Let this message encourage your faith in receiving the blessings God has already provided for you in Jesus.
This interview with Pastor Joseph Prince from Singapore gives wonderful insight into God’s way of believing Him for complete salvation and victory through Jesus’ totally finished work. The truths he shares here are not new at all, but, unfortunately, they are often misunderstood or even totally left out of the Gospel that is being preached in many churches in the world today. But those who have learned to take God at His Word and rely on the work that has already been accomplished by Jesus on our behalf have found that victory over sin and the evil influences of this world is a whole lot easier than the enemy wants us to believe. I pray that this short interview will increase your faith and your joy in your own salvation.
Visit Trent’s World to participate in ‘Weekly Smile’
I created this graphic originally because the idea made me smile. And I smile every single time I look at it. So I thought I’d share it with you. Bet you can’t look at it without smiling. Have a happy week, everyone.
This week has been particularly hard for me. I’ve experienced a number of trials and challenges to my faith. I am confident that God has me headed toward sure victory in all of them, but the experience has been something of a downer. So today, when I came across a post from three days ago from a ministry that I generally follow daily (but had missed out on this week), it made me smile — really big.
Crown of Glory International Ministries, based in Alaska, USA, offers daily meditations on God’s Word to build and encourage faith. This post from July 17 immediately made me smile — not only because of what was written there — but also because it brought to my mind one of my favorite Psalms, which I had not read in some time — Psalm 16.
So I hopped right over to Psalm 16 to pick up on the point the Lord was making to me today, and I read verse 11: “Thou wilt make known to me the paths of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” And that made me smile even more.
Yep, all it takes is to remind ourselves just how big our God is — and how faithful He is to keep His Word and answer our prayers — to understand that in Him is everything we need. And we can smile every day, all the way to our manifested victory.
If you check out Pure Glory’s site or Psalm 16, I trust that they will bring you a huge smile and a rested soul as well.
To participate in ‘Weekly Smile,’ visit Trent’s World.
If you’d like to share what made you smile this week, visit Trent’s World and get the details.
One of the things that made me smile this week was visiting my own Christmas website: “Merry Christmas World!” I love, love, love Christmas, and when I hop over to that site it always blesses me. I scroll through all those articles, pictures, and videos, and have Christmas any time of year. I’ll give you the link here in case some of the rest of you love Christmas as much as I, and you can visit any time you want.
But that’s not all. Because that smile-producing experience led to another. While there, I naturally went back over some links I have to the Vintage Christmas Catalog Site at wishbookweb.com. What a delight it is to spend time there. Now, first of all, you do have to love Christmas catalogs. But I grew up — my sister and I grew up — loving them so much we spent hours and hours in them every year.
And I love history as well, so going back through some of these catalogs from years before I was born is a delightful journey into the history of our nation and our culture. And, of course, when I get to the years that covered my growing up years, it’s amazing how many things my sister and I have found that we actually ordered — or our parents ordered to give as gifts to us.
The site offers catalogs from the 1930’s through the 1990’s. And they’ve revamped the whole site this year, so that when you look at each catalog, you can actually “hear” the swish of each page turning. I simply cannot visit there without smiling — big! I’ve put the link in the site’s address above, so hopefully some of you will visit and have as much fun there as I do.
There are a lot of religions in this world, and I’ve studied most of them. To my knowledge there is no religion — other than Christianity — that guarantees us an eternity of constant joy, freedom, and peace with our Creator unless we work at it and expend ourselves to earn it. All other religions require man to DO something to acquire the state of eternal bliss that we’d all like to look forward to. Some require more than others, but not one — other than Christianity — offers us that blessed eternity free.
Of course, in actual fact, Christianity is not really a “religion.” It’s simply a Father and His family. And since the eldest Brother of that family (Jesus) was willing to step down from His throne, come to earth and live a perfect life for every one of us, then go to the cross and pay the price for our rebellion and sin, all of the earning of salvation has been completed and is done. We are free to simply accept the finished work of Jesus on our behalf and receive Him as Lord of our lives. We don’t “work” for our salvation. We “accept” it as the free gift that it is. And once Jesus is truly Lord of our lives, suddenly doing the things that please the Father becomes a joy and delight — not an enforced duty.
