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“The Theory of Everything” or the Great “I Am”?

A Perspective on Substitutive and Subsistence Coefficients

How Math May Quantify & Qualify One’s Satisfaction with God!

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Many people are under the assumption that any form of mathematics beyond an understanding of basic foundational level is not a necessity. Additionally, some have developed phobias associated with mathematics that lead to an almost hatred and avoidance of Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and other forms of  higher computation and logical problem solve methods. Yet, most Academic programs require at least Algebra or Statistics for Graduation. The Basis is for Algebra and other forms of mathematics allow an individual to bridge the gap between logic and reason and even to understand abstract concepts. Bass mentions, Math forms the foundation of all sciences (Bass, 2012) and may be the basis for all communication and thus is the language of the universe itself.

One can even make the claim that the never changing-changing mind, body and Spirit of The All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful God is ever reacting to a multitude of probabilities and an infinite number of possibilities which can best be expressed simply as,  “All things are possible through Christ ( Phil. 4:14). If we were to express this in a mathematical way Possibility is thus greater than or equal to probability but only to one who abides in Christ in faith – mercy and grace.

Stephen Hawkins is credit for his believe of “The Theory of Everything” in which he in a lifetime both proved and disproved the existence of God. In reality when one studies the later work and Hawkins’ work in its entirety one can conclude what Hawkins is, stating is that all life originated from an intelligent point that transcends time, space, all dimension and even nonexistence. Thus, for something to be everything, it must also include and transcend nothingness.

Additionally, Hawkins placed this intellectual entity in a central location in the dome that encompasses the entire universe and every dimensions. Finally, this deduction is similar to most of the near-eastern creation primordial concepts of creation most anthropological theories including those of the three monotheistic religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

From the Judo-Christian, prospective God created the world in seven days. However, some debate whether this is the actual first creation of our planet or whether it is a reforming of creation after an initial creation attempt. The first creation theory in Genesis 1 views the First Earth as a realm for the fallen angels that was created then became inhospitable in reaction to the revolt and expulsion of Lucifer as a result of pride and a desire to become God. The Seven-Day creation process may even be merely a blueprint or literary device to explain the forming and filling of the universe (Boyd & Eddy, 2009, pp. 70-97).

The use of the number 7 in Scripture or a variant such as 70 refers to life or creation whereas 3 refers to the persona or aspects of God, the trinity. One refers to God universally the Great I AM. Moreover, four can be seen to represent the cross. Many believe the top position to represent Heaven (Father), the Bottom to be Earth (even Satan, for some Humanity or Adam), and the sides to be Son and Spirit.

Eight is the number of infinity, nine in some sects of Christianity and Judaism represents adversary, the devil, or evil and six is the number of man. Seven-Seven-Seven is the Holy number in some sects as well representing the number of God. Additionally, many reference the seven seals within Revelation and the seven signs and wonders of Christ while other refer to 8 seals and miracles of Christ (Gospel of  John) depending on dogma and doctrine.

Finally, when God speaks 3 times it should be seen as all aspects of the trinity speaking or appearing and it is not a coincidence that many people need to hear things at the least 3 times to learn new task or skills.

“Mathematics within exercises of commerce is  a means to integrity which honors the Lord (Lev 19:35-36)”, Jesus however did warn against the evil of greed and unscrupulous business deals, think of the Statement of not being able to serve Two Master in Matt. 6:24 and the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16: 1-15 NIV.

The Book of Acts views, ministry via proximity as first to the Jews then to the Gentiles. Thus, While Acts does speak of evangelism beginning where one is physically present and then sojourning to the Ends of the Earth.  If one studies The Book of Acts, the historical, cultural and theological concepts within the various missionary Journeys of Paul and others that God elected, or sent for to witness to the world as his servants from and to distant lands will become clear. Furthermore, both Paul and Peter remind us that we are to consider ourselves Ambassadors of Christ and that this world is not our home. Even Jesus reminds us the wind blows freely as it choices to do so and additionally that one must come to know Him by their own free volition.

Thus, from measurements for building the Ark, to the temple to the various rods and even the geology numbers hold a place of distinction of prominence within the Bible and the history, present and future of humanity.

Besides being useful to classify and quantify things, mathematics is a universal language all machines and all creatures communicate using codes. The basic form is the binary system a simple relay code of “on and off” or “ones and zeros that tell neurons to fire or switches to fire. The earliest of scientist and mathematicians from the Hebrews Arabs and well into the 19th century used math to prove and not disprove God. Even Sir Francis Bacon and Newton were Christians as was Galileo and many other great minds including Thomas Jefferson.

“If we do not find satisfaction in God we will seek it elsewhere (Beth, et al., 2003).” Thus, we become slaves to in subsistence or a life substitute of living (Beth, et al., 2003). The basic concept in subsisting living one becomes a beggar and lives off the affections of another to fill what only God can supply. Additionally, we may become thieves and steal the affections and even time and possessions of others. The concept of substitution is when we create idols of people, place or things, thus placing hang-ups, hold-ups or habits before Christ. Our reliance must come from him and all we do and live for must be for the Glory of God and the prosperity of his Eternal Kingdom (Beth, et al., 2003).

The relationship of this to math can be expressed simply in a math as 1*0=0 or reliance on, in and by an individual on false things = nothing. “For The Wages of Sin is Death ( Roman 6:23) or “Life is meaningless under the Sun (Theme of Ecclesiastes)” in either perspective no matter how hard one works or  how moral one is all are sinners and only can be justified and redeemed by Christ( Rm: 1-8).

The verse I draw most of my strength from in times of crisis is, “Whom Shall I Fear (Ps 27:1, Rm 8:31-40).” While the actual verse is in Psalms, the concept is further developed in Romans, which states as Champions of Christ No Power of this world or Spirit World can harm us.  Once in Christ one is in Christ, we made struggle even suffer, but in the end when we live for his glory and in his love since he is love and we express this love to everyone and everything we all will succeed. We are more than conquerors we are inheritors and citizens of the Kingdom being reborn in his exact Image How amazing and magnificent this Blessed Assurance is and eternal destiny unimaginable.

While math may not hold all the answer of God or even to ones’ worldview it is certainly a tool that can help build and shape a better tomorrow and understand one’s past.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1338

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References

Bass, A. (2012). Math Is Useless. In A. Bass, Math Study Skills (1st ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Beth, M., Briscoe, J., Wilson, S. D., Hart, K., Hager, D., Wells, T., & LaHaye, B. (2003). A Women and Her God: Life Enriching Messages: Extraordinary women. Brentwood: Integrity Publishers (AACC).

Boyd, G. A., & Eddy, P. R. (2009). Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. (2nd, Ed.) Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

 

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Addressing Body Image in Children & Teens

Various media sources may influence one’s perception of the ideal self, or the aspirations and perceptions of others and self, regarding qualities and characteristic of personal value; and thus have a correlating role in the development of one’s thoughts, feelings, and overall judgement or self-worth or one’s self-esteem (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). The actualized image, or real self-concept, is partially predetermined before birth by one’s unique biogenetic composition. Additionally,  spiritual-evolutionary factors designed before the beginning of time and formed in the womb  play a role in the determination of the actualized self-image (Ps 51) .The real-self and ideal- self is further determined by a lifelong relationship with family, peers and society and host of external environmental variables of culture and creation (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

One’s reactions within a crisis and the ability or inability to adapt, cope, and overcome the various occurrences of both positive and the negative consequential influences of the mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and social variables shapes the image in the  development of all people (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). This ongoing developmental-stage is fostered by the presence and / or absence of nurturing (love), by modeling (imitation of characteristics and abilities), learning (acquisition of knowledge), (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014)and discernment through experience and wisdom which often must be gained with cautious & prudent investigation and assessment of past present and future motivation and intention (Prov. 8:12 NIV). While any characteristic, ability, value, or virtue is based on one’s quality of experience, additionally it may be measured by normative statistics forming a generalized baseline for a particular group within each subculture or culture in a given specified region or ethical people group (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Thus, when an abnormal measurement is obtained the deviant value may indicate a radical element, or a variable that is in opposition to the normative standard to the social normative. However, such a deviation may simply indicate eccentricity, innovation or an evolutionary adaption. Per se, even terms such as right and wrong, good and evil, pretty, ugly, fat and thin, will vary from culture to culture, place to place, and even within the proximity of time (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

On matters of cultural differences and identity, The Apostle Paul addresses the issue of what is more appropriate; righteousness, being moral, or just – following the Law and the social normative standards of culture and society. In Romans 15 Paul concludes, “Faith is not a matter of being moral or conforming to ritualism, religion, or obligation to any form of the Law, but rather that a life lived in obligation in faith brings glory to God. Rather, love and worship is about endurance and perseverance in the exercise and discipline of faith.  Furthermore, we should conduct ourselves in a manner as Christ did by encouraging and building up each other through acceptance, in hope, unity with grace, and in mercy. Our faith is thus not based on any works of law or deeds of morality but faith forms the basis of living in accordance to the workings of the law and the virtues of God. Finally, God writes morality on each person’s heart and the interaction of the individual within the community through the intercession of the Holy Spirit forms the hope that leads to and encourages the development of faith. The weak, or those whom are subjected to the authoritarian principles of the Law and the free-willed moralist should not let their pride cast judgment on one another but rather work together for the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven ( Rom 15: 1-7 NIV).”

James similarly states this message, “As Work without faith is dead as well as faith without works is meaningless. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (Jas 2: 14:25 HCSB).”

When counseling parents or caregivers on methodology to aid in identity issues, such as issues pf body image it is important to remind those we teach that Jesus regarded all with unconditional acceptance and love.  Our self- worth and significance is defined only in and through living in faith and our attempts to model actions, thoughts and feelings that are attributed to the mind and heart of Christ ( Phil 1-6 NIV).

Additionally we all are given unique talents, attributes, and abilities before birth, but our thoughts, feelings and reactions influence our behaviors and our  perspective on identity, Thus are image concepts are both on a personal and social level and additionally intrinsically given by God. (Rom 12).

Our pride serves as the basis for all motivation, drive and intentions, which leads to our reactions and interactions with all creation. Pride also is the basis of every transgression and sin and even our best intentions to serve the law and act morally may corrupted by sin leading to our separation or death from God (Rom 1:8 NIV).

True freedom and our redemption from slavery, our justification of worth and citizenship as heirs to the Kingdom, and our salvation is not solely our own making but primarily comes from profession, acceptance, and conformity to the ways of the Spirit and dying to the ways of the flesh or worldly desires.

