My Thoughts

Great adventures in faith


Monday, February 22, 2016

Headache 1My head hurts!  Dropouts are beginning to bring a little relief.  Originally I was for Dr. Ben Carson.  Yet, I knew he would not lead the pack.  Why?  He isn’t a “business as usual” kind of guy.  He has principles or values.  He upholds things that Satan hates.  He presented a danger to those who enjoy wallowing in filth.  So, he is down in the polls and so far hasn’t won any delegates.

Trump is leading the pack of three, maybe four of the original number of candidates.  If one of them has 4,000 at his rally, Trump has 14,000.  He is saying things people want to hear.  People who are sick and tired of business as usual.  Folks who are sick of seeing our nation guided into the depths of, well you know where?

Is Trump our man?  He isn’t a Ben Carson!  Oh, he has values, but not all of them are impeccable.  Yes, he makes promises, but who doesn’t?  Will he keep them or at least make an effort?  Who knows?  What about Cruz or Rubio?  Will one of them suddenly spring forward similar to daylight saving time and like the comic book heros, rescue us?  How righteous are they?  When power is the goal, few retain the values they once held.  Money talks louder than righteousness!  Public opinion isn’t always godly.  Principles are often discarded.

Although I will vote, I doubt if a Republican will win the presidency!  In 2011 49.2% of U.S. households were receiving government support.  Democrat Bernie Sanders promises to  give away everything but our kitchen sink to those who will vote for him.  The country is adopting a national slogan of, “give me, give me, give me.”  If folks don’t get what they want, they take it because they deserve it.  Being caught in a lie no longer embarrasses anyone, especially politicians.  Cheating or defrauding is a game to be played.  The title most worn is, “Everyone is doing it!”

So, who will save us?  Bernie?  Hillary?  Trump?  Cruz?  Rubio?  Kasich?  Democrats?  Republicans?  The Tea Party?  If you are depending upon government, you need to have your head examined!  Power corrupts politicians producing depots.

Aren’t you weary of voting for the lesser of two evils?  I’ll let you figure out who is which.  But, we have the privilege of voting.  At least in this next election.  So, make yours count. Let your value system direct you.

My faith nor hope is in who wins the White House in November.  My faith is not in that person.  My faith is in my Savior Jesus.  When all others fail and disappoint, he doesn’t.  Because of him my sins are forgiven.  He reconciled me to the Father.  His grace covers me.  His blood cleanses me.  This is not my home.  I’m just passing through.

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!  Before the mountains were created, before the earth was formed, you are God without beginning or end.  You speak, and man turns back to dust.  A thousand years are but as yesterday to you! They are like a single hour!  We glide along the tides of time as swiftly as a racing river and vanish as quickly as a dream. We are like grass that is green in the morning but mowed down and withered before the evening shadows fall.  We die beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your wrath.  You spread out our sins before you—our secret sins—and see them all.  No wonder the years are long and heavy here beneath your wrath. All our days are filled with sighing.  Seventy years are given us! And some may even live to eighty. But even the best of these years are often emptiness and pain; soon they disappear, and we are gone.  Who can realize the terrors of your anger? Which of us can fear you as he should?  Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”

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Monday, December 5, 2016

jesus-return-02In the first century the Jews were under Roman dominion.  In addition to their biblical tithes and offerings, Rome wanted it’s “fair share.”  Roman soldiers reminded them daily that their country was no longer David’s.  Jews had been looking for the “messiah” through signs and expectations.  After all, the Roman Empire had to be the last piece of Daniel’s puzzle (Daniel 9:25-27).

It’s terrible when you expect something, eagerly look for it, and can’t see it when it happens!

The inn keeper didn’t see it (Luke 2:7).
Herod didn’t understand it (Matthew 2:1-8).
Jesus’ hometown people and family were blind to it (Mark 3:21 compare KJV to NKJV and NIV).
Some mistook him for someone else (Matthew 16:14).
The religious teachers hoped he was from Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24).
As far as the high priest and supporters were concerned, Jesus was just one of many false messiahs (Matthew 24:5).
Pilate wrote the truth on Jesus’ sign, but it was written to mock, not to express faith (Matthew 27:37; John 19:21).
Some today are still looking for his “first” coming.
Others are looking for what is referred to as the “Second” one.
Some see that coming as a necessitated event because they believe Jesus’ failed to fulfill prophecy in setting up his kingdom during his first coming.
Others see it as the final judgment and destruction of the world.