And when we finally get to know the real God and our hearts yearn to make His heart happy, we find that there is very little on His list of what He’d like to have from us.
Here’s God’s list. Here are the 3 most important things that He wants from us.
1. Love Him.
2. Trust Him.
3. Spend time with Him in conversation and fellowship.
No pain; no strain; just loving our Father and hangin’ out with Him.
Have a happy day making God happy today!
For this week’s “Wednesday Smile” I thought I’d share a photo I took of my dad and a friend of ours. Every time I look at it, I have to smile.
These two gentlemen were into their 80th decade when this picture was taken. To live their whole lives having focused on loving and giving to others above all else leads to the kind of happy faces these two shared the evening I snapped this picture. Both have blessed this world as authors/song writers/teachers/fathers/grandfathers/courageous veterans on the battlefield of life. They are very special people and are an inspiration to me. The gentleman on the right is my dad, who went to be with the Lord four years ago this month. The other gentleman is still on this earth, continuing to share his love with others.
Joining Trent’s Weekly Smile again this week. If you’d like to share what makes you smile, just follow the link for the details of how to participate. I’m offering a ‘Smile’ Cinquain today.
MAKING GOD SMILE
When we look up
And focus on His love —
When we put all our trust in Him,
Couldn’t resist sharing this little graphic that I created last year. I came across it in my “Photos” folder just as I was ready to post to Trent’s Weekly Smile on a Thursday, so it’s perfect for the occasion. There’s just something about those “smiley faces” that almost forces a grin out of me.
Many people do not realize that the ability to pray in tongues is also a very valuable tool when seeking healing from the Lord. Of course, this gift comes with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, because so many in the Body of Christ have been taught that the baptism in the Holy Spirit and tongues are not for today, those Christians do not have the opportunity to take advantage of this avenue to health.
It is not the purpose of this book to teach a lesson on tongues, so we will limit the explanation to the following: There are two different categories of tongues spoken of in the Word of God. One is the gift described in 1 Corinthians 12, which includes both tongues for personal prayer and for giving messages from the Lord in public meetings.
When used for giving public messages, the tongues must be accompanied by interpretation, and scripture explains that tongues used in that category are not necessarily available to everyone all the time. The gift of tongues for messages, along with the gift of interpretation are operated, like all the other nine gifts of the Spirit, and they are manifested only as the Spirit wills. The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 14 gives detailed explanations of how these gifts should be used in public meetings.
However, the second category – tongues for personal use – is given to all believers and, whether or not those believers make use of this gift is entirely up to each person. We must be careful to understand that even if we do not find ourselves used to give public messages in tongues, we have Jesus’ word of promise that we will have access to tongues for personal prayer equally with every other believer. Mark 16:15-17 tells us clearly,
Now, the word translated in English as “tongues” is actually the Greek word which means “languages not learned through natural means.” So, in other words, a totally supernatural gift from the Lord that bypasses our intellect.
The Lord explains, through the words of St. Paul, in Romans 8:2-27, that often “we do not know how to pray as we should.” And, of course, many people, when they are suffering physically, find it hard to pray as effectively as they need to pray. But God has a solution to this problem, and verse 26 tells us that His Holy Spirit helps us pray through utterances too deep for words. (The literal Greek here says “groanings or utterances too deep for articulate speech.”)
St. Paul, through the Holy Spirit, goes on to tell us in 1 Corinthians 14:5 that he wishes we would all pray much in tongues. And he makes clear in verse 14 of that chapter that when we pray in tongues, our minds are not involved – only our spirits. It is true that our minds must make the decision to allow our spirit to be in charge of our prayer, so that we release our tongue to speak the utterances the Holy Spirit gives us, but other than making that decision of the will, the mind has no part to play. As a result of that fact, our own mind, our own lack of understanding of medical conditions, and our own fears are shut out, and our spirit – helped by the Holy Spirit – takes over our prayers.
