Learn From the Rabbi Who Is the Author of All Scripture

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Learn From the Rabbi Who Is the Author of All Scripture

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29

The three stages of education within Judaism during the time of Jesus were Bet Sefer, Bet Talmud, and Bet Midrash. Each stage included specific age groups of Jewish boys. Girls also participated in Bet Sefer.

Bet Sefer means “House of the Book.” Education usually took place in the synagogue where the focus was on readingwriting, and memorization of the Torah (Pentateuch): Bereshit/Genesis, Shemot/Exodus, Vayikra/Leviticus, Bamidbar/Numbers, Devarim/Deuteronomy. This is how many today use their devotional time. The individual reads a passage of Scripture, listens as specific words and phrases speak to them, and writes such verses into a journal. They then pray the verse.

Bet Talmud means “House of Learning.” Boys ten to twelve focused on studying the rest of the Jewish Scripture and the oral interpretations of the Torah. Students learned to answer a question with a question and to cite other passages to support their points. Today such study might involve examining Bible commentaries that examine the verse in its original language and review how certain words or phrases are used in other parts of Scripture.

Beth Midrash means “House of Study.” Boys studied under a famous rabbi. Rabbi’s selected their students and only those boys believed to show great potential were selected. The focus was on understanding and applying the Torah and oral tradition to daily life in a more intense way. The student, usually called a “talmid” (disciple), would attach himself to (be yoked with), and travel with, the rabbi as part of his education. His goal was to become like his rabbi and learn his “halakoth” (to walk, go) until he internalized it. This continued until he became a full-fledged rabbi or scribe at the age of thirty. Without training at the Beth Midrash, a man could not be recognized as formally educated. Though the first two stages (elementary schools) were probably affordable and accessible to the average Jewish boy, the third stage (higher schools/rabbinic academies) were probably for boys who were intelligent, talented and from well-to-do homes.

We can assume that Peter, James, John, and the rest of those Christ called to be his disciples failed to make the cut for Beth Midrash. No rabbi called them to be a talmid. So when Jesus says to those who failed to make the cut, “Take my yoke upon you,” he is offering all who will follow a chance to become a talmid disciple and learn his halakoth, his way of walking.

Imagine you were one of those young men who failed to make it past grade school and then one day, while you are mending your father’s fishing nets, you are called to follow a rabbi. Would you go? Would you abandon the family business? What would you tell your wife, your kids?

Imagine you were one of those young women who never had the chance to learn the finer points of Scripture, never learned to banter with a rabbi, never learned to walk in the way of a rabbi because you were sent back home to be trained as a wife, mother, and caretaker for a family. Would you walk away from your husband, children, and home in order to become a disciple?

“My coursework is only an hour or so a day,” says Jesus. “The study guides are easy. Learn from me. I am a gentle teacher. I am humble. I am here if you need help. My door is always open. When you study with me your soul will rest and be refreshed. Will you come and learn from me?”

This is the call of a disciple of Christ. May we learn from the rabbi who is the Author of all Scripture.

In One Generation a Church and Denomination Can Lose Its Way

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All who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. – 2 Timothy 1:15

Turning aside, turning away, turning towards a gospel that is no good news at all. Does your church stand with Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, or with men and women who have turned away from the sure foundation of the good news of Jesus?

Imagine opening a letter from the Apostle Paul and finding that you have been identified as one who turned away from Paul, away from Christ, away from God. This is the rebuke Paul gives to Phygelus and Hermogenes. Though we know almost nothing about these men or their differences with Paul, we have some insight into the outcome of their desertion.

Paul’s second letter is believed by many to be his last known writings, and one of Paul’s key points to Timothy was be not ashamed.

“Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord. Do not be ashamed of me, our Lord’s prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8)

“I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

“May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.” (2 Timothy 1:16)

Peter also calls us to stand firm in the gospel.

