MASTER'S International UNIVERSITY of Divinity

Bi-Monthly Information and Teaching Journal

 

"And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?"

 

Luke 24:32 KJV

 

ONE to ANOTHER ~ April - June 2018 ~ Volume IV ~ Issue 3

In This Issue

The Moral Difference Between Right & Wrong | What Is Mental Illness? | Preparing to Hear the Holy Spirit
Book Review  |  Divine Appointments  | Satan's Tools of Choice  | God Purposefully Made the Moon

For Everything There Is A Season  |  Thoughts on Telling the Truth| Practicing Seeking A Pure Heart  |  One Dimensional Leadership

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Past Editions Archive

How Do Humans Beings Know the Moral Difference Between Right and Wrong?  Natural Law and the Noahide.

Part V
Continued from the previous Journal.

 

Dennis D. Frey, M.Div., Th.D., President

 

NEW COURSE AVAILABLE  - Interested in learning more about this subject?  Master's offers a new Advanced Accelerated Course on this often negleced subject.  

 

The Laws of Universal Righteousness:  Natural Law, the Noahide and the Torah LUR-1500-AOC

 

The purpose of this course is to address the fundamental question of how it is that human beings understand the moral difference between right and wrong, and why that understanding  commands personal accountability.

 

Click here for information on signing up for this special four-week course.

 

V.  WHAT IS THE AGE OF COMPREHENSION?

 

We often speak of the "age of accountability."  Or, to be more precise, the age of comprehension.  Usually such conversations revolve around the age at which a child can be held responsible for understanding the moral difference between right and wrong.

 

Universally, children who commit crimes are held to a different standard, but what is not universally agreed upon is at what age a child becomes morally responsible for his or her actions.  This is reasonable because children mature at different ages, and understanding is not totally tied to the calendar.

 

Furthermore, we recognize that some human beings are by reason of birth mentally incapable of ever understanding moral truth, and can never reach an age of moral comprehension (accountability).   Biblically, this does not diminish that person's worth in the sight of God, but actually makes them a precious gift to their families and to humankind as a whole.

 

Jesus himself speaks to this in the context of little children: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10).

 

Yet, an age of accountability remains somewhat of an elusive thing to define.  Timothy Boyd in addressing this subject for the Holman Bible Dictionary say it (I think) quite well.

 

The age of accountability is a concept not directly mentioned in the Bible. What the Bible teaches about personal responsibility for sin and the nature of salvation compels us to define this concept. Basically, the age of accountability is that time in the development of a person when he or she can and invariably does sin against God and thus stands in the need of personal redemption through Jesus Christ. Even under the Old Testament, the Jews recognized that children could not be held personally accountable to the law of Moses. They set the arbitrary age of twelve as the year when a child assumed adult status in religious matters.1

 

What is so compelling here is not that we can with complete accuracy state when a child (or a person of limited mental faculties) can be held responsible for his or her choices by reason of having made a knowing moral choice, but that it is universally recognized that a person "can" reach that age, and that most in fact do so.

 

The conversation then must move on to address moral choice and freewill within the context of human existence.  What are the sources of moral truth?

 

To be continued...

 

1.  http://odl.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/a/accountability-age-of.html?hilite=Accountability,%20Age%20of

 

What Is Mental Illness?

 

David M. Tyler, Th.B., Ph.D.,
Dean, Biblical Counseling

 

 

 

What is mental illness? In order understand mental illness we need ask “what is ordinary or bodily illness?” In other words, what do we mean when we say someone is ill? It means a person believes, his doctor believes, or they both believe he is suffering from an abnormality and/or malfunctioning of his body (e.g. tumor, melanoma, elevated glucose levels in the blood, etc.).

 

The term illness refers to an “abnormal biological condition” Therefore, if a person does not have an abnormal biological condition we usually don’t consider them to be ill. In the strictest sense illness can only affect the body. 

 

The term mental illness is a figure of speech; a metaphor. A metaphor is a word that is used in a non-literal sense such as spring fever, or a sick joke. A joke cannot be sick in a literal sense. The problem is when we cease using a word metaphorically and use it literally as in mental illness. The mind cannot become ill. The mind is not a thing. The brain, heart, and stomach are a thing. The mind is not a physical entity.