But possibly one of the most exciting truths in this passage of Scripture is what we learn in verses 2 and 4 of chapter 14. Verse 2 tells us that when we pray in tongues, we speak mysteries to God. He can also speak mysteries back to us because He’s in charge of the language. We must do the actual physical speaking, but He provides what’s being said in the sounds we make. But since we’re speaking mysteries, not only does our un-renewed mind stay out of the picture, but so does the enemy of our souls, because he can’t understand what we’re saying either.
But wait: It still gets better. Verse 4 tells us that the one who prays in tongues edifies himself. Now, most people consider that verse to mean that we build ourselves up spiritually. And, of course, we do, but that’s not the total benefit. The word translated “edify” means “to build or repair the house.” Now, let that sink in: your spirit is praying (with the language provided by the Holy Spirit), and that prayer is building/repairing your spirit’s house. And what is that house? That’s right – it’s your physical body. A number of Christians have learned that healing – especially for seriously troubling or obstinate maladies – can come successfully through praying in tongues. I know of situations where nothing else seemed to bring the desired manifestation, but praying at length in the language given by the Holy Spirit accomplished the work and brought forth the miracle.
As we’ve said each time we’ve discussed one of the means of healing that God prescribes in His Word, these means and these practices are not formulas. They do not work because we follow a list of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s. They are each an avenue that God has provided to get His healing power into us, and they work successfully when we dig into the Word and prayer and let God lead us to the specific means that is right for each of our situations at that particular time.
Graphic: © Jim Sutton @ gospelgifs.com
I originally posted this article on my author’s blog, but since it’s about an inspirational novel with a powerful message, I thought it would be fitting to re-post it here as well.
Today’s Daily Post Prompt –Trace — gives me the perfect opportunity to plug one of my newest inspirational novels: SLATE. The story of Slate and Vanessa plays out over a second story concerning Vanessa’s brother Ken. A private investigator, Ken traces a young girl from her home in Missouri to the Gulf coast of Florida, but then Ken himself suddenly disappears without a trace. That event causes Vanessa to head to Florida to look for him, and from the day she arrives and meets Slate, her life is changed forever. So is Slate’s.
Inspirational Fiction: Digital or Paperback at Amazon.
HERE’S 2 EXCERPTS:
From Chapter 1:
He hopped out of the metallic-blue corvette convertible, tossing his cigarette down and extinguishing it with his boot, then set off down the sidewalk toward Katy’s Koffee Korner. He walked with a definite swagger, and it was hard to tell if it was…
View original post 3,778 more words
For chapters 1 and 2, click on “The Lord Giveth; The Devil Taketh Away” in the menu.
CHAPTER THREE: THE STORY BEGINS
(Since each chapter builds on the previous one, you’ll want to be sure you read Chapter 2 before this one.)
‘Job,’ chapter one identifies the main character of the story: a man named Job, who was living in the land of Uz. Many Bible scholars believe Uz lay in the area between Palestine and Arabia. Those same scholars lean toward identifying Job as a descendant of Esau and possibly a king of Edom. Job himself makes reference to lying down “with kings” when he goes to his grave, so that idea could have some credibility. Other scholars believe that Job is the oldest book in the Bible and that Job was actually more a contemporary of Abraham himself rather than his sons and grandsons.
The important thing for the child of God to understand is that, either way, Job was in the position of not understanding his Creator and not being able to walk fully in a covenant relationship with Him — in the way that Abraham did. Moreover, if Job was a descendant of Esau, that made him a descendant of the grandson of Abraham who should have inherited the birthright from Isaac, including the direct blessing that came with the covenant God made with Abraham.
However, since Esau chose to sell that birthright — and that inheritance of covenant blessing — he forfeited the privileges that went with them, not only for himself, but for all of his direct descendants as well.
And it is abundantly clear that Job was living his life as one who had no active covenant with God. He says himself, in chapter 9, verses 32 & 33: “For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both.” King James translates the word “umpire” as “daysman,” which is a very old English word meaning umpire or mediator. So Job is bemoaning the fact that there is no agreement between him and his Creator and no moderator to help them communicate with each other.
