and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mark 16 Controversy- Part 2

-The Great Commission

       Some say the earliest reliable manuscripts of the Bible do not include Mark 16:9-20.  This is a look at the teaching in them to see if they are unscriptural or not worth accepting as truth instead of arguing if they belong or ignoring them because they aren’t legitimate.  Yesterday we looked at v.9-16, today we complete v.17-20 with more specific acts.

v.17  And miraculous signs* will follow to those believing* these things: in My name* they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues;
    (*sign, miracle, wonder, token)  (*believe, commit, put in trust)
    (*name implies power and authority of the person whose name is used)
---cast out demons- Mt. 10:1,8; Lk. 10:17; Ac. 5:16; 8:7; 16:18; 19:12;
---speak new tongues- Ac. 2:4,6,11; 10:45,46; 19:6; 1Cor. 12:10; 14:5;
v.18  they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well.
---take up serpents- Ac. 28:3-6; Lk. 10:19
    (could this imply other’s persecution of us?- Ps. 140:1-3; Rom. 3:13; Jm. 3:8)
---drink deadly thing without getting hurt- no references found by me
---lay hands on sick and they will be well- Mt. 10:1,8; Lk. 10:9; Ac. 3:2-8; 5:15,16; 9:17,18;32-35,36; 14:10; 19:11,12; 28:8,9; 1Cor. 12:9
v.19  Then indeed, after speaking to them, the Lord was taken up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Lk. 24:50,51; Ac. 1:6-12; 1Tm. 3:16
v.20  And going out, they proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word by miraculous signs following. Amen.
     specific (but unlisted above) signs, wonders, miracles- Ac. 2:3; 5:1-10,15,18-23; 8:39,40; 9:4,8; 10:3,9; 12:7; 13:11; 16:9,26,27; 18:9; 21:9; 27:24
     unspecified signs, wonders, miracles following (preaching or gospel)- Ac. 2:43; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6,13; 14:3; 15:12; 19:11; Rom. 15:19; 1Cor. 12:10; 2Cor. 12:12; Gal. 3:5; Heb. 2:4

Not mentioned in Mark but we know these were done along with other acts elsewhere:
---cleanse the lepers- Mt. 10:8
---raise the dead- Mt. 10:8; Ac. 9:37-41; 20:9,10 (Possibly Ac. 14:19,20)

       So I complete this part by saying that there is much proof that Mark 16:9-20 does fit in to the Bible.  As for some additional thoughts, if they were not included originally, consider how the chapter would end. (v.8) “And they went out quickly and fled from the tomb. For they trembled and were amazed. Neither did they say anything to anyone, for they were afraid.  It’s hard to believe the book would end that way- hopeless and in fear.  Read Mt. 28:19,20; Lk. 24:52,53; Jh. 21:24,25 and then reread Mk. 16:19,20.  They would all end with hope and Amen.  Which is the better fit to you?

I thought today would finish this topic, but I will need a part 3 so that this is not too long.
I hope you return tomorrow for the completion of this topic.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mark 16 Controversy- Part 1

-The Great Commission 


Jesus sends the 70- by James Tissot
       Some say the earliest reliable manuscripts of the Bible do not include Mark 16:9-20.  Perhaps those verses should be there, perhaps not, but let’s look at the teaching in them to see if they are unscriptural or not worth accepting as truth instead of arguing if they belong or ignoring them because they aren’t legitimate.

       Some say the ‘Great Commission’ is found in all four gospels (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-20; Lk. 24:45-49; Jh. 20:21-23) but I’d like to add that Jesus already had his disciples- 12 then 70- going out to preach with signs following: 12- Mt. 10:1-11:1; Mk. 6:7-13; Lk.9:1-6 and 70- Lk. 10:1-16.  This preceded His visit to those towns (Lk. 10:1).  So, even while Jesus walked the earth He gave His disciples (not just the ‘apostles’) His authority to preach with signs following.  Before Jesus gave the controversial commission in Mark, He said this in the upper room:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes* in me will also do the works* that I do; and greater* works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Jh. 14:12
*whoever believes means any and all believers, not just the apostles.                  ESV
*toil, acts, deeds, labour, work  *greater, larger, elder, stronger 

Check out the Scriptures that verify the ones in Mark as authentic / actually happened:

Mark 16:
v.9  And when Jesus had risen early the first day of the Sabbath, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. Jh. 20:11,12-17
v.10  She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. Jh. 20:18
v.11  And those hearing that He lives, and was seen by her, they did not believe.
v.12  After that He appeared in another form to two of them, walking and going into the country. Lk. 24:13-32
v.13  And they went and told it to the rest. Neither did they believe those. Lk. 24:33
v.14  Afterward He appeared to the Eleven as they reclined. And He reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart*, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Jh. 20:26-29 *Mk. 8:17; Mt. 17:19,20 (disciples- ye of little faith- Mt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8)
v.15  And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim* the gospel to all the creation. Lk. 24:47; 9:2-6 (implied- Mt. 28:19,20) Mr. 6:12 Mt. 10:7
    (*preach, proclaim, publish)  Acts 1:8; 26:20
v.16  He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.  Lk. 8:12; Jh. 3:16,36; Mt. 28:19; Ac. 2:41; 16:31

Tomorrow I will finish this topic.  I hope you come back to learn more.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Study the Word?