 

Psychiatrist, and author E. Fuller Torrey, writes about the term mental illness in his book The Death of Psychiatry “The very term itself is nonsensical, a semantic mistake. The two words cannot go together except metaphorically; you can no more have a mental “disease” than you can have a purple idea…” Psychiatrist and author Thomas Szasz, in his book The Myth of Mental Illness “there is, no such thing as mental illness”

 

The Bible refers to the mind as that immaterial part of man that synonymous with the spirit, soul, inner-self. What it says about one it says about the other. Psychiatry has taken problems, normal and everyday problems, of life and reclassified them as illnesses. Nobody has to tell you melanoma is a disease, diabetes, meningitis, tuberculosis, cancer are diseases, but psychiatry has to tell you over and over alcoholism is a disease, selfishness, anger, and sexual promiscuity are diseases.

 

Humanistic evolutionary based mental health professionals (so-called) have the never-ending task of convincing people that non-illnesses are illnesses.

 

For further information checkout my podcast Biblical (Nouthetic) Counseling http://davidtylerbiblicalcounseling.libsyn.com

Preparing to Hear the Holy Spirit

 

Raymond L. Parker, M.R.E., Ph.D., V.P. Academic Affairs

 

Read Acts 13:1-4

 

Making sure that we receive as well as communicate the correct message is of extreme importance. You may have heard of the church which stopped ordering from a certain store in the city.

 

The manager called and asked if there was a problem. The church secretary said, “Do you remember the pencils we ordered a few weeks ago for placement in our pews?” The manger replied, “Yes. Did you not receive them?” The secretary said, “Well, yes we did received them; but they did not have the name of the church on them as we requested. The message read ‘Play golf next Sunday.’”

 

This was not the message the church wanted to communicate. In this article we want to consider communication; not from person to person, but rather from the Holy Spirit to the Christian. How can we be sure that the guidance we are receiving is from the Holy Spirit? Let us note four items in providing an answer.

 

I. Hearing the Holy Spirit involves faithfulness in the Christian Life

 

Our faithfulness in the Christian journey puts us in the place where the Holy Spirit can guide us (Acts 13:1-4). This is well illustrated in our Scripture text. The believers in Antioch ministered unto the Lord and fasted; that is, they placed spiritual development before physical need. Their relationship with God was more important than any other item in life.

 

In this spiritual condition of yieldedness to the Lord, the Holy Spirit gave His guidance. They were in a spiritual position to be led. The Spirit thus guided them to send forth Paul on his historic missionary journeys.

 

II. Hearing the Holy Spirit involves listening for His voice or guidance

 

You remember the number of times John in the Book of Revelation stated, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 2:11). The more we listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit the more attune we become to His guidance.

 

I remember taking two years of Latin in high school. On the first day of the course the teacher introduced herself and then began to speak what we did not understand. After what seemed like an eternity, she began to speak in English. She told us that as we went through the semester we would begin to understand her questions. Sure enough, the more we listened the more we understood. Understanding the guidance of the Holy Spirit comes as we listen for His leadership. So in some ways learning to understand the promptings  of the  Holy Spirit  is akin to learning a  foreign  language; the more we listen the more we understand.

 

III. The Holy Spirit speaks in many different ways

 

He speaks, for example, through the Word of God. If we are not faithfully exploring the Word of God every day, we have closed a vital link for Spirit communication. Jesus told His first century disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them into truth, and that He would show them the things of Christ, and that He would glorify Christ, and that He would bring to their remembrance what Christ had taught (John 16:12-15). The Holy Spirit uses the Scripture to do this. Let us never neglect the daily study of the Bible.

 

The Holy Spirit also uses life circumstances to communicate to us. Life is a great adventure. It is filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly – but through it all there is a great adventure. As believers we are traveling with God. C. S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Read the book of Psalms or the book of Proverbs and learn what certain Old Testament saints heard from the Spirit out of life experiences. Let us learn to look at each event and pray, “Holy Spirit what are you teaching me now?” Life is not happenstance and life is not accident for the child of God (Rom. 8:28).

 

In addition, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through conscience. Charles Stanley states, “The conscience is that inner capacity within each of us to discern right from wrong, wise from unwise.”[1] When one becomes a believer, the task of conscience increases. The conscience becomes a Divine tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to guide the child of God. The conscience gives that uneasy feeling when a certain decision is not correct. The Apostle Paul spoke of this Holy Spirit work when he wrote to the church of Rome, My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1-2).