“If anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” (1 Peter 4:16)

Christ calls us to be ashamed for turning aside, turning away, turning towards a gospel that removes the need for a savior. When sin is no longer sin, why would we repent and be saved?

“Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

There is no shame in standing with Christ, the Father, and those who wrote through the inspired words of the Holy Spirit. Though we may face ridicule, persecution, slander, and be falsely accused, we have no need to be ashamed.

So what became of Phygelus and Hermogenes and all in Asia who turned away from the gospel. Though they are not mentioned by name we know the influence they had. Some thirty years after Paul warned Timothy to stand with him and his teaching, Jesus himself wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus, and the news was not good.

“I know of your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

The church Paul founded and Timothy pastored worked hard. Its members endured. Perhaps they soon planned to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. They refused to tolerate the wicked. Apparently their leadership team held to strick hiring practices. They endured a measure of persecution for holding to the name of Christ. And yet Christ was prepared to shut the doors and sell off the property because they had ceased to love him.

“I tell you, whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Whoever has been forgiven much loves much.” (Luke 7:47)

Paul, a man who knew God’s word from beginning to end, never got over the fact that Jesus forgave him.
Paul, a man who counted himself among the most righteous, never counted God’s mercy as trivial.
Paul, a man who thought he did not need a savior, never stopped loving his Lord and Savior.

If Paul kept the law and still needed Christ, how much more do we?
If Paul kept the law and still needed Christ, should we not also affirm God’s words, will, and call to repent?
If Paul kept the law and still needed Christ, how dare we turn away, turn aside, and turn to a strange gospel that denies our need to be saved from sin?

Thirty years after all in Asia turned away from Paul’s teaching the Church of Pergamum became The Church of Balaam with a new religion, new rituals, and new ways of worship.

Thirty years after all in Asia turned away from Paul’s teaching the Church in Thyatira tolerated a prostitute and false prophetess who, claiming to hear the Holy Spirit, taught secret doctrines.

Thirty years after all in Asia turned away from Paul’s teaching the Church in Sardis was dead.

Thirty years after all in Asia turned away from Paul’s teaching the rich, self-sufficient Church in Laodicea tolerated such shameful behavior that Christ threatened to vomit them out of his mouth.

In one generation a church and denomination can lose its way.

Be not ashamed of God.
Be not ashamed of Christ.
Be not ashamed of the inspired writers and writings preserved for our salvation.

It Not Be Tha Source of Tha Water That Matters, but Tha Source of Tha Spirit

Daily Scripture Devotional

It Not Be Tha Source of Tha Water but, Tha Source of Tha Spirit That Matters

Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove – Matthew 3:16

Tha Holy Spirit of Truth comes ter us with both force and tha touch of a birds feather. Heaven be torn open on our account. It be like a hole carved in a starless night sky when a dot of light shines through. That light grows brighter as tha hole widens until its brilliance settles on ya. Though ya kin not feel tha light, ya know it be on ya.

John baptized his first cousin Jesus in a river. Wharn’t nothing special ‘bout tha water. Any old creek or pond would ‘ave suited tha purpose. It be tha source of tha Spirt that gave Jesus heavenly power.

Thar be all manner of spirits roaming about and any one of them kin alight on a feller.

One of tha first spirits ya find at work in tha world be that spirit of doubt. This be tha one tha devil laid on Eve in that Garden. Ya kin always tell tha spirit of doubt ‘cause it speaks tha phrase “if God” followed soon after with “then why?” Fer example:

“If Skipper be real, why thar be evil?”

“If Skipper loves us, how come he lets bad things happen?”

“If Skipper be all powerful, how come he didn’t heal (fill in tha blank) ?”

“If Skipper be real how come he didn’t answer my prayer?”

“If Skipper be perfect how come I be tha way I am?”

Once tha devil plants tha spirit of doubt in us, we take holt and make all sorts of excuses fer why Skipper not be real and powerful and all loving and such.

When ya hear “If God . . . then why?” that be tha spirit of doubt speaking, yer may lay ter that.

