent was telling us what they wanted us to do, they had our attention for about 2.4 seconds. At the 2.4 seconds point we discovered that what they wanted us to do was boring. It was so boring, we didn’t even want the idea in our minds. So we would stare at them, nodding occasionally to give the impression that we were listening and allow them to think we were really going to do exactly what they told us to do, whatever it was. We really couldn’t remember because we stopped listening 2.4 seconds after they started talking.

When we become adults our attention span is longer than when we were kids. At least somewhat longer. Well kinda longer, unless you’re an adult male. Then it’s pretty much the same 2.4 seconds. Men have the tendency to stare at whoever is talking to them, nodding occasionally to give the speaker the impression that they’re listening, throw in a couple of “yeah, yeah” to complete the illusion. But they’re not. Now if you’re a man reading this, and there’s woman close by, the smart thing to do is to play it cool. You know, say something like “it’s such a shame that some men do this” or “some men are just so insensitive”. You know something like that. But since I’m a man who’s writing this, a word of caution is in order. Don’t overdo it. They’ll know if you do. They always know. It’s kinda freaky, but they do!

So since we humans are not very good listeners, there is a much better way to get our thoughts and ideas to one another. It’s called “writing it down”! If my wife hands me a list of things that need to be done, such as mow the grass, wash the car, take out the trash, etc. I better have a real good, and I mean real good, explanation as to why the written tasks were not accomplished.

And that’s exactly what GOD has done. He’s put His thoughts, viewpoints and solutions to all our problems in a book. It’s called the Bible.

If YOU can read and understand these words in front of you, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter what gender you are. It doesn’t matter your education level, or lack of, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter your race, your financial situation, your health, your job status, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter your political views, or if you’re a hooker or you’re a minister, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter what you’re hooked on or what you have gotten others hooked on, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter how many lives you’ve taken or how many lives you’ve saved, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, what you’re doing now or what you’re planning to do, YOU can understand the Bible. It doesn’t matter if you were raised in a church or never been to church in your life, YOU can understand the Bible. As a matter of fact, the less you think you know, the better YOU can understand the Bible.

And YOU better know, because YOU are going to stand before Him someday at some time and tell Him why YOU lived your life the way YOU did. There are two things in your existence that you will not be able to avoid. The first one is death (that may come as a shock to you, but you are going to die sooner than you want to) and then standing before Jesus and explaining why you lived your life the way you did.

How would you like to live the rest of your life providing real solutions to real problems to the people in your life? We are not talking religious solutions. We are not talking intellectual solutions. But real honest to God answers. Concrete solutions to their problems. YOU can do that. You know why? Because YOU can understand the Bible. And once YOU understand that YOU can understand the Bible, YOU can understand God. And He’s got all the answers. Real, honest to God (no pun intended) solutions.

Aren’t you tired of hearing people’s problems and not really knowing what to say in response? Doesn’t it tear you up inside when someone tells you all the hurt and pain that they are going through and you don’t know what to say? Jesus wants YOU to be His light to others who are going through more pain and suffering than you are. And you can be because YOU can understand the Bible!

Want proof? Just listen to what your heart is telling YOU right NOW as your mind is processing these words.

Think about what you have read and just listen to your heart, not your head.

With Love, Cincinnati Christian

Comment below or email us at Cincinnati.christians@yahoo.com or Facebook at  Cincinnati Christian Blog.

6 thoughts on “IF YOU CAN READ, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE (Part 2)

  1. Dear Cincinnati Christian
    I was reading your post and realized that you would be a fan of Jean-Pierre de Caussade. He was a 16th century cleric and mystic. Much of his writing dealt with listening to God and living in the present moment.

    God bless,

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    1. Dear Cincinnati Christian,
      You don’t have to be concerned about offending me. I really appreciate your thoughtful and measured response. I know the teachings of Jesus very well. I strive to live my life following those teachings. I spend hours in contemplation of the parables to unravel the challenges they hold for my life.

      I tend to agree with your assessment of certain Christians who, when faced with the teaching of Jesus, respond with less than a Christian reaction. Jesus had a lesson for these folks who refuse to give up their security blanket in order to follow Jesus. Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

      We all know that the rich man was secure in his salvation based upon his wealth. To give that up would mean risking what he believed to be a sure thing.

      We all know that many Christians are secure in their salvation based upon their rituals, their sinfulness and belief in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. To give that up would mean risking what they believe to be a sure thing.

      Jesus teaches that we need to give it all away and follow Him. When the Church leaders say that we must hate Gays because homosexuality violates natural law, we know that hate is wrong so we give all that away to follow Jesus.

