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Yearly Archives: 2018
It was June 2006. I was in Northern China as a missionary and thinking about two fellow missionaries who had gotten themselves in a heap of trouble in the mission field where I’d previously served. They had ruined the reputations of several of God’s servants and their church had broken up.
The Great White Throne Judgment
In what the Bible calls “the twinkling of an eye” I was transported to the Great White Throne Judgment. It was a sea of billions of people. It seemed as though I was on the back row but what God was saying to this pair was clearly heard by all.
He was publicly exposing their sins. My only emotion was sheer horror. Even today when I think of that, it comes back to me just as clearly as the day it happened. When God says vengeance is His, I know what it means. Whatever revenge we mortals might have imagined for them was nothing compared to this public humiliation.
Now, twelve years later I have my explanation. There are several texts in the scriptures about “saved” people going to hell. Some denominations refuse to believe that it is biblical, others misunderstand it and use it to terrify their membership. Neither of these is the purpose or the meaning.
There are passages in Hebrews 10: 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. “These things” the writer is referring to are the blessings of greater knowledge of the spiritual world and therefore accountability. There is more in Hebrews 6:1-6
6 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Clearly this group of leaders were given special knowledge of the holy which makes them more accountable.
Then there is the Old Testament reference to the Curse of Eli in 1 Samuel 4. Eli’s two sons were in charge of the priestly duties of the temple in their generation. They used those gifts and opportunities for indulgence of the flesh and open, unrepentant sin. Eli’s sons stole the donations to the ministry and also had sex with the women who came to the priests to “learn about God and be forgiven.” Eli was an enabler and allowed them to do this.
The Bible again says there is NO sacrifice for this kind of sin, that is the sin of using the ministry for one’s own profit and enjoyment. God gives this kind of authority to people who are supposed to handle it just as Jesus Himself would, and if they turn their back on God, then yes, they were saved once but now but there is no more blood of Jesus available to them. This is not a command to refuse a salary from a church; these things are needed in a modern society. The sin is not profit, but the carnal evils done in the name of the Lord.
Ministry is a Heavy Responsibility
Sometimes I am frustrated by people who are unwilling to learn more about God. They are indifferent and say, “My church is just fine. I don’t need to know anything more than that.” But then I remember those who have learned so much and now are responsible for every line of information and anointing they received and yet refuse to obey the word of God. Better for them to be ignorant than hell-bound.
Being outside the revelation of God and his ministries they are spared from knowing the kind of information that could ruin them. It is way too easy to make a list, like an anti-Santa, of just whom you think is damned for defiling the sanctuary. Don’t bother.
Accusers of the Brethern
We are not appointed to be accusers of the brethren. We do have a responsibility to stay far, far away from churches that preach sexual license and a rejection of God’s word, but we are to keep ourselves free from judging individuals. The Bible says to “flee evil,” not hang around watching others indulge themselves. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. If they turned Him down, He moved on. He didn’t hang around begging them to believe.
God may yet pull them from the fire. God waits until people die to do His judging. Peter said, “We are barely saved.” Let us be on our guard against involving ourselves with accusing or judging. We must judge ourselves first.
All people have many bosses – husbands, wives, employers, even children. But in the end, you have one person you answer to. That is God. Keep your books with Him straight each day. It is the road to confident living.
The Bible guarantees us 4 score years and ten, or 70 years. But I notice that older people are in no rush to leave. Nor would I encourage it. But there are many reasons we need to leave, gracefully and on time.
First and foremost is that each new generation has different cultural concerns and they need their 40 years to manage the nations, businesses and families – just as we did. Each decade brings new problems, from the explosion of technology and learning to the shifting status of nation-states. Change is the rule of life and we must learn that lesson and then give it to the younger ones.
A Time to Rest
Second, each generation deserves a time of rest to enjoy the grandchildren, to travel or hobbies or just hang out on the front porch with old hunting buddies. Older people often mention this as something they look forward to.