In loving servitude as stewards to God in every action and interaction as ambassadors, we trudge fourth in the blessed assurance on our path of restoration in the Likeness of Christ. We seek to embrace other in peace, hope, joy and love building disciples as we spread the message to a fallen world awaiting the return of our Savior King.

Many studies have indicated anything from the toys that girls play with such a Barbie (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014)to the physic appearances and attitudes of characters in children’s movies help form the basis of body image, ideal self and self -worth.  Even Disney movies often portray females as pretty but fragile and weak and in need of saving by the strong heroic masculine figure, or depict woman as evil witches,  or it’s is ok for women to give up on dreams, talents or ambitions or even to be of lower intellect as long as she is beautiful. For everyone knows beauty is the most desired trait by every prince (Beth, et al., 2003).

Although the media may influence the development of body image through advertisement and product placement of unhealthy foods that may lead to obesity in some individuals (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). The exaggeration or overemphasis on certain desirable physical and social attributes in characters in movies, books and other forms of media and the promotion of certain moral, political, or other social values plays less of a role on identity development.

God created all of us uniquely (Ps. 51 NIV) has a multitude of plans for each of us (Jer.  29:11 NIV), has given humanity freewill and guidance under the Law to become virtuous, and in addition “God knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7 NIV) and the thought within our minds and desires of each of our Hearts (1 Pt. 3: 3-4 NIV),”

Yet, although God loves all people unconditionally in our election we must chose to profess believe in the substitutive  love- offering that freed  us from the bondage of Sin and grants us our citizenship and restoration and redemption to the Image of Christ and coheirs of the Kingdom of Heaven through our obedience living in and by faith. Thus, our identity rest in Christ alone and is strengthened by our transformation of heart and mind and the aided by and in our conformity to the Holy Spirit and death to flesh, or worldly desires (Rom. 6, 8, 12-15 NIV).

The main influence on identity is one’s peer and family reactions and interactions. Thus, the best strategy to aid in both establishing a secure attachment style and identity is to model and scaffold thoughts, feelings and actions that encourage both independence and compliance to authority (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). By empowering and inspiring principles of communal cooperation, respect for others, dignity, diversity and unity while teaching unconditional positive regard and biblical relevancy and truth one can begin the lifelong transformation process into the identity of Christ. The end result is the attainment of unity of mind, body, soul and Spirit, the relief of all creation from the pangs of suffering and death, and a new freedom found only as citizens and heirs in the New Kingdom of Heaven (Rom 12-15, Phil 1-6, 1 Cor 12, 1 Cor 13, 2 Tim 3:16 NIV).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1427

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

 

 

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The influence of Media and Young Children

The influence media plays in development in youths is a controversial topic. Critics claim that television, video games, social media and the internet can have detrimental effects on emotional, mental, physical and social growth (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Advocates of technology cite that media improves motor skills, cognitive awareness and allows children to engage with people of other cultures outside of their society and provides access to a wealth of information beyond the confines of their localized environment. Additionally, critics also claim media increases aggressive behavior and has the potentiality to expose children to vulgar or unsuitable material not appropriate for either their developmental level or moral development.

Furthermore, some parents choice to make television and other technology a surrogate caregiver and in doing so deprive children of nurturing and social interaction that plays a vital role maturation (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In regards to potential health risks television and electronic devices emit blue radiation that studies have proven prolonged exposures can cause damage to the eyes and disturb sleep. It is wise either to limit the time spent using such devices or to take frequent breaks when using devices to curb such effects and to not sleep with television or computer monitors on. Additionally, people who engage in excessive use of technology and do not have a regular fitness plan or engage in physical activity are prone to obesity, coronary disease, a higher degree of stress and a host of complications depending on the risk factors of each individual and the influence of genetics and association of environment hazards.

While video games improve motor skills and cognitive awareness in children over the age of three (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014), certain content may increase aggressive behavior depending on stress level and temperament and prolonged exposure can decrease social interaction skills.

Additionally, prolonged exposure can limit cognitive development and memory skills. Studies have found a dependency on media has caused the average concentration rate to drop to around 6-8 seconds because of media in most people. In addition, a decline in literacy rates and syntax errors in speech and writing may be the result of texting and social media.

Sexual predation and bullying are often first initiated over social media and the internet. However, predators in general will seek out children in any environment frequented by this group. Thus, in the case of media the best safeguards is to have access to passwords, to use content filters, and check the posts and interactions of youths to protect from unwanted activity. Most, televisions and audio visional equipment are equipped with content filters and password protection for settings. Additionally, computers, cellphones and tablets should be protected with content filtering software, anti malware protection, password protection and if the devices are in the bedroom of youths cameras should be disabled or covered up with electrical tape when not in use to stop from unwanted spying as these accessories can be enabled remotely by hacking.

How much is too much media time?  After conducting a review of the effects of media, “The American Pediatric Committee on Public Education discourages the use of television by any child under the age of two, rather the committee encourages in cognitive and social activities such as talking, sing, and reading (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).”  The data found toddlers spend an average of approximately of 2 hours watching television alone. Yet Youths in general spend more time engaged in the use of media than sleeping spending between 6-9 hours fixated with technological devices. The average child should sleep about hours a day, attend school for approximately 8 hours and engage in physical activity or exercise for about an hour a day. Furthermore, all people benefit from positive social interaction or quality time of approximately 3 hours a day and additionally children’s time will be spent on completing homework and helping with family chores for about hours daily, this would only leave 2 hours for media related endeavors. Granted time management and the amount of sleep could allow for an increase in media time as well as the time spent exercising may be decreased to around 30-45 minutes; however, the time spent for media engagement would still be approximately hours.

Does media have a positive or negative correlation in development? The correlation depends on the frequency of exposure, the type of content, the temperament and personality of the individual as well as how the family interacts and perceives media in general.

A further suggest is to use all forms of media as an educational tool and a form of group dynamic model. By including the whole family in the media education process and using the same methods one would use when reading such as, “introducing the theme and asking follow-up questions, encouraging the participants to explore the depth of the content matter,  and/or describing the relevancy to one’s own thoughts, feeling action, situation or circumstances.  Finally, discuss any social values and Virtues, or Spiritual truth, gained in the message. Knowledge and wisdom can be gained that will lead to growth through the media experience. Additionally, this fosters development of listening and communication skills as well as cognitive and social development (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).”

Although, individuals possess innately unique abilities, traits, and talents and learn at a different duration and frequency.  Most cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development occurs within a normative range. The theories of Piaget, Erikson, and those of Vygotsky are considered as baseline by some and questioned by others; observation of children and people in general couple with one’s own experience as well as Biblical Scripture confirms that life develops in stages (Eccl 3) (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Yet, Life also is an ongoing process (Ps 51, Rom 3-8, Rev 20).

What is most evident from all studies conducted is prolonged exposure poses significant risk to physical, cognitive, emotional and social development and detracts from social interaction and nurturing (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).  Both nurturing and social engagement coupled with genetics form the cohesive bond of necessity in maturation in all stages of development and through ones temporal lifespan as we trudge the road toward the Narrow Gate toward Eternity with and in Oneness with our Creator.

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Dan 2: 21 NIV).” Thus, God, initiates maturation, and eliminates bullies and Authoritarians, bullies and those whom to bring discord to society. This is done so by the Gift of Wisdom and Knowledge given to the mature and wise people who know and teach his ways. These parents, mentors, and leaders pass down experience, knowledge and wisdom to the children and students of future generations for the purpose of his discerning virtue and truth and the prosperity of all people and the fulfillment of God’s Divine Purpose through his various plans for each person given in stages throughout all Eternity and our life cycle within creation.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1126

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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A Biblical Perspective on Parental Relationships

In Deuteronomy 4, the focus is the obedience and teaching of the commands of God to one’s family and within society. Deuteronomy 6 focus on Loving God and proclaiming the Blessing giving by him to others so all people may come to know, worship, serve, and glorify him.  In correlation, both passages form the basis of moral and legal truth.

In Deuteronomy 4:1-9 God commands his people to obey his laws for in doing so will yield the fruits of his spirit or virtue and provide wisdom and understanding allowing Israel to be a beacon of hope and a blessing to all ethos or people and attract others to “The Way and Truth of God.”  Furthermore, this is to be done so in a communal and discipline fashion using communication and meditation and without cohesion a blessed gift to be given only to those who wish to receive it. However, it is the parents’ responsibility to equip (scaffold-teach) and through righteous living transmit (model) the children the ways of the Law (recorded directive of conduct) and Virtues of God (Morality/ mannerism of heart).

Deuteronomy 6: 4- 9 deals with the principle of teaching morality and conduct. Simply stated, God commands parents to teach and communicate his commands and the Way of Love of all things through righteous living. This is an active -reactive process of obedience of living in and by faith as a love servant of God is for his Glory to all things and all things.  God’s Sovereign, inclusive -redemptive plan for all creation and all humanity. This plan of justification and restoration is available to all who wishes to choose to follow and live under his guidance and authority receiving the gift of total transformation from death and freedom from the bondage of the slavery sin and the consequence of depravity, suffering, and hostility.

The Commandments, or the directives of God, form the foundational framework to illuminate and educate all people in matters of ethical conduct both personally and in society to a standard that is equivocal to the Virtues or nature of God himself and thus forms the basis of decency and morality. This Moral code’s capstone is in unity and love. First love and trust in and to God. Then to everyone else regardless of any belief, ethnicity, of and variable of culture. Certain immoral actions were considered unlawful under Judaic Law and thus, under such a system of belief, originally works and/or deed alone determined the fate for all humanity.

However, freedom, decency and morality is in part achieved through the active- reactive process of mutual compromise, forgiveness and repentance which was and is done under the guidance and direction of mentors and counselors but additionally must be accomplished by the inter-working of faith and the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, only by Jesus’ gracious and merciful atonement on The Jesse Tree and his Resurrection- Ascension all are reconciled and justified as citizens of Heaven and become children of equivocal status, significant worth and distinction once one is given Freedom in Christ (Gal 5). This choice is always subjective to the process of faith that forms in the individual becoming curious, then convince and finally committed that the Penalty of Sin is Death and the Way of the Spirit is the only means of living.

The Way, or path of truth , Christ-mindedness and  Christian Living ( Phil 1-6, Rom 12-15) can best be qualified as an active yet reactive  process of modeling of moral action and the use of teaching through scaffolding, Operant Learning and Socio-cognitive methodologies  and many other learning theories coupled with nurturing or the expression of love (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In regards to the role of each respective parent both play a part in nurturing and equipping a Child throughout life. Yet, the role of each is often unique and varies from culture to culture and even among subcultures within people groups of similar societies and nations.

