Tuesday 3/12 ~ Are you really sure?

The scripture for today, March 12 (3/12), is Ezekiel 3:12 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

0-Joseph-Cover-Thumbnail“The Spirit lifted me up and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound ~ May the glory of the Lord be praised in his dwelling place!”

This is quite interesting because, despite some who preach being “slain in the Spirit,” the Spirit does not make people fall down. The Spirit lifts people up. The Spirit did this to Ezekiel on several occasions; always, if he was sitting or lying down, the Spirit lifted him up onto his feet.

There are so many things we think we know and are told about the Bible, but when we begin to investigate one of them, it just isn’t there.

>What about Joseph dying after Jesus turned 12? When Jesus was rejected after preaching in Nazareth a year before his crucifixion, they mentioned Joseph in the present tense.

>Or the Holy Land always having been desert? The Bible tells of nine forests plus the trees on mountains.

>Or the prodigal’s brother?  As the oldest son, he was going to inherit the entire estate, but his insane greed wanted his brother’s party too.

>Or David being just a boy when he killed Goliath?  He had already killed a lion and bear before that, and big Saul’s armor fit him.

>What about “Doubting Thomas”?  The other apostles refused to believe before they saw Jesus alive again. More, when Jesus wanted to go to Jerusalem, his apostles said no, but Thomas said, “Let us go to Jerusalem so we may die with him.”

>Or everyone going inside the temple to worship?  Only priests were allowed inside the building. Commoners worshiped in the courtyard.

>Or Bethlehem being a little town? It was a fortified walled city.

What excitement to read the Bible for yourself and discover its treasures for yourself. Open it. Read it. Be delighted.

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Thursday 2/28 ~ Is it possible to know for sure?

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The scripture for today, February 28 (2/28), is Jeremiah 2:28 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah.”

Today we think the whole thing is ridiculous. How could people believe in a multitude of gods or even one? Further, how could people make statues of them as though anyone knew what the gods looked like? On top of that, many of them looked like dumb animals. And gods you could carry around?

Apparently, it was the popular thing to do. In fact, a person discovering yet another god was highly esteemed. And it seemed logical that the more gods one believed in, the more holy a person was. Or the bigger the statue of a god in one’s home, the more dedicated a person was.

We today call those old gods myths ~ things that were made up out of people’s imaginations. Yet they thrived in their time. Why? Because of “mass hypnosis” in a sense. Humans are social beings and we don’t like being ostracized. We want to be accepted.

Do we do the same thing today? There are evangelists on television who draw crowds of hundreds and thousands and people send them millions of dollars. They seem so right and so holy. Yet they contradict each other. So it cannot be a measure of rightness and holiness that a lot of people believe something.

The measure of spiritual things must be the Bible. Many religious leaders in antiquity and up to today have duped peopled because they looked and acted so “holy.” Remember, no matter how many thousands upon thousands follow a religious leader, that leader will be judged by God just like everyone else.

There are a lot of religious contradictions out there.  We cannot say “all religions are right in their own way”. Religion is not a philosophy. Religion involves whether we will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

Is it ever possible to sort through all the contradictions and come up with what is the truth? Is it possible to know for sure?

Let us read the Bible for ourselves. Let us study the Bible for ourselves. Let us not search the scriptures for something to prove our opinion right, or a certain leader right, or our family right, or a particular religious idea right. Let us try to erase all our pre-conceived religious notions, and read with an open mind what God himself has to say to us. It is possible to know for sure.

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Tuesday 2/19 ~ Citizenship

The scripture for today, February 19 (2/19), is Ephesians 2:19 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-BK 8-ComeFlyWithMe-Cover-Thumbnail-New“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Let us pretend there is a kingdom called Occland and we want to become a citizen of that kingdom. Of course, citizenship would not be automatic. And in the same way, citizenship in the Kingdom of God (being a Christian) is not automatic.

Just crossing the border and living in Occland would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than just living in a Christian nation automatically makes us a Christian.

Owning a copy of Occland’s constitution would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than owning a copy of the Bible automatically makes us a Christian.