God has Term Limits
Third, if people lived forever the older ones might not be willing to give up their seats of power and thus holding back the entire community. God has term limits – why not us? Can you imagine having Hitler, who died in 1945, still prowling around trying to cause trouble, if he managed to escape international law. We would be crying, “Hey, let’s move on here.”
Focus on Making Things Right
Fifth, many individuals put off God until the end of their lives. Some people put it off too long and leave before they have a chance to make things right. And not just right with God. There are dead people in my family who did not have a chance to accept forgiveness or to offer it. They left with a major work of life undone.
The Need for Peace
Finally there is the issue of Peace. We are all promised it and death brings peace. I’ve seen people stand at a gravestone and shout anger, or grief or a list of regrets but it floats off in the air like yesterday’s yellowed newspaper scraps. If you are wise, you turn around and leave the cemetery and say, “Peace go with you and I will continue on my road.”
That phrase was proven to me years ago when I had to endue lies about me among a circle of friends. If someone lies about you for any reason, it is because you are a threat to them in some way, a way you may not even realize. You may know something about them that they do not want noised about in public. Or they may think you know something about them. You can be totally ignorant of their motives.
Slander establishes control over other people for someone’s or something’s own purposes.
Then it happened again recently. I was in the library and said to an acquaintance, “I miss seeing you.” I was pleasant and I actually like this person a lot even though we only see each other 3 or so times a year. She snapped back at me, “Well I am here much of the time,” as though I was upset or blaming her.
Then I remembered the newspaper article which came out about me. It was false but my lawyer said it would cost$7,000 dollars to fight the newspaper. I didn’t have the money. He looked around for some financing from companies which handle First Amendment cases and could find none.
So I lost a friend because she believed the newspaper. Did she come to me for the facts? No, she should have, and it made me sad because I realized the world is filled with people who do not know the truth. And even worse, believe they do! And worse than that – make no effort to learn the truth about the people around them.
News media must fear something to be so one-sided.
We look at American culture and see lies everywhere. The FBI spent $16 million dollars trying to find one shred of evidence that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to fix the election in 2016. They haven’t. A waste of money but people still believe it. Almost all political discussions begin with the words, “That’s not true.”
And consider God – who is more lied about than anyone I can name. That actually makes sense. The Bible tells us we are sinners and that if we don’t straighten up, we face eternal punishment. It is easier to say that is a lie than to face the issue straight on. Much of what you read about religion is doctored to fit someone else’s need to escape exposure.
The Bible is always under attack.
Scientists come up with one theory after another to trash ideas of creation or invent ones that leave God out. Psychologists will tell you something is a “lifestyle choice” which is little more than a predatory lust which damages both you and the victim in the end.
I’ve given up reading about the prescriptions I take. Someone somewhere has a reason to believe they are poisoning me. Another person says they are a miracle cure. Since I have been taking them for 10 years I think I might be doing OK.
Being an adult has responsibilities. You must find out the truth yourself. If someone is lying about the government, the President, the Congress or the legislation being currently discussed, you can read all sides yourself. You do not need to rely on bias from anywhere. If you think there might be a shred if truth that you and the human race is headed for hell, look the stuff up!
And simple answers won’t do. Important issues have many sides and if we want to learn and be stable in our living we must settle on truth for ourselves.
Different Levels of Faith
God’s playing field is made level by Him asking us to live at the level of faith given to us. And it is different for everyone.
Romans 12:3 CEV I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you.
Yes, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is a given for the sweep of humanity. But we are not judged on every point – only on those we learn about. It means that the woman living in a harem somewhere in Egypt, protected and kept from the world and information is a person judged by an entirely different standard than the college student in New York City, or the farm worker in Yemen.
Not everything God ever said applies to you and your life. He made new eyeballs for the blind man, but not for the rich man. He required a statement of faith from the Syrophoenician woman but not from the centurion. Lazarus he raised from the dead, but not the rest of the dead at that time. Jesus has different strokes for different folks.