Additionally the environment including every person we interact with as well as our own views influence development of our temperament, disposition, worldview and every aspect of development with possibly a few exemptions such as our God given innate personality and certain biological aspects( Ps. 139) that cannot be modified (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Thus, although we as People are create similarly we also all are unique. All people are made in the Image of God and called to be in a relationship with him and additionally to serve him as mangers as contributors and innovators of the Earth (Gen 1). All of creation was formed before Time- Space and our Biosphere existed and thus, was fashioned in the secret or Holy Place of Heaven (Ps. 139). Furthermore, all knowledge is inspired by God and existed with God before time began (Ps. 139, 2 Tim. 3:16).

Finally, God’s Plan is to redeem all Humanity from our self-centered driven intentions, actions and desires which leads towards a wretched sinful nature and our separation from God or death. In the process of sanctified –faith and grace in holiness  God restores us all to our Glorified Likeness of Christ and ends the pang of all creation that currently is in reaction to the plight of Mankind’s’ sin.

One may endure a certain degree of hardship for the world is currently hostile towards our sinful nature. We wait and serve with hope in blessed assurance for Messiah’s returns and reigns as King over Heaven and Earth or until our temporal resurrected awaiting our restoration as Spirits in Heaven. For this is dependent on which ever may come to pass in the coming ages. For all that is certain is That Jesus is always near, change is inevitable, and at times growth is painful. Thus, we preserve with courage, faith love and joy preparing the way for the return of our Savior-King as Ambassadors and Loving Bond-servants of Christ.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count #987

 

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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A Special Vessel, A Secret Place Formed from the Potter’s Wheel

All Creation is Fashioned Unique Yet Similar for The Unified Glory of God

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In Psalms 139: 14-16  God is speaking to the writer and informs him that he and all of creation was created before the existence of known time in Heaven and that man was fashioned out of the clay of the Earth each for a specific plan or design.  This purpose, which is not hidden from anyone but rather is reveled to all, is to be used to be serve his Glory in all things in every thought, feeling and action.

To fully understand this Jeremiah writes ,“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ( Jer. 29:11 NIV).”’ Furthermore, Jesus commissioned us all for one purpose, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matt. 28:19-20 NIV) .” This directive is edified by but a single twofold command, “Love God with all Your Heart and Love and teach people to do the same thing for my Glory (Matt. 22: 36:40).”

When all the above verses are taken in conjunction they simply, state God has given each person a set of unique skills and the potentiality to learn specific skills and experience life for his glory.

All that we are given, think feel and experience are meant to serve his divine purpose for the restoration of creation that is the result of Mankind’s’ fallen state of Sin. However, humanity was and is justified and redeemed by the gracious and merciful love offering on the Cross-through his Only Sone Jesus Christ who will return and complete what was finished on Mount Calvary when he returns to reign as King of Heaven and Earth. Until such a time we as God’s stewards or managers of creation must prepare ourselves, others creation for his return.

Furthermore, as love can never be coerced, manipulated, or forced. Only those that chose to accept and believe are granted citizenship and the inheritance to the Kingdom of God and transformation into the exactness of Christ. All others will pay the full penalty of sin, which is total separation and death form eternal life and God himself (Premise of Gospel of Romans). Finally, each of us must do our part in maturation or growth, by renewing our heart and mind to become more like Christ (Phil.1-6, Rom. 12-15) with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Intriguingly many draw a correlation to The Secret Place” in Psalms 139 with the womb. The traditional interpretation would be to view this as Heaven or alternatively to be within God himself at beginning of time before time began on earth during instances when God began forming but did not fill creation (Genesis 1).  However, as Adam was created after God’s initial in Genesis 1 and Humanity descended and evolved after the initial fall in the Garden this is also an accurate and relative interpretation.

As stated in Matthew 10 God values all life and all creation nothing is insignificant or unworthy in God’s eye and God loves all things unconditionally and provides for all creation with grace and mercy despite any intention, instinctive action, thought feeling or reaction.    Thus, God desires all creation for a relationship with him and all human interaction or our relationships should imitated of function in the same manner as the Trinity.

In such a dynamic the father, son and The Spirit which is viewed as the female aspect of God in some translations of scripture (The Septuagint for example)[1], each have distinct or unique duties, characteristic and personalities or qualities but are able to perform the duties or functions of the other personas office.

This form of Empowerment or interdependent relationship model respects and embraces the unique strengths and weakness of each member of a family or group and combines them into a cohesive unified element supporting diversity and unity giving strength and enabling positive growth and development for the greater good of all members of the social dynamic involved (Balswick & K, 2014).

In Matthew 10: 29-31 Jesus is addressing the issue of fear and worry. Jesus states, That God loves and addresses the needs of all his people and Children.  Additionally, Jesus emphasizes, all of his creation has worth and value.

The vision given to Peter by Christ in The Account and Gospel of Acts is often considered to be addressing the issue of Judaic dietary restrictions however, Luke recording of the account further drives this point home. The basic premise states, that God has never made nor would ever make any junk (Acts 10: 9-16).

Finally while we all are sinners having weaknesses and excessive characteristics. Some of these traits and shortcomings are innate to our nature while others develop from our interactions and reactions to people and forces outside of us. Additionally each of us have innate talents and developed strengths or skills and abilities.

Both the Prophets and Paul proclaims, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor (Rom 9:21) HCSB)?” “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed ( 2 Cor 4:7-9 NIV).” How the precious children of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands ( Lam. 4:2!)” “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand (Isa. 64:8).”

Thus, each individual and creation are fashioned for different plans but serving only one purpose to live in worshipful glory for God in the Spirit of love and unity both in a quantitative manner ( Works / reactive process) and qualitative way ( deeds/ active process).  All interact, are shaped and respond to our initiate nature and nurture as we mature. (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014) In addition forces outsides of us transform us as we live in and by faith through the various continual stages of life from conception (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014) to one’s transformation- Resurrection and final restoration into the Eikōn of Christ (  Eccl. 3, Rm 8, James 1).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1167

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References

Balswick, J. O., & K, B. J. (2014). The Family. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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[1]“If anyone loves righteousness, the products of righteousness are the virtues. For wisdom teaches self-control, discernment, righteousness and courage, Concerning which things there is nothing more valuable in the life of man. But also, if anyone longs for great experience, She knows the things of old and portrays the things to come; She understands subtlety of words and the solution of riddles; She has foreknowledge of signs and wonders, And the outcomes of times and seasons( Ws. 8:7 OSB).

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conflict

 

In Oneness of Differences

The Art of Negotiation Compromise in Marriage

 

Trenton Clark Rindoks

CCOU 304

Liberty University

October 17, 2016

 

Abstract

Within every social dynamic quarrels and discrepancies arise. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to develop skills of conflict resolution in all social situations especially in a marriage. A marriage is much more than a romantic arrangement or contractual obligation. Marriage is the second highest form of expression of love and is a covenant between two separate and yet unique people who have become one person joined together in union with God under a higher covenant or contractual agreement with the Trinity of God (Balswick & K, 2014). This concept is often misunderstood in our culture which values the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, and places (Rindoks, 2015) . At times the desire to confirm to the ways of society or self-take priority over the biblical virtues of salvation, freedom/empowerment, joy and interdependence.

It is only from reshaping of one’s conceptions, action and mannerisms coupled with a will and need to work together in union as well as to search introspectively seeking growth that a successful foundation for marriage can be built.

Therefore, a virtuous marriage is a covenant between God and two individuals. “This union two people becoming oneness in flesh with the Trinity, should provide hope for in oneness with God the couple shall not need to have fear of going thru the process of change alone (Balswick & K, 2014).” Any growth, healing or repentance is not the any venture done by one or both parties alone but is inspired by the Holy Spirit and aided and blessed by God and as such “ If God is for  on our side  Whom Shall we Fear(Ps. 3).”

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Introduction

Disagreements are part of every marriage and can arise from busy schedules, financial setbacks, personality differences, views on religious, social, political beliefs, or simply out of fear. Furthermore, communication difficulties as well as unresolved feelings of hurt and influences from the couples’ families and one’s upbringing are precipitating influences of conflict or crisis in marriage and family life, Transitional or developmental stages also can cause discord within a marriage as well  feelings of feelings of low self-such as unworthiness or insignificance. (Clinton & Sibcy, Why You Do The Things You Do, 2006). If left unresolved this discord result in divorce in approximately ½ of all marriages.

Conflict Resolution in Marriage

Understanding Conflict

The greatest fear is the fear of separation or abandonment. This fear forms the foundational reason of why God created man and women to be in union or marriage with one another. Divorce not only affects and devastates the individuals directly involved but has long lasting consequences on the mind and action of the children and other family members and friends who are involved with the parties of the divorce as well. Thus, divorce is a social epidemic and the necessity for effective resolution skills and effective communication forms the foundation in the field of counseling and the lives’ of every couple.

The nature or cause of the conflict or situation at hand should be seen as the true problem by confronting the issues and facing them instead of avoiding them. This strategy allows for change by growth but it is wise to start with small areas of growth and focus on each other’s strength rather than shortcomings. “This however, often requires each party or person involved to view the problem from the other’s view (Duffield, 2013).” Patience, perseverance, courage and empathy and above all else love from God, self and each other is required during the negotiation process. Although some have a tendency to withdraw or detach from the person or situation of discord or hurt. “It is more common for men to become withdrawn from their spouse. The female satisfaction in the marriage greatly decreased especially when she used the engagement or pursuit method in an attempt to avoid strive (Kurdek, 1995). “

Many spouses have a desire to change the other person into an ideal image or self-conceived concept which in many cases is formed from preconceptions of one’s own family of origin, peer groups, religious –social – worldview and hang-ups, hold-ups and habits formed during the various stages of life before and during the marriage. This is in actuality a nearly impossible task (Beth, et al., 2003).

The key to acceptance and respect, or submission according to Thelma Wells can be found in an understanding of 1 Corinthians 13. “Within all of us is a deep bond that binds us to one another called ‘the glue of authentic love.’ This form of love is an expression of genuine care and compassion for one another.”   In meditating apply and  understanding  the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 7  the necessity of unity to be set free one’s insecurities through loving submission to Goad and another becomes  apparent.  Such insecurities and false believes form the basis for one to change another into an image of themselves rather than accepting and loving them for the diversity and uniqueness that has been created in them by God. For the primary purpose of all humanity is to love God and each other and to rely solely on him living for his glory above all else. A dependency on people, place or things will fail. Only in and through Christ can one truly find the substance of needs. When we lean to heavy on people for emotional or any other support we become beggars. When we turn to places or things or give our power to people other than God they become our Judas’ our false god’s and ultimately the means of sin and death (Beth, et al., 2003).