Date setting on that return began in 500 A.D.*  Goggle listed 34 major failed dates given between the years 500 to 2012.  Some have been very specific with the rest supplying only the year.

The following have been involved in this fallacy:

•    John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, gave 1836 as the time of his return.
•    William Miller, a Baptist minister said October 22, 1844 would be it.   When Jesus did not appear, it was called “the Great Disappointment,” with some followers establishing the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
•    Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church gave 1891 as the magic date.
•    Charles T. Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses gave multiple failures as the time of Jesus’ return: October 22, 1844, August 7, 1847, 1861, 1863, 1874, 1891, 1901, and 1914.  His death stopped it from being more.
•    Judge J.F. Rutherford, second head of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, continued in Russell’s shoes giving 1925 as the date.  He wrote a pamphlet titled, “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” and distributed it throughout the United States.  When it didn’t happen, Witnesses went out to retrieve them.  The last known date given by this organization was 1975.
•    Reverend Moon, founder of the Moonies gave 1915, 1917, & 1930.
•    Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God gave 1935, 1943, 1972, and 1975 as dates for the return.  Later leaders apologized for this.
•    Jerry Falwell, a Baptist preacher gave June 21, 1982, 1988, September 6, 1994, 1999, and 2009 as specific times for the Lord’s return.
•    Hal Lindsey, a Baptist preacher, wrote a poplar book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which was first published on May 13, 1970.  He hesitated to set dates, but started with 1948 when Jews returned to Palestine.  He added a “biblical” generation of 40 years, arriving at 1988. Then 7 more “biblical” years for the Tribulation was added resulting in 1995 as the “suggested” date of the “Second Coming.”
•    Jean Dixon graced us with the year 2012 as the true time of His return!

According to Google, others have given the following years for that return: 2021, 2025, and 2057.

One reason for these settings was the date 4004 B.C. found in older copies of the King James Bible as the date of the creation.  Since the apostle Peter said a thousand years was like one day to God, and the world was created 4,000 years before Jesus’ birth, those years were seen as 4 “God” days.  Two more of these days brought us to the year 2000.  That would make 6 days.  Jesus came to establish his kingdom, but was rejected and crucified, so some believe God had to postponed the kingdom.  This postponement was supposed to happen around the year 2000 with Jesus reigning through the 7th day or from the years 2000 to 3000.  An exceptions to this math was what folks referred to as “signs of the time.”  WWI was considered to be one of those signs.   Others thought WWII figured into the equation.  1948 also became a pivotal date with the Jewish State being established in Palestine.   Hal Lindsey thought 1948 started the prophetic clock that had been stopped when the Jews rejected Jesus as king in the first century.

Those who believe Jesus set up his kingdom in the first century are not looking for it today since they believe Jesus was successful in establishing it on Pentecost in Acts 2 as a spiritual one (John 18:36).  But, some believe we are very close to the end of time and the final judgment.

Setting dates is not only disappointing, but demonstrates a glaring foolishness. It exposes an accepted true prophet as a bonafide false one (Deuteronomy 18:22).  In some cases, the failure has created new religious organizations rather than dissolving one built upon false information.  It has also turned the disappointed to unbelief.  Jesus and inspired writers warned against such (Matthew 16:6, 11-12; 24:4-5, 11; Acts 20:29-31; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 1:9).

So, aren’t we date setting if we believe he will appear in our generation?  The real question is not, is Jesus coming, but are you among those which God has added to the saved (Acts 2:41, 47 ASV).

