An Awesome Gift

A Listening Ear
A Listening Ear – Dana Haynes

Today’s lesson is something which has been on my heart for years. I have shared the Biblical Plan of Salvation with many religious leaders, pastors and elders over the years. They are pretty quick to reject it. The one common factor in each case was their lack of willingness to listen to me… to hear me out.

Several years ago, I was amazed when I discovered that the Bible actually talks about this condition quite a bit so I thought I might share that lesson with you today.

Have you ever considered the critical emphasis, the Bible places on our ability or our willingness to “listen?”

From the opening accounts of Genesis where Adam and Eve listened to… but chose not to obey God’s commands, to the very end of the ages where the angel of Revelation tells us, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches;” there is an extraordinary and unmistakeable emphasis placed on our need to constantly listen for God’s direction and commands.

Regarding God’s directions, sometimes the message comes from the most unexpected place. This is why we must always be on our toes… carefully listening. Once, God’s direction came from from a burning bush. Once it came by way of a gentle whisper. Once, it happened all over Pharaoh in the form ten plagues. Godly advice even came from Jethro, Moses father-in-law, who was a pagan priest of Median, not a Jew.

Sometimes Godly direction or prompting comes through that patient small voice of a neighbor, close relative or even a child. God’s message might come to us in a variety of ways but the only reliable verification of what we hear are the scriptures themselves. Not every prompting which seems to come from God is from God. And, we must always carefully test the message.

The only way we can ever be sure is by carefully evaluating what we hear by exposing it to the light of scripture. While God providing direction might come from a variety of sources… God’s commands… which must be obeyed… will ONLY come from the Bible.

We must carefully listen for both God’s direction and commands. Let me present a few passages of scripture and consider just how critical listening is, EVEN for salvation.
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Misquoting Scripture

A Serious Thing

A Pillow Fight
The garden where we have our chats.

Everyone agrees; it is a serious thing to misquote scripture. Jer 14:14 and Deu 18:20 tells us about that! However, scripture is often misused and misquoted. There are a handful of favorites. How about, “Money is the root of all evil?” That’s a misquote. The Bible actually says, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money itself is not the problem, the problem is greed. (1 Timothy 6:10)

Misusing or misquoting the Bible is commonplace. It can be excused when coming from an atheist and frankly, an atheist using the bible as his source of authority when arguing about a religious matters ought to be excused. Misquoting the bible can be understood when when it comes from a believer who is not really familiar with the scriptures. But misquoting the bible should never be tolerated when it comes from some of our greatest and most trusted biblical scholars!

A Stunning Revelation

Recently, in the course of my regular, daily Bible study, I was absolutely stunned when I realized how pervasive, entrenched and completely accepted one particular misquote has become. Entire denominations have been built around this misquote. Yet, when I stopped to really think about it, I was left flabbergasted. How could a biblical error so obvious be so missed and even accepted by some of our best biblical scholars?
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Website Update 5.11.18

Lot’s of cool things are happening at AFTO!

A Pillow Fight
Under construction – Courtesy of pixabay.com

The web site is coming together nicely. I have forums up and running and organized the way I hope helps folks find things easily. I just got a new Google Voice Number which is 304-607-2386 or 304-607-AFTO and I have added that to the contacts page… which is also new. Just by clicking the phone number above, you can now leave a voice mail comment or suggestion.

On the Contacts Page, you will find links to just about every imaginable avenue with which you may contact AFTO. You can email us, snail mail us, drop us a voice mail, get involved in The Forums and more. I am even looking for like-minded contributors. You’ll find all that info on the Contact Page.

I have reworked the Podcast Page and it is looking pretty spiffy. On that page, you can find links to subscribe to the Podcast through iTunes, Android, Google Play, Stitcher, Email or a plain ol’ RSS feed, so you can subscribe from any of your favorite Podcatcher Apps. Podcasting is such an under-estimated technology. The fact that AFTO is on the same playing field as CNN,  The New York Times, Grace to You and a multitude of other media and religious organizations just boggles my mind! Podcasting and Blogging both give the average Joe a soapbox to the world. Amazing!