Obedience is the Standard
Obedience to the revealed will of God is the standard by which each of us is ultimately judged. How can He do this? God is not unfair. If you have little information and little faith that is what you are expected to utilize in your search for God. To whom more is given, more is expected.
Luke 12:48 TLB “But anyone who is not aware that he is doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.
Some guy on radio said that God does not put people in categories, so I, being challenged, went to the Bible.
God has a large group of categories.
|little children||virgins with oil|
|fathers||virgins without oil|
|willfully ignorant||royal priesthood|
|beloved||crucified with Christ|
|mother in Israel||reconcilers|
Why do we need to know this?
God has called us to grow. Paul said we are to move from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) There is no static position for the Christian, or for that matter the non-Christian as well. Life is a test, and where we go after we die, and how we exist now depends entirely on the progress we make in this life towards understanding ourselves and our relationship to God.
For example, the book of 1st John speaks of little children, young men and fathers. These are three groups of warriors … those who have been called to fight the good fight against their own sinful nature and then as missionaries of the Kingdom taking on the devil and ever present evil in the world. It does not necessarily apply to you right now – although that may be your later call.
Christianity is not passive.
Christianity is proactive and risk-taking. There is no prolonged languishing in church to sit, soak and sour while the preacher does all your spiritual work for you. No wonder ministers break down. 1,500 leave the ministry every week. http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics
Good mental health requires you to change as time and circumstance change. The rigid and stubborn die first.
#Christianpsychology #Christiangrowth #Godsays #Life is a test
Read more essays at https://www.WouldYouConsider.net
We bemoan divorce statistics which do not appear to improve. But divorce is not the cause but the result of family dysfunction, and what ruins the home ruins society. The problem always goes back to whoever is ruling the family. Where one person is sick that person dominates family life.
Who is Lord of the Home
It never starts out that way. Newly-weds are the most positive, hopeful group of all, filled with the best expectations for a happy home, prosperous and stable, even when they themselves are neither.
But then circumstances change. And God does not change circumstances; He changes people who then deal with circumstances. We may pray for different circumstances- more money, more power, a better location, more education – whatever – but when we are in His will He changes us.
God’s purpose is to bring us individually into conformity to His will and His plans. God is smarter than we are. (You’d be surprised how many do not believe this.)
What is the Will of God
Christian counselors will tell you the most common need people desire is “to know the will of God.” Well – here it is: 1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification… In street language that means “clean up your act.”
Bad attitudes and behavior must go. This passage mentions specifically fornication, i.e. sex outside of marriage, as being the first step for coming into conformity with God. It is routinely violated these days and the results are everywhere.
But the rest must go too – unforgiveness, selfishness, passive aggressive behavior, and aggressiveness as well, control freakishness, greed, envy, jealousy, self-will and refusal to change. The list is long.
To our newlyweds everything for a while is fine and then – loss of a job, a miscarriage, an accident, a car breaks down, the untimely death of a relative, a house fire. You name it.
This is the fallen world we live in. We do not have Utopia here, nor will we get it. What will we do? How do we react? God wants us to seek Him in this situation.
Reactions to Evil
And here is the awful truth. We become depressed, we blame others … the president, our parents, our teachers, our church. We drink to excess or seek an affair, or change jobs. Allowed to continue we become the Sick Man of the home and our problem becomes the lifestyle of everyone else. The children stay away or play basketball outdoors til midnight to avoid contact with the sick. Or they lock their bedroom door and play music on headphones or watch TV to block out reality. I know literally a dozen people who married right out of high school to escape the sick home. 100 years ago the Poor Man’s Divorce – just leaving town – was common. With social security numbers and DNA you can’t do that anymore. Some people leave the country if they can afford it.
Psychologists learned that family members can become physically ill when the Sick Lord rules – stomach cramps, depression, suicide, asthma, migraines, truancy, drugs. Children blame themselves for divorce. “If I had been a good child, this would not have happened.” So the kid pours the booze down the sink. It’s an expensive drain cleaner – don’t bother. Removing an inanimate object cures nothing.
