The View From Here

What Is Meaning?

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My wife asks me to go to the store for butter and milk. Wanting to be efficient and economical, I get buttermilk instead.  “Won’t she be pleased with me,” I think to myself, “I bought two for the price of one.” Is that what she meant? Or did I change the meaning when I heard it?

In today’s culture, there is a debate over who determines what something “means.” Is it the author, the reader, the situation, or some combination? Without realizing it, one can read and ask, “What does this mean to me?” This question mixes the author’s message with one’s own experience, feelings, moods, preferences and opinions. A better question sounds similar, but is vastly different, “What does this mean for me?”

If meaning is determined by the author, then all readers in all places in all times will be able to understand the same thing. If meaning is determined by the reader or a reader’s circumstances, then stop reading this blog post right now, because meaning is meaningless—truth cannot be known.

During the Reformation, Protestants insisted the Bible could be understood without having a priest tell you want it meant. They believed that the Bible is clearly expressed and therefore easily understood. Today, we still believe that the Bible comes from one, divine Author, and that there is one clear, “intended meaning.” If meaning is truly determined by the author, then “our task is to understand and respond to what God has communicated in ways that demonstrate obedience and faithfulness to that revelation.”

Don’t let Bible study seem boring to you. It is not just “another thing to do.” Consider for a moment the idea of “meaning.” God intended to communicate something to you. The words of the Bible have contained this meaning for thousands of years. This same truth you read today was read by others whose lives were vastly different than yours, and yet the one message ministers to one need common to all people, in all places, in all times.

God says, “Let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the LORD" (Jer. 9:23-24).

Remember, the Bible is not too hard to understand.  Believers before us were burned at the stake for stating that the Bible can be read by the ordinary man, woman and child - and that salvation comes by hearing or reading about Jesus and RESPONDING by believing –nothing else!

Here are some tips that have encouraged me to keep on reading God’s Word. I hope they encourage you.

 READING THE BIBLE by J.C. Ryle
  1. READ THE BIBLE WITH AN EARNEST DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT. Do not be content to just read the words of scripture.  Seek to grasp the message they contain.
  2. READ THE SCRIPTURES WITH A SIMPLE, CHILDLIKE FAITH & HUMILITY.  Believe what God reveals.  Reason must bow to God's revelation.
  3. READ THE WORD WITH A SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE AND SELF-APPLICATION.  Apply what God says to yourself and obey His will in all things.
  4. READ THE HOLY SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY. We quickly lose the nourishment and strength of yesterday's bread.  We must feed our souls daily upon the manna God has given us.
  5. READ THE WHOLE BIBLE AND READ IT IN AN ORDERLY WAY. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable."  I know of no better way to read the Bible than to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end, a portion every day, comparing Scripture with Scripture.
  6. READ THE WORD OF GOD FAIRLY AND HONESTLY. As a general rule, any passage of Scripture means what it appears to mean.  Interpret every passage in this simple manner, in its context.
  7. READ THE BIBLE WITH CHRIST IN VIEW. The whole Book is about Him.  Look for Him on every page.  He is there.  If you fail to see Him there, you need to read that page again.

 

Posted by Joshua Holland with 0 Comments
in Faith

Are You Scared Of Disasters?

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Ok, call me a sicko, but I’m fascinated by natural disasters.  I never want to experience one, and I would never wish it on anyone else.  But if I see a hurricane, earthquake, erupting volcano, tornado, or any other natural disaster on TV, I am hesitant to change the channel.  What is it that attracts sickos like me to natural disasters? 

I don’t know for sure, but when you think about it, natural disasters are truly fascinating.  They are elusive, often spontaneous and merciless, and they can destroy entire cities in seconds.  They are absolutely fascinating.

 Let me ask you a question.  Have you ever had people or situations in your life that were like a natural disaster?  You know, that person you encountered, and then with little or no warning they slammed into your life causing catastrophic damage.   Maybe it was your boss, or a co-worker.  Maybe it was a friend, neighbor or even a stranger that seemed to come out of nowhere and turn your life into rubble.

 Perhaps, you have had something bad happen that left you broken and desperate.  It could have been a car accident, the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, personal injury or a financial situation that got out of hand.  There was nothing you could do about it.  It could even be something where a stage 1 natural disaster escalates to a stage 5, like a troubled marriage, your children’s behavior, an addiction or something from your past that came back to haunt you.  

 Experts tell you in order to protect yourself from a natural disaster you need to get to the safest room in your home, get face down and cover your head.  Do you know what you should do to protect yourself from people and situations that come into your life like a natural disaster?  

 

You do the same thing…you get to your safest place, like your home or church, you get down on your knees, cover your head and PRAY!   

 This is something King David understood.  He prayed all the time.  In 2 Samuel 22 we see David responding to several disasters in his life.  At the end of the day, David praises God through the storms of life.  David’s God was bigger than any storm or natural disaster that came his way. 

 I firmly believe the Lord allows us to go through storms and disasters in our life to draw us closer to Him and develop the integrity and character He wants us to have.  The most important thing to remember is to remain connected to God.  Trust Him in the storm and He will get you through it. 

Posted by Rodney DeJager with 0 Comments

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