and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

By the Light of the Moon

       Walking on a warm-ish night is a peaceful experience.  No matter where I traveled in North America, I like to take the opportunity to stretch my legs and relax into the night.  When there is a new moon and the sky is dark I like to see some form of light around, even if it is distant street lights, but when it is a full moon it’s great to look up and enjoy that bright ball shining in the sky.  It reminds me of the Father’s love for me.  See, He is like the sun because there is light in Him that will shine brilliantly forever.  Nothing and no one can extinguish His light.  His Son Jesus is also called the Light.

Jehovah will be to you for everlasting light… Is. 60:19
Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world… Jh. 8:12
As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. Jh. 9:5

       Jesus came into the world in mortal body and while He was here He shone the light of God into this dark, sinful world (Jh. 1:5).  During the Sermon on the Mount, He said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world…” (Mt. 5:14) which in my mind, we become transformed into His image as the light when we start following Him.  “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.(2Cr. 3:18)  So we are like the moon, reflecting the light of the sun (Son) on our surface.

We shine like this:

But underneath the reflection of God’s light on us we look like this:

(Photo taken with Nikon P600 by me June 12, 2014.  I increased focus (using software) to show more details.)
Notice the potmarks, craters, and lines made from moving debris, etc...  
Kind of what life does to us.

Sometimes the world or other things tries to block our light, but those clouds will eventually move, and our light will shine bright once again:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Inductive Bible Reading Examples

       Just reading the Bible because we’re supposed to as Christians, or because it’s the right thing to do, is NOT enough.  I know someone who has read faithfully for probably 60 years but her life shows no transformation from it.  Without reading intentionally, nothing much will be accomplished.  Yesterday I posted about the basic inductive reading method.  Today I give examples from Scriptures on what I would be asking myself and where some of my thinking goes.  May our Lord of Glory use this to help open our eyes to His life giving Word.

 Let’s look at some passages:

And He entering into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, a great tempest arose in the sea, so much so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him and awakened Him, saying, Lord, save us! We perish! And He said to them, Why are you afraid, little-faiths? Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! Mt. 8:23-27

Jesus is in a boat in a bad storm with His disciples. Jesus is asleep, the disciples are afraid, so they wake up Jesus to save them.  He speaks “__”.  He rebukes the wind and sea- calm comes. Disciples marvel. 

Interpret- what does it mean
Context first.  Check out the surrounding verses and chapters, the book it’s in and in context of the Bible as a whole.  Use Scripture to interpret Scripture.
Cross reference: Similar passages: Mr. 4:36-41; Lk. 8:22-25 verses on faith, trust, concern for others (Php. 2:4), acting in love, rebuking (Lk. 4:38+), etc.
Word Study- check any words not understood for original meaning. (little faith- trusting Christ too little)
Ask: Who, what, where, when, why, and how about the text. Why were the disciples afraid? What options did they have?  How did Jesus respond?

Apply- Ask and think on questions such as:
The disciples follow Jesus into the boat but not into His place of rest. Why not?
Jesus was asleep, the storm did not concern Him, why? (Trust in Father? Faith? Compare to His other behaviours.)
Am I ever like Jesus, calm in the storms of life?  Why?  Why not? Am I lacking in faith or trust?  How can that be changed?
Am I afraid in the storms of life? Who can I count on to save me? Do I blame God for the storm?
Jesus didn’t tell the disciples to stop bothering Him even though He wasn’t worried and was tired. (Showed concern: do I?)
He did something for them- acted out of love.  He uses words and the storm stops.  Am I able to do these things out of love?  Do I even try?  If not, why? How should I change?

Second passage- woman in adultery (Jh. 8:2-11) read if unfamiliar...

(shortformed) Jesus in temple teaching. Pharisees bring woman caught in very act of adultery to Him and set her in their midst. They bring up Moses/ Law and ask Jesus what’s to be done (to accuse Him). He writes on ground. They continue to ask. He says ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone’. Jesus bends down, writes on ground again. Hearing, convicted, one by one the crowd leaves oldest to youngest. Woman alone. “Where are accusers?” “Go, sin no more.”

Context- Judging discussed immediately before and after this passage. John shows Jesus as Son of God- God wrote law with His finger- was Jesus alluding to this? 
No similar passages. Lv. 20:10; Dt. 22:22 say both man and woman caught in adultery must be put to death. Only woman brought, yet caught in act thus unfair treatment.
Answer- Who are Pharisees/ scribes? Where was the man in adultery? Why didn’t they bring him? What were they really trying to do? How did Jesus deal with the situation?

When catching two in sin (like kids), do I ignore one’s sin and shame the other?  How am I like the Pharisees in my actions?  How am I like the woman?
Why did Jesus start writing on the ground after they asked the question?  Why did He not answer?  Would I have spoken up to justify my own beliefs? Do I seek obedience to law without mercy?
Do I continue to bug Jesus to get MY desires done or do I wait patiently?  How can Jesus remain so calm when they are trying to trap Him?
Am I convicted of my own sin? Do I judge other without judging myself first? Do I consider their sin greater than mine?...
What do I learn from these questions and how do I change in light of them?