*These dates were supplied by Google Search.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy(Mark 14:33 KJV).

depression-03When one reads about Jesus’ condition during this time in his life, it is hard to understand what “sore amazed” or “be very heavy” means.  The ASV renders it as, “began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled.”  Notice “sore” has been switched.  If one was hostile to reading from the NASV, RSV, or NIV, he had to wait until 1989 to read the NKJV which translates the passage, “He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.”  “Sore amazed” and “be troubled” seems quite different.  So does “to be very heavy” and “deeply distressed.”  The NRSV uses “distressed and agitated.”  The IEB translates it as “He began to feel very sad and depressed.”  So, these translations say Jesus was “very heavy,” “sore troubled,” “deeply distressed,” “agitated,” and “depressed.”  Isn’t it strange that some cannot imagine Jesus being troubled, distressed, or depressed nor can they see him with a smile spread across his face nor laughing until his sides hurt?

Perhaps the King James committee felt it would be blasphemy to portray Jesus as human and experiencing either sadness or depression!  Maybe “very heavy” meant distressed or depressed in 1611?  Yet, as a human being, he did get angry (Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26).  He felt hunger (Matthew 11:12).  He was thirsty (John 19:28).  He was tired (4:6).  He needed sleep (Mark 4:38).  He dreaded pain (Matthew 26:42).  He was tempted (Hebrews 4:15).  He bled (Mark 14:24).  He felt alone (Matthew 27:46).  He also died (Luke 23:46).   If Jesus went though all that, why could he not feel sadness and depression?  He was about to die for a world that thought it was better off without him and did not care!   John said, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him(John 1:11 NKJV).  Was he not saddened that the disciples could not stay awake while he prayed (Matthew 26:40-41)?  What about when he received that betrayal kiss (Matthew 26:48-49)?  Then there is the time when all of his disciples fled into the night and left him alone to face his destiny (Matthew 26:56)?  What about when Peter, denied him (Matthew 26:74)?  If the emotion of rejoicing is in heaven when one sinner repents, and God can be regretful over man’s actions,  couldn’t man’s sinful course in life weigh heavily on Jesus’ mind and be expressed in those two human emotions (Luke 15:7, 10; Genesis 6:6)?

Jesus, the Word of God, emptied himself and became a servant (Philippians 4:7 ASV).  He humbled himself to be born as a baby and do baby things!  He outgrew his baby face and developing a teenage one.  Prior to leaving his teens he began growing his beard (Luke 2:52).  Ask any man who has grown a beard the first time what his feelings were concerning that growth!  Until he was thirty, he worked with Joseph as a carpenter (Luke 4:22).  Did he have blisters before forming callouses?  Did he become muscular from cutting wood to make different pieces of furniture?  Didn’t sweat cover his brow and drip from his hair into his eyes, irritating them?  Did he enjoy a Friday evening bath in preparation for the Sabbath?  His feet were covered with dust and had to be washed like any other Jewish man (John 13:4-5; Luke 7:44).  He was a male Jew involved in daily Hebrew life.

If Jesus could be angry because of man’s rejection and blindness, could he not be depressed or in heaviness over their preferred slavery to Satan?  He was angry, but did not sin.  Anger is not sinful if it is correctly directed.  Depression is not a sin either.  Godly men, like Job can be depressed after losing their children and animals, then being inflicted with painful sores, topped off by the advise of a misguided wife, then be falsely charged by his so-called friends?  According to Psychology Today, the “to be very heavy” of the KJV can be the “depression” translated as so in the IEB.

The “Word of God” became flesh and dwelt among men.  He took our sins and bestowed upon us “the righteousness of God” (John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV).  God’s Word became a baby, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and died outside Jerusalem in order to save us.  His name, “Jesus” means “the salvation of Jehovah or Yahweh.”  Jesus is God’s love in human flesh!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16 NKJV)


Monday, November 28, 2016

train-and-engineerIt was that time of the year.  He had a long trip ahead of him.  It would take him about a month to reach his destination.  Thankfully his boss, a woman, would allow him to be away almost 3 months.  He wasn’t married, so he wasn’t leaving anyone behind.  Due to the importance of his position in the government, he would not be traveling alone.  To do so without accompaniment wasn’t wise.  His travels would see him and his entourage going by ship, than transferring to smaller land vehicles.  The land vehicle he was riding in was small, but he made sure he had the prophet’s writings with him.  Motion sickness was not his problem so he could read while traveling.  Some of his close friends could not understand why he was taking such a long trip.  He had told them that he was restricted to a specific area to worship due to the type of surgery required of him for his job.  In spite of those limitations, he had planned this trip for several years.  His destination was Jerusalem.  Although part of the Temple courtyards were off limits to him, he could manage to enter one and from there have a sacrifice offered in his behalf.