       We read the Word, meditate on the Word, memorize the Word, sing the Word, pray the Word etc, but how often do we study the Word?  Whoa now, I graduated already so why do I need to study?  After all, the Bible says, “…much study is a weariness of the flesh.(Eccl. 12:12)  Yes, studying something means a time investment and can certainly make one weary.  More than once I fell asleep while studying for exams!

       But anything valuable is worth putting time and effort into.  If we truly want to know God as well as we can then we will delve deeply into the Word to consume every last morsel.  Paul told Timothy (a young pastor), “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.(2Tm. 2:15 KJV)  The word study actually means: use speed, make effort, give diligence, labour, study.  This is in context of rightly interpreting the Word.  So in order to properly interpret, we’ve got to invest some time into studying it.

Some ways to delve into the Word:

Ask who, what, where, when, why and how.  Ex. who is speaking and why?
Check out what some of the important words mean in their original languages. A concordance helps.
See if there are any oddities and why.  Ex. Jesus speaking to a woman publicly.
Find other scriptures that relate to passage being studied.
Paraphrase it. (Put it in your own words)
Meditate on the passage to get different perspectives of the people it’s speaking of.
Ask- does the Bible speak about this person in other places?
Check for a parallel gospel account that may add information.
(A couple free Bible software programs are: e-sword and the Word- By free I mean many Bible versions, dictionaries, graphics, etc are free but there are some extras you could choose to pay for) 

***Remember- try to always use the Bible to interpret the Bible***

       Still, when it comes right down to it, all the reading, meditating, memorizing, etc does us no good at all if the Spirit- who dwells in us (Rom. 8:9) if we are Christ’s, and teaches us (Jh. 14:26)- doesn’t open our eyes to understand it*.  Then… and this is most important… we apply it to our lives.  So we should ask, ‘What should I learn from this and how should I use the information to change?’

Jesus answered him,
"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Jh. 14:23

*these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  1Cor 2:10,11

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Question

       There was a question one day posed to a group of us who were doing a Bible study.  Though I can’t remember the exact question I remember my good friend answering, ‘for people to know the Bible’, while I answered, ‘for people to really know the God of the Bible.’  Both answers were good, neither was any better or any worse than the other, they were even close as the Bible is required reading to know God.

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings  Php. 3:10

       In the end thoughts, our answers varied because of our histories, personalities and God given gifts.  My friend is quiet, patient, compassionate, organized, etc, and a very good teacher.  Hence, she loves to teach or lead Bible studies.  For myself, I love reading and studying the Word, but I also love to worship and spend time in His presence.  He is life to me.  I am not as quiet around others, not as patient and not so organized although I can teach well.  Mostly, I like to talk to others about God, who He is, and what He’s doing in their lives, mine or in the world. 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  1Th. 5:11 ESV

       Sometimes I think we get caught up at looking at others wishing we could be more like them when God helped us become the people we are.  As long as we continue to learn and grow (change) with His help, the Lord wants to use us just the way we are- warts and all!  We need to be willing vessels.  And it isn’t like you’ll always hear ‘say this, do that’, but sometimes words will come out of your mouth that you didn’t plan on saying and later the hearer will say your words were just what they needed at that moment.

I just love God moments- don’t you?

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  1Cor. 12:18 ESV

       My sincerest desire is that every person would know God (Father, Spirit, Son) as much as me or better yet, more than me.  I want us all to be the big, happy family together in Heaven forever in an immortal, completely healthy body where there is no sadness, death, where sin does not hold us in bondage, where we are free in Christ and experiencing the abundant life God wants for us.

       If you do not know the God of the Bible, let me encourage you to get to know Him better.  Don’t believe the things you’ve been told in your past- they may be man’s opinion of God.  Find out for yourself in the Holy Bible.  Let me assure you, a life filled with the Spirit of God is exciting, fresh every day, peaceful, full of joy, and a completeness I am unable to explain.  Though trials will come, they won’t knock you down (or not for long) because you are standing on the Rock in the shelter of His wings.  There is no better place in this world to be than in the Lord’s hands.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Ps. 16:11 ESV

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jesus Christ is the Answer

       When tragedy happens we tend to blame the other guys- those with differing religious, political or lifestyle views, but in reality, natural tragedies just happen, and man made ones are a product of our sinful nature.  There is only one answer or cure for transforming this sinful nature and it is only found in Jesus Christ whose redemptive work on the cross can break the bondage of our slavery to sin.

But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit.  2Cor. 3:18
So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  2Cor. 5:17
Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin.  Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.  Jh. 8:34,36

       Wait, you say, ‘Christianity’ and other religions have killed millions throughout the millennia.  Yes, you are right about that.  Many have killed others in the name of God, Jesus and the church, but hey, I could go out there and murder a school full of children in your name and that wouldn’t make it true that you wanted me to do that.  I don’t know of one sanctioned war by God in the New Testament under the new covenant in Jesus.  (although protecting oneself and ‘fighting’ the enemy- the devil is spoken of briefly).