 

IV. There are spiritual markers that line up when the Holy Spirit is guiding us.

 

This helps us answer the question, “How can I tell the difference between the Holy Spirit’s guidance and some other guidance?”

 

In the little island of Inagua in the Bahamas there is a commercial port that off loads scores of ships. There is a unique navigational system used to bring the ships in safely. There are three large wooden posts located to one side of the harbor. When the ship’s captain has so aligned those posts that they appear as one, he knows he is in position to safely enter the harbor. [2] The Holy Spirit has given us markers that when aligned assure us that this is Holy Spirit guidance.

 

One such marker is peace. The Apostle Paul spoke of the peace of God which passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Paul stated that this peace guards the heart and mind. Although difficult to define, this peace would seem to be an inner tranquility or absence of conflict in the decision making process. If this peace is lacking, tread softly in making that decision or going in that direction. The leading of the Holy Spirit will give us inner peace and assurance rather than turmoil and uncertainty.

 

Another marker is the Word of God. The Bible was written by men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20-21). The Holy Spirit will never guide us to go where the Bible forbids us to go. The Bible is God’s mind in print. The only way we can know what the Holy Spirit thinks about something is to read the Bible. Just about every decision that we will ever make will find a guiding principles in the Scripture. The Bible of all markers the Holy Spirit will give us is the greatest and must never be violated.

 

One last marker is wisdom. Wisdom is seeing life through God’s eyes or seeing our problems through God’s principles. The question thus becomes, “Is this the wisest thing that I can do at this time?”

 

When these markers line up, we can walk forward in the assurance of the Spirit’s guidance.

 

[1] Charles Stanley, The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers), p. 190.

[2] Ibid, p. 165.

 

Book Review: 

Planted in the House of the Lord: God, Israel and the Church

by Joseph Shulam
ISBN 13: 978-0981873077

 

Cheryl A. Durham, M.Min., Ph.D., Dean of Students

 

One of the most perplexing problems for non-Jewish believers, when they begin to understand that they are ‘grafted into’ Israel is where exactly do they belong? Joseph Shulam’s book, Planted in the House of the Lord does a great job of answering that question. Shulam was born into a nonreligious Jewish family and was moved to Israel when he was about two years old. His journey to find God as well as his education in both Jewish and Christian seminaries makes him the ideal person to speak about ‘that halfway place’ which is what my students often claim of themselves.

 

This book is a short read, and Shulam sticks to the topic. In six chapters, he explains clearly, using clear Scriptural references, how the Church, or believers in the God of Israel and His Jewish Messiah, fit into the overall plan for God’s people without using a ‘replacement theological paradigm’ that unfortunately grew into Church dogma.

 

In the first chapter, Shulam explains who God is and how many theologians have misinterpreted him and thus created a system that was anything but the unification that God wanted to see happen. He goes on to explain who ‘the people of God’ is and how that impacts God’s plan for the world. He also shows how unification was always God’s plan and that it is disunification that always gets in the way.

 

Shulam shows the unique Jewish context of the New Testament writing and how Jesus and the Apostles wanted to see this community. He also addresses the ‘way back’ for those who have strayed from the original plan. Restoring the first community can help provide the unity that God desires.

 

Shulam provides a thorough and thought-provoking argument for the restoration of God's people in a way that has not been seen for over 2,000 years. 

 

I recommend this book to all students of the Bible. It is imperative if we say we follow Jesus, to understand exactly what that means. 

 

Divine Appointments:

Conclusion

 

Continued from previous edition.

 

David W. Anderson, Ed.D., D.B.S.; Program Developer and Director for the Master of Arts Certificate in Disabilities Ministry

 

Conclusion

 

In order to demonstrate our citizenship in God’s kingdom (Graham, 2003), to serve Jesus and to witness to the character and values of his kingdom (Snyder, 2004), biblical and theological teaching must work itself out in and through our life. Our life must demonstrate the spiritual transformation God is bringing about as we mature in Christ so that we are no longer conformed to the thought patterns and actions of this world (Romans 12:2).

 

This transformation and renewal results in a new way of seeing and being in God’s world, and to anticipate the divine appointments God has prepared for us, and prepared us for. Indeed, the transformation God is working in our lives may even be the instigation for those “appointments” to approach us.