When he arrived, excitement was displayed in the faces of the pilgrims.  He found places for himself and his soldiers to stay in spite of the 50,000 plus individuals crowding into the city.  He fulfilled his purpose and was able to have an animal offered in his behalf.  He studied from the prophet Isaiah on the trip, while in Jerusalem, and continued it on his way home.  However, he had a problem.  Was the prophet writing about himself, or someone else?  If someone else, who?  If someone else, when would that individual live?  He had questions, needed answers, but received no satisfaction.  Yet, out of the millions living in that part of the world, God saw this one government official.  Without knowing it, the treasurer was going to be the major player in “a God thing”!  The preacher’s name was Philip.  He was busy in Samaria converting people.  He was doing so well, that he could have stayed.  He could have seen many more responses to his preaching.  But, when God calls, the believer answers, so Philip traveled.

Philip had a 50 mile trip ahead of him.  He was northwest of Jerusalem and the eunuch would be southwest of the city near the coast.  Timing was essential.  The possibility existed that he could miss his contact.  Yet, God’s GPS is better than TomTom or Garmin’s.

When Philip saw the eunuch, he ran to him.  Since the eunuch was guarded by Queen Candace’s soldiers, his actions could have been misunderstood as aggression.  God’s providence kept that view off the radar.  Philip inquired if the eunuch understood what he was reading.  God was about to solve the eunuch’s problem!  The solution was simple with Philip beginning at the same passage and preaching Jesus to him!

When folks heard about Jesus, they wanted to be immersed.  Have you ever wondered why?  The eunuch was no different than those on Pentecost (Acts 2:40-41).  Philip immersed him and then left for his next appointment.  Now the eunuch knew Jesus as his Savior and that knowledge made his  trip worth the effort.

All of us are on a trip from birth to death.  Many count the years from their birth, but seldom plan for after death!  Some have had the privilege of hearing about Jesus, but treat him as a forgotten fourth cousin.  Some have scriptures that mention his name and life several times, but never investigate the Old or New Testament scriptures to see what Philip showed the eunuch.  Some ride the Christian train, but have never met the engineer.  Jesus himself informs us that at the judgment he will say to a large number, “I never knew you(Matthew 7:21-23).

You and I are on a lifetime trip.  When we arrive at the end, will it be worth it?  Does Jesus know you?  He won’t if you don’t know Him!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

I was in the backyard.  I had finished cutting the grass and look down and saw something.  It wasn’t shinny, except for the small stars on it.  I picked it up.  It was a 1912 Liberty Head V Nickel.  My first thought was. “I’ve found a gold mine!”  Later I discovered that if it was a “G” series, it may bring $2.00.  If an “S” series, closer to $200.00!  The only problem, it is well worn and almost impossible to tell which series it belongs to.

Jackson Madison County General Hospital opened its doors on August 11, 1950.  That area had been outside the city limits until then.  Interstate 40 was finished through Jackson in the mid sixties.  Our house is about two miles north of the Interstate.  The area we live in was farm land until the eighties.  Finding a 1912 Nickel in my backyard creates questions.  Who dropped it?  What were they doing on that specific spot when the Nickel was lost?  If it was lost in 1912, the average weekly salary was $12.  That figures out to $2 per day.  A nickel could buy a lot more back then than it does now!

One of the first things I thought of, once I realized sudden riches was only a malfunctioning dream, was the story of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10).  Did the individual who lost this five cent piece search for it as diligently as that woman did in Jesus’ story?  The joy she felt and the news she told was never experienced by this nickel’s owner!  It took  104 years to be discovered and owned again.

