November 30, 2020

VIDEO: How Can We Be Thankful After the Year We’ve Had?

Have we have allowed platitudes to replace sincere gratitude? Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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November 30, 2020

Ep.1154: How Can We Be Thankful After the Year We’ve Had?

Learning to access the power of God-driven gratitude

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CHAPTERS

[00:18:07]
Can gratitude REALLY change how we handle our massive challenges?


[00:33:00]
What affect can gratitude have on our peace and contentment?


[00:49:13]
Does gratitude work if we repeat it over and over again, even if we don't really feel it?


Theme Scripture: Philippians 4:6-7

Usually this time of year signals having a more festive outlook on things. Having the American holiday of Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas approaching signals cheerful, generous and pleasant interactions. Decorations, excitement and goodwill prevail! Usually. Then there was the year 2020 which brought a pandemic to the world, the likes of which had not been seen in a hundred years. Good cheer is overrun by depression, happiness is crushed by anxiety and anticipation has turned to foreboding. We are all currently stuck in the mud of uncertainty and often spin our wheels in frustration, only to sink deeper. COVID-19 has brought our fears of what was unknown nine months ago into the light of what is known. And that feels even more terrifying. The answer to this dilemma is in plain sight but not easily understood. It is gratitude. Seriously, gratitude properly understood and applied is life-changing!

Continue Reading

Here come the eye rolls.

When you mention being thankful, the knee jerk reaction of many ranges from completely ignoring the suggestion to eye rolls.  Unfortunately, we tend to see gratitude as an exercise in triviality. Politely say you are thankful for food, family, friends, shelter and health and be done with it. This way you don’t offend anyone. You participated in the formalities. Now you can get back to your own world of self-centered distractions. While this has become a socially-acceptable response to the gratitude challenge, it is also a sad misrepresentation of thanksgiving.

The problem? Platitudes, not gratitude.

We have allowed platitudes to take the place of sincere gratitude. A platitude is a word or phrase that is trite or stale. It is spoken to cover the bases of responding without having to think or be sincere. Platitudes are common – we all use them. In the book of Isaiah, platitudes are described when God is scolding Israel for worshipping Him with their words and not their hearts. This was unacceptable to God because it was not genuine.

True gratitude is life-changing.  Now, you can say that phrase is a classic platitude, and it certainly can be! The test here is to see what is behind the phrase. Is it spoken to pacify or to clarify? Check out our November 30, 2020 podcast, “How Can We be Thankful After the Year We’ve Had?” for more. We examine gratitude from both a biblical perspective and a practical 21st century perspective.

What we find is nothing short of inspirational (and no, that’s not a platitude either). We uncover powerful scriptural instruction regarding the nature of thanksgiving. Then we share some practical real life personal lessons that have helped us deepen our own gratitude. We follow the story of a woman whose three-year-old son was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Her reactions, responses and retelling of her story are riveting. Gratitude is not an emotion, it is a state of mind. Join us to open the door to accessing its secrets!

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November 23, 2020

Ep.1153: Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part III)

Examining some words attributed to Jesus and Bible Numerology

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:15:59]
Did Jesus really say that?


[00:29:02]
Can two translations saying different things both be right?


[00:41:03]
Does the Bible tell us how many books it is supposed to have?


Theme Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16

In part 2 of our series, we reviewed a list of tools Bible students can use to study the original languages of Scripture. These tools enable non-experts (like us) to unlock the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible to understand what the original inspired words mean and how they are used. Then we examined "spurious" texts - writings that are not part of holy writ but are additions that came into manuscripts over time. Next, we looked at several poorly-translated texts and how these can be identified. Lastly, we reviewed the role of interpretation in translations we can agree on. On this episode, our trek of discovery continues with a further review of Bible mistranslations that camouflage important details of the Bible’s true teaching. Once again, our single goal here is to understand the will and mind of our Holy God by harmonizing every text in Scripture.

Continue Reading

Did Jesus Really Say That?

Have you ever wondered if all the words attributed to Jesus were his actual words? Just asking this question can cause anxiety. After all, if the words of Jesus are not authentic then our faith, by definition, would be called into question. The bad news is that we not only have some words with questionable authenticity, we have some events as well.  The good news – the very good news - is that these are few and far between. And they don’t seriously damage Jesus’ main message. To have a true understanding of the Bible, we need to look into these things and follow the path of verifiable evidence.

