On my microblog, “R’s Commonplace Book,” its subtitle is “God in the details.” This is an allusion to the phrase that “the devil is in the details.” Devil here apparently stands for difficulties. The idea is one thing, working it out is quite another. By putting God in the place of the devil, I wanted to say that God works out his plan in and through our lives.

In our faith we need the details. We also need to see the big picture.

This morning I came across a brotherhood article about Six Core Beliefs. It was a good article. At the same time, I begin to think what I would name as my six basic points of faith. Here’s what I came up with. Continue reading

“[The Bible] is the only source of divine knowledge we have, and we should rejoice that we can learn enough from it and understand enough of its instructions, if we will believe and obey it, to guide us in to the port of eternal felicity. … Is the word of God a dead letter? … the word, unless accompanied by the Holy Spirit is dead, and therefore has no power to convert or turn sinners to God.”

Life and Sermons of Jesse L. Sewell, p. 134

Pagans speak ill of others and find it difficult to praise people. They criticize, gossip, and lie. Christians, as children of God who have his character, speak well of others whenever possible and engage in the gossip of love.

[Epaphras] also told us of your love in the Spirit.
Colossians 1:8 NET

Several times the New Testament connects love to the Holy Spirit. Love is the fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit is the channel through whom God gives us his love; first, through the revelation of the history of Christ and, second, through the habitation of the Spirit in us as the active agent of love.

The love of the Colossians was alive and real, so notable that Epaphras reported to Paul about it.

Whoever seeks for love in God’s people will find and praise it.


to whom does the writer speak?Are you talking to me? There are times when the wife talks to the dogs in another room of the house, and I think she’s talking to me. (No jokes now, you hear?) And two or three times now I’ve sent an email to the wife with some information (or a declaration of love) without noticing that my email service, which does an auto-complete on the name of the recipient, has sent it to a friend of ours with the same name. Fortunate for us that she is an old friend who’s not shocked by my mistakes.

In the same way, we must understand to whom Jesus speaks in John 13-16. Note this:

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me, and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 14:26-27 NET

In this block of teaching, Jesus is speaking mainly to the Twelve. His promises about the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are made to those who have been with him “from the beginning” of his ministry. This promise is not for all.

A basic rule for interpreting the Bible, and one of the most neglected, is to note who is speaking or writing and to whom one is speaking or writing. Any principle or truth gleaned from this passage must be a secondary application, and some things, like the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, do not apply to us today.

Be careful when you read the Bible. Maybe God is not talking to you.


Our good brother Weylan Deaver has an excellent article on “Intercession and Mediation.” Here’s a hefty part of it, but not near all of it, which deserves calm and careful study.

There is nothing in either the concept of intercession or the biblical context of intercession to limit it to a single party. In point of fact, as these examples show, multiple parties are involved in interceding.

Mediation is a different story. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator [Gr. mesites] between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). A mesites is a go-between, belonging solely to neither party, but who represents at least two parties, each to the other. Think of it this way. An intercessor pleads on another’s behalf (imagine an arrow pointing one way, from the intercessor to God). But a mediator represents two parties to each other (imagine arrows pointing both directions, from saints to God and from God to saints). Being God, Jesus is perfectly qualified to present God to men. And, having become a man, Jesus is perfectly qualified to present men to God. Christ’s station is unique. He is the gateway to atonement, the door to redemption. As mediator, Jesus is the conduit of two-way representation, bringing God and redeemed man together. No one else could. This is why there can be multiple intercessors, but only a single mediator. Let us thank God for both! –via Intercession and Mediation

Weylan does a good job of helping us to get a handle on two important, yea, essential, concepts of Scripture.

Wonder if he’ll let us translate it into Portuguese?