Frustration, despair ensures and finally separation and divorce. Yes, things are better, the Sick Lord is no longer in charge but new problems develop – mainly financial. And society suffers another small breakdown.
What is the answer? A child must inform a trusted adult. Adults can try intervention which is a practical means of going back to the original problem and solving it. Even if it is years ago we can do that because God is in eternity and time is no problem to Him if the participants are alive.
My friend and her two adult daughters packed daddy’s bag, put it in the trunk and Daddy in the car. They drove to the airport, handed him a ticket to the Mayo Clinic and said, “Quit alcohol and remain sober or don’t come home.” This kind of intervention takes a group of people, not just one.
It worked. He never again touched alcohol, but his heart was not changed. His whole body showed the grief he had over giving up his beloved Brandy and he died a few years later. To quit your problem does not necessarily change your heart. But it is the first step.
God intervened in the life of a teenager whose mother planned to kill her. A neighbor by accident discovered the plot and called authorities. When I say “by accident” I really mean that someone prayed. You can always intervene with prayer – and it is legal and silent.
If someone brandishes a loaded gun at you, call the police. You need a public record of this event. You do not say, “Oh, he’ll get over it.” Evil allowed to fester eventually takes over and becomes uncontrollable.
Decide to Resist Evil
Every event and change in your life calls for a response or a reaction. God is giving you the option to do it His Way or your way. The answers are all in the book – the Bible. Churches may or may not help. They are people driven and people are flawed.
Blessed is He who does God’s will first.
If you live in Yemen, Syria, or fire ravaged California, the Tribulation is now. If you are sold into slavery in Libya as a black man, what could be worse. If you are an infant in Indonesia used for sex by an adult male and tossed into a ditch afterwards to die, this is not the promised land. If you live in China and are forced to marry someone you do not care for because children are supposed to obey their parents, you just might be one of the 500,000 rural Chinese women each year who commit suicide by drinking fertilizer.
Perhaps you are a Venezuelan whose Communist nation threw money into a sinkhole and now you are scrounging through the garbage dump for a piece of rotten bread. You might live in Germany and be one of the blue-eyed, blonde white women raped by Muslim immigrants. Angela Merkel lost her post because of her open door policy, but you are still traumatized, and perhaps pregnant. Or you live in Central America and some guy in the USA gave you money to travel to the US border where he guaranteed you that the Democrats would let you in – but there are armed guards there? Where will you go?
Maybe you are the unlucky girl friend whose fiance Maniskumar slipped her poison to kill off her unborn child? Maybe he thought the Republicans would not be funding abortions anymore. Maybe he thought the Democrats were too weak in Washington to keep abortion funding in the budget? Maybe if you are pregnant you should think twice about this man you want to marry? This sounds like tribulation to me.
Perhaps you live on the coast of North Carolina where 8 trillion gallons of water was dumped in one hurricane, ruining the crops, killing the swine and sweet potatoes and making life and a future impossible for decades to come. Or you could live on the street in the Philippines; 1.2 million kids plus mom and dad and 2 or 3 other children. Fortunately it is the tropics so it never gets cold – just wet.
Perhaps you’d prefer Nigeria where one Sunday the Boko Haram may find the Christians in church, lock the doors from the outside and set the church on fire. Eight of the ten largest nations persecute Christians … death, imprisonment, denial of jury trails, or any trial at all, separation from children and economic deprivation. In Michigan as a female you may suffer genital mutilation which can led to life long disease and pain. It’s child abuse of the worst kind, and, as usual, females are the victims.
From my comfy perch in the mountains of North Carolina I can blandly believe that I am living in a sane and protected world. I am not. All around me there is tribulation for my peers in the Christians faith. Yes, we are facing the end; it is now, and it is creeping towards us day by day.
PBS tonight (10/29/18) had a 1 hour show on their issues with Facebook data collection and usage. The problem is that Zuckerburg’s goal of getting the planet to communicate with each other openly is that he did not take into account that there are evil workers in the world today and many of us out here do not want to “friend” them in any way. Nor do we want them to have our data and private messages.