 

 

 The Nature of Forgiveness

A study conducted by Finchman and Beach concluded that the role forgiveness plays in resolving arguments and disagreements varies only slightly between men and women. “For wives on a 9 point scale forgives had a rating of 5.8 and for husbands 5.7 (Fincham & Beach, 2007).”Although surprisingly low, it does show that forgiveness is an ingredient in the resolution process but it illuminates there are many more variables such as the initial cause of the offense and that perception of data between genders and even the way one processes feelings of healing and hurt are often critical in reaching a mutual understanding during any actual or perceived situation of wrong doing  (Fincham & Beach, 2007). “Well-handled conflicts lead to mutual respect and closeness in an every relationships and between partners (Okafor & Osakinle, 2014).” However, this requires each person to empathize with each other’s thoughts, feelings and actions and to be able to communicate in an appropriate and effective manner so a solution to the problem at hand can bring closure. The Conflict Resolution Model offers a fruitful plan to resolve issues of dissention: “By developing expectations for win-win solutions and defining each party’s interests in brainstorming through creative options plus combining options into win-win solutions negotiation is achieved instead of compromise (Davidson & Wood, 2004).”

A Plethora of other techniques exist but all require effective and efficient communication and empathy and active listening skills. The main focus of this amended work is to provide insight and encouragement to couple in times of conflict so the social illness of divorce can be prevented or cured.

The original paper was written in the summer of 2015. However, the availability of new research and as errors were found within the original an amendment was warranted. The original contained a solid foundation of information to build upon thus it was used as the basis for the new work (Rindoks, 2015).  Although some may question this approach one may ask if the Epistle of Romans which is a synopsis of Paul’s writings and includes paraphrase from the Old Testament and contemporary works of his era has any merit or even any current work of many scholars and professional of this age. The emphasis on legalism over morality is best settled by the statement made by Paul and should be used to avoid conflicts, foster diversity and encourage unity while breaking down the barriers of pride and is included in the Epistle of Romans: “We who are strong (Moral) ought to bear with the failings of the weak (Legalistic) and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Rom. 15: 1-7 NIV).”

The Biblical Marriage Examined

The Biblical Model of Marriage is based on the doctrine of the trinity in which the Father, Son and Spirit each are three uniquely distinctive individuals of one collective body or personas.  In the beginning and throughout all the seasons of marriage the two separate personalities that make up the unified couple become one united entity.  While both parties   retain distinct personality traits, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses each person is united with the other and God in a covenant which is more than an arrangement. This pact of free submissiveness is not a contractual obligation or moral agreement but rather a juncture of mind, body, soul and spirit that forms the final cohesion or unity of the whole marriage – the covenant of trinity or oneness with God.

Both the bride and groom retain connection to their respective families of origin however each family is also incorporated in to the dynamic and additionally new family element is created and joined to form yet another trinity or cohesive unit. Each individual brings their respective individual strengths and weakness to the marriage which thus acts in a cumulative nature creating a stronger unit, based on interdependence, giving foundation ,empowerment and security to the whole family dynamic or unified structure as a whole (Balswick & K, 2014).

All of creation is driven to meet certain basic needs which can be divided into two primary categories of either significance or security. In a healthy marriage one must looks first to Christ to meet one’s needs and then relies on each other provide the necessary mutual support to meet matters of significance and security (Crabb, 1977).  All of mankind’s shortcomings, or sins  stem from insecurities and misplaced need which leads us to rely on our self or depend to heavily on others resulting in unhealthy relational types, false assumptions, maladjusted emotional responses, and inappropriate actions. This in turn results in conflict, as negative emotions, and communication errors lead others to react to what is perceived as hurt or harm (Beth, et al., 2003). Without the help of God and others, mutual understanding and growth conflict resolution is often unsuccessful for unmet issues of the past or present will keep resurfacing within all of one’s relationships or interactions.

While, many theories and worldviews hold the belief that one is to strive, declare and achieve independence from tyranny, seek the empowerment, and live for self-ambition. In truth all were justified and redeemed worthy only by the Blood of Christ and called to be live in an empowered interdependent relationship for the glory of God. This new citizenship and merit has freed all from the bondage of the sin and death yet is a gracious gift requiring the submission of love to God and another. Even Jesus did not act independently of his father and would frequently perform works alongside the aid of his companions. Submission can best be understood as an act of loving respect in which all parties involved merely empty themselves[1] to serve the greater good of all involved and not as an act of authoritarian control. Furthermore, submission is the action that binds though and feeling and empowers all members of the group to grow, prosper, learn develop, encourage one another, and strengthens unity of the dynamic. Through respect, trust, forgiveness, effective communication acknowledgement of strengths, the practice of disciplines submission enables the man to love the Church as Jesus loves the Church and the women to become the bride of Christ or helpmate of Adam.  In the case of marriage the two become one and are conjoined with God as they trudge the road as one in the service and glory of God.

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Effective Communication

Effective communication skills are not only important in resolving conflicts but the lack of proper communication is one of the primary causes of conflicts in relationships. Thus, effective communication skills are paramount for a marriage and all relationship in general. Communication consists of both verbal and nonverbal components (body language, reading etc.…) however verbal components are the more effective as they allow the listener to respond to errors of translation or miscommunication (Balswick & K, 2014). Non-verbal communication is reliant on symbolism and thus can be misinterpreted by the receiver and is easily taken out of context.

When verbal and nonverbal communication are blended effective – communication is created. Both parties interact using body language and verbal cues.  This higher form of communication is thus achieved but requires a certain degree of intuition and empathy. In using the ability to understand and define the feelings of another plus combing the aptitude to differentiate cultural, gender and personality differences effective communication and rapport is achieved. However, one must first be an active and effective listener to master the art of communication as communication requires both the ability to transmit, process and receive information if one wishes to master the art of communication.

Active-Effective Listening

Active and effective listening can be beneficial to couples in three primary areas. First, it reduces self-interest and increases interdependency. Second, it breaks down negative patterns in communication such as criticism, defensiveness (retaliation), contempt (insults), or stonewalling (avoidance, shutting down).  Finally, it proliferates the quality and quantity of the communication time and meaning (Clinton & Ohlschlanger, 2013). An efficient listening technique often taught to couples who undergo counseling is the L.O.V.E. method (Rindoks, 2015).

L.O.V.E.

L- Listen and Repeat. People frequently feel they are misunderstood because they actually are often misunderstood. To compensate for this problem in communication one party must listen reflecting on context and empathizing with the feeling of the one speaking. Then the one receiving should repeat the message. Clarification and repetition confirms that the proper context and feeling has been transmitted. Additionally, this allows the transmitter to fix any confusion of context or emotional misunderstanding aiding to harmony in congruency in communication.

O- Observe your effects. Pay attention to cues in that the message is not being misunderstood. If an error in communication occurs abruptly stop and apologize for the error.

V- Value your partner. Value uniqueness as you seek to resolve conflicts avoiding criticism and negativity.

E- Evaluate the interest of both partners. Consider substitutive resolutions that will serve the interests of all participants. Reflect on if the solution will advance spiritual growth and serve the Glory of God of both the marriage, each individual and the family and /or society in the spirit of truth, love and unity. (Clinton & Ohlschlanger, 2013).

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Forgiveness

In order to maintain harmony within a marriage, and for conflict resolution to be a success both parties must be willing to exercise forgiveness. The Bible teaches that in order to be forgiven one must first forgive (Matt. 6:15 NIV).  One practical model for forgiveness is known as the R.E.A.C.H. Model.

R.E.A.C.H.

R- Recall the hurt. Describe the transgression in writing and the aspiration for forgiveness including ways to transmit or receive an apology, means of understanding the transgressor(s) and transgression(s) in a new light, and finally seeking resolution to move on with one’s life through the reliance of divine intervention and is some cases with the aid of civil justice (Clinton, Hart, & Ohlschlager, Caring For People God’s Way, 2005) (Rindoks, 2015).

E- Empathize with the transgressor. Express compassion for the transgressor and attempting to see the situation from their prospective.  This allows negative feelings and loss to reducing the need to play the role or view oneself as the victim. It is helpful to reminisce on positive emotions, actions, or memories about the person or situation to aid in healing and forgiving process.

A-Altruistic gift of forgiveness. Bless the other person with the gift of forgiveness.  Focus on a time when you to committed a sin and were forgiven or even when the wrong was forgotten and embrace the feeling you received by the grace and mercy of forgiveness.

C-Commit publicly to forgiveness. In the case of serious wrong doing, hurt or abuse, many find comfort humility and healing by composing an affirmation of forgiveness and sharing this publicly with a witness. Some may wish to apologize publicly before a third-party verbally or in a group setting as a testimony of forgiveness. Others way wish to write a brief synopsis of the wrong and burn it as an offering to God. No matter the method taken all the above actions, thoughts and feelings illustrate a commitment to change and help hold each party accountable to the act of forgiveness and blossom growth, healing joy and love.

H- Hold on when in doubt. It is natural to feel anger or fear towards the offender even after one has forgiven the offense for some time. When such feelings turn to rumination, or perception of negative thought, feelings, actions, or consequences, one must not merely stop such a process but change the negative assumptions into positive thoughts or feelings about the person or situation (Clinton, Hart, & Ohlschlager, Caring For People God’s Way, 2005). When in doubt or overwhelmed hold on to positive thoughts and feelings of being forgiven yourself by others and the grace and mercy that you are forgiven in and justified by Christ alone.

Anger

Many people mistakenly confuse anger as a primary emotional response. Anger in actuality is a secondary emotional response and is a God given reaction simply telling the mind and/or the heart that some other emotion or thoughts is the cause of the disturbance (Rindoks, 2015). The Bible instructs us “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Eph. 6: 26-27 NIV).” Simply stated this instructs us to promptly deal with conflict and not react in an inappropriate manner. Rather to promptly confront the person or situation head on and deal with it in an appropriate and virtuous and constructive manner instead of one that will harm one’s self or others. Anger itself is not a primary emotion but an indicator that something else is going on within or around the person. Thus Anger, is much like what happen when we put are hand on a stove we feel the burn. We can decide to leave it on the burner continue experiencing pain damage to body and even become numb from nerve damage, we can throw a fit cuss, scream or blame other, or we can simply treat the wound, determine, the reason we put our hand in the fire in the first place and then take steps to not do it again. Additionally, if the fault is partially someone else we need to admit our part while peacefully negotiation measures so we and others do not get burnt in the future.