Jesus’ story goes deeper than finding a lost coin.  He was talking about a sinner repenting and causing joy in heaven!  Imagine, JOY in heaven!  An individual causing that joy!

Today is Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 24, 2016.  Our nation celebrates a day of thanks.  Yet, there are other days in the year.  Thanks is not limited to only one.  As a nation and as an individual, we have much to be thankful for.  Little things.  Big things.  Forgotten things.  Remembered things.

The tragedy on Golgotha 1,983 years ago was turned into our “thanks.”  My sins were his burden.  My sins were forgiven.  My sins were forgotten.  He made it possible for me to receive his righteousness and discard my filthy rags.  I stand before the Father as His redeemed child because of Jesus.  His grace is illuminated by the cross.  I am exposed to its rays.  Like that nickel, I have been found!  I have an owner.! I belong to him!  My Thanksgiving Day began on May 9, 1957.  My thanks has continued from that day.  Thank you my God for your love, your grace, your mercy, your patience, your forgiveness, and your bad memory (Hebrews 10:17).  Thank you Jesus for being my sin sacrifice, my Savior!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!


Monday, November 21, 2016

blood-of-jesusBeing wrong can be devastating!  Self preservation kicks in and a plausible defense is offered to “save face.”  Sometimes correction is not viewed as positive.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, Satan approached them with, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Eve’s response was almost correct, but a few words caused it to be misleading.  Her reply was, “God did say . . . you must not touch it.” He didn’t say that!  Actually he stated, “when you eat of it you will surely die.

In studying the subject of baptism, some make statements that seem to be true, but are misleading!  I realize the person is honest in making the statement, but may not understood that it leaves the wrong impression.  This causes the person being taught to focus on the misdirected statement and believe the teacher is in error, not himself.

Some will quote Acts 22:16 where Paul tells about his conversion.  Ananias finds and tells him, “Receive your sight” (Acts 22:13).  Then he stated, “And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”  The teacher announces. “This plainly teaches that baptism washes your sins away!”  His statement is misleading.  The student hears him say, “Your sins are washed away with water.”  The student doesn’t believe that and neither does God!  It is the blood of Jesus that accomplishes that blessing, not the water (1 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14, 19-20, 29)!  We sing, “There is power in the blood,” not “Power in the water.”  It is true that when folks heard the good news, they responded by being immersed but it is God who does the addition because Jesus’ blood does the cleansing (Acts 2:41).  Some will also partially quote 1 Peter 3:21 to prove baptism saves us.  They digress by leaving out the true origin of our forgiveness, which is: “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  Baptism (immersion in water) pictures our death to sin, our old man being buried with Jesus into his death, and our resurrection with him (Romans 6).  Jesus shed his blood so our sins would be erased (Hebrews 10:17).  We submit to that death, burial and resurrection to be buried and raised with him.  God adds us to the saved.

Immersion is essential or necessary, but it is not the cleansing agent.  Jesus’ blood is!  First century folks heard the Good News, gladly received it, were immersed, and God added them to the saved (Acts 2:40-41, 47 ASV, NASV).   We can do no less.

If any one preaches, let him always preach as one who utters God’s truth (1 Peter 4:11 (Montgomery NT).


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thermessiahe were 8 English translations (1382 – 1568) before King James authorized his in 1611.  Although the King James Bible upgraded the English vocabulary several time in the past 405 years, the committee nor publishers have translated the Greek expression χριστός (Christ) when connected with Jesus.  It is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word הישמ (māshîah) in the Old Testament.

The expression “Christ” means “messiah” or “anointed.”  Its first use is not Matthew 1:1, but much earlier.  For example, in 1 Samuel 24:6 David referred to King Saul as “the Lord’s anointed” or “the Lord’s messiah” (Also see verse 10).  Again, in 1 Samuel 26:23 David addresses Saul in the same way.  286 years later, Isaiah refers to Cyrus as God’s “anointed” or “messiah” (Isaiah 45:1).  Cyrus was a Medo-Persian king who would release the Jews from their captivity and allow them to return to Palestine.

