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Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'm going to start reading The Purpose Driven Life next week, which I'm getting really excited about, so I hope somebody wants to read it with me. You don't have to publicly tell me your thoughts on it. However, if you do decide to read along and just don't want to say anything, I will be telling you my thoughts about each chapter that I read everyday. Because of that, I wanted to finish up the book I'm reading now, which is The Lost Books Of The Bible.

If you you've just started reading my blog, The Lost Books Of The Bible is a book that has a collection of books that were catalogued by Christian authors of the first four centuries. Before all of the different chapters, it gives the opinions of the Christian writers as to whether they think the book is divinely inspired, it will tell you where the manuscript came from and what language it was in, Archbishop so and so's opinion of it, etc.

You've read in the Bible where it talks about the Holy Spirit in you will be able to discern. Wow, I just read Malachi 3. I was going to say if you get a chance to read it you should, but it's not long so I'll go ahead and put it here, save you some

Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

Mal 3:3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Mal 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

Mal 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right], and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mal 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Mal 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept [them]. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Mal 3:9 Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation.

Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].

Mal 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mal 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mal 3:13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken [so much] against thee?

Mal 3:14 Ye have said, It [is] vain to serve God: and what profit [is it] that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

Mal 3:15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, [they that] tempt God are even delivered.

Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

The chapter or book that I am drawn to the most in this book, is the book of Hermas. The first book talked about the visions of parables that he saw and were interpreted about the Bride of Christ and the Lamb of God. I'm now on the second book of Hermas, called his Commands. To read more about Hermas, read my post, but read this too because I have more to add to my opinion. As I was saying, I believe that the Holy Spirit will help you to discern what is righteous and what is not. In reading this book, most of it I flipped through and it seemed like they were just "personal accounts" of things that happened when Jesus was on earth. A few of them I was like yeah right and flipped to the next book, but Hermas has been different. I've been drawn back again and again, and have been awed by something else that I read before that didn't make sense, but now it does. It's kind of like watching a movie for the third time and noticing something that you didn't notice the first two times that added new meaning to the whole plot of the movie.

The part that I'm reading now talks about committing the Commandments and the Similitudes to memory. I didn't know what Similtudes were, so I did what I usually do which is pull up Yahoo, and typed in definition Similtudes. The first result was Parables. As the list went down the websites referred mostly to similtudes being related to parables. If someone wants to dig deeper into this and let me know if it really means something else, let me know, otherwise I'm taking it to mean Similtudes are parables, which makes a whole lot of sense.

The reason it makes so much sense to me is that he tells you to write them down because it will commit them to memory faster that way. It will be more valuable to you in your mind than on paper. Anytime my kids have had a test at school and they were having a hard time remembering the answers, I tell them to write it down at least twice, if not more and they will remember it. It hasn't failed them yet. If they do it, which they don't like to, but if there grades are slipping they have to study, so they do what I told them to do and make an A everytime. Usually it takes them so long to get it done because they spend more time arguing with me saying that it won't work. One of these days I'm going to hear them say, "you were right!" My mom had to wait a long time to hear those words, so I'm not expecting them anytime soon.

Hermas writes the Commands that he was commanded by "that Shepherd, the angel of repentance". One other thing that caught my attention about Hermas is that several times he says to whoever he's talking to (the Old Lady or the Angel) that he understands nothing and his heart is hardened. He asks for his understanding to be opened because he is "very dull and apprehend(s) nothing at all". There were twelve commands, I'll try to summarize them and may expand on them later. Tomorrow I'll give you the Similtudes that Hermas was given.

Command I - Believe in One God.

Command II - Refrain from Detraction and Do our Alms-Deeds (give & take or take & give? lol) with Simplicity. Click on the link to see the definition. By reading the chapter, this definition seems to fit better than the other ones I read. I encourage you to research what I'm telling you and comment back if you have different thoughts on it.

Command III - God is true and in Him is no lie. Do not lie because you have received the spirit to keep you free from lying.

Command IV - Keep yourself chaste. Hermas asks the angel several questions about marriage and makes the comment about not being very intelligent. The angel tells him, "Does it not seem to thee to be a very wise thing to repent? Because he that does so gets great understanding".

Command V - Be Patient and Long-Suffering. This may be harder than any of the ten commandments even! The angel talks about the honey and the wormwood.

Command VI - Follow the path of Righteousness and not Iniquity.

Command VII - Fear God, but fear not the devil because there is no power in him.

Command VIII - Abstain from adultery, drunkenness, riots, excess of eating, daintiness and dishonesty, pride, fraud, lying, detraction, hypocrisy, remembrance of injuries and all evil speaking. He goes on to summarize the ten commandments which man also is supposed to be mindful of.

Command IX - Ask of God daily without doubting.

Command X - Put all sadness away so that you take heed not to grieve the Spirit of God that is in us.

Command XI - Try the spirits and prophets by their works. The Angel showed Hermas two men. One was sitting on a bench and one in a chair. He said that the man that sat in the chair was a man that joined himself to the doubtful and the empty and prophesied "to them in corners and hidden places; and pleases them by speaking according to all the desires of their hearts".

Command XII - Remove all evil desires and the devil is not to be feared by those who believe. The Angel told Hermas, "That if ye shall turn to the Lord with your whole hearts, and shall serve him according to his will; he will heal you of your former sins, and ye shall have dominion over all the works of the devil. Be not then afraid in the least of his threatenings, for they are without force, as the nerves of a dead man."


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