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Methodology of Conflict Resolution

The Rules of Fair Fighting

The Rules of Fair Fighting is a practical method of negotiation. Introduced in 1968 by George Bach and Peter Wayden it provides 14 guidelines for reaching a viable solution.  Before this time all instances of conflicts were regarded as negative and thus the tendency was to avoid issues of strife or for the stronger party to engage in control (The Compromise Resolution Method or Authoritarian Model) or use other forms of power such as overindulgences, or  engage in overprotection issues (Balswick & K, 2014). The following is a summary of the fourteen steps of The Fair Fighting Rules:

  1. Identify the issue. Identify the issue and when multiple matters exist prioritize to correlate their association handling each individually.
  2. Choose the right time. Allow time for emotions to diffuse. Chose time that is appropriate for all participants schedule.
  3. Choose an appropriate place. Choose A neutral setting that will not give an advantage or make any feel uncomfortable and is free from distractions.
  4. Begin in a positive manner. Begin with complements, praise and prayer. State the situation in an empathic manner.
  5. Stick to the issue. Stick to the issues and do not become distracted.
  6. Do not bring up the past. Some may use a tactic known as gunny-sacking in which frustration and anger is stored up and then released, thus it is important to avoid bringing up past harms and criticisms.
  7. Avoid using emotional attacks. Hitting below the belt or using emotional attacks is prohibited In Fair Fighting.
  8. Take the other perspective seriously. Avoid chuckling or ridicule, and value each other’s participation.
  9. Express anger nonabusively. Use decisive statements of feeling and avoid verbal abuse and personal badgering or other tactics of control and abuse.
  10. Do not play games. Common methods include: the martyr (“I cannot do anything right!”), faking neediness or dependency, or the victim, (poor me).  Such tactics are to be circumvented as they only stall or destroy any attempts of negotiation or sway the decision forcing a one-side outcome and thus not a mutual compromise or true resolution.
  11. Avoid passive / aggressive behavior. Passive aggression can best be defined as using sublime or even indirect means to retaliate against a person in a response to anger. This ploy is often used by passive aggressive types to gain an upper hand in an argument.
  12. Do not ask for explanation of behavior. Commonly viewed as blaming, the person being interrogated or accused cannot offer a reasonable explanation and as such this method is counterproductive as it serve to bring about discord and stall any attempts of reconciliation or forgiveness.
  13. Avoid stereotyping and name calling. Avoid derogatory words such as ignorant, stupid, childish, and the like as these only act to antagonize the situation and hurt the feelings of other person. Furthermore, stereotypes and generalities may be mistaken as attacks and should be minimized or avoid at all cost.
  14. Avoid triangulation. Triangulation occurs when a third party is brought into a dispute to gain an advantage by one side(Balswick & K, 2014).

The Rules of Fair Fighting were introduced to provide structure for conflict resolution however they serve only as the foundation for conflict resolution.

Conflict Resolution Model

“The Conflict Resolution Model was formulated by a group of Australian psychologists who studied a variety of sources in order to integrate various methods to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome in a conflict situation thus creating a best-practice prescriptive process for negotiation and resolution of discord (Davidson & Wood, 2004).” The model is composed of four parts and is designed to give both parties a win-win solution (negotiated dual compromise).

  1. Developing the expectations for win-win solutions. Mistakenly both parties enter into negotiating expecting to have an advantageous outcome. It is necessary that the problem is reframed to provide for a dual compromise, cooperation and/or mutuality if a resolution is to be reached.
  2. Defining the issue in terms of underlying concerns, needs, or interests. Using efficient communication, skills and active listening coupled with empathy; each party should define the issue without blame, criticism or negativity.
  3. Using creativity and insight various outcomes should be explored to bring resolution to the issue at hand that will be favorable to all parties involved.
  4. Combining options into win-win solutions. Select from the best available alternatives that will yield the maximum benefit and provide a resolution to the conflict at hand benefiting all parties. If an agreement is not reached repeat the process.

In a newer derivative model known as PET which is often considered a management strategy the results are reviewed at a later date and then if the issue is still relevant the negotiation procedure is reviewed, revised,  returned to and continued  until a satisfactory resolution is achieved (Davidson & Wood, 2004).

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Conclusion

Conflicts are part of life.  Efficient communication active listen skills and forgiveness form the basis for all conflict resolution. It is of the upmost importance that in conflict resolution a solution is reached that brings unity, harmony and is of mutually beneficial to all parties involved in the resolution process. Occasionally this may require sacrifice on the part of one party, however it usual result in a dual compromise after negotiation and sacrifice from all participants involved in the tumultuous action. In most cases it involves brainstorming. Conflicts arise from miscommunication, feelings of hurt or harm especially when one’s security or significance is actually or perceived to be threatened.

Often originating from insecurities in development and other issues during the various stages of life it is essential for one to heal from past transgressions and forgive the wrongdoing of self and others.

Marriage is a covenant between the Trinity or three personalities of God and the couple. Thus, it is essential couples learn to work out their differences using the skills of conflict resolution. All of creation was created for relationship and all relationship is based on love. Thus it is important we carry the virtue of love in all are interactions on a daily basis.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trenton Clark Rindoks

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8 ).

 

References

Balswick, J. O., & K, B. J. (2014). The Family. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

 

Beth, M., Briscoe, J., Wilson, S. D., Hart, K., Hager, D., Wells, T., & LaHaye, B. (2003). A Women and Her God: Life Enriching Messages: Extraordinary women. Brentwood: Integrity Publishers (AACC).

 

Clinton, T., & Ohlschlanger, G. (2013). Competent Christian Counseling (Vol. 1). Colorado Springs: Water Brook Press.

 

Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why You Do The Things You Do. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Clinton, T., Hart, A., & Ohlschlager. (2005). Caring For People God’s Way. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

 

Davidson, J., & Wood, C. (2004). A Conflict Resolution Model. Theory into Practice, 43(1), 6-13. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3701559

 

Duffield, B. (2013). Reasons Why Conflict in Marriage Can Deter Divorce. American Journal of Family Law, 208-211. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1418169371?accountid=12085

 

 

Fincham, F. D., & Beach, S. R. (2007). Longitudinal Relations Between Forgiveness and Conflict Resolution. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(3), 542-545. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.21.3.542

 

Kurdek, L. A. (1995). Predicting change in marital satisfaction from husbands’ and wives’ conflict resolution styles. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57(1), 153. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/219763197?accountid=12085

 

 

Okafor, V. C., & Osakinle, E. O. (2014). CONFLICT RESOLUTION THROUGH EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 5(9), 321-334. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1511427147?accountid=12085

 

Rindoks, T. C. (2015, Summer). Conflict Resolution in Marriage. CCOU 301, Liberty Univeristy, 1-12. Munford, Tennessee, United States of America: Hades 1 Solution. Retrieved from http://hades1solution.tumblr.com/

Footnote:

[1]Kenosis: To free oneself of affliction, loss, control, over-indulgence, habits,  fear, anxiety, pride,  false assumptions and adopt the mind and heart of Christ… : “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8) !”

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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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On Spiritual Disciplines

At times as a student and those whom are elected or called into pastoral or ministry roles much of our time is devoted to meeting the needs of others while we neglect the needs of our self and tragically at times our own family. Therefore it is imperative we devote time to developing a consisting of personal spiritual disciplines in order to maintain a strong footing of faith.

There are two common positions regarding God’s Providence regarding how much free will and choice one has in the matter of one’s life and in regards to one’s destiny and what I would describe as one’s mission.  One’s Eternal Destiny is secure once one accepts the gracious gift of Salvation that was fulfilled during the resurrection and hyper-exalted during the ascension however, one is required to live in the obedience of faith by the transformation of the mind, which brings about the circumcision of the heart and rebirth in the Body. This New Body is one live with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which provides comfort, protection and inspiration, serves as the seal of the New Covenant, and is the Keys to the Kingdom while Christ is the Narrow Gateway in which one passes into Eternal Life.

 

Some would believe that God has predestined all things including Salvation and all areas of one’s life. While others believe that one has the free will to either accept or reject Salvation, that many of our choices are simply probabilities and possibilities and God reacts to the actions of the free agents or in a modification of this process.  Thus, faith is a process and predestined but are daily actions are however actions of freewill (Boyd and Eddy 2009).  However, one’s mission is the secondary purposes and functions one faces daily and throughout life such as matters of vocation, where one will live, who one will marry, one’s role in society and even one’s worldview outlook on life in general. These, missions or views may casually effect the individual’s thinking actions and behavior they should only indirectly affect one’s sanctification. Works and deeds are the result of faith and by the Justification of Faith alone; one is declared righteous or redeemed in grace and mercy from the wretchedness of sin and thus, achieves Salvation on the redeeming qualities of Christ alone.

In regards, to a dilemma on Scripture intake Methodology, the idea of utilizing a digital tool to review the Bible in a year is a sensible approach. May I also, suggest that as struggles arise you consult a concordance on the manner, as well as seek the insight of an accountability group or mentor, and above all else pray and meditate digesting the Words, wisdom and truth slowly (Whitney 2014)! Above all else, do not beat yourself up for failing to read or study the Bible daily for yourself. Quite possibly the mission God has for you in this season of the life is for the growth of a particular area of your life in what you are teaching others. My own experience has found some of the most sufficient growth in my life has come while teaching as at times students can serve as become teachers to the master. One should remember it was Simon who reveal to Jesus that he was the Son of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 16:16.)

May I also suggest a period at night of thanksgiving and review? In areas where things went right simply God for the lessons learned and things, he has provided. Where challenges have led to setback, where adversity has come first thank God for your enemies and the opportunities to face the adversities and the protection or lessons that you learned from these obstacles. Next, if any action, behavior, transgression is a sin is present on your part or another simply ask for forgiveness of yourself or the other. Although Christ has paid the debts of all sin past, present and future in full and all forgiven and forgotten we as imperfect creatures tend to hold on to grudges and this leads to unneeded depression,  feelings of rejection, fear, anxiety, loss and hostility. Although we cannot control our feelings in truth our feelings should not control us just like our thoughts our not the master of our actions or behaviors. This is the truth of transformation and the principle behind Christian Ethics, dying of Flesh and being born to the nature of the Spirit as outlined in Romans 12.