This is also the dilemma of Millennials and other younger people who have not been taught what evil is. They have assumed it is the creation of culture rather than an intrinsic factor in the universe. And one man, even with 2,000 employees, has no ability to police anything that large or determined to corrupt. The road to Facebook hell is paved with good intentions.
Tomorrow they’ll have another 1 hour continuation.
There are Three Wills of God
For the Human Race
- The will of God for all human beings. That includes the demand (1) that the human race believe in Him as Creator (2) He wishes all men to be saved and none perish, which depends on the action of the individual. (3) that all repent of their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness based on their forgiveness of those who have wronged them (4) that all confess sins. Confess means to “speak with” or simply to agree with God’s assessment of your situation before him. If God says you have larceny in your heart, He wants your knowledge of your inner self so when you agree with Him about your real condition, you are on the road to change.
I taught a Bible study years ago where the only thing they seemed to learn was how to confess someone else’s sin. So I quit!
For an Individual
- The second will of God is what He desires for you personally, and all 7 billion individuals of planet earth. God has a plan for every human life. (Jeremiah 29:11) New believers often ask this question when they are eager to grow in Christian knowledge and power. Telling them that the will of God is given in the 32,000+ verses of the Bible is a little overwhelming, even though it is true. The Bible is the will of God, but individual verses do not apply equally to all individuals at once. To the rich man he did not say, Your daughter is healed this very hour, or to the blind man He did not say, sell all you have an give the money to the poor. God’s commands are individually specific. Expect to hear from Him.
For Nations (Ethnos) (Acts 17:26)
- The third will of God is His desire for individual nations to fulfill their destiny on earth. One of these caveats is that nations are to keep their hands off other nations. God is not a globalist; He repeatedly refers to “ethnos” in the Bible as being His way of having a variety of cultures, individuality and responsibility for nations. Many nations are so badly governed the people have little control over their nation’s destiny. In democracies however, we have both the option and the accountability for what our government does as a unit and how it handles international affairs.
One scripture simplifies what God wants for every person: “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” That’s a word we rarely hear; it means there is something in your heart or mind or body that needs to be cleaned up. To sanctify means to make holy, and to make holy means you have access to the presence of God in a great way than you did before. If you fail to go through the cleansing process, your life is marred and you do not enjoy the fullness of God’s promises.
Some people wander around the desert of personal sin, guilt, blame and error and never get anywhere near the promised land. But if you persist, you’ll find the plans of God.
The happiest human beings are those who live in the plans God has for them. God knows better than you do what you are called to do. Many non-Christians find that place anyway, or live on the edge.
God is in the Details
After you learn what God wants you to do in life, then the next part is living in the sure revelation that your decisions about that life are on target. This is the hardest part of all. It involves the detail of a life – how to spend money, where to live and work, how to use your time comfortably. More often than not it is just “being led.”
Obedience brings Blessings
One of the greatest blessings in my life was when I decided to sit in the middle seat in the plane which is usually the most uncomfortable. The man next to me and I talked for an hour. I felt as those I had entered the kingdom of God and was in heaven with another believer. As a writer isolated in a town of 1,000 in the high mountains, I see and talk to very few people that know anything about the Kingdom of God, much less actually live in it. God gave me that blessing out of the blue.
Defining Heaven vs. the Kingdom of Heaven or God
The gospels frequently mention both the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God. Reading the King James Version, one might think these are two separate places, but there is a reason for the difference in language.
Matthew uses the term kingdom of heaven exclusively. This is to be expected of a Jew who dares not mention the name of God. Even today you will read statements from Jews who carefully put a hyphen or underline between G and D (G_d or G-d) as to not breathe the name of the Almighty. On only five occasions in Matthew the Kingdom of God is used. Luke and Mark use the term Kingdom of God exclusively. The book of John uses the Kingdom of God only twice.