      Very nice communicating with you. Keep up the good work. God bless,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Neodecaussade,

    Once again, I must ask you to forgive me. For years now whenever I ran into Christians who are real “spiritual” (or some use the term “mystical”), after spending time with them I came to the painful conclusion that they weren’t spiritual at all. How did I know that? I just listened to what they had to say. After reading that you have spent a lot of time (which is far more valuable than money) studying the words of Jesus, I find myself fighting back tears of regret that I may have said something that hurt you. This will come as no surprise to you but unfortunately, I find very little of CHRIST in many Christians. So please again, forgive me. I just basically stereotyped you into a category that you don’t belong in. So again, forgive me this great wrong.

    Your response in kindness and love really lifted me up (in spite of the fact that I was a bit of a jerk). Funny, almost like Jesus would respond to a person who was a bit of a jerk. Your words, wrapped in love and delivered with kindness, REALLY dispelled the darkness that I was experiencing at that point and time. I think you can relate to this, but at times it seems as if darkness is on the march and winning on every front. Not all the time, but sometimes.

    You made mention about how you study and try to live your life according to the teachings of Jesus. If I may, I would like to share something with you and to get your take on it. In Mark 4:3 Jesus begins teaching on the sower who sows the word. As a sower speaks the word there are 3 different types of ground (or hearts) that the word comes in contact with. I’m sure you are very familiar with the illustration or parable. But I would really love to hear your take on verse 13. Verse 13 reads as follows in the NKJV, “And He said to them, do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” My take on it is this, if I don’t understand this foundational principle of His teachings, I probably won’t understand much of anything else He has to say. That’s just my opinion on it. I would love to hear your understanding of this verse.

    I just want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. I hope you realize just how rare of a jewel you really are. Sadly far, far too many people don’t seem to have the time to spend reading the words of Jesus, much less trying to follow Him. So when I read your response, you gave wings to my heart. I mean it really felt like my heart was lifted up. Just wanted to say thanks again, even though thanks seems such an inadequate word to describe the feeling that we got.

    Look forward to hearing from you again. And if we don’t meet in this life, I know we will definitely meet in the next.

    With love, Cincinnati Christian

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    1. RESPONSE FROM neodecaussade via email. Posted with permission.

      Dear Cincinnati Christian:

      No need for apology, I take no offense. Your message is very nice. I appreciate your kind words.

      Regarding Mark 4, the parable is interesting on many levels. Many years ago I went to hear Megan McKenna speak about storytelling. In her presentation she touched on parables. She said something that day that changed my thoughts on parables. She explained that if you read a parable and feel good afterward you missed the message. Parables are meant to challenge you.

      If we do not feel that Jesus provokes us to feel or think differently we need to contemplate on those words. I believe that when Jesus looked at the response of the disciples to the parable He realized that they were not challenged and they didn’t get the message.

      It is not easy to grasp the message because years of Christian preaching has tried to make the parable something to suit their message and not the message of Jesus.

      In my years of study I have come to understand that the parable has to be read without allegory. Years of theological studies have positioned modern allegorical thought around the parables. Jesus was not speaking in allegory to a 1st century audience.

      I have had to unlearn many of my previous lessons to get the message and become challenged to live a better life.

      The first step to understanding the sower is to ask what is the focus? Is the sower the focus or the results of the sower? I say the focus is the hundredfold grain.

      What is grain good for? Nourishing our bodies so that we may thrive. The hundredfold yield is much more grain than one sower can use. This then implies the invitation to share and nourish others.

      The teaching of this parable is how to live and live bountifully. The challenge or perhaps the accusation before us is this; why are we not yielding hundredfold grain within our community?

      Okay, maybe we need to start by yielding thirty-fold grain? Well, what if we say we will yield some grain today and increase over time?

      The expectation is to nourish others. If we yield nothing for the community what is the point?

      We keep the commandments and perform all the required sacrifices and rituals but if we don’t nourish our community what good is it? When the time of judgement comes it will be the things you did for the least that matter.

      I pray for you to yield hundredfold grain. God bless,

      Sent from my iPhone

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Neodecaussade,

        First off, I want to apologize for not getting back to you sooner. As I’m sure you are well aware it has been “colder than hell” which is a true oxymoron. I never could understand this expression. My response internally was, “I don’t think you understand the concept of hell, but whatever.”

        You made mention of Megan McKenna. For some reason that name rings a bell. I just don’t know which bell it rings. Obviously, at least you would think it would be obvious, she understands what the parables were meant to do. As she said, “Parables are meant to challenge you”. For some reason we’re supposed to check our minds and our hearts at the door and just go in and have a seat and allow someone else to tell us what Jesus was really saying. It has been said that human beings are a lot like bird hatchlings. They come out of the shell blind, with their mouths wide open and whatever is put in their mouths, they swallow.