Personal Vs. Communal Worship

Participating in church activities, attending service, small groups and other corporal and interpersonal disciplines are necessary for Christian living as Whitney stated personal disciplines are equally essential for the development of Spiritual maturity. [1]  Unfortunately, there is a common believe in many modern churches that a believer must be actively involved in the church to be an effective witness for Christ and develop Spiritually.  Although the Body of Christ is communal in nature, the Body is composed of individual and thus as in any group dynamic the group is only as strong the weakest link. If the churches with in the Body focus only on the need of the individual church and each individual seeks to meet the needs of those in that particular church or denomination; are we not promoting more of a social gathering and failing the Great Commission of Christ and the intent of the Father to have a diverse representative group from all people of every people group in the Kingdom?

Time Management

Although time management is an issue for many one only needs to devote 15 – 30 minutes a day to reading & studying the Word a day to have read the Bible in a year. (Whitney 2014) May I suggest that if time management is an issue you break your study time up into three segment a day consisting of a morning, afternoon and evening study and meditation time? You may wish also to begin your day with a prayer of blessing and asking for the provision of needs and end the day with a prayer of thanksgiving and forgiveness of any wrongs done to you of that you may have committed. Although this is a simple formula, it used while assisting in raising Children, attending school, running my own business and attempting to evangelize others. Also, if it does not work simply modify the period to include a brief study time an hour before bed. If one reviews, the time wasted on trivial task such as watching Television, engaging in multi-media, or other random activities one can make the time for God. I myself have become complacent of this in the area of prayer and am working to remedy this in my own life. Above all else place your trust and dependency in Christ and the Holy Spirit who will provide the needed strength and at times one simply needs to be still and realize God is God. Boredom is one of the Best times to Listen for answers from God (meditate) or seek and contemplate areas of Growth through the Word (study). If one is not experience down time in one’s life one is in control and needs to let go of something, someone or some place and remember sufficiency and significance is not achievable by the works and deeds of human endeavors but only in obedience and faith to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. At times one may even need to surrender the attendance of a church function or service to have a solid personal relationship with God.

 

Prayer

“The Greek word for disciple is gymnasia from which the English word gymnasium is derived (Whitney 2014).” In 1 Timothy 4:7, one is commanded “train yourself to be Godly. In the Message, it is stated as such: “You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you will be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we have thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers (1 Tim. 4: 7-10 MSG).”

Spiritual Disciplines are active works of faith that build and maintain spiritual maturity and produce the fruit of the Spirit during the act of sanctification in the minds, heart and lives of believers resulting in transformation, Christ-likeness and ultimately godliness.

The primary Spiritual Discipline is Spiritual intake, and is subdivided into five categories of hearing, reading, studying mediating and the application the Word of God in one’s Life the secondary is prayer.  Unfortunately a large percentage of Christians fail have a life based on prayer despite the fact that In Matthew 6: 5-9, Luke 11:9  and elsewhere Jesus expects us to pray. Additionally, the Bible illustrates that Jesus frequently prayed in Luke 5:16, John 11-41-42.  Furthermore, in Thessalonians 5:17 Paul writes, “Pray without ceasing.”  According to Donald S. Whitney “If one cannot always have God in the forefront of one’s consciousness one should always be communicating with God as if having God on one line while taking  a call on another, so you  may never lose your focus or the need of the Lord in your Life.” A believer then does not stop conversing with God but may have frequent setbacks or interruptions (Whitney 2014). Additional prayer serves to equip us for Spiritual warfare by providing guidance and direction, his a means of showing love and not an obligation, is always answered by God but not always in the manner in which we expect, and finally must be rooted in the Scriptures and is best served as a reaction to mediation.

Prayer in my own life could be more consistent.  Currently I am in a season where I have drifted away from my routine of active meditative listening prayer.  In the past I would study a portion of the Word, pray on it and meditate on the context, relevancy, issue in my life, historical and contemporary issue or whatever else would come to my mind and heart through inspiration during my study period.  I instead have become more focused on needs based prayer using the Tell Jesus anything,  attempt to think how Jesus would handle the situation and Wait on a response approach and repeat as necessary approach. While meeting the needs and the request of others I have been neglecting to ask for my own needs, guidance or even inspiration in my own life.  Instead seeking to deal with my own shortcomings through secular counseling techniques, and meditation methods. Additionally, my life has at times felt like a frustrated and hurried mess. I need to return to a Biblical foundation and truth and realize that one’s security and significance is only found in Christ and the dependency of the Holy Spirit and works of sanctification.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Bibliography

Boyd, Gregory A., and Paul R. Eddy. Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. 2nd. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRASPING & UNDERSTANDING THE TRUTH

&

RELEVANCY OF SCRIPTURE

 

A Home Study on Psalm 3 for Biblical Comprehension Relevancy

&

Overcoming Fear and Facing Adversity

 

 

TRENTON CLARK RINDOKS

RLGN 489

MAY 13, 2016

 

Grasping & Understanding the Truth & Relevancy of Scripture

A Home Study on Psalm 3 for Biblical Comprehension Relevancy

&

Overcoming Fear and Facing Adversity

I. The Proposition

” According to A Barna Research Group Poll, Only 18 percent of Christians, or than less than two of every ten read the Bible every day. Worst of all, 23 percent or almost one in four professing Christians—say they never read the Word of God (Whitney 2014).”  Paul makes it clear in Romans that while repentance, Baptism and belief in Jesus are necessary Sanctification and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit are required for salvation. For while Christ Atoning Sacrifice was offered and paid the ransom fully for all sin and death sanctification is the mean through the leading of Faith and Christian living in which one is transformed and restored into the image of  Christ ( Eikōn). Additionally, while Jesus is the door to salvation Faith or the Holy Spirit provides the keys to enter the Kingdom.  Romans 12:1-2  States, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In this passage, Paul is stating that sin originates and centers in our thoughts and therefore we must constantly renewal of our mind with truth and the ways of God or his Holy Word if we wish to live in Godliness, develop virtues, and not be overcome by vices or ways of the flesh.

Additionally Paul states that reading and meditation on the Word leads to the development of Spiritual character and dying to the  ways of old-self or the ways of sin (Adam), thus leading to our transformation to the New Adam or Eikōn. In  Second Timothy Paul states a correlation of this, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work ( 2 Tim 3:16-18).”

Finally, In Ephesians Paul states how scripture can form one of the most potent tools in our arsenal for spiritual warfare. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should (Eph 6: 12-18).”

“Jesus often asked questions about people’s understanding of the Scriptures, sometimes beginning with the words, “Have you not read . . . ?” (Matthew 19:4; Mark 12:10). He assumed that those claiming to be the people of God would have read the Word of God. And a case can be made that this question implies a familiarity with the entire Word of God. In addition, When Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’  Surely He intended at the very least for us to read “every word,” for how can we “live . . . by every word that comes from the mouth of God” if we have never even read “every word that comes from the mouth of God (Whitney 2014)?” If Jesus commanded it, why are so many of us not doing it? Many of us blame it on time, but others on lack of ability comprehend or relate to the Word.

The purpose of this gathering is to illuminate minds and open hearts be better equipped to understand and relate to Word of God in a relative fashion while maintain the intent understanding the context of the occasion and audience while bridging the gap into our modern world. Additional the small group study will focus on Psalms 3 and is intended to address to areas of fear and overcoming adversity and depending on God to meet one’s needs and the necessity of prayer. Psalms 3 NIV states:

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”[b]

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

 

The method of analysis and instruction is the Crossing the Bridge Method outline by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays (Duvall and Hays 2012). A simplified version will be first introduced as a foundation and further studies will build upon the foundation should interest develop or needs arise.

The initial analysis for this event began in 2015. The initial project was to be a home study to overcome fear in Adults that never originated do to schedule conflicts. Further requests and assessments of social and personal needs are making this hypothetical project more of a reality than possibility. The question should not be a matter of why to start but when to start, and the answer should be as soon as possible.

II. Method

Interpretation of Psalm 3 Outline

Using Psalms: three as an example text for interpreting, study and mediating on God’s Word a concise theological/biblical method will be taught on some common applications for this verse for the Christians today. The method used to interpret this verse will be the four-step method known as the Interpretative Journey. This method starts by examining the text in relevance to the time, place and context when written and bridges the gap to a relevant meaning to contemporary society (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005). When interpreting The Books Psalms one needs to approach the verse or passage as a conversation with God as each Psalm in themselves convey one of three messages Praise, Laments or a cry for help, and Thanksgiving (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005).

Each Psalm contained within the Book of Psalms were written as songs thus much of the context is in an allegorical or, poetic and symbolic language. Interpreting the verses. We should not take all the context as literal but consider the metaphors as would do if one was  trying to gain understanding into a contemporary songs such as Bob Dylan’s “knocking on Heaven’s Door (Dylan 1973). ”  In the song, Dylan is not literally knocking on an actual door. However, in our mind and heart Dylan paints us a vivid picture of one approaching death.

The Biblical Meaning / Historical Setting

“Each Psalm is an independent unit isolated from its literary context and thus we must consider the historical context throughout the entire book first (Carter, Duvall and Hays 2005).”

The Book of Psalms subdivision in a fivefold format parallels the first five books of the Torah or The Pentateuch. The first five books is the story of Mankind creation his Eternal blessed state or oneness with God and his separation-death as result of sin, and the process to recovery or reconciliation of his righteousness with God.

The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 songs that are a composition for worship in The Temple of Jerusalem. The Book of Psalms is divides in a Five-book format. At the end of each Psalm in the first four books is a conclusion with a doxology or “Word of Praise” (Ps 41:13; 72:18-19; 89:52, 106:48). The fifth book closes with a praise song, Psalm 150 (Hindson and Yates 2012).

Psalm 3 is a composition of King David and is a lamentation as he fled from his son Absalom who led a rebellion against him (his father) and used subterfuge and influential power as a Judge to proclaim himself rightful  authoritive heir to the throne. David fleeing Jerusalem and was pursued by Absalom’s Army. This Psalm was composed in and under the context of the constant face of fear and facing the uncertainty of death. David’s orders Absalom to be punished with kindness when captured.  However, when Absalom’s hair becomes entangled in a tree he is executed for his crimes. In reaction to David’s grief over his son’s actions, the morale of his army was low and his soldiers defy their orders. Instead of victory, David’s forces returned to Jerusalem in sorrow.

The Story of Absalom is recorded in 2 Samuel: 13-19 the main theme to remember is God has providence over all events in History (2 Sam: 17:14 NIV ). Another contextual point illustrated is the love and forgiveness of a parent for a child despite what action they may choose to do. This Psalm forms the basis to the parable of The Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. Psalms 3 concludes with a Doxology.