Kingdom of Heaven & Kingdom of God the Same
So what is it? The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God refer to the same place but Heaven is a separate place. In heaven, God is in charge. Jesus prayed for this version of heaven, that is where God is in charge come to earth so we can enjoy it here and now, not wait until after we die. From the Lord’s prayer:
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We are to seek it first so we can enjoy it here.
Jesus’ parables about the kingdom emphasized that with the proper attitude you could enjoy the kingdom right now.
Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What is The Kingdom
The Kingdom of God is defined in Romans 14:17. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
No, we do not need to wait until we die to have righteousness, peace and joy or any part thereof.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The Kingdom is Won by Our Spiritual Warfare
Having sought the kingdom, how do you know you have a portion of it? You know you are a kingdom person by your warfare against the demonic world.
Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. I feel sure the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus’ time scratched their heads over this one. In fact they called him names!
The kingdoms of heaven (God) are distinct from Heaven, a place distinct from planet earth, our final reward. While we have the demonic to deal with here and now, in heaven Satan and his henchmen are conquered. In fact, because there is no evil in heaven, there is no reason for them to be there. Evil is God’s way of requiring us to make a decision – on earth – of whom we are to worship and obey.
Today’s Victory is Over the Demonic World
The victory of the kingdom of God (heaven) is the victory over the demonic world. This is shown in the scripture about Peter being given the keys to death and hell.
Matthew 16: 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Read Peter 1 and 2
Now that I know that Peter was given the keys to handling the demonic world, I think I shall read the two books of Peter again. I do not want to miss the Kingdom if it is so close by.
We talk of the trouble we bring on ourselves – drugs and alcohol, laziness, going with the wrong crowd, thinking we can get away with something, cheating. Mamma said this was bad and Dad whopped you good if he caught you, but there is something worse.
And that is to be cursed by God. Genesis 12:3 in a Christian Bible says this:
And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you,
And I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you.
And in you all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed.”
I quoted the Amplified Version just in case there was any doubt about how serious this is. When you go after God’s people you bring His wrath down upon you. Of course you do not recognize it. You call it bad luck. Or maybe you’re in a mess because of your parents, or the lousy school system, or where you live, with drug dealers all around.
The Bible was written for everyone to read. It is in hundreds of languages; you can even find it free on the internet, in Vietnamese! No one is going to point a finger at God someday and say -Why didn’t you tell me that these Jews were special to you?
Most people know that if you mess with a man’s family you can expect trouble. Time was not so long ago that a fellow would come to the house to date a girl and Daddy would be sitting on the porch with a shotgun across his knees. Some guys turned tail and ran.
If a natural father can do that, how much angrier will God be when you mess with His People? And his Family is very large. They live all over the world, and they don’t have name tags that say, My Daddy is God.
They tell me that antisemitism is on the rise. Well, let’s just check the TV weather man and the newspaper for floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, famine and drought. This is one quick way God can get His message out. (See the book of Amos for details.) And look what happened to Germany in the 1940s!
But, you complain, “I don’t do that; other people in my community do that. ”
Here’s the reason we face the music together. Jesus said, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” If you are part of a community that tolerates this you suffer along with everyone else.
You can’t change hearts and minds; that is a tough job. But you can warn people – as I have done here.
A Bible these days is a major expense, unless you want one with such tiny typeface one can barely read it. Over the past 50 years I collected a whole book case shelf of them and I can give you some experienced advice. If you are serious about Bible study you will eventually want more than one.
King James Version: There is a good reason people fall back on this translation in spite of the “thees and thous and hath and believeth” and other old-timey words. King James followed the turbulent times of Queen Elizabeth and there was wrangling among the religious groups about which Bible was the real word of God. The King brought together all the leaders of these factions and said, translate this Bible and we will make it the law of the land as far as religious reading is concerned. The result was that, for its generation, it is accurate. It is the most quoted for the following 400 years, for example Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address.
