If The Root Is Holy

If The Root Is Holy

Romans 11:16

If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

I took some time to read commentaries by biblical scholars and theologians in regards to this verse.  All of them seemed to deal with civilizations, tribes, congregations, etc..  They were all saying this verse could refer to the church, meaning Christ was the first fruit, the root, thus making the early Christian church holy.  Some of them also referred to the Jews, going back to Abraham as being the first fruit.  And some referred to the Gentiles, who through their acceptance of Christ were the first fruit and were made holy.

I took this on a more personal level, which is how I tend to treat the whole Bible.

Much of what I read by scholars and theologians deals with the Bible as a history book, which it is.  Many of the theologians seem to use it as if it is a corporate manual, telling them how to setup their organizations.

But after reading through the Bible a number of times I have found it to be a personal life manual, an instruction book on what you can expect and how to handle it.

So this is what Paul is saying to the Romans.

If at your core, at your very base as a person, if you truly want to be righteous and do what is right, then your actions and decisions will be right, they will be righteous.

“…if the root is holy, so are the branches.”

I’m not saying with this righteous core everything you do will be right.

We all know no one is perfect.  Like a tree you need to trim the branches, remove the dead and non- producing limbs.  You need to trim the branches that are growing in a way that hinders the overall growth of the tree.

Sometimes you may let the tree go and not keep up with the maintenance required to have it produce to its maximum ability.  The tree becomes unsightly and its production is stifled by deadwood and branches that utilize the vital nutrients but produce nothing.

But if the roots are good, if the tree has an established, strong, root system you can trim the tree back to its trunk and it will again start to produce branches to be properly pruned and produce the sweetest of fruits.

Paul is telling the Romans, and Paul is telling me, if your core principles are right and strong, if at the heart of yourself is a true desire for righteousness, no matter how far you stray, you can always prune it back.  You can remove all the sin, the distractions or worldly desires and return to your roots.  You can return to righteousness and be saved.

Or as I like to say, you can save yourself.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When Our Drink Is Gone

When Our Drink Is Gone

Hosea 4:18

When their drink is gone they give themselves to whoring, their rulers dearly love shame.

I knew what this meant to me when I first read it and wrote down the verse.  But I thought I would read what scholarly people think of it and compare my thoughts with theirs.

The scholars and theologians say this verse deals with the tribe of Ephraim, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, that has become a bunch of drunks, alcoholics, the people along with their leaders.

That may be true for the times this book was written but here is my modern day assessment of this verse.

Society today loves its “feel good”. Continue reading

Happy Fathers Day – They Are Going To Be OK

Happy Fathers Day – They Are Going To Be OK

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there.  I thought I would re-post this one to let you all know that all that work does pay off.

This post is from May 19, 2015.

Today I wanted to write about a nice moment in my life that happened the other day.

My mother had been in the hospital for a couple of days.  She had been suffering from acute anemia among other issues.  The doctors could not seem to figure out the cause.  All the tests had come back normal.

My father was home alone and is capable of taking care of himself but was having issues with his land line phone. He could call out but incoming calls were going directly to voice mail.  Both my mom and dad have cell phones but never have them turned on.  You know it might run up the bill if they were to leave them on.

My son was doing the weekly mowing for my grandfather’s estate.  One parcel of land that he mows for the estate is located adjacent to my mom and dad’s house. Continue reading

Lost My Enterprise, Have My Juliet

Lost My Enterprise, Have My Juliet

This goes out to my wife, who I adore, on our thirty eighth wedding anniversary.

I have been in my new home for a few months.  I have been settling in and enjoying my new residence and location. Yesterday I came to a somewhat sad realization but at the same time it affirmed to me what really makes me happy and what is most important in my life.

If you’ve read my previous post (Star Trek In A Band) you know that I have an affection for the original Star Trek TV show.  And you would know that what I liked most about the show was the comradery of the crew, the all for one and one for all attitude, the common goal of the core characters, the brothers and sisters in arms.

When I was young, and still to this day, the brothers in arms attitude in a band was one of the things that attracted me to music.  I thought I had found it in one band when I was much younger, and have been looking for it ever since. Continue reading

Simply What’s Right In Your Heart

Simply What’s Right In Your Heart

Romans 2:13

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

The above verse is from Paul’s letter to the Romans and another piece that confirms my faith in the simplicity of Christ and God.

The law is what you know in your heart is right.  What is right, the right thing to do, is placed in your heart by the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Where The Vultures Gather

Where The Vultures Gather

Luke 17:37

And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

I like what Christ is saying to his disciples, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

Now if you go back and read verses twenty through thirty seven in Chapter 17 of the Book of Luke, you will see that the obvious reference for verse thirty seven is about when and where will the Kingdom of God come to man, when will the rapture take place.

Christ addresses both his disciples and the Pharisees to be aware of the false prophets, those who say as in verse 23 “And they will say to you, ‘Look, there’ or ‘look, here’.  Do not go out or follow them.”

But Christ also tells them to be aware.  The rapture will come at any time, like it did for the world with Noah, or like it did for the inhabitants of Sodom.

So where will it come?

The disciples ask that question and Christ answers, where you find sin, the rotting smell of death due to sin, that is where the vultures will congregate.

I looked at this verse from a bit of a different angle.

“Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

Maybe what Christ was saying is that the sin, the sin in man, when we fail and commit sin, be prepared for that sin to attract more sin.

Your sin will not only externally attract more sin as the evil in your heart draws in others, but internally it will attract more sin.

It’s the pack affect.

Two dogs or wolfs are fighting for dominance of the pack.  The pack watches and when one losses, they all pounce on the now vulnerable loser.

I have seen this in the office environment.  Two workers who wish to establish their dominance over the office pack battle for days, months, even years and most of the pack remains neutral.  Then one of the combatants has had enough and leaves.  The rest of the workers pounce and side with the apparent victor and deride the now departed loser.

And so it is with sin.

The evil that can easily come into our hearts battles with what we know is right.  If we don’t stay disciplined and don’t make a conscious effort every day to maintain and strengthen our relationship with God, then sin slips through and this encourages more sin to swoop in like vultures to the smell of death.

Christ was saying be ever vigilant.  Watch over your heart and watch over your relationship with God for their lies the kingdom of God.

If you allow sin and it’s odor of death to take its place in your heart the vultures will come and devour your heart.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Take Away From Me The Noise

Take Away From Me The Noise

In previous posts I have written about how I can’t find any verses in the Bible where music is condemned or categorized as evil.

Then I came across this verse:

Amos 5:23

Take away from me the noise or your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.

When I first read this I wrote a note to myself listing this verse and then shoved the note in my composition book.   I pulled it out a couple of weeks later and read the verse I thought maybe I finally found a verse where music is condemned.  But then I went back and read the verse in its context.

Read it below as part of Amos 5:18-24: Continue reading