God created and designed us to work for his honor and glory. He shaped us through our schooling and experiences, even preparing us to serve him before we decided to follow Christ. Our call to be part of God’s kingdom, coupled with God’s design and gifting of each Christian, means we each have a unique role by which we “put feet, hands, and imaginations to the prayer ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’” (Miller, 2009, p. 137).

 

We, the church, should “make the gospel visible and convincing in a world that believes everything but the gospel” (Ortlund, 2014, p. 68). Living in this manner, we reveal through our actions and words a God who cares and loves deeply.

 

Divine appointments can come at any time and place — often through unexpected encounters with unexpected people. Are you open to the divine appointments God will bring your way? Rather than being intrusions into our time and life, these divine appointments furnish opportunities to show love to others, even others who some may see as difficult to love, such as the Soilas and Elliots of the world. These are opportunities to serve these individuals as Jesus would.

 

Our life and love, shared with others can transform both them and us. McNair (2009) provocatively suggested that the significance of our lives might be determined by what we have done for others. Sometimes Christians, and the church as a whole, ignore, push away, or walk around persons with significant disabilities, assuming they are unimportant or simply not caring about them. But, says McNair, “Ignoring people with disabilities when you claim to be an agent of Jesus Christ speaks volumes about your lack of understanding of what is really important” (p. 36).


Be honest. We talk about God as being sovereign in our lives, but we often take things into our own hands, believing that we have control. Might we miss a divine appointment living this way? God wants to enlarge our circle of influence and connect us with others through divine appointments, even people with whom we might not automatically associate, so that we can bless them, and be blessed ourselves.

 

REFERENCES:
Graham, D. (2003). Teaching redemptively: Bringing race and truth into your classroom. Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications.

Guinness, O. (1998). The call: Finding and fulfilling the central purpose of your life. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing.

Hartshaw, J. R. (2010). Prophetic voices, silent words: The prophetic role of persons with profound intellectual disabilities in contemporary Christianity. Practical Theology, 3 (3), 311–329.

Hillman, G. (2008) Calling and spiritual formation. In P. Pettit (Ed.), Foundations of spiritual formation: A community approach to becoming like Christ (pp. 195–216). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

McNair, J. (2009). The church and disability: The weblog disabled Christianity. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Miller, D. L. (2009). LifeWork: A biblical theology for what you do every day. Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing.

Ortberg, J. (2005). God is closer than you think. NY: MSF Books.

Ortlund, R. (2014). The gospel: How the church portrays the beauty of Christ. Wheaton, ILL: Crossway.

Snyder, H. A. (2004). The community of the king. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Zacharias, R. (2007). The grand weaver: How God shapes us through the events of our lives. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

 

Satan's Tools of Choice

 

Bradley Mattes, M.B.S. MIUD Adjunct Faculty; President and CEO of Life Issues Institute, Inc.

 

 

It’s the second largest crime industry in the world, next only to illegal drugs. And it depends upon the abortion industry to keep its illicit machinery functioning at maximum capacity.

 

We’re talking about human sex trafficking. Chances are you have encountered multiple victims without even knowing it. They are all around you. So are the perpetrators, as are the “buyers” commonly known as johns.

 

Like any criminal activity, human trafficking is driven by money. According to Nita Belles with Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans, if a trafficker has three girls, he can make approximately $650,000 a year. Large events like the Super Bowl are magnets for traffickers to victimize youth and “recruit” others.

 

The evidence overwhelmingly shows that human trafficking is a spiritual issue with devastating effects for the perpetrators and many victims.

 

In a paper titled The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities, the authors base their findings on a study of survey respondents – over 100 women and girls who were trafficking victims or survivors in the USA. Some of their findings are alarming:

  • The average respondent reported having 13 sexual encounters a day, some reporting as many as 30 to 50
  • 67.3% experienced some form of STD or infection
  • Of the 66 who gave an answer regarding the number of pregnancies they experienced, 71.2% said they had at least one while being trafficked, 21.2% of these reported five or more pregnancies
  • Of the 64 who responded to an inquiry of how many miscarriages they experienced, 54.7% had at least one and 29.7% reported more than one
  • Sixty-seven responded to the question of how many had an abortion. 55.2% of them reported at least one and 29.9% reported multiple abortions

Traffickers are absolutely ruthless and will victimize anyone who can generate income, including a three-month-old infant and her five-year-old sister. One former victim was a college graduate with a master’s degree. The buyers are from all walks of life: esteemed politicians, judges, businessmen, law enforcement, attorneys, social workers, and even pastors.