       God (Father, Son, Spirit) created all life and all men and finds value in each and every person- male, female, elder, youth, Arab, Jew, Gentile, president, indigent, factory worker, drunkard and homosexual.  His love for all does not change.  Mark 12:31 says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no one I know in their un-brainwashed and mentally sound mind that would maim, stab, shoot or blow themselves up, but all want to be treated with love, respect, dignity and treated as valuable.  That is how we should treat others.

...but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Do not let each man look upon his own things, but each man also on the things of others.  Php. 2:3,4
Let love be without hypocrisy, shrinking from evil, cleaving to good;  Rom. 12:9

Jesus loved, respected and treated with dignity and respect:
Jh. 4- the Samaritan* woman
   -even though she was female (men didn’t speak to women in public)
   -even though she was immoral
  -even though she was Samaritan (*Jewish remnant mixed with other ethnicities conquered by the Assyrians and resettled in Israel)
Jh. 8- the woman caught in adultery and the men/ hypocrites who brought her to Jesus
Mr. 10- the children brought to Him
Mt. 15- a Canaanite/ Greek woman whose daughter was possessed
Remember: Jesus rebuked Peter for using violence against another human Mt. 26:52,53

For the Son of Man has not come to destroy men's lives,
but to save.
Luke 9:56

We are not meant to destroy men’s lives!
We need to live like Jesus!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Circles of Trust

       What can I say about trust?  For whatever reason, I grew up not trusting people.  Maybe it’s because I have always been a close observer of people and I could see they were not always trustworthy.  As I grew up, I had circles (walls) of trust around me.  I would let you in so far to see if you were trustworthy, and if not, you would never get closer.  If you were, then I would let you into the next closest circle, and start the integrity check again.  In case you wonder, the few friends I had would say I was as trustworthy as a human could get.

        Fast forward 6ish years, I was married, in Bible College, loved the Lord with all my heart (so I thought) and leaned on Him completely (so I thought).  Of course I was extremely disappointed to find out we couldn’t have kids- in fact, devastated would be a better word.  But all was okay because the God who loved me would provide the healing that would allow us to bear children right?  Hey, I trusted Him for an entire year, through disappointment every month, but He let me down.  Years of bitterness and a closed heart followed.

The Lord was merciful and brought me back by His grace.

       Now I trusted the Lord more than ever- right up until we were told we couldn’t adopt for a variety of reasons.  Broken trust.  Distance from God.  The Lord drew me back again.  Next trial- same response, and the next, and the next.  You would think I would learn, but I can be a little thick headed!  How could I trust a God who never answered my prayers?  Looking back, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

       We had a few decent years (with only a few smaller trials) from late ’95 to 2000 and then the biggest, fiercest trial slammed us down hard.  Again, my faith was strong- for the first little bit, but God did not answer my prayers again.  How could He allow me to go through such tribulation if He loved me?  Abandoned by almost all family, friends, and the medical community, we felt alone and in an impossible situation that we’d never get out of.  I didn’t even know if we would physically survive.  It felt like God abandoned us.

       It was during those difficult six years that the Father taught me unconditional love, real faith, and what genuine trust is.  Webster’s puts trust this way: confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.  I had failed to completely trust the Lord with everything, instead counting Him as untrustworthy for not answering my prayers in my timing, the way I wanted them answered.  And every time He ‘let me down’ I shoved Him outside my circles of trust.

But the Lord never gave up on me!  He kept working in my life.

       Now I see where I used to be: I was never confident He knew what was best for me.  I never relied or rested upon Him to get me through life’s trials or accepted what He wanted me to go through.  As a result, I stopped feeling He was reliable to answer my prayers, doubted His love for me, His justice, friendship and who He was (because He wasn’t the Father I wanted Him to be).  Finally I understood so much more and I threw myself on the mercy of my loving God.  I have never again been the same.  (Though years of recovery still followed)

       Just a few months later I was faced with another trial- breast cancer.  My reaction?  Completely different.  I trusted that He knew best for me and He’d work good out of it, that He’d never leave me alone in it, that He’d help me through each step, and that His love, peace and joy would remain with me.  Basically, I finally realized He is the only truly trustworthy being there is, and I let Him into my innermost circle of trust.  Since then, no matter what happens, by His grace & with Him I stand; and I have never been so full of life.  Reading this Scripture brought these memories up today:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places...  Hab. 3:17-19

       Now I understand this Scripture: Though things don’t happen as expected, though devastation may occur, though failure, hunger, insecurity, and deficiency arise, (in bad times of calamity, distress and loss) yet I will rejoice in the Lord, for He is my salvation, my strength, lightens my steps and lifts me up.  Though I would not dare say I completely trust the Lord now, I would say that I hope to ever throw myself on His mercy and grace and I count on Him to help me on this journey.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2Cor. 4:17,18 ESV