It is impossible for the human mind to comprehend a Supreme Being such as God. We can understand the concept of God, but we are not equipped to grasp the full impact of such a Being, and a result, there are many misconceptions concerning almost all aspects of God. As humans, we tend to place human elements upon our conception, one of which is what this Being looks like. We see paintings of Jesus and many of the important people of the Bible and tend to believe those images are accurate reproductions of these people. However, every one of these paintings and other works of art are merely the manifestation of the imagination of the artist who had no idea as to what these people actually looked like…. Many others have seen only movies of Biblical personalities, and these actors become the representation in the mind of the viewer as to the actual appearance of the character being portrayed. We do not know what any of these people looked like, and in fact, they probably did not look anything like the painting that we have seen. The artist usually created a painting of perfect people that were dressed in the style of clothing of the time that the painting was being done.
The great painting of The Last Supper by daVinci is certainly a wonderful example of art, but has nothing to do with the reality of the event. In fact, the painting was a study in perspective which was a new artistic element at that time. The painting shows the participants sitting in a line along a table. The reality is that in Biblical times, the people ate their meals while lying on cushions on the floor probably facing each other. The amount of food on the table certainly does not represent what a group of extremely poor people would have eaten, but it certainly makes for a beautiful painting, which is all that it is !!!
When reading the Bible, it is important to try and ignore these predetermined notions of what we think the people of the time were actually like. If we were to give thought to what these people did and endured in their daily existence, we would find that our concept would be entirely different than what we have seen in movies and paintings. It was a very hard life for these people unless you were one of the elite of which Jesus and His disciples were not. Although the Bible is universal in the lessons it gives to us, it is helpful to have proper understanding of all aspects of this gift in order to gain the levels of understanding that it gives. The Bible is the most important document ever given to man and having the proper outlook when reading it will increase the amount of benefits that we receive…..
Although it may seem almost unimaginable not to ask forgiveness for our sins, an argument can be made that this act may be unnecessary. If we consider that our sins have already been forgiven even before we commit them, then why would it be required to ask for some thing that has already been given ! This is a reasonable position and, in fact, it is correct. However, if we consider the real reason for asking forgiveness, we will find it is an essential part of our conversations with our Lord. It is true that we have been forgiven for all of our sins, but the act of admitting our sins brings to the surface our propensity for sin within our lives. As we begin to enumerate the number of activities in which we sin, we can easily become astounded by the number of sins that we commit. We also begin to recognize the number of sins that we commit repeatedly. It is an easy thing the ask the Lord for forgiveness of our sins and then move on to our desires without actually thinking about each individual sinful act that we commit constantly. In order to improve ourselves, we must first recognize the degree to which we have declined in many ways away from Biblical doctrine concerned with our way of living….
The act of speaking with the Lord about our individual sins accomplishes many good things. First, we find that we may discover that we become ashamed of ourselves because of our behavior. This begins to create feelings of humility within us when we approach our Lord and ask for His incredible grace and patience with us. Saying we are sorry for our sins is hypocritical in many cases considering the fact that we know that we are going to continue behaving in our sinful manner. It would be more honest if we were to say that we are sorry for not being sorry and that would be the beginning of true repentance. Secondly, discussing with our Lord each individual sin that we commit brings our relationship with Him to a very different level. We find that we are able to stand in front of Him as our friend and advisor without fear of retribution or rejection. We will find that our prayer life changes and most of the time increases and our sense of trust develops to the point where it always should have been but seldom is. It is easy to say that we are Christians, but for many, they are not familiar at all with the Being with whom we are concerned.
Admitting our sins to the Lord is a very rewarding experience. Although it is not a requirement for forgiveness, it establishes a relationship with Him that develops to a greater understanding of the incredible gift that He has bestowed upon us even considering our sinful nature. We experience the unconditional loves that He has for us and we find it becomes much easier for us to forgive those that have offended us. Discussing our individual sins with our Lord is one of the most rewarding activities within our lives and can only produce changes that are always in our best interests.
There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding concerning asking our Lord for His assistance in our lives. Many believe that He is not much interested in our lives on earth or the things that we need or even desire. There are those that think that we should never ask for things for ourselves, but only pray for things for others. This is a noble thought but unfortunate for the person that believes it because they miss out on receiving many things from our Lord. We must always remember that what the Bible says is exactly what the Bible means. There are many examples of doctrine that indicates that we should always seek assistance from our Lord, and there are no restrictions as to for what we should ask.It is obvious however, that our requests be within Biblical guidelines….
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
This one statement contains all that we need to understand the enormous love God has for us. First, He tells us that we should give to Him all of our problems; not just some, but all of our concerns. And then He tells us that He cares about us. He cares as we are, weak and sinful. When He tells us to give Him all of our concerns, He removes all limits from our requests. He is speaking directly to us as individuals and His promise is to each one of us for ourselves. It is not selfish to ask for things for ourselves, in fact, it is a commandment from God to do it.
So, we have sought the help of our Lord for something in our own lives, and now what do we do? Unfortunately, most of us get in the way of having the request accomplished, or we miss noticing that it has been done. We all have a notion as to how the request will be met and so we look for those indications. The reality is that we have no way of knowing or even understanding how the Lord will grant our wish, but we look to the natural solution to our problem. We should never forget that our Lord works in the supernatural and it is impossible for us to comprehend. We should just get out of the way and expect and let it happen. God does not need our help !!!!
Often though, we miss the fact that our request has been granted. Because of our preconceived ideas, we have the tendency to miss the miracle. For example, we may ask for a Dollar, and we begin to look for the Dollar bill. We are so intent in our search for the Dollar bill that we do not see the four Quarters that are right in front of us. We should never consider how the Lord will grant our wish, but only consider that He will……
As we read through the Bible, there is a very strong tendency to concentrate our attention to those words that are spoken by Jesus. This becomes especially true if the words of Jesus are highlighted in some way, and, of course, these words are of particular importance. But, we must always remember that the entire Bible was written by God and that every word, whether spoken by Jesus or by a person that seems to be less significant, are all the words of God. Every word is just as important as every other word and there are many lessons that are lost to us if we do not recognize this fact.
The proper answer to every question in life is given to us from within Biblical doctrine. Jesus spoke of only a few of the aspects of our lives, although if we study carefully, we will find that His words are all encompassing. But, it is the words contained in the remainder of the Bible where we find the answers and explanation to all aspects of life. Some people search diligently for particular answers but are focusing their attention on only certain parts of Biblical teaching and never seem to find the answer for which they are seeking. The Old Testament is filled with examples of human experiences to which we can relate and gives us information as to the proper, as well as the incorrect response, to these experiences. The problem is that we are sometimes told that the Old Testament is of little use to a Christian. This is simply not correct, and we must remember that the Christian Bible contains both Old and New Testaments. It is also essential that we recognize that from which we have been saved.
There are many denominations that concentrate their attention to certain parts of Biblical teachings, and give very little, if any, reflection on the remainder of the teachings and many important lessons are lost to them as a result. The Bible begins on the first page and ends at the last page. Every word in between is the word of God regardless of who may have written or said the words and should be considered just as important as every other word. Man does not have the right nor should ever attempt to change a single word from within the Bible thinking that the change will make the lesson more understandable. We can be certain that God knew what He was doing when He wrote the Bible, and it highly unlikely that man can ever improve on that which God has given to us !!!!