       I hope these examples of where my own thinking goes (without all I think) helps you to see how just reading is not enough.  We need to seek out and chew on every morsel to get out of the words all things pertaining to life from the Word of life.

Be blessed.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How Should I Read My Bible?

Good Question!
       When I was first born again, I didn’t have anyone to tell me what to do next, but I did know the Lord of glory had come to live with me.  At some point I started reading my Bible.  It was weird how subjects, words or ideas would ‘pop’ out of the pages at me as I read.  The words there had new meaning to me though I had read some through the years as a Catholic.  Those words have also transformed my life in ways I can’t fully describe and for which I am truly thankful.

       Several times people have told me they ‘get nothing’ out of reading their Bible.  That is not good.  In my mind there is one of three reasons this can happen: they don’t understand (wrong version), they are not born again, they don't read systematically

Don’t Understand (wrong version)- As stated in my last post, it is important we have a Bible version that we understand, in a language and format that we understand.  Often we take more care in purchasing a new car, washing machine or computer than we do which Bible is best for us.  The best one is the one we understand.

Not Born Again- Of course we may read the Bible and learn from it if we aren’t born again, but at the new birth the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with us and He teaches us the things of God.
But if the Spirit of the One who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised up Christ from the dead shall also make your mortal bodies alive by His Spirit who dwells in you. Rm. 8:11
But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. 1Cr. 2:12

Read Systematically- We aren’t to read through the Bible like it is a book of fiction.  Everything in it is for our benefit and is good for doctrine, conviction, correction and instruction in righteousness (2Tm. 3:16).  Read with a purpose- to find every morsel possible out of it all.  Don’t be satisfied just to read the words, but dive in to learn the depths of it.  I call this type of reading or studying- inductive (logical reasoning).

Inductive Bible Reading or Study

Read and Observe- What does the text say?
                              Who is speaking, to whom and why?
                              When was it written?

Interpret- What does the text mean? (Dive in as much as we
                have time for)
                Are there any other verses that correlate with
                these that we should read?
                (Always interpret Scripture using Scripture and not man’s opinion.)
Apply- What does the text mean in my life? 
Any commands
Any warnings
Any promises
Any encouragement
           How am I like the people in the passage or do I act like they act?
           How do I learn from these words to be transformed?
           How does God want me to live in light of this?

(Read tomorrow for examples of this method.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Which Bible Do I Read?

       A friend asked me this the other day.  Stop here if you are a King James only because you probably won’t like what is below, but it is my opinion and I am entitled to it as are you yours.  First off, I very much differentiate that answer based on what you are doing with the Bible.  There are three things we should be doing with the physical Bible: reading, studying and memorizing.  We should also be meditating on the Word, but that can be done in any version at any time.

       Bible translation information: the original writings were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  People who know how to translate these languages put them into other understandable languages for us, English being my choice.  There are three ways to translate the original languages: word for word, thought for thought, and paraphrased*.

       Bible reading is also called devotions by some.  I usually sit where it is quiet, with no distractions, pray the Lord would open my eyes, and ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I am reading.  My preferred Bible version this decade is TLB or the Living Bible, a paraphrase.  It is very easy to read and it helps me understand the true meanings behind what was spoken/ written.  Often I will sit with my laptop open to a Bible program which can give me original translation if there is anything I question, but that isn’t always necessary.
For basic reading you should find the Bible you most easily understand.

       Also, for reading I use a Bible chart where I can cross off what I’ve read so that I don’t miss any sections (these can be found online- there are many types) as all the Word is good for me and I don’t want to miss any of it.  Prayer and thanksgiving often precede and follow reading and meditating (see below) is often done here.

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work. 2Tm. 3:16,17
desire the sincere milk of the Word, as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it; 1Pt. 2:2

My usual study space...
       Bible study is more intense than reading and should also be done when able.  I sometimes pick a topic and look up all the Scriptures in a concordance about it, and write out all the ones that apply.  Then I try to put them all together and decide what the Bible really wants me to know and do about it.  Far easier is using a Bible study book available in many topics (make sure they use lots of Scriptures) or using an online study which often lists verses to look up.  Sometimes these can miss important verses so you should still look up other possible verses.

       Then there are deeper studies that make you look up tons of relating Scriptures and ask you questions about them.  Those are my favourites.  For studying I use a word for word but also refer to other versions for comparison or better understanding.  I also refer to the original languages using a Bible software program.
Try to keep as close to the original as you can for studying, but which you can usually understand.  Also try to have a concordance and/ or Bible software available.

Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. 2Tm. 2:15
For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hb. 4:12

       Bible memorizing should be done once a week or month or whenever we can.  Getting these words deep in our minds allows us to be able to use them when needed in situations that arise.  Any version will work for this.
Use the one you’ve used for years or change them up to whichever you like best.  God’s not going to chastise us for using ‘the wrong version’.