In the KJV Jesus is referred to as “Jesus Christ” 554 times, as “Christ Jesus” 58 and “Jesus the Christ” once.  Some think “Christ” is Jesus’ last name.  It is not.  It is his divine title.  He is not the first to be referred to as christ, messiah, or anointed.  The expression is not found in the Hebrew Bible as (χριστός) or “christ,” but is in the Septuagint or LXX (70) version which is Greek.   Jesus and the apostles often quoted from the Greek Old Testament rather than the Hebrew.

The name given to The Word was “Jesus” (Ιησοuς) (Matthew 1:21; John 1:14).  “Jesus” is the Greek name transliterated into English.  The Hebrew name would be “Joshua.”  Joshua means “Yahweh is salvation”!  In a sense, Matthew points this out by saying, “he shall save his people” (Matthew 1:21).  Hebrew names, like American Indian ones, were often connected with some activity.  If “Jesus the Christ” was translated, it would be, “Yahweh is salvation the anointed one.”  To make that “more” English sounding, it would be “The anointed Yahweh is salvation.”  The term “Christian” literally means “belonging to Christ” or “Christ follower.”  The tendency to build a set of doctrines on specific English names is often unraveled by the Greek and/or Hebrew languages.

Jesus promised to build his church (Matthew 16:18).  However, it is never referred to as “the church of Jesus” nor “the churches of Jesus.”  Neither is it called “the body of Jesus.”  He was The Word or God (John 1:1).  So the assemblies are more often referred to as “the church of God” or “the churches of God.”  It almost seems that God did not want “Jesus” in any of the descriptive names since it isn’t there!  Yet, we don’t accuse God of kicking Jesus out of the church due to that absence or silence!  Also, few add “Jesus” to their street signs because of that biblical silence, or “it is not written”!  Yet, the Holy Spirit does refer to the churches as “of the Thessalonians” (1 Thessalonians 1:1), “of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:4), “of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33), “of Galatia” (1 Corinthians 16:1), “of Asia” (1 Corinthians 16:19), and others, but never as “of Jesus.”  Although Paul addressed the Corinthian assembly as “the church of God which is at Corinth,” Peter told the Jewish high court,

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12 NKJV).

Paul wrote and made the following statement to the assembly at Philippi,

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth(Philippians 2:9-10 NKJV).

In times past there were others that God anointed for specific purposes who were referred to in Hebrew as messiah.  There were others whose name was Joshua or Jesus, but there is only one “Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20).  His purpose was to be our sin sacrifice.  So, he came to do the will of God the Father (Hebrews 10:7, 9).  He truly was and is the “Yahweh is salvation, the anointed one.”  Who is your “messiah”?


Monday, November 14, 2016

worship-jesusThose wise men from the East started it!  When they found baby Jesus, they “fell down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:11).  What passage authorized such an unworthy display?  It seems sad to travel so far and chance being robbed of their valuable treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, just to engage in unscriptural worship to a newborn!  They must not have read what Isaiah pointed out about Yahweh not sharing his glory or praise with another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11).  According to Paul, there is only one Lord or God not two (Ephesians 4:4-5).  The prophets stated that glory and praise was to be given to Yahweh!  Yet, here is a baby being worshiped by men who are thought to be wise (Matthew 2:2, 11)!  If one could worship baby Jesus without a command, why not the Holy Spirit?

They started it!  When Jesus grew up to be a man, a leper mimicked the wise men (Matthew 8:2).  Then, it picked up speed with a ruler following their example (Matthew 9:18).  Even the apostles joined in by also worshiping him (Matthew 14:33).  Even a Canaanite woman joined in (Matthew 15:25).  Why?  Did Jesus ever ask or demand that anyone worship him?  Weren’t they told by Jesus himself to worship the Father (John 4:23)?  Didn’t Jesus tell his disciples that worship was to be done in his name but direct to the Father (John 16:23)?  So, why did they worshiped Jesus?  Why leave such a pattern for others to follow?  Wouldn’t that be error of the worst doctrinal kind?