 

There are signs you can look for that indicate a child may be a victim:

  • With an older person who speaks for them
  • Won’t look you in the eye – a cardinal rule for victims unless they’re with a john
  • Looks out of place at a truck stop or another environment
  • A brand on the neck or arm
  • In possession of one or more hotel key cards

Free, comprehensive downloadable resource are available to assist you and others. Please be a light in this dark world. Your actions may alleviate unbearable suffering not only in this world, but also in eternity. Together, we can pull innocent victims from the clutches of the Father of Lies.

 

Awareness is essential to ending human trafficking. The only thing Satan and his traffickers want from us is silence. If you see suspicious activity, phone this easy-to-remember hotline 888-3737-888. Tell them what you’ve observed, and they will take it from there.

 

Abortion is a necessary partner driving human trafficking. Pray that God will use us to put both out of business.

 

God Purposefully Made the Moon

 

James J.S. Johnson, Th.D., J.D., MIUD Board of Advisors,
Chief Academic Officer,
The Institute for Creation Research

 

God made the moon to rule the nighttime, just as is clearly reported in Genesis. (See Genesis 1:14-18; Psalm 104:19 & 136:9; Ezekiel 32:7.)  But how and why did God make the moon, such as how does it “rule” the nighttime?  By His own command, on Day #4, God made the moon to give light, especially light to help us (and to help animals) to see, during nighttime on Earth. 

 

Also, the moon “rules” many activities on Earth due to the moon’s gravitational pull (in combination with the sun’s similar gravitational pull) on the earth and on its inhabitants, such as animals and people, and even on the waters of the oceans — producing the repeating and rhythmic movements of the oceans that we call “tides”. Moon-ocean-tides.

 

This action of “ruling” can be compared to a speed-limiting “governor” installed on a truck’s engine; the truck engine’s “governor” is not a person but it forcefully controls the behavior of the engine in a way that limits the speed of the truck, to accomplish the intentions of the clever inventor who designed the truck engine’s “governor.”

 

In a similar (yet much superior) way, God cleverly invented the moon’s gravitational traits, with the intention that the moon’s gravity limits various activities on Earth, via the moon’s complicated movements and their related gravitational attractions on the earth (in relation to interrelated and complicated motions of the sun and earth), from different directions at different times — resulting in an ongoing choreography of gravitational attractions between those heavenly bodies.

 

The moon’s periodic movements, as the moon moves around the earth, in a regular cycle (called lunar phases), also affect how all plants grow and how all animals behave.  Examples of animal behavior being affected by moonlight (or its absence) include the timing of Pacific salmon going downstream to the ocean, the timing of Christmas Island red crabs going to the ocean to dump baby crabs into the water, and the tidewater movements that bring floating food particles unto filter-feeding oysters. 

 

Thanks, God, for making the moon!  ><> JJSJ

 

For more about how the moon “rules”, see my article “The Moon Rules”, ACTS & FACTS,  44(9):21 (September 2015), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/moon-rules

 

For Everything There Is A Season

 

Gary K. Fair, M.Min., D.P.Th.,

Vice President

"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance." Song of Solomon 2:11-13 (ESV)

    
One of the most prominent characteristics of life in the state of Indiana is the changing of the seasons. Understandably, this changing is not unique to Indiana, but it seems the frequency of the changes may be unique. We may experience more than one season in a week’s passing. Cold, blowing and accumulating snow on Tuesday, and a balmy 70 degrees on Thursday. Folks in this area are known to say, “If you don’t like the weather here, just stick around for a few hours, it will change.” Although it has become a well studied science, weather is an unpredictable factor in the world in which we life.

 

Science has discovered ways to attempt to predict whether you should bring an umbrella along as you head out at the beginning of your day, or if you should wear beach attire. We depend upon the weather forecaster we listen to on TV or radio and trust they have studied the conditions well and can make an accurate assessment of today’s weather and how it will affect us. But, as we know, those predictions and forecasts may be occasionally flawed.  

 

So, the seasons come and go as they have for centuries. Each area of the world experiences those changes in climate as they are prescribed for their area. We adapt our lifestyle and behavior to fit the current season. We complain when today is too hot or too cold. We may dream of life where the temperature is consistently warm, or cold, depending upon our preference.