Tha disciple Thomas suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 20:25)
Our close friends might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha crowds that followed tha Sun suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 6:30)
Them in our community might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha Sun’s neighbors suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 4:48)
Our neighbors might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha Pharisees and teachers of Law suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (Matthew 12:38-40)
Tha leaders, teachers, and preachers in our church might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha Sun’s own brothers suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 7:5)
Them in our family might have a spirit of doubt.

If ya ever hear a feller write or say or preach that doubting tha Sun and Skipper be a good thing, run from that teaching fast as ya kin. Feller who promotes doubt and encourages folks ter question tha authority of Skipper, his words, and his perfect plan fer salvation be doing tha devil’s work, ya may lay ter that.

Be baptized with water.

Be baptized with Skipper’s Holy Spirit of Truth.

And if ya be baptized but still doubt, then ya kin be sure thar be a spirt of doubt oppressing ya. Cast it out by getting in ter Skipper’s word. When ya read Skipper’s Code of Conduct, tha Holy Spirit of Truth ‘ill battle against tha spirit of doubt. “Truly I tell you,” says tha Sun, “if you have faith and do not doubt, it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21)

Fear be tha descendent of doubt.

Faith be tha descendent of belief.

Ya reap what ya sow.

Sow belief in Skip and his words and ya ‘ill be able ter live without fear of what man kin do ter ya, of this ya kin be sure.

For The Sake Of The Children Let Us Reflect The Character Of Jesus Both In Season (Session) And Out

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For The Sake Of The Children Let Us Reflect The Character Of Jesus Both In Season And Out

“Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” 1 Peter 2:1

Before the divorce comes the separation.

Before the separation comes the cold shoulders.

Before the cold shoulders comes the harsh words.

Too many of us reading UMC news stories and adding our comments are comfortably planted in the “harsh words” phase. Perhaps we have not realized divorce is inevitable. Maybe we retain hope that we will not separate. Could be we continue to rub shoulders with fellow members and hope, even pray, the marriage can be saved. Peter guides us on how we should address all brothers and sisters and those who are not our spiritual brothers and sisters.

Rid yourself of all malice.
Rid yourself of all deceit.
Rid yourself of all conceit.
Rid yourself of all hypocrisy.
Rid yourself of all envy.
Rid yourself of all slander.
Rid yourself of all boasting.
Rid yourself of all lying.
Rid yourself of all falsehood.
Rid yourself of all mocking.
Rid her self of all scoffing.

When making our points let us not spear others. God is watching. The press is watching. The lost are watching. For the sake of the children, let us reflect the character of Jesus both in season (session) and out.

Build Yer Self Up on Tha Sure Foundation of Tha Living Stone and Grow Up on the Pure Spiritual Milk of Skipper’s Good Words

Daily Scripture Devotional

Build Yer Self Up on Tha Sure Foundation of Tha Living Stone and Grow Up on the Pure Spiritual Milk of Skipper’s Good Words

Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. – 1 Peter 2:1–4 (1 Peter 2:1-4)

Come ter tha living Stone, tha living Stone rejected by men, but chosen by Skipper ter be a tested stone and a precious cornerstone fer a firm foundation. Tha one who puts thar trusts in tha living Stone ‘ill never be dismayed, surprised, or put ter shame.

“Hear tha word of Skipper, ya scoffers.” (Isaiah 29:14) “Mockers of Skipper ‘ill disappear, ya may lay ter that.” (Isaiah 29:20) Grow up! Make it yer task ter crave pure spiritual milk.

Now that ya ‘ave tasted and know Skipper be good and full of love, ya ‘ill do a good work if ya make righteousness tha plumb line of yer spiritual house.

Rid yer self of all malice.
Rid yer self of all deceit.
Rid yer self of all conceit.
Rid yer self of all hypocrisy.
Rid yer self of all envy.
Rid yer self of all slander.
Rid yer self of all boasting.
Rid yer self of all lying.
Rid yer self of all falsehood.
Rid yer self of all mocking.
Rid her self of all scoffing.