The historical-contextual meaning to the Biblical audience of this passage can be summarized in the following statement.   Psalms 3 is a prayer to God to protect one from harm of an enemy. Furthermore, God will conqueror fear, provide, and sustain one’s needs and assist in the deliverance from one’s enemies. At first glance, one may view the enemy to be the literal encroaching forces of Absalom but Absalom can also apply to Sin or principalities of evil as well. David’s metaphor as  God as a shield and is also used in New Testament Paul using such a reference in Ephesians 6:16 to the Faith we have in God the obedience and trust perseverance and endurance and ultimately empowerment and at time sacrificial living . The Obedience by faith that comes through the Authority of Christ and the  leading of Holy Spirit in our becoming and imitating of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Differences and Similarities

Although the Psalms were written under the Old Covenant (Law) and us as, Christians live under the New Covenant (Guidance or Virtues of the Heart). The differences are not that great. Jesus did not come to overturn the Law but he modified it to a manner in which it is easier for one to apply in their daily life. In The Great Commandment:  Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.’ ‘This is the first and Greatest Commandment.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matt 22: 37-40  ).’” This Commandment if followed encompasses the Law. Thus, the Old Covenant serves as a guide for our actions and a determining factor for what is sin. Jesus also reminds us that all of us will fall short and none of us can uphold the law completely by our own accord: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20 NIV).”  Like the Israelites in David’s time, we face the threat of war, and need protection from enemies additionally forces both physical and spiritual threaten us on a daily basis.

 

 

The Meaning (Crossing the Bridge)

The theological/Biblical Statement can thus be stated simply in the following way. By an action of Faith (The Shield) God will protect, and provide for us. God will give us strength to defeat our enemies but we must always thank him and put him above all things.

Examples of Application

The application for this passage is in times of danger whether the force of opposition is a spiritual or physical The Presence of God will provide comfort, strength, and the means to defeat our enemies. We use our Faith, The Shield, The Word of God, The Sword, The Breastplate of Righteousness, or Spiritual Living, The Belt of Truth, and The Helmet of Salvation to protect us and defeat our adversaries.  Finally, we need not forget to praise God for what he does in our life. Like David in times of strife one should turn to prayer first as God will provide and meet all needs, protect and strengthen the body, mind, and soul and give us the Gifts of Spirit to persevere all circumstances in times of suffering and in times of abundance for the glory of his kingdom.

III. Strategy Plan

  1. Target: Adult Small Group
  • Assessment Date: May, 13, 2016
  • Assessed By: Trenton Rindoks & Associates
  1. General Age Group Characteristics
  2. Age Level: ____35-65_____
  3. Gender ☐ Males Only ☐ Females Only      × Mixed Group

 

Physical:

Some have illness (physical)

 

Some mental

 

 

 

 

Cognitive:

 

2 Scientific/ rational (deductive/Objective)

 

2 Abstract

( inductive subjective

Faith is firm is some

Able to read and Understand Modern Language Translations (NIV)

 

Linear view( Black/ White thinkers)

 

Some existentialist

 

Psychosocial:

Low Esteem

 

Fear /Anxiety/ Depression

 

Secondary need displacement

 

Rejection

 

Western Prospective of Culture Religion

 

Post-Modernism

Evangelical

Modernism view

 

Some Pluralist/  Universalistic / Agnostics

 

Mix of conservative and Liberal positions on Politics and Religion ( or Lack thereof)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual:

 

Accepted Christ

Basic  Bible Knowledge

 

Blame of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1.  
  1. Characteristics of the Ministry Setting

 

  • Kind of Group (Indicate the agency and type of ministry in which the teaching is to take place): Home Bible study

 

  • Size of Group (Indicate number of students who are anticipated or attend regularly):

4-6

 

  • Social-cultural Characteristics of Group (type of community, ethnicity, types of employment, economic level, community size, etc.): White, middle class, from small rural / suburb community 20 miles outside Memphis. Various occupations, some self-employed and disabled
  • Spiritual Maturity Level of Students: Beginner to mature, a few seekers and Agnostics

 

  1. Specific Group Characteristics

 

  • Interests:

Art, Music, Cooking, sports, movies. Music, philosophy, literature

 

  • Abilities: Construction / Handyman, Cooking, Auto repair, Pottery, Creative Writing, Care Giving,  Parents, Teaching

 

  • Limitations: basic Understanding of Bible, Some or Seeking Agnostic

 

 

  • Observed Needs: Many confusing Secondary needs as Primary and living in the flesh. Confusing the pursuit of happiness as the desired means of God instead of servitude and obedience. Many do not realize reliance on God produce Joy= Happiness and prosperity, Some are Agnostic and have a Pluralistic Understanding

 

 

  1. Points of Ministry: Examples from music, movies, art and contemporary life and other areas comparing contrasting worldly ways with Godly ways. Ask Questions How, What, Where, When, Why format to keep flow going.

 

 

 

Date:    11/20/14                    Location:    My Home  Munford, TN                                                              File Under: Psalms 3
Target Group:

A Home study group of 4-6 consisting of adults ranging in age 35-65 at various stages in their relationship with Christ. Some struggle with acceptance/ belonging issues and confuse secondary with primary needs relying on flesh nature to fill gaps of inferiority.

Passage:

Psalms 3

 

Cross-references:

2 Sam: 17:14; Matt 22: 37-40; Matt 5:20; Ephesians 6:10-20, Rom, 1-8, 12-15:3

Exegetical Idea:

By an action of Faith, or prayer, (the shield) God will protect, and provide for us.

 

 

Pedagogical Idea:

God will give us strength to defeat our enemies but we must always thank him and put him above all things

 

 

 

Lesson AIM(s)

Cognitive (Head): The student will see how reliance on prayer in a time of need will give strength and provide protection (Security Need). That reliance on God superior than instinctive action. Right thinking starts with God and fear often center in the mind.

 

 

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Affective (Heart): By turning to prayer, one can be a conqueror of fear as a change of thinking in a Godly direction conquers anxiety. The Holy Spirit comforts and Provides Gifts for all situations and circumstances although at times we must endure suffering for Growth as Christ himself suffered (Rom 1-8) Renewal of Mind and Transformity (Rom 12- 15:3)  Whom shall I Fear ( Rom 8)

 

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Behavioral (Hands): By continue reliance on prayer for one’s needs one will see that one’s needs are to be met by placing God first.  One over time will become less anxious and secondary needs (or worldly /compulsive outlets) will be replaced by spiritual right thinking and a change of heart.

 

 

 

Hook:

Take 15 Minutes alone and contemplate on the passage then answer the questions.

Break into Groups and Share and Discuss solutions.

1.      What would you do if you were threatened or your life is in danger?

2.      What is your instinctual response to fear?

3.      What world solution comes to mind to combat and adversary or fear?

4.      What would God have you do?

5.      What can you learn from David’s example on how to face fear

6.      Why should we thank God when closing a prayer?

7.      Why did Absalom die on a Tree?

8.      What can we learn from David’s Reaction to Absalom’s deviance?

9.      What Adversaries are we as society facing today?

10.  What is any Area of fear in your life?

11.  How does God provide the blessing in your life?

12.  Why is dependency on God superior to self-sufficiency or self-appointed authority?

13.   Whom do we Fear?

14.   Who is the provider of security or source of strength and comfort in your life?

15.  What is your ultimate Goal or strength and weakness and Why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book:

Content Outline

1.      Historical info explained

 

 

 

 

2.      Compare of Shield and combat of adversaries

 

3.       Group Analysis Psalm 3

 

4.      Review & Discuss Possible solutions and Alternatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

Methodology

Mini lecture from 2 Samuel:  13-19 to explain historical setting of Psalms 3. Explain difference of old and New Covenant (; Matt 22: 37-40; Matt 5:20)

 

Ephesians 6:10-20

 

 

Read and Analyze Psalm 3 Conclude with question and Answer from Hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look:

1.      Ask each student to think of ways each could better use prayer to overcome fear, and better rely on God first.

2.      Suggest each  Student spend 10 minutes a day on awakening reviewing day ahead inviting God into their life and Thanking God at night before bed reviewing where they acted instinctual relying on self, and where prayer should have been used to overcome fear, or provide for a need.

 

 

 

 

 

Took:

Begin with Praise either singing Hymns or Listening to Praise Music and Sharing of snacks or a Meal.

Communion: Offer communion to any who wish to Partake of it in Remembrance of the Suffering of our Lord Jesus and his Atonement for the Sin of All Humanity.

Group Prayer: Conclude with prayer requests and a Lord’s Prayer Thank God for what he has done in all participants Lives. Read John 3:16-21 and offer to Pray a prayer of Salvation for those who wish to turn their life to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rationale:

This study is designed to both provide a more concise method to comprehend the Bible while working on Issues, of Fear and increase dependency on the Holy Spirit, in Prayer and in Faith while promoting community and unity and fellowship.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Carter, Terry G, J. Scott Duvall, and J.Daniel Hays. Preaching God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

 

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Dylan, Bob. “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Pat Gareet & Billy the Kid. 1973.

Hindson, Ed, and Gary Yates. The Essence of the OLd Testament: A Survry. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012.

 

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

 

Image result for 2nd temple period Christianity

 

THE CORRELATION OF PAUL

&

SECOND TEMPLE JUDAISM

 

 

 

TRENTON CLARK RINDOKS

RLGN 425

MAY 9, 2016

Introduction

“It is easy to assume the individual writings that comprise the Bible correlate to each other in a relative fashion for a specific purpose of providing knowledge and wisdom and a means of achieving faith and guidance. However, what some Christians may not be familiar with is during the first century before the canonization and unification of the earliest version during the 2nd century, many secular Jewish and Hellenistic writings were also as well as the early codex format of scripture in many churches. Although the scripture codex including the Pauline Epistles were regarded with holiness as the Gospel, these other works such as the Apocrypha, writings of Philo, Josephus and Books Judaic Wisdom as well as the pseudepigrapha provided a wealth of information and inspiration.[1]”  Furthermore, some churches profess these are Authoritive and canonical works and thus these writings are included in the Bibles of the Catholic, Coptic, Lutheran, Orthodox and other Christian denominations in some variation.