What was this worship?  We refer to worship as five acts: singing, praying, preaching, giving, and communion.  Of course scripture is strangely silent in describing worship as we do.  1 Corinthians 14:23-25 is the only time the word “worship” is used in a New Testament congregation’s assembly.  In my religious circle today, there are very few who would agree with Paul that the man’s act was actually recognized by the first century church as “worship.”  Most would be embarrassed by such a display and question it as worship in either “spirit” or “in truth.”  Such an individual would probably be taken to one side and corrected, although Paul did not in his letter.

When those folks worshiped Jesus, what specifically did they do to perform that worship?  What precisely is mentioned as their worship?

Matthew 8:2:Leper . . . worshiped him, saying, Lord if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Matthew 9:18:Ruler . . . worshiped him, saying,My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.
Matthew 14:22, 33:His disciples . . . worshiped Him, saying,Truly You are the Son of God.’”
Matthew 15:25:A woman of Canaan . . . worshiped Him, saying,Lord, help me!’”

If a person is looking for a pattern, these passages give it.  In each a request is made.  The petition by each identifies their worship.  The request is their worship.  When Stephen was about to be stoned, he looked up and saw Jesus (Acts 7:55-56).  As he was being stoned, he made his request, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit . . . Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”  He followed the example of the leper, the ruler, the twelve, and the Canaanite woman.  Do we?

Did the wise men start a false movement by worshiping a baby or did Jesus willingly accept man’s worship?  He did accepted it, but why?  He wasn’t the Father.  He never commanded anyone to direct their worship to him.  Paul said he “emptied himself” and took “the form of a servant (slave)” (Philippians 2:7 ASV).  Didn’t he tell his disciples to worship God the Father?  Didn’t he tell the Samaritan woman, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”  (John 4:23 NKJV)?

Perhaps man continues to ask a question about Jesus that was vocalized in the first century, “Who is this?(Matthew 21:10; Luke 5:21; 7:48-49; 9:9).  Do we know?  His name means Yahweh saves or Yahweh is salvation!  When the leper, the ruler, the twelve, and the Canaanite woman worshiped him, were they worshiping God (John 1:1)?


Thursday, November 10, 2016

When Jesus’ family heard this, they went out to get Jesus.  They were saying, ‘He’s crazy!’

crazy-christians-2In Mark 3:21 there is a question from the different translations as to who thought Jesus was crazy and because of this thinking, wanted to “seize, restrain, take custody, lay hold on, rescue him by force, take possession,” or “take charge of him”!  Also, why did they think he was out of his mind?  Notice the following translations:

1. “And when his friend. . .” (KJV, ASV, TLB, BBE, Message, YLT).
2. “And when His own people heard about this” (NKJV, NASV).
3. “And when his family heard it” (RSV, NRSV, NIV, NLT, Montgomery NT, WEY, Darby, GW, HCSB, ESV, IEB).

Number 2 may be in agreement with 3 in that “His own people” refers to “his family.”

It’s pretty bad when your family thinks you are crazy and need to be confined at home!  It did not matter that Jesus was a man in his thirties.  He was an embarrassment to them.  Why?  Perhaps, for the following reasons:

First, he is the oldest son and was raised as a carpenter and needed to be making a living to help support the family.  Instead, he is running all over Palestine with a bunch of men, as well as women following after him (Mark 15:40-44; Luke 23:49, 55a).

Second, he was rocking the boat, so much so, that “the religiously correct” were looking for the right charges to convict him of blasphemy (3:2).  He “baited” the righteous Pharisees by doing things which he knew would upset them (3:2).  He seemed to find ways to offend folks whose religious convictions were different from his own (Matthew 13:57a; 15:12; Mark 6:3).

Third, he used physical enticements to get a following (John 6:1-12).  Even enough food to satisfy the crowd’s hunger wasn’t enough to pay them to stick around when they heard his teaching.  He even thought the twelve would also leave him  (John 6:60, 66-67).