One of the most unusual issues with Bible mistranslations had to do with the Apostle Paul. In one of his writings he quoted the Old Testament, which was a very common thing for him to do. The unusual part was that he misquoted the verses. How could this have happened? Because he misquoted his source, do we still consider that particular teaching of his as inspired by God?  Check out our November 23, 2020 podcast, “Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part III).” We delve into the fascinating issues with Jesus’ and the Apostle Paul, and other questions rarely-asked questions.

Bible Numerology

Does the Bible as God’s inspired Word have a way to tell us if it is complete? Is there some internal formula that lets us know all the books it contains are all of what God intended us to have? Bible Numerology, the study of numerical relationships in Scripture, has some fascinating answers for us. While this may be an area skeptics become vocal on, think about this. God is the Creator of our universe and its systems. We as tiny human beings have “discovered” that the universe is run in accordance with mathematical principles. If God’s universe works in accordance with numbers, then is it such a stretch to see that His Word, which reveals His plan to us, is numerical as well? Join us in our discovery of the Bible’s amazing and authentic teachings!  Continue on with your studies in Part IV...

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November 23, 2020

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November 16, 2020

Ep.1152: Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part II)

Finding out what Scriptures have authenticity issues and why

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:16:10]
How do we know what texts don't belong in the Bible?


[00:33:29]
How do we know when Scriptures have been translated incorrectly?


[00:48:08]
If the Scriptures are correct, why do we come to different conclusions about the same text?


Theme Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16

In Part I of our series, we examined the evidence that the Bible is an historically-validated document. Ancient manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrate that what we have today in Scripture is amazingly faithful to the original. We ended that conversation by reviewing modern translations and the question of what are considered the most accurate transitions into English. Today our trek of discovery continues with a review of biblical texts with significant rendering differences from one translation to the next. This can be a hard study and may provoke both emotional and intellectual disagreements. Our single goal here is to understand the will and mind of our Holy God.

Continue Reading

What about the languages?

A glaring question arises as we breach the understanding of ancient languages used to assemble our Holy Bible. How can we possibly do this without being students of ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek? What assurance can we have that what we are researching will bring us truth? The answer here is two-fold. First, we have the existing works of hundreds of scholars over hundreds of years who were and are experts in these languages. Their work was done in different times and with different approaches. When there is a general consensus on hard questions reached in these circumstances it becomes very meaningful. Second, we are blessed to live at a time when we have some amazing study helps available at our very fingertips. Concordances, Interlinear Bibles, Dictionaries and Commentaries all contribute to our ability to find truth.

If this sounds overwhelming, let us help you with that. Check out our November 16, 2020 podcast “Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part II)”. We break down how these study helps work while keying into the ancient language expertise so readily available. This puts us in a position to examine Scriptures - not as experts but as well-informed students looking for truth.

What we find is remarkable!

Some Scriptures we have always read without any second thought are incorrectly rendered in the Common Version. For instance, we found evidence that parts of 1 John 5:7-8 were added after the fact. In the King James Version, these verses read as follows: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” A big question is what parts do NOT belong in the Bible.  A bigger question is why! How do we know for sure something was inappropriately added to the Holy Text?

Obviously, this is a conversation that needs to be engaged in with great care. Our respect for the Holy Word of God demands our diligence as we consider these things. We invite you to join us for Part II of this series as we consider several texts that have been altered. This is a journey you may never forget!  Continue on with your studies in Part III...

 

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November 09, 2020

Ep.1151: Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part I)

Discovering and authenticating how the Bible came to be

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:15:05]
What Bible did Jesus use?


[00:32:01]
Why isn't the Book of Enoch in the Bible?


[00:50:53]
What is the best Bible translation to use?


Theme Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible is the foundation of our faith. We believe it to be the mind of God expressed to humanity. Its purpose is to tell us things we cannot deduce from nature -  like where we come from, how we got to the present time and where we are going. The Bible shows us the heights of the plans and purposes of God and the depths of the experiences of sin and death. It shows us right and wrong, light and darkness, and answers questions about eternity. This book is a compilation of writings by many authors over a span of over 1,600 years. In spite of all of its wisdom, history, insight and prophecy, many questions swirl around the Bible's authenticity. How were its individual books chosen? Why are there so many translations? Why is there so much disagreement about its message? How do we KNOW it is the inspired word of God? Join us now as we embark on a search to discover the origins and development of our Bible.