Amplified Version: The Lockman Foundation printed this many years ago and it makes a good study Bible. It is much larger because each line contains synonyms for many of the key words. For example,
Matthew 6:33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
Passages fleshed out like this make for good places to meditate on his word. Because it is so much larger you should consider a leather binding because the hardcover makes it bulky to handle. The same is true of The Message.
New American Standard Bible: This version too is from the Lockman Foundation and is my Go-To version. For example, consider this verse from the King James.
The Message: This is a modern translation by Eugene Peterson, who translated the American Bible society version that limits the English language to a high school educated person. Given its use of slang, people think it is a paraphrase. It is not. I prefer it myself for all the historical parts of the old Testament. Here is an example.
Matthew 6:33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
This is like having the Lord sitting at your side in an easy chair and speaking to you directly. This Bible too should have a leather cover as it is heavy.
New International Version: This is popular in some places. I put it last because I found some areas where it is not translated from the Greek as closely or as properly as I would prefer.
This passage in Romans is mistranslated in the NIV.
In the King James the adjectives properly modify the nouns; in the NIV they do not. (I am pretty good with Greek.) But that is personal and it is after all God’s word. If someone gave you that version do not throw it out.
JB Phillips New Testament translation: Phillips was a contemporary of both JRR Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, Bible students together. JB is down to earth.
Here is an example from the King James, Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
JB said: No man can justify himself before God by a perfect performance of the Law’s demands—indeed it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.
Phillip died before finishing his translation of the Old Testament. Wags at the time referred to it as “Phillips’ 66.”
Jerusalem Bible: This is a Catholic edition. I especially like its version of Deuteronomy which as you know is not light reading.
Common English Bible: This is in wide use because it is plain, clear and not far from the King James. The New King James Bible modernizes the words and is also in wide use. As you might suspect the Jewish Bible is a version translated by a Messianic Jewish believer and is appropriate to that audience. With so many foreigners coming to the faith, it is an option for many people, especially Muslims who will appreciate the history.
The point of having a Bible for your children is this – will they read it If it is too arcane or difficult of course they won’t. A Bible purchase should be appropriate to the age and background of the reader. As we change, so should our Bible reading habits.
Getting through the Bible in one year is approximately three chapters day. Now that’s not all that hard, is it?
Luke 21:30-33 (PHILLIPS) “Look at a fig-tree, or indeed any tree, when it begins to burst its buds, and you realise without anybody telling you that summer is nearly here. So, when you see these things happening, you can be equally sure that the kingdom of God has nearly come. Believe me, this generation will not disappear until all this has taken place. Earth and heaven will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Some versions of the Bible actually say this:
Luke 21:32 (ERV) 32 “I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living.
The Kingdom of God is in our hearts, yes, but now after 2,000 years plus, we can hardly say this has happened in fullness.
But let’s look at the passage more closely. Generation comes from a root word that has greater meaning in the 20th century. That is the word “gene.” From this basic word we get the word genus, or a type of living thing. There are no genes in minerals, as far as we now know. Genes are in people and people pass their genes down to their offspring. Here is the dictionary definition:
noun, plural genera [jen-er-uh] (Show IPA), genuses.
1.Biology. the usual major subdivision of a family or subfamily in the classification of organisms, usually consisting of more than one species.
2.Logic. a class or group of individuals, or of species of individuals.
If we look at this passage in the light of what we now know about genes, it makes sense. The type of people who will bring in and completely understand the Kingdom of God are those whose genes were planted in the 1st century believers, an actual species of believers who are Kingdom people.
That is the group that will not pass away. This also explains this peculiar verse, which I notice is often mis-translated!
Psalm 22:30 A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
Every man was believed to have the promise to conceive a generation which in Jewish tradition is 40 years. Jesus brought forth seed, i.e. children, His born-again believers. That is His generation. But Jesus did not serve a full 40 years; He lived only 33 years. The generation He has been promised will serve out those additional 7 years.