Fourth, he was allowing the sick, with all kinds of dangerous diseases, to touch him (3:7-9).  This made him not only unclean, but also unsafe because he could spread what they had to others.  This inconsiderate attitude of allowing the diseased to come in contact with him, violated the comfort zone of those concerned with “ lawful cleanliness”!

Fifth, even the professors of the Law of Moses accused Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebub (3:22).  They found his attitude to be serious enough to travel all the way from the capitol in hopes of stopping his nonsense!  His actions were a slap against the good name of Joseph’s family, so they came to seize him and take him home!  In their thinking, Jesus had to be committed!

Sixth, rather than submitting to his family, he disavowed them by transferring his relationship to the crowd, announcing that they were his mother and brothers (3:31-35)!
Have you noticed that our world would support Jesus’ family in that kind of thinking?  They thought he needed to be taken off the street.  A lot of people today think Jesus’ only worth is to use his name to swear by?  Jesus warned that the world would turn against him and his followers.  When that happened in the first century, Jesus wanted his disciples to remember that they were citizens of his kingdom and that they were just passing through this one on their way home!  He still wants his disciples to understand that!


Monday, November 7, 2016

good-bad-ugly-02Several decades ago, the “Spaghetti Westerns,”  starring Clint Eastwood, pushed him to the top after his role ended in 1965 as Rowdy Yates in Rawhide.  I’ve borrowed the title of one of those movies due to its statement rather than its cinematic story.

I have several English copies of the Bible.  I have a King James Version that I’ve used since the seventies.  My last purchase was the International English Bible (  Although I have followed the cultural practice which most preachers in the Church of Christ observe, it is not a biblical one.  One reason is that the New Testament was not bound together as twenty-seven books until the second century.  Another is because chapters and verses did not exist in the first century, but appeared after 1551.  Third, even Jesus himself, in quoting from first covenant scriptures, seldom gave the name of the book being referred to.  Usually the quoter introduced a passage with, “In a certain place” (Hebrews 2:6; 4:4).  Jesus often quoted a passage without giving its location (Matthew 24:29).

In some King James translations there is a middle column supplied by the publisher.  The column is not inspired by the Holy Spirit, but is a “help section” provided by man.  Some translations contain footnotes.  These too are the works of men.  To “smooth out” a word or phrase from Greek into English, the King James committee supplied “helpful” words in italics to enhance understanding.  Sometimes this “help” did not achieve its purpose.  That’s when the bad took place.  The ugly developed when the reader accepted the italicized addition as God’s word.  When that happened, what was supplied to help went from good to bad to ugly!  As long as the reader recognized it as supplied by uninspired men, he could read the text with or without the addition to see if it actually helped.  As long as that knowledge prevailed, no harm was done.  When doctrines were created from italicized words, it just got uglier!  An example would be the acceptance and interpretation placed upon the word “unknown” in 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4, 13-14, and 27 in the KJV.  The KJV was praised because those added words were italicized to indicate their human origin.  However, the KJV committee was not consistent in this!  This led to another good to ugly sequence when newer translations were rejected because they did not follow the KJV committee’s inconsistency.  Also, the 1611 style reading was deified by some as though it was God’s original language.

I like the International English Bible.  It is easy to read.  It is accurate, although like all translations, it is not perfect.  It does shed light on passages that are not easily understood in the KJV 1611 vocabulary.  In the IEB, when the speaker is quoting from the Old Testament, the passage is highlighted and the source of that statement is put at the end of the quote.  For example, in Matthew 24:29 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 13:10.  He follows up with a quote from Isaiah 34:4.  This “help” means I don’t have to go to a middle column, that uses a much smaller font, to see what the source of the footnote number is all about.  That is the “good” part!

So, what is the bad and ugly part?  Over time, if the reader comes to believe that the Holy Spirit provided the book, chapter, and verse citations, then you have the beginning of the bad part.  Isn’t it strange how the devil can take something that is “good” and change it into a thing that is “ugly”?  When a reader sees the “book, chapter, and verse” citations, not as a man made help, but as a God demanded pattern, and binds his misconception on others, then the devil’s “ugly” is successful!  That’s how an innocent tradition becomes vain (Matthew 15:9).   The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

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