Continue Reading

What's the canon?

Let’s start by considering how the books in the Bible got there. To do this, we need to consider what’s called the "canon of Scripture.” The basic definition of “canon” is a standard, as in a standard of measure. What we find is there were three basic principles for a book to be considered part of the Bible. First, the book had to have been authored by a prophet, apostle or someone associated with them. Second, the book had to clearly be in line with the other books of the Bible. Third, it had to be widely-accepted by early church leaders as being inspired by God.

Jesus regularly quoted from the Old Testament

It is interesting to note that Jesus clearly recognized the Old Testament and its books as his guide. He quoted several of them and oftentimes referred to them as “the Scriptures.”  This gives great credibility to the Old Testament. In fact, the Old and New Testaments are the two best attested works in all of ancient history.

Now that we have an inkling of how the books in the Bible got there, we need to ask about the books that didn’t make the cut. Why would the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of Thomas be left out? And what about other books like the Book of Enoch? While we’re at it, where does the Apocrypha (a series of Old Testament books that is in some but not most Bibles) stand? Are these books flawed or somehow out of favor? If so, why?

Check out our November 09, 2020 podcast, “Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part I) for more. We delve deeply into these questions and search for answers that are not only logical but historically authentic as well. Reviewing historical facts and evidence and figuring out how the Bible came to be can be a complex endeavor. The great news is that along with that complexity, you will find a profound journey that can deepen your faith. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired while learning about the foundations of your beliefs! This important series continues with Part II...

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So how did the books of the Bible get there? Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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VIDEO: Are We Supporting the Right World Leaders?

Are we staying above the fray? Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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November 02, 2020

Ep.1150: Are We Supporting the Right World Leaders?

Christian principles related to taking a political stand

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:56]
What if our governments are not just and righteous?


[00:36:25]
How do we stand up for what is right in a corrupt political world?


[00:50:34]
Who would Jesus vote for?


Theme Scripture: Mark 12:17

Politics. It’s a word that represents a world of power, prestige and problems. It’s a word that conjures up anger, division and disrespect. It is a word that often gives us a sense of retreat and uncomfortable acceptance. Sometimes I think we forget that the ideal perspective of political power is to serve the needs of the people. With the utter lack of tolerance society seems to have embraced in dealing with political and social issues, what role should a Christian play? Are we supposed to pick the side we think is most just and righteous? Are we obliged to stand for principles? If so, what principles and what about the need for compromise? Would that change anything? What would Jesus and the apostles do if they lived in our time? What should we do to best stand for our beliefs and discipleship?

Continue Reading

Christians under Roman rule

Both Peter and Paul wrote down advice as to how Christians should respond to the governmental powers of their day. Much of what they said had to do with respect for authorities, as they are in place to promote doing good. This is interesting as they were under Roman rule. Though they did have strong religious freedom, they were also limited as to how they lived their lives politically. It looks like both Peter and Paul were telling the young Christian church to appreciate what they had, be good citizens and be faithful to God always.

Fast forward about 2,000 years. What does this mean for us here and now? Many of us live in countries of greater freedom than the early Christian church of the 1st century CE. Does the fact that our freedom is markedly different create an environment of more complex responsibilities? I would say the answer is an unequivocal yes.

What are we supposed to do?

So, what is required of Christians in this age of freedom? Are we to participate in politics as a good citizen should? Should we stand apart from those things because Christ is our King and we live for his kingdom? While figuring out these questions is difficult, where we set our foundation on which to build our answer is not. It all comes down to Christian liberty. While we are to make decisions in our lives according to this liberty, we are also warned to not let our liberty be used inappropriately.

Application of our Christian liberty is reflected in our attitude. So, with all the wrangling in the world of politics, how are YOU doing with that? Are you able to stay above the fray? Are you on the winning side of the battle of emotions versus principles? Can you accept the conscience of your brothers and sisters who see the whole political involvement issue differently? Check out our November 2, 2020 podcast, “Are We Supporting the Right World Leaders?” for more.  We break down the principles Christians need to be righteous and we insert the profound teachings of Jesus at every step. These are powerful lessons for difficult and trying times!

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