Going to meetings of parliament or the Senate of Occland every time they met would not automatically make us a citizen of Occland any more than going to meetings with other Christians every Sunday automatically make us a Christian.

It just is not automatic. We would need to be invited into Occland, and then do things to accept Occland’s invitation. God invites us into his kingdom, but we must do things to accept his invitation.  Romans 6 & 10, Acts 2 and 1st Peter 3 in the New Testament are good places to check it out. Do so.

Ah, to be citizens in the kingdom founded by the Creator of the universe. Is it possible? Really possible?  For me too? For me too? It’s not automatic, but it is possible.

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Why an Old and New Testament…

The scripture for today, February 14 (2/14), is Colossians 2:14 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

00- Worship Changes KC COVER-thumbnail“[God] having canceled the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

It is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want the Law of Moses unless they don’t want to obey ALL 600 commands but want an excuse to justify one or two commandments HERE AND THERE they do want.

They want the part that says to tithe so they can get people’s money. (Actually, the good Jew gave one-third, not one-tenth.) Or they want a separate priesthood so they can feel important.  Or they want showy things in worship like candles, incense, musical instruments (though they were only allowed the harp, lyre and cymbal) so they can enjoy themselves more. 

Hold on! If we obey one command we are required to keep the entire Law of Moses ~ all 600 commands. Galatians 5:3 and James 2:10 say so. Are you up to it?

Our verse for today says the Law was against us; that is, it was impossible for us to keep perfectly. Try wading through Leviticus in the Old Testament. That’s where most of the old Law (“the written code with its regulations”) is.

It’s tedious. It regulated nearly every part of everyone’s daily life. It involved what we could and couldn’t eat, having to kill animals to die in our place whenever we sinned, stoning adulterers and rebellious children to death, having a separate Levite priesthood, giving a third of your income, reporting to priests as long as we had an open sore, use of candles, having to go to the Temple in Jerusalem three times a year, spreading blood on our doorposts, and on and on.

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament was written to help us understand that God’s new Law of Grace is much more spiritual. Read especially chapters 8 & 9. We have to make a choice: Old or New.

Hebrews was written about the time the Temple in Jerusalem was permanently destroyed, thus making it impossible to obey several things in the old Law. And a little time later the Jewish genealogies were destroyed, thus making it impossible to prove who was a Levite and eligible to be a priest.

But wait!  Does that mean Christians should never read the Old Testament? The Old Testament of the Bible is not the same as the Law of Moses. The Law is a small part of the Old Testament. The rest of it is wonderful praise, amazing wisdom, accounts of people who did or did not try to follow God, and those astounding prophecies of Jesus all through them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to wade through those old laws just as a reminder of what we have been set free from.

So, let us not neglect the Old Testament as so many people do. Thank God for the Old Testament.

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Saturday 2/2 ~ Christmas carols

The scripture for today, February 2 (2/2), is Matthew 2:2 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Matthew's Life of Christ-Cover-thumbnail“[the Magi/Wisemen] asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

There are people who believe the “star of Bethlehem” was in the east. But the star wasn’t in the east; the wise men (Magi) were.

The Christmas carol says the star led the wise men the whole way. But Matthew 2:9 & 10 says, “After they had heard the king [Herod], they went on their way, and the star they HAD seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”

They rejoiced when they saw the star again, not because it had been with them the whole time, but because it had reappeared.

The Christmas carol also speaks of them as “We Three Kings.” First, there were three gifts but could have been an entourage of ten or twenty or more. Second, they were not kings.  It wasn’t until 600 AD that someone named them as the King of Arabia, King of India and King of Persia. The original language calls them Magi which is a tribe of astrologers and priests in Babylon and Parthia, not kings.

By the way, the manger scenes show the wise men there with the shepherds on the night Jesus was born.  Jesus was around two years old by the time the wise men figured out the meaning of the star and traveled over 1000 miles to get there, following which boy babies age two and under were killed. Then there are the carols that say the angels sang are wrong. Angels do not sing. Christians do, but angels do not. Check it out.

There are so many things about the Bible that we have heard all our lives and just assume are true. Here’s an idea: Investigate things for yourself! Why take a teaching about the Bible for granted? You’re smart. You can do it. Will you?

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