        Your ability to clearly see how years of Christian preaching and/or teaching has far too often been hijacked to serve either personal, political or monetary gains is on the same level that John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles clearly saw. Your ability to admit how you had to “unlearn” many of your previous lessons is a quality that is as rare as a double rainbow and far more beautiful. You would be surprised at how many professional ministers we have personally known over the years haven’t a clue about this ability you have. It is truly a beautiful thing. Oh, and by the way, we do not believe in telling people “good stuff” in order to flatter them. Flattery is just another form of deceit. People who live a lifestyle, not occasionally or accidentally, but a LIFESTYLE of deceit will eventually find out just how stupid the expression “colder than hell” really is.

        In Mark 4:13 and He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” Now correct me if I am wrong, but in essence isn’t He saying that if I don’t understand how the sower sows the word works, I won’t understand anything? Some years ago I was reading this particular verse and it was almost as if the words “stood up off the page”. I read the verse again and again out loud. This verse not only challenged me like Megan McKenna said, but it was almost as if I could understand this parable, I could understand everything that Jesus ever said. In all honesty, it took several weeks for me actually accept that idea. Have you ever had something go through your mind when you were doing something totally unrelated to what was going through your mind? That you’ve have something going around inside of you over and over again? It’s that last thing you thought of when you went to sleep and the first thing that went through your mind when you woke up. Like being in love. I mean the real love.

        If I may, I would like to run this past you to get your insight on it. This same parable is repeated in 3 of the gospels, probably because it takes us a while to “get it”. In each parable the “seed” is the “word of God”. In each parable there are 4 separate results that come from hearing the word of God.

        The first result is when a person doesn’t understand the word, it’s snatched away from them.

        The second result is when they do understand it, they are really happy about it, but when the pressure comes on (or the heat), they back off.

        The third result are the ones who hear it, and when the pressure comes they don’t back off. But the process of life starts to grow around the word and it’s slowly choked out. I can tell you from my own personal experience this is a most insidious process. It is so subtle and so slow moving that you don’t become aware of it until a crisis comes up. Unfortunately, many of us attempt to resolve the crisis by throwing money at it, which is the “deceitfulness of riches”. If the problem is solved, from that point on we think that money will solve all our problems. That is one of the things that is so dangerous about the “deceitfulness of riches”. On the surface the problem appears to be solved, but underneath the problem remains and is growing.

        The fourth result are those who hear the word, understand it and with a noble and good heart practice it, with patience, and it yields real results.

        We take the position that if one truly understands the Bible, especially the New Testament, no matter what the problem is the answer is in the book. Unfortunately the problem that we as people run into is simply this, “You really haven’t study the Bible long enough to understand it. You must go to someone far more educated than you in order for you to truly understand what God is saying.” Just from the words that you have written to us you no longer believe that. We are of the opinion that the next truly great move of God WILL NOT COME from those, for whatever reason, who have been elevated above the regular “Joes” and “Sallies”. Jesus said this in John 10:11-14, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But a hireling, [one who gets paid to do what they do] he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling [professional] flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep; and I am known by my own.”

        Let’s just use as an example the commandment “love your neighbor as yourself.” When many first hear that the first thing that comes to mind is the word “huh?” Then after a while it’s starts to sink in, your neighbor is your neighbor. Not real complicated. So then you start to help your neighbor, but others don’t think you should be helping “them”. We believe that’s the pressure part or heat. Many back off but something tells us YOU don’t. After a while the cares of this life, which can be many and important, seek to stop you from helping your neighbor. But again something tells us that you, even though there is an attempt to strangle you, that’s what cares or “weeds” do, you don’t let it stop you.

        You made an extremely salient observation. If I plant a seed and then from the harvest of that one seed I now hoard all the other seeds that come from it, it’s not really doing me any good. On the other hand, if after I reap a harvest of seeds I then plant those seeds into the lives of other people, I have now empowered them to reap their own harvest. And hopefully they in turn will plant even more seeds into the lives of others I probably would never meet. As you said, if I’m not helping my community, what is the point? By not getting involved in the lives of other people (who want help), I will become spiritually stagnant. I’m always taking it in, but never allowing it to flow through me. As I once heard someone say, “Love is an act of your will, not just a feeling.” If I say I love someone, yet never put any action to what I say, then I am merely words.

        One of the many amazing things about Jesus is this, you don’t remember all the good things that you have done in your life to help others, but He does. You don’t really remember all the times that you did some “small thing” to help someone, but He does. After all, he’s God in human form and he has a much better memory than you do. You just keep doing what your heart tells you to do and you will be amazed at what you will see in the future.

        With all our love,
        Cincinnati Christian

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