Tag Archives: Truth

Poetry by the Book – Galatians 4:8-20

Poetry: Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style, rhythm and structure.a


Brethren, I beseech you.
Become as I am, for I also have become as you are.
I bear you witness,
I preached the gospel to you at first
because of a bodily ailment.

My condition was a trial to you.
You did not scorn or despise me.
You did me no wrong,

but received me as an angel of God,
as Christ Jesus.

You know
you would have plucked out your eyes
and given them to me

if possible.

Formerly, when you did not know God,
you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods,
the weak and beggarly elemental spirits,
whose slaves you want to be once more.
I am perplexed about you!
What has become of the satisfaction you felt?
You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years!
Have I then become your enemy
by by telling you the truth?

I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.
They (the Judaizers) make much of you,
but for no good purpose.

You have come to know God,
or rather to be known by God,

for a good purpose.
It is always good to be made much of
and not only when I am present with you.
My little children,
until Christ be formed in you,

I am again in travail!

a My poetry structure was created from the RSV Bible using sentences and phrases verbatim.

Poetry by the Book – Galatians 2:11-21

Poetry: Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style, structure and rhythm.a

When Cephas came to Antioch,
he used to eat with the Gentiles.
Certain men came from James.
When they arrived,
he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles.
He was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
I opposed him to his face,
he stood condemned.
The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy,
even Barnabas was led astray.
They were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel.

I said to Cephas in front of them all,
“you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs
yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew.”
We Jews find ourselves also among the sinners,
doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? 

Absolutely not!
A person is not justified by the works of the law.
Through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker
because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles,
we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus
that we may be justified by faith in Christ.
Do not set aside the grace of God!
Christ died for nothing
if righteousness could be gained through the law.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

a Structure taken from the NIV Bible

Poetry by the Book – Galatians 2:1-10

Poetry: Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style, structure and rhythm.  

After fourteen years
I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas.
I took Titus along also
meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders
in response to a revelation.
I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles.
I wanted to be sure I was not running,
and had not been running, my race in vain.

Some false believers had infiltrated our ranks
to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus
to make us slaves.
Yet not even Titus, who was with me,
was compelled to be circumcised
We did not give in to them for a moment,
so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved.

God does not show favoritism
for those who were held in high esteem.
They recognized
I had been entrusted with preaching the gospel
to the uncircumcised
just as Peter had been to the circumcised.
For God,
at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised,
was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 

Those esteemed as pillars,
they agreed.
James, Cephas and John,
gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship
when they recognized the grace given to me.
We should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.
The very thing I had been eager to do all along
was that we should continue to remember the poor.a

NIV scripture used

The Journey of Love

3 John ESV
1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5 Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are,
6 who testified to your love You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 

To the beloved Gaius
whom I love in truth,
I pray that all may go well with you
in good health as it goes well with your soul.

You are walking in the truth.
I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth;
to hear that my children are walking in the truth…
I have no greater joy.

It is a faithful thing you do
for these brothers, strangers as they are,
who testified to your love.
In a manner worthy of God
send them on their journey.

Reality Check

Recap 1 John
1 John 2:18 antichrist is coming
1 John 2:22 This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:3 spirit of the antichrist here already

Untruths from the antichrist a
The end of time is too far off to be concerned about now
The end of time is too close to care about tomorrow
Lawlessness and sin are a sign of the church’s failure
It’s too late to pray or work for revival
a gleaned from John Piper

Ideas to ponder:  
Is the “elect lady” a church?
Are “her children” the believers?
This love letter is a warning.

Now read all of 2 John 1 pondering the
Recap, the Untruths and the Ideas

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth,  2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us for ever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 

4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children following the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. 5 And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.  6 And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love.  7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you[we] have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son. 10 If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting; 11 for he who greets him shares his wicked work. 

12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink, but I hope to come to see you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

13 The children of your elect sister greet you.  RSV

Beloved Little Children

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.
4 Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
5 They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them.
6 We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. RSV


Do not believe every spirit
Test the spirits
Many false prophets have gone out into the world


Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
Every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God.
This is the spirit of antichrist,
you heard that it was coming
now it is in the world already.

You are of God, and have overcome them
They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world
the world listens to them. 

for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Whoever knows God listens to us,
he who is not of God does not listen to us.

 

Loving

I John 3
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him
20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  RSV


He laid down his life for us.
By this we know love.
We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Loving in deed and in truth
reassures our hearts before Him,
we are of the truth.
God is greater than our hearts
whenever our hearts condemn us!

Behold!

I John 3:1 Behold, what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the sons of God! For this reason, this world does not know you: because it does not know Him.  2 Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God. But what we shall be is yet to be revealed. And we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is. RGT [Revised Geneva Translationa]

You may remember a simple chorus sung as a round based on these specific words of I John 3:1.  You may still mentally hear the music.  If it’s unfamiliar take a minute to listen here.  It’s a very basic two-sentence structure that repeats and overlaps as each side sings their part to complete the Word to the other.  

Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us,
Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us,
That we should be called the sons of God,
That we should be called the sons of God.

Reading those words triggered the memory of the music that goes with them. The testimony of truth is when music and the Word are combined, the two halves of the human brain are uniquely engaged in a lasting way.  Behold!  Reading Words on a page has the power to stimulate the music of our memory and remind our heart that the Father has given His love is to His children [of any age] for this purpose: our hope “that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is.”

aThe Geneva Bible is specifically designed to be SPOKEN and HEARD, repeatedly, and is built on the premise that a crucial key to revival in the present can be found in one simple practice from the past—speaking God’s Word back to each other in community.

Truth

John 19:10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin. 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free.”
…19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.  20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” NIV

Some power is real and some is illusion.  Mostly human nature seems to respond more to the power of illusion because it makes us think we are able to control life and circumstances.  The illusion of power was clearly behind Pilate’s question: “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answers Pilate in two sentences that tell him his  power is only an illusion, that he has no real power at all, AND at the same time offers him something that seems designed to ease his guilty conscience.  Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

And look at Pilate’s response to Jesus!  “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free”…and finally his response to the chief priests and Jews when they complained about his notice posted to the cross –  “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.”

Something real happened in that interchange with Jesus that affected Pilate.  Isn’t that just like Jesus to clearly remind where the source of real power lies AND then to create a small grace space in a reprimand so that truth would be revealed even without faith when “Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Learning to Live Alone

John 1:1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He existed in the beginning with God.  3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.  4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. [NLT]

It’s almost a month since my husband was killed.  I have been so blessed and comforted by my family.  They have buffered the reality of my loss with their presence.   They’ve flown in from around the country to help me navigate the unthinkable reality of death with the basics of life; food, activity and the practical and legal details that are now a part of my life.  What was previously “normal” activity has now become a reminder of being alone but they have been the hands-on proof of God’s assurance that is not the case.  One by one they’ve returned to their own homes and this week I finally have to face learning to live alone in mine.

It’s scary because I’ve realized I have never actually lived “alone” before.  I moved from my parents home to my marital home nearly 63 years ago.  I chose this book of John to read and ponder in these next weeks because it was important to my husband and the book of John is where my life of faith began long ago.  I wasn’t physically alone then, but it was the place I first read the words that revealed Jesus gives life that spans all time, circumstances and relationships.  What was true then is still truth now. “The Word already existed…with God… The Word gave life to everything…and the darkness can never extinguish it.”