Build yer self up on tha firm foundation of tha living Stone and grow up on the pure spiritual milk of Skipper’s good words. Do this and tha things ya done in tha name of Skipper ‘ill stand fer all eternity.


You Have Been Born Again With Imperishable Seed Through the Living and Enduring Word of God

Daily Scripture Devotional

You Have Been Born Again With Imperishable Seed Through the Living and Enduring Word of God

You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:23 (1 Peter 1:22-25)

Tha word of Skipper stands fer all time. Through tha living and enduring word of Skipper, ya ‘ave been born from imperishable seed. And if ya ‘ave been born anew with tha seed that comes through tha living and enduring word of Skipper, then:

  • Purify yer self by obeying Skipper’s true words.
  • Prepare yer minds fer action.
  • Be self-controlled.
  • Do not conform ter tha evil desires ya had when ya lived in ignorance of Skipper’s character and ways.
  • Be holy in all ya do.
  • Live yer lives in reverent fear of Skipper.

Ne’er ferget: ya whar redeemed from yer empty life by tha precious blood of tha Sun, a lamb without blemish. Tha Sun ne’re broke a one of Skipper’s commands. He be perfect in all he done. Through his Holy Spirit of Truth we kin also live a full life and be perfect as Skipper be perfect.

This be our charge from tha Sun: “Go! Be perfect through tha indwelling power of my Holy Spirit of Truth.” (Matthew 5:48)

Go, then, and grow from a holy seed in ter that perfect character of tha Sun.

How Der Ya Read that water, Mate?

Daily Scripture Devotional

How Der Ya Read It, Mate?

“What is written in the Law?” Jesus asked. “How do you read it?”- Luke 10:26-28

What be written in Skipper’s Code of Conduct? This be a question ever feller must answer.

Now if ya hain’t ne’er read Skipper’s Code of Conduct it be a might hard ter give an answer. Then tha question be: how come ya hain’t? Doth ya lack a copy of Skipper’s words? If so, get yer self a copy. Tha treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven be in that book, though only a few find ‘em. A good many folks be so content with tha life they be living that finding Skipper’s treasured prizes not be a thing that comes ter thar mind. So that be issue one: having yer own copy of Skipper’s words.

Issue two be reading. A good many folks who ‘ave a copy of Skipper’s Code of Conduct refuse ter crack tha book. They think that ‘aving a copy on a bookshelf be like owning some magic talisman–that ‘ill bring ‘em good luck and protection by jest being gathering dust. Skipper’s words not work like that.

Ya gots ger get in ter Skipper’s words be fer his words kin get in ter ya.

Ya ‘ave ter read with that intensity of a feller trying ter fathom tha depths of a narrow and treacherous channel slicing through a reef. One wrong read and ya might grind tha keel on sharp coral and shipwreck yer vessel. Here be a simple pattern and example fer reading any of Skipper’s words.

HOW do you read the Law?

How DO you read the Law?

How do YOU read the Law?

How do you READ the Law?

How do you read THE Law?

How do you read the LAW?

Putting tha emphasis over each word of a question or command of Skip’s be like moving a magnifying glass over a chart. Such intensity and enlarged examination brings in ter focus tha perils of that particular passage and tha prudent course ya must sail. Tha Holy Spirit of Truth be yer magnifying glass. Tha Sun’s Spirit knows what each word means fer each feller on each day. Some days ya ‘ill spy one thing ya ne’er seen before, next day ya ‘ill spy ah nudder.

Thing be, ya ‘ill ne’er get ter tha hidden treasures of Skipper’s words, until ya get tha Holy Spirit of Truth in ya.

Get Skip’s Spirit. Read his words. Then believe and obey. If ya stick ter Skipper’s Code he ‘ill ne’er steer ya wrong, ya may lay ter that.