Psalm 34:8

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The Effect of Grace and Seeking the Kingdom of God

I’m experiencing a bit of a “6 Degrees of Separation” this morning. A friend’s Facebook pointed me to his website which linked to a blog on grace. Here’s the blog link. In the blog, the author speaks of the inward and outward move of grace.

“Internally, the grace of God moves me to see my sin, respond in repentance and faith, and then experience the joy of transformation. Externally, the grace of God moves me to see opportunities for love and service, respond in repentance and faith, and experience joy as I see God work through me.”

The 6 Degrees feeling is in light of the fact that tomorrow morning I’m preaching on the Kingdom of God. Jesus told his followers to seek God’s Kingdom first. (Matt 6:33). I touched on this last week, but felt that I needed to expand this a bit, so tomorrow we launch into a series at Bethel.

Seeking the Kingdom of God has the same effect: seeing things through God’s eyes. Henry Blackaby states in his book Experiencing God, that we can’t know the truth of our situation without getting God’s perspective. How true that is. As long as I’m looking at my surroundings, I can’t see the hand of God working in and through the situation to make me more like Jesus. I call it the Romans 8:28-29 Factor.

 

The Nobel Prize and the Improper Use of Grammar

It’s interesting, the Left is actually admitting that the only reason Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize was because he replaced George W Bush — or at least Joan Walsh does.

I am a product of the public school system. My dad was a public school superintendent. I remember school teachers telling us that grammar is important. We must understand words people use — and the way they’re used — in order to understand what someone is saying. And what they’re not saying.

I received/endured the required English grammar training of our public school system. I also took two years of French in high school and one year in college. I was fortunate to have also studied one year of Classical Greek at UNC Chapel Hill (a secular state university). Studying classical Greek prepared me for one year of New Testament Greek. Finally, I took a year of Hebrew. One of the most fascinating classes I took in seminary combined Greek and Hebrew and looked at The New Testament Interpretation of the Old Testament — but that’s a side issue here.

Bottom line: I think I have a pretty good feel for how language works: nominals, verbals, conjunctions, and prepositions are grouped together and change their forms accordingly to express thought.

The process of breaking down a language in order to understand someone’s thoughts is called exegesis. The exegetical process is objective. Anyone with a handle of a language and its vocabulary can do it. Exegesis involves observation. Observation asks the question, “What is being said?” and as such, is objective. Interpretation on the other hand, is a different issue. When one takes the observation and asks, “What does this mean?” one has stepped outside the realm of observation and into interpretation.

One of the challenges of teaching the Bible is waiting to ask, “What does this mean?” until I have understood, “What does this say?” This is one of the reasons we have so many disagreements between denominations, cults, etc. “Everybody has their own interpretation” — but that’s a side issue here.

When Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the Peace Prize in his will, he said that it would be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

Grammar is apolitical. Properly interpreting words and their use is not affected by one’s worldview. Note, I said properly interpreting.

For a moment, let’s take Obama, Bush, political parties, and worldviews out of our minds; admittedly that may be very difficult for many of us. If we set aside our differences and simply look at Nobel’s own words, the Peace Prize was to be awarded to the person who “shall have done …” Grammatically, this is called a future perfect.

The American Heritage Dictionary at dictionary.com defines the future perfect as, “A verb tense that expresses action completed by a specified time in the future and that is formed in English by combining will have or shall have with a past participle.” About.com says about the French future perfect, “The French future perfect is most commonly used like the English future perfect: to describe an action that will have happened or will be finished by a specific point in the future.”

I am not a lawyer. I never studied in a law school. But I know that laws are based on the proper use of grammar. The court system issues verdicts based on words, phrases, etc. That is why our laws are so verbose; lawmakers want to make sure there are no (or few) loopholes in the law.

Again, setting aside worldviews, politics and everything else that makes us different, we must all agree that Nobel’s will has been violated. Nobel did not establish the Peace Prize in his will to be awarded to some who provided a promise (or “hope” — sorry, I couldn’t resist) of future action. It was to be awarded to someone who had completed something in the future.

When Obama’s nomination was submitted, he had been the US President for only twelve days. All of us must agree that in his first twelve days of his presidency, President Obama had not, “done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

If Barack Obama is nothing else, he is a smart man. You don’t graduate from Harvard or Yale without a great deal of mental competency. Interesting, George W Bush graduated from Yale  — but that is a side issue here.

Grammatically, we must conclude that Barack Hussein Obama should not have been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. He clearly did not deserve it. As a Harvard Law School graduate, Mr. Obama must agree with these conclusions and as such, should have declined the award. That is not to say that he might qualify for it in the future; but that it yet to be seen. If someone were to sue the Nobel Prize Committee for wrongly executing Nobel’s will, they would be successful, according to the clear use of grammar.

Objective conclusion: Barack Obama did not deserve the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

He should give it back.

 

American President Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize less than 9 months into his presidency.

BHO’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize was submitted within *12 days* after his inauguration! The Prize committee’s reason: “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

HUH?????

Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei said, “In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself,” He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts.”

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, designated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”

Wow, it looks like throwing your own country (and Israel) under the bus and sucking up to known terrorists qualifies you for being awarded the Prize!

That helps clarify why terrorist leader Yassir Arafat won the award in 1994.

Promise: If I’m ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — and based on my observations above, that will NEVER happen — I will decline accepting it. It’s no longer prestigious; instead, it’s meaningless.

 

Mozy

I decided to go ahead and install Mozy. It looks like I should be able to benefit from its “set it and forget it” abilities.

If you’re interested in a free 2GB of backup, check them out. (affiliate link)

 

Great Post from Os Hillman

If you don’t already get Os Hillman’s email devotionals, subscribe you need to. This one just arrived in my email box.

“Then the angel of the LORD ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the LORD” (1 Chron 21:18-19).

In 1857, an American businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier was sent out by his local church to begin a noon-day prayer meeting on Fulton Street, right around the corner from Wall Street in New York City. A simple prayer, a willing heart, and an act of obedience resulted in city transformation throughout the United States.

However, at that very first meeting, no one showed up in the first 35 minutes. But Jeremiah waited. Gradually, six people wandered into the room at 35 minutes past the hour. Six months later, 10,000 people were meeting for prayer throughout New York City. This led to one of the greatest spiritual renewals in the United State’s history.

What would have happened if Lanphier had decided to abandon the idea after 30 minutes?

In a small, darkened room, in the back of one of New York City’s lesser churches, a man prayed alone. His request of God was simple, but earth-shattering: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” He was a man approaching midlife, without a wife or family, but he had financial means. He had made a decision to reject the “success syndrome” that drove the city’s businessmen and bankers. God used this businessman to turn New York City’s commercial empire on its head. He began a businessmen’s prayer meeting on September 23, 1857.

The meetings began slowly, but within a few months 20 noonday meetings were convening daily throughout the city. Thousands met to pray because one man stepped out. This was an extraordinary move of God through one man.*

It only takes one man or woman who is willing to be obedient to be used by God to impact a workplace, city, or even an entire nation. Simple obedience can lead to things you cannot imagine. Are you willing to be used by God?

*John Woodbridge, More than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), p. 337.