 

Thinking about all this seasonal change brings to mind that God created the earth, and a part of that creation was the setting of the seasons. Nothing God planned, in His “forecasts” or “predictions,” was ever flawed or off the mark. 

 

The word “season”, however, does not always refer to a specific time span during a calendar year. Season often refers to events which happen “in due time, or at an appointed time,” as in Titus 1:3 (KJV). God’s promises to His people come to fruition in those due time events, according to His perfect plan.

 

While His people, Israel, were in bondage in Egypt, God had a plan in place for their time there, and for their eventual release from the slavery of which Pharaoh appeared to be in control.

God causes all of His plans to happen in the “season” which is according to His plan. His timetable is set and unchanging; it is predictable and accurate. We see this fact recorded in Exodus 12:40-41 - “Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt” (NIV), as God promised Abraham in Genesis 13.

 

Again, we see the accuracy of God’s work in the His promises of things to come in their own season in Galatians 4:4. Paul states that, “when the time had fully come”, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights as sons.”(NIV)

 

So, while we Hoosiers here in Indiana will likely continue to complain about the seasons and the weather which accompanies them, we can rest in assurance that God’s plan and His promises will not change like the weather. We can trust in His steadfastness to His Word, and when the time has fully come for His plan for each of us, the event will happen in due time.

 

 

 

Sinai Speaks: A Daily Devotional for Christians from the Torah

 

Available from Master's Online Bookstore.

 

James B. Solberg, M.Div., D.D.,

MIUD Adjunct Facultyand member of the MIUD Board of Directors; U.S.A. National Director, Bridges for Peace International

 

THOUGHTS ON TELLING THE TRUTH

From Sinai Speaks
Exodus 23:1-3

 

"You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit."

 

“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” For most of the history of the United States, every person testifying in a courtroom was required to take this oath for their testimony to be held valid. Similar oaths are required in many countries, even in some where Christianity is not the dominant religion. 

 

Across the world, it is a common premise that the ultimate guarantee of truth is God, and that the deepest oath to truth is an oath that involves a promise to God. Obviously, this is not a new idea brought about by Christianity, but is one of the many “roots’ of our Judeo-Christian heritage. 

 

It has been said that “If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”  That is because truth is fundamental to all relationships. If you can’t depend on your friend telling you the truth, how can you depend on your friend?  Marriages are ruined, business partnerships destroyed, old friendships turned to hate all through failure to tell the truth. 

 

Lying about a mistake almost always hurts the other person more than the mistake itself. So, God know this, and He commands us to be truthful witnesses.

 

Truth is not only important for human relationships. Ultimately, truth is foundational to our relationship with God Himself.  In the Christian Scriptures, Jesus declares Himself to be the truth: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

 

Throughout both the Older and Newer Testaments, God reveals truth as a foundational part of His character.  We sometime forget that the foundational issue of belief is not what we like, nor what we understand; but what is truth. Learning to live and speak truth is also fundamental to developing our relationships with other people, and with God Himself.

 

Prayer: Lord, In this world we hear so many lies and half-truths.  Help us to seek You and to trust Your Word for the truth.  And help us to speak the truth in love in every part of our lives.  Amen.

 

Practicing Seeking A Pure Heart

 

Howard Eyrich, Th.M., D.Min, Author; ACBC Fellow; MIUD Adjunct Professor; and member of the MIUD Board of Directors.

 

Psalm 119:9-16

 

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
    all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

 

Meditation - The Psalmist begins with a critical question applicable in every culture and reminds himself of the essential answer.  He follows up the answer with a seven-step pattern for exercising his answer to achieve on-going purity.

 

The question 9a - How can a young man stay pure?

 

The answer 9b - By living according to your Word

 

The answer explained 10-16 - The Psalmist offers seven steps to the reader to accomplish staying pure:

1. Seeking 10

With single-mindedness seek to understand your life and your world through the grid of the Word.

2. Treasuring 11

Give the Word great value! Center your life on it. Bury it in the depth of your soul.

3. Depending 12

Look to God to teach you what the Word means. Compare Scripture with scripture.

4. Expressing 13

Speak to yourself and others the instructions of God.

5. Enjoying 14

Take even greater delight in the Word than you would in a million dollar tax=free gift.

6. Meditating 15

Talk (express out loud) your way through thinking God’s Word and then honor it with obedience.