“Paul addresses himself set apart for the gospel of God (Rom 1:1) but according to Watson this should not infer Paul does not share a unified view from secular counterparts in his concerns of God, Humanity, sin righteousness, creation, salvation and creation[2].” This book is a contribution of essays from contributions of doctrinal students from Durham University and other Institutions and serves the purpose of providing contextual, cultural, historical, philosophical, and religious information relative to second Temple Judaic thinking and life. While the Epistle of Romans is a systematic Gospel and guide to Christian living and ethics it was written in an era with perspectives and concerns that were different from our current age. Furthermore, one most consider the historical as well as current relevancy to fully grasp the meaning of any Biblical text to fully gaining wisdom, guidance and truth and full apply God’s word the intended fashion. Therefore, as Paul was influenced, and inspired not only source within our current Old Testament, the Holy Spirit but also the writings and philosophies of his age.  The intent or thesis of this book is to provide insight and understanding by comparing and contrasting sources and contemporary views or Paul’s time that helped shape the writings of Romans and influenced his audience the church of 1st century Church of Rome.

Prologue

Editors Ben C. Blackwell is an “assistant professor of Christianity at Houston Baptist University and served in the position as a research associate for N. T.  Wright (University of St Andrews) and John Barclay (Durham University). John K. Goodrich is the Interim chair an associate professor at Moody Bible Institute. Jason Maston is associate professor of theology and the chair of the department of theology at Houston Baptist University[3].” The editors have numerous published works on church history, Pauline studies and Second Temple Period worldviews and the combined works of the contributing student- authors provides a wealth of knowledge in comprehendible and cohesive manner. This book will serve as a means for any student, apologetic, evangelist or even one who simply wishes to gain a better understanding on the context relative to the mind and heart of Paul and people of this period and some of the issues relative to the early Church and culture of Rome.

The Second Temple Period (516 BC 70 AD) began with The Jews under the reign of the Persian Empire and concluded under the rule of the Romans. Facing the tensions of cultural and religious integration by the controlling Empires and people groups numerous philosophical and religious works were composed to provide hope, maintain cultural integrity, preserve the covenant and obedience to the Mosaic Law and to understand the understand the purpose and intent of God in the current and future age for the Judaic People. These writings today are classified as the pseudepigrapha or literary writings that are credited to a certain Biblical author but were later determined to be a later edition or authored by another person or scholar and often contain references from numerous sources.  The Septuagint or The Greek Edition of the Old Testament), The Apocrypha – A collection of OT period Jewish text which are canonized by The Roman Catholics & Orthodox but not included in the protestant Bible, and certain historical-cultural  and philosophical works  written during this period for the remainder of the writings in the classification of the writings from this period.  In obtaining comprehension  of these early texts one will grasp the relationship of sociocultural and historical context and thus better obtain an understanding of the occasion and intent of Paul as well as gain a more clear systematic and personal relationship with whatever verse, passage or chapter one studies. This wisdom will provide a better foundation of the period to appreciate the New Testament in General and recognize the purpose and meaning of the author and issues of the target audience a better establish a significant meaning to society today.

Synopsis  

The First Chapter written by Wesley Hill (PhD University of Durham).  Wesley illustrates how the Psalm of Solomon was used as a source for the basis to establish Jesus Christ as the Appointed Son of God who was preexistent with God, became flesh and in his death and resurrection was set apart by the Spirit to reign in a new life as the eternal King of creation.  Furthermore, the gift of salvation is extended to everyone both Jews and Gentiles based on faith alone.  Paul uses his Jewish tradition and builds on both the Old Testament and Second Temple writings to establish a biography of Christ. That basic concept can be outlined as Jesus preexisted with God and was born from the lineage of David according to the flesh and is now as the result of the resurrection the Appointed Son of God reigns in power and Authority in agreement with the Holy Spirit.

Chapter Two illuminates the concept of who sin brigs about the wrath of God and Paul concludes all people both Jews and Gentiles are under the power of sin for all have that God does not discriminate in judgement of immorality ( Rom 1-8-2:5). By comparing and contrasting The Wisdom of Solomon with Romans 1:8-2:5 Jonathan A. Linebaugh ( University of Durham)  shows how Paul used the Wisdom of Solomon and Psalm 105:20 to show the progression of sin the worship of natural created things, to the worship of false religions and idols which in turn leads immorality and finally judgement. Paul, then Paul’s Apologetic deduction can be summarized, as there is no shame in the Gospel, For the Authority of God alone is Salvation. Therefore, in the Good News of the Gospel the truth and righteousness of Good is revealed and God reveals is wrath for all have sinned and fallen short of God.

Chapter Three focus on the issue of circumcision, and the law. By comparing Jubilees with Romans and the issues that surfaced from the Maccabean revolt and Hellenistic influence in the Jews Paul uses the reference in the Book of Jubilees to illustrate how circumcision is a matter of the heart and not on of covenant obligation. However, Paul uses Duet 3:11-14 and the Abrahamic Covenant to show how this promise is now was always promised to all People, and is fulfilled by love and faith not by works or in the righteousness obedience of the law. Additionally, Chapter 4 shows how Paul reinforces this point by showing how the Dead Sea Scroll 4QMMT to establish the need of redemption through righteousness of faith in contrast to the works of the Law. While Paul does not denounce the Law. What Paul does is assign the works of the Law to Jesus Christ and thus salvation to profession and faith in Christ alone.

Chapter 5 continues on the theme of Righteousness using the Epistle of Enoch to show the relationship between justice and righteousness. In Enoch during the present age, the righteous are cursed and will be blessed at judgement. Paul builds on this theme but instead of placing the priority on the works of humanity, the means is the atonement & resurrection of Christ and in faith one’s alone.  Thus in Christ gracious and merciful suffering salvation & righteousness received by faith alone to all sinners.

Chapter 6 shows the similarity between the book of Sirach and Paul’s use of Genesis to Illustrate the Life of Abraham and the establishment of the covenant of God and God’s fulfillment of promises built on faith which in turn lead to the covenant being promised to all Abraham’s numberless descendants or nations of the world.

Chapter 7 shows how certain Dead Scrolls establish the role of suffering as a necessity for the righteousness and for salvation and in additional the role of a community in based on love, justice and humility in order to work towards truth and righteousness. Paul will build on these ideal for as Christ suffered we must also rejoice in suffering for his glory. Rejoicings in both the blessings and trials of the present age as we look forward to his final glory revealed in the Eternal Kingdom on his return serving the body of Christ and loving the whole community in humble servitude for his great purpose.

Chapter 8 compares Philo is writing on creation and sin with Paul. This explains why for Paul because of the original sin of Adam only through Christ atoning Sacrifice and resurrection thus, declared righteous and obedience life of faith can one be truly restored and saved.

Chapter Nine shows how sin and death entered into the world by invitation and foolishness. In a sense out of desire Humanity made a pact with death and for they were blinded by desire and evilness.  Stated simply Satan deceived humanity through desires and is still doing so today. The result is the Death of Humanity according to The Wisdom of Solomon. Furthermore, The Wisdom of Solomon explains God’s Holy Spirit cannot enter into a body tainted with sin therefore; one must study and seek the Lord. Paul builds on this concept further concluded at baptism we are buried and raise from the tomb with Jesus and beginning living a new life and as a result, our old self is crucified on the cross with Christ. Therefore, we are no longer slaves to sin and death. WE are new citizen under a new King living under grace and not obligation of law. However, sin still has power over us and we must resist sin. Instead of being a slave offer yourself as slaves to righteousness (Rom 6:18).

Chapter 10 -11 Addresses Second Temple writings in relationship to Humanity, sin and the Law and freedom of Christ and the Spirit as the only means to overcome sin and death and achieve eternal life.

Chapter 12 uses the Greek Life of Adam perspective of Creation to show a similarity or possibility on how Paul concluded that At the Fall Man and all creation became Separated and corrupted  from God’s Glory and at Christ return on Creation will be recreated or restored to the a glorious state.

Chapter 13 uses Philo to explain the view of Hellenist views of virtues on Second Temple Jews. The focus of this chapter is on the virtues of grace, mercy, and reason. Paul’s contrasts of Philo’s writings with that of the story of Isaac and Ishmael and Jacob and Esau to prove god’s election is Gentiles mercy and the election of Jews is based solely on faith. Paul then concludes mercy and faith is in the nature and instead to all people.

Chapter 14 shows how Philo aligns keeping the law and morality. This unity is a matter of personal integrity and keeps one from inner turmoil more than external rigid obligation or obedience. Thus, one must both be in agreement with thought, vocal expression (action), and not in disagreement with ones desire to enjoy happiness. Paul renounce self-reliance, but the focus of the works on faith in Christ and the Spirit. Thus Paul claims Christ is the end of the Law and gracious and obedient living is all that is necessary for sanctification and salvation as all are declared righteousness by faith alone not work nor deed.

Chapter 15 Compares Tobit with Romans to show how Paul constructs his plan for the Jews and his view of all Israel. For Paul Christ, came first to the Jews but some accepted the savior while others rejected him.  However, God changed his covenant plans for a sin of ignorance of the Jews. Now through the jealous and the salvation all of Israel will be saved (Gentile People). The elect nation of Israel who accept Christ will enter in to salvation like the Gentiles. However the rest of the Jews must wait until judgement Salvation is for many and some may not be saved however “For only if they do not continue in disbelief (Rom 11:23).”

Chapter 16 compares 4 Maccabees and the control of ones emotions as a necessity and sound judgement being the most superior of all the virtues.  Paul in Romans 12: 1-21 states we are to renew our mind in transformation in community worship, through the discernment of God’s will, through humility, with self-control and sensibility. Furthermore, we are to be given gifts from the Holy Spirit for the service and glory of God. Paul also focus on acceptable emotions such as a zeal for God, Love, encouragement, empathy and honesty.

Chapter 17-19 deals with concerns of the Roman Church such as cultural divisions on diet, Sabbath practices, and giving. Additionally it covers relationship with secular authority and taxation and general brotherly love. These Chapters help to show how Paul encouraged a fostered unity within the multicultural churches of Rome and discourage dissention but rather love and peace and joy to all.

Chapter 20 focus on the role of women as ministers in Judaism and the Early Christian Church.

Assessment

The book provides a wealth of information by comparing and contrasting sources from the Second Temple Period with Old Testament writings used by Paul and the various chapters of The Epistles of Romans. This book will aid any theologian, believer, or seeker to understand the relative historical, political, cultural and religious customs of Judaic and Hellenistic believers of the period while better grasp and developing a means to correlate such knowledge to a current perspective or occasion.

 Bibliography

Blackwell, Ben C., John K. Goodrich, and Jason Maston, . Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.

Image result for Early Christian symbols rome

 

Watson, Francis. “Foreward.” In Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, edited by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston, 13-14. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 201

[1] Francis Watson, “Foreward,” In Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, edited by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 13-14.

[2] Ibid, 14

[3] Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston,”Contributors” In Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, edited by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 178

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