I have two new Podcasts I am working on. The first one is “How to Argue” and the second one is “Defining Grammar.” Those are working titles and will probably change. I am not currently working on any new video’s just yet, but you will notice that I mention… in the last video about baptism, called, “Faith Alone – The Grammar,” that we are about to discuss the most prominent scriptures used by the Evangelical Community in their position. That’s the next video. (I just got a haircut so I need to let it grow back in just a bit so matches the other videos before I go back into the studio.) Speaking of editorial issues…

I have been alerted to a error in a couple of the AFTO videos. I called the word “and” a preposition. How did I do that? I know it’s a conjunction! I even correctly call it a “coordinating conjunction” right after one of the incidences. This means, I need to go back to the original videos, re-record that brief section, then edit, crunch and upload the fixed copy back to the server. Why do we always spot typos and mis-speaks after the thing has gone to press? I guess that’s why God gave us second editions.

By the way, does it ever bother you that the Bible you read every day just might be a second edition printing? Just asking.

Enjoy!

Dana Haynes

 

Let’s Start an Argument

Let’s start an argument!

A Pillow Fight
Pillow Fight by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

I am not suggesting the kind of heart ripping, character trashing, irrational, sort of emotional argument like cranky lover’s have. Let’s start an argument like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle or Jesus might have had. Let’s start one of those amazing arguments which ultimately leads us both down a path toward deeper, richer discoveries of truth, beauty and wisdom… a grand argument of enlightenment!

Remember how Jesus did it? An issue was raised and all he needed to do was ask one question to get the rolling ball halted in its tracks. 

“But what about you… who do YOU say I am?” 

“Whose inscription is on this coin?” 

“Tell me, John’s baptism… was it from God or from men?” 

A Cleverly Crafted Question

Wow! A good presupposition can sure crumble under the scrutiny of a clever question! In fact, really good arguments may be more about crafting the question than presenting your position! A carefully crafted, sharpened to a fine point question… at just the right time… makes us think… makes us reconsider… and if we’re humble enough, makes us surrender our weaker positions.

Let’s have the kind of argument which so strongly embraces our shared quest of drawing closer to our mysterious and majestic God, that it forms a bond between us… so strong; nothing will ever tear us apart! Let’s forge such an indomitable relationship that the rusty ol’ gates of that ancient abyss will rattle with fear! 
Continue reading “Let’s Start an Argument”

Delicate Beginnings

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

With this statement, Frank Herbert launches his fantastic, now quintessential epic science fiction series, “Dune.”

For me, no other tale paints such an on-target caricature of modern society, with all of it’s delicate and intricate interplays between, religion, politics, economics and the sinful heart of mankind. Herbert’s universe is boiling over with intrigue, plans within plans, amazing beauty, wild imagination, heroes and villains… lot’s of villains… lords, leviathans, and love.

But, at the heart of it all… at its core… lies humanity’s ultimate contest; the battle with a fallen human nature, scraping and cunning to get all it can get and all for itself. Even the noblest of heroes in Herbert’s story, are not immune to the affects of this corruption.

As I write this, I am not unaware that I live in a world similar, in many ways, to the Dune universe. We all share the impact of that ultimate human tragedy; man’s inhumanity to man, the result of our sin stricken hearts.

“A Faith that Obeys” steps into this fray with a tiny hope that together, we might bring some logic, reason, understanding and wisdom to a world missing the greatest gift ever given it, The Plan… a detailed map out of the mess. We have held The Plan in our hands for nearly 2000 years but sadly, it is ignored, twisted, misconstrued and flouted as a path to self serving riches.

Never has such gross negligence been laid upon the back of such a priceless yet humble gift.

Beginnings are a very delicate time. They lay the foundation for all which will come after. They build upon cherished history and the wisdom of those giants who have come before us. My prayer is that for all I am about to do… all I am about to undertake, the foundation I build will be strong enough to endure, supple enough to permit remodeling and beautiful enough to attract a wonderful person like you to join us in these lively discussions.

Together, we will bend space and time. We will build bridges and repair ancient foundations. We will agree. We will disagree. We will find truth. We will humbly challenge error… including our own!

In our quest to discover and celebrate The Plan, let’s agree to be unified that Jesus is the Christ, The Messiah and our diligent seeking will always be done in such a way as to honor Him and respect one another.

Shall we begin?

Dana Haynes

Listen Now – Podcast 001 – Delicate Beginnings