7. Delighting 16

Enjoy your life that God has given, but most of all delight in God’s Word—in doing so you are delighting in the Lord.

 

Prayer - Father, sometimes I am not sure I really understand what it looks like to seek you with my whole heart.  But my desire is that you will not let me wander from your commandments. The Word has become the treasure of my heart.  I thank you for its impact on my life. By your Holy Spirit ever my teacher be that the Word might speak your instructions into my life. Lord, I rejoice in your Word when I meditate upon it. It is honey to my soul in the beauty of instruction, guidance and challenge. Amen!

 

Project:

1. Using a scale of 1—5 rate yourself on each of the seven steps (1-poor -- 5 great).

 

2. Pick the one you rate lowest and determine a method to improve. Share this with a trusted friend and ask that friend to hold you accountable to your plan.

 

3. Is there a particular sin that you need to tackle? What is it? ____________. Ask God to guide you to the Scripture that will help you in the overcoming process.

 

One Dimensional Leadership

 

Noel P. Sanderson, M.Ed., D.D.

 

Dr. Sanderson is an Associate Professor at Trinity Gradute School in Ellendale, ND.  He serves on the International Board of Bridges for Peace.

 

AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

 

It has been my experience that so much of what we understand about leadership has been one-dimensional. This means that we think and act in only one way or mode. We cannot or will not see or embrace alternative models of leadership. We can become stuck. Leadership models whether at a national or local church level can become restricted to one paradigm. This may work in denominations that are very hierarchical or centralized as well as in churches of under 80 in attendance.

 

Some leaders have been prevented from attaining true God inspired fruit in their ministry because they have been an ill fit for the leadership environment in which they have functioned. This is paradigm lock and it can be deadly for both the church and the leader. It is to keep a square peg in a round hole. Interest groups who want their pastor to be less of a leader have often redirected him or her towards less fruitful ministry so that they do not lose control of “their” church. One-dimensional leaders and leadership models tend to be known for power struggles or unhealthy power centers. In some small churches this is often one or two large families.

 

One-dimensional leadership may work at certain levels of an organization, but is a real hindrance at levels that must serve vision and strategy. This is often the case at eldership level or with a church board. Many elders or church board members I have known were one-dimensional, though not all. In some cases, in seeking to protect the church (from inspirational and purposeful leadership) they sacrifice the only leader they have. Anyone in leadership is susceptible to this danger, not just elders or board members. Pastors, who are often full-time elders, are particularly prone to being one-dimensional as leaders. They learn what works and stick with that, which is fine while it works. The problem arises when what they are doing no longer works. That is when the dangers of one-dimensional leadership become apparent.

 

A fixation on the past, especially methods and programs that worked in the past, can be a one-dimensional trap for leaders. What worked in another church, ten years ago, may not work in the new church today. One dimensional leaders sometimes struggle to process changing realities, new contexts and so adapt their methods and strategies for their immediate situation. One reason for this is that we find security in knowing what worked in the past. We relate to what worked back then as the thing God anointed. One dimensional leaders assume that the once anointed method remains anointed throughout time.

 

Personality and Leadership

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines personality as follows.

  • The set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving that makes a person different from other people.
  • Attractive qualities (such as energy, friendliness and humor) that make a person interesting or pleasant to be with.
  • A set of distinctive traits or characteristics.

 

The Oxford Dictionary defines personality as follows.

  • The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.

 

What is common to these definitions is the idea that our personalities are distinctive to us as individuals. Our personality is part of what makes us unique, part of our identity. Whether these are attractive or repulsive, they are distinctive (unique) to us. As we all have these distinctive traits we call our personality, the influence of our personality on our leadership needs to be better understood. No two leaders are the same, just as no two people share the identical personality. We may have similar personalities, but we are all unique as people and so we will lead in ways unique to ourselves. We filter leadership through our personalities, which makes us distinctive as individuals and leaders.

 

The Bible introduces several leaders to us, who in their own time in history exhibited some distinctive traits worthy of comment. The biblical record is of course incomplete as a biographical sketch of each leader, yet we can identify enough traits about them as individuals and as leaders to draw some conclusions. I have isolated a few simple examples from the Bible of modes of leadership that were affected by personality. These modes of leading are: Dynamic, Necessity and Reluctant.

 

To be continued...

 

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