We are now approaching the 7,000 year. Man has been here now 6,000 years; the 7th thousand-year will be the millennium when we enjoy a thousand-year reign of peace. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it. At the end of that 7th thousand-year, Jesus will have received his full 40 year generation as a father.
You can see how any other translation of this passage misses the mark.
The Bible was written for every person, a book that has become so attached to Christians and Jews we forget its universal application. We Christians know our rules but there are rules for the rest of humanity because God is interested in every man on the planet no matter where he lives, what his religion, or background or language. As Creator He wants to keep tabs on his creation and keep it as best as He can.
Marriage Rules apply to All
The rules for marriage are the same for all peoples. It begins with the idea that marriage is for two people who do not engage in sex before marriage. There are good reasons for this, not just disease, but when a marriage starts on a clean slate it does better down the road. It reduces suspicion which an active sex life before marriage creates.
God also makes it clear that He is the center of the home. Marriages in every generation have the same problems. When we see movies set in ancient times we think they might have been spared the agonies of infidelity, or war or conflict, mothers-in-law and food shortages. But the nature of humanity is the same in all epochs; only the tools and times change. A home where there is warfare, spoken or silent, is not a happy place. It is no place for children or adults. A God-less home is a rocky start.
Marriage has unique blessings
The blessing of marriage is that it sandpapers off the sharp edges in our personality. We learn to get along with others, and they learn to get along with us. Any marriage in which one person is dominant can see trouble down the road.
But the opposite can be true as well. where there is too much agreement it can become jaded and boring. Marriages, like businesses, need a mission statement and cooperation from everyone. A husband who demands his own way for 25 years should not be surprised when his wife leaves so she can have some life of her own.
Balance is the goal
Marriages require mutual accountability, but many men believe that as head of the home, the wife is accountable to him and he is accountable to no one. This is a recipe for failure. The woman can also be dominant and end up letting her husband defer to her when he should be taking the reins. Out-of-balance marriages like that collapse as well.
In the 20th century Christian churches got this notion that if the husband was not saved it was the wife’s fault. I do not know where the idea came from but it ended up in many divorces. Not one word in the Bible says that women are to save their husbands. That is Jesus’ job. And neither should they discipline them.
Men, not women, discipline other men
The Bible makes the community of faithful men leaders responsible for the discipline of men (husbands) who are out of order in some way. If the man does not accept the correction of other men he is usually ostracized and since he wants (and needs) the company of other men he returns and learns his lesson.
Modern churches have failed in this mission. God does not want his ministers taking sides against either husbands or wives. The church leader may not be able to save a marriage but neither need he appear to be on any side but that of the Lord.
Counseling often never gets to the root of the problem because the participants will talk about surface issues, like sex, or problem children, housekeeping and time management, money issues and the problems of marriage rather that the root cause.
The result is that in the 21st century only 28% of believers are in church on Sunday. Women got tired of being blamed for marriage failure and found something else to do on Sunday morning. Church business suffers because now there are not enough women to maintain those church duties which kept churches going.
What is the answer? It comes from the scriptures. God knows that there are some people, both male and female, who as an act of their will, WILL NOT knuckle under to God in any form. The Bible says basically “Let ’em go.” If they are determined to have their own way, God has a lesson plan for them which they will sorely regret.
Self Will on the Throne
Judgment begins at the house of God, but that does not mean after death; discipline can happen throughout one’s life. And not just husbands – wives as well. The price of Self Will on the Throne of your life is pricey indeed.
“God has called us to peace.” If a situation is impossible, splitting up the home in order to have peace may be the only final answer. God hates divorce, it is true, but he hates war in the home just as much.
I Corinthians 7:15 but God hath called us to peace.
This rule applies to other places and persons as well. A war in your office may be reason to find a new job. A warlike person in your family may be someone to avoid for family gatherings, unless you can be sure he/she will not be ruling the event with maliciousness.
My husband and I eloped. Both our parents were alcoholics, and we needed no one to warn us that either one or both could easily wreck a public event like a wedding.
There is this warning in the Bible. Peace, Peace, there is no peace for the wicked.