I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You. Ps. 119:11
Your Words were found, and I ate them; and Your Word was to me the joy and gladness of my heart... Jr. 15:16

       Meditating on the Word is when we do any of the above and go into deeper thinking (at any time) about what we read, studied, or memorized.  Think about: the words, what they mean about God, about us, about mankind, what should be done about them, how this should change us, where our hearts are… all in context of the words read.  It is not repeating one or more words over and over, emptying our minds or other such nonsense.  We should fill our minds with the Word!  

in His Law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:2
This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it by day and by night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it... Js. 1:8

word for word- tries to keep the exact words of original text.  KJV  NASB  ESV  Amp
                      harder to read but more precise. 
thought for thought- complete meaning of the phrases of original text.  NIV  NLT  NJB
                               easier to read with updated writing and style yet still precise.
                               (two versions that try to mix word and thought:  HCSV  RSV)
paraphrased- translates ideas without constraints of original text.  TLB  TM
                     easiest to read/ understand but least precise.

Monday, June 09, 2014

67 yrs and still in grade 11

       James Kennedy was born in 1947 in South Carolina.  Back in the sixties when he started showing up at the sports field of the local high school, they would have called him ‘retarded’ (as in a slowness or limitation in intellect).  Today, that term is considered unacceptable, and for good reason.  Back then, people didn’t understand and generally avoided James, but there were a couple of coaches who started a friendship with him.  One coach moved and Coach Harold Jones was left to push for this young man’s acceptance in the town. 

       James was given the nick name “Radio” because he loved to listen to the radio.  The coaches encouraged him to help with the football team, and then other teams.  He was allowed into the school and he attended some classes.  He made announcements and did hall monitoring.  With the coach’s help, Radio became a much loved school/ town member.  Over time James increased his knowledge and abilities.

       According to the movie “Radio”, (spoilers ahead) the coach took a lot of heat and had pressure to remove James from the school situation.  Harold gave up the coaching position to continue helping James.  Today, their friendship remains, and James still attends grade 11; that way he’ll never have to graduate and leave the school J!  Radio still announces, cheerleads, helps coach and puts on shows at game halftime.

       This is a story of concern for another human being and where it can lead.  Coach Harold was concerned about how Radio was treated and stepped up to improve the situation with much time and effort.  What he discovered is that Radio, considered deficient, was actually the smart who showed the town what love and acceptance of others was all about.  Our lack for concern over others is one of the biggest faults in humanity.  We are too busy with our own troubles and concerns so how can we possible help others?

Do not let each man look upon his own things, but each man also on the things of others. Php. 2:4

       This thinking leaves us isolated from others and also contributes to seeing our own problems as worse than what they are.  Yet, the saddest thing is when Christians who are following Jesus do not show the concern for others which we are commanded; love God and love your neighbour as yourself (Mt. 22:36-40).  By His own action Jesus displayed concern for all others on multiple levels.  The story of the good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37) was told to show true concern for others.  Concern is not a feeling but an action word which requires OUR action:

But whoever has this world's goods and sees his brother having need, and shuts up his bowels from him, how does the love of God dwell in him? My children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1Jh. 3:17,18
He answered and said to them, He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. And he who has food, let him do likewise. Lk. 3:11
He who gives to the poor shall not lack, but he who hides his eyes shall have many a curse. Pr. 28:27

      Notice that hiding our eyes from the truth or ignorance of what others is going through is no excuse, for if we love others we will make effort to know their needs.  Ah, but I don’t have time… Yep, I’m sure Jesus will accept that excuse.  We always make time for the things we consider important in our lives.  Shouldn’t people take precedence over things?  After all, those ‘precious’ things to us now will not follow us into heaven (Mt. 6:19,20); it all gets left behind.  We are meant to share of ourselves: possessions and love and acceptance of others.  As Christians, all we do will be judged some day:

each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's work as to what kind it is. If anyone's work which he built remains, he shall receive a reward. If anyone's work shall be burned up, he shall suffer loss. But he shall be saved, yet so as by fire. (1Cr. 3:13-15)

Which do you want Jesus to say to you?
Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me. (or)
Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. Mt. 25:40, 45

Lord, help me to be more concerned for others, invest more time in getting to know them and their needs, and then give me wisdom to help them in a way that is honouring to You.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


       Well, my four days of volunteering at our town festival are over.  For the most part, it was a very successful festival and there were lots of patrons there.  The weather couldn't have been better except for a few hours this morning.  I was trying to write my post for today but my eyes are closing as I type so I need to go get some sleep.  This will be relatively quick.

       Last year after the festival I ended up with heat exhaustion (perhaps heat stroke in hindsight) and it was a miserable couple months after dealing with a myriad of physical problems.  This year I am grateful to just be tired and a little frustrated at some administrative stuff.  Overall, it was good, but God is better and I think if He was in the hearts of most of the people- workers and patrons- things would have been far more relaxing and fun.  It will be interesting to participate in festivals in the new heaven and earth- they should be tons of fun.  I'm hoping for some really cool roller coasters- ones that won't cost a cent.

       Okay, so my mind is wandering a bit...  But all is good because God is good and His strength helped me through all the craziness of the weekend.  Plus, His presence is worth more than, well, everything and He reminded me in all the busyness that this was the case.  For that I am so grateful.  To Him I am so grateful.

...Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor and power and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen.
Rv. 7:10