Job is described in chapter one as a man who is “perfect” and “upright.” Now, with a word like “perfect,” which leaves absolutely no room for qualifiers, the reader’s spiritual antennae should come out. What does this word “perfect” mean? If it truly means that the man has no flaw, no weakness, no sin or evil in his nature, then the scripture in Romans which says clearly that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” is a lie. However, since spiritual wisdom bids the Bible student to always interpret that which comes in shadow (Old Testament) through that which comes with light and revelation (New Testament), then the reader will have to trust what the New Testament says.
That means putting forth a little effort to find out what this word actually meant when it was written in the original manuscript. A brief look at the Hebrew word used here reveals that the word translated “perfect” also clearly means to be “complete, whole, or pious.” Job was obviously a man who knew about God and as much as possible with his limited knowledge and lack of covenant understanding, he was completely devoted to serving God. 2 Chronicles 16:9 uses the same kind of terminology when God says, “My eyes run to and fro seeking to show Myself strong on behalf of him whose heart is “perfect” toward Me (whose heart is completely Mine).”
So based on the light of the New Testament, and the alternate definitions which would make this passage agree with the New Testament, we see that the meaning of the word translated “perfect” is obviously the following: Job’s heart was totally devoted to God, and his intent was most definitely to serve Him. But he was not a man devoid of sin or other flaws in his character or lifestyle.
Also in chapter one, the second character of the story is introduced. The “sons of God” are presenting themselves before His throne. (In the Old Testament, “sons of God” is one term used to describe the angels.) At the time of the story, Satan obviously still has admittance into the presence of God (until the finished redemption work of Jesus), so he also comes before God. The Lord, knowing what Satan has been up to, asks him a question in verse eight. And on the correct or incorrect translation of this single question hangs our understanding of the entire character of God.
The Hebrew words which quote God in this conversation have more than one possible interpretation, because the word translated “consider” has several different definitions. Translators, for whatever reason, chose to use the definition “to consider” rather than any of the other definitions of that Hebrew word, which are “to set your heart on, to mark, to purpose to have.” In the seemingly inconsequential decision to choose a single-word definition rather than one requiring three or four words, God is portrayed as an ogre (an abusive father, if you will) who deliberately baits His hateful enemy to get him to attack, torment, and nearly destroy God’s own man.
“Okay,” the reader may respond, “there are several possible definitions; so how does one know for sure which definition is correct?” There is only one fail-safe formula for finding that answer: weigh each definition against Jesus and the example He gave as He walked the earth showing exactly what God is like.
Can any Bible student find Jesus walking up to the devil and taunting him by bragging about how much His disciples love Him — and then baiting the devil to get him to hurt those men — just to prove they will still love the man that betrayed them? Of course not! And that being the case, the Bible student can safely believe that the Father God would never do such a thing either. Consequently, there’s no guess work left concerning which definitions are correct for those passages in Job.
So using the correct translation, read the passage anew: “Have you set your heart on my servant Job — the man whose heart is perfect toward me and who turns away from evil?” It’s quite easy to see how getting the correct word in this one passage begins to change the whole picture of God and His character in this story. Jesus shows a God who would never have said, “Have you taken a good look at my man Job?” — knowing Satan’s next move would be to deliberately try to destroy that man. Jesus does, however, demonstrate a God who would say, “I see you’ve set your heart on my man Job; you won’t get him.” – or “I see you’ve marked Job and purposed to have him; you won’t get away with it.”
But now comes Satan’s challenge and God’s response to it. And with this response, another old traditional teaching rears its ugly head and tries to hinder truth from coming forth. For generations, Christians have been fond of saying, “God is sovereign. God is in control. God can do anything He wants to do.” Most people who make those statements mean that God is controlling absolutely everything that happens on the earth and in their lives — and they mean that God can do anything at all, whenever and however He wants, even if it goes against a promise He has already made in His covenant.
One particular pastor has this tradition so ingrained in his spirit that he has developed a new doctrine based on it. He preaches about what he calls “God’s two percent clause.” This man preached the following from his pulpit on a Sunday morning: “You can’t put God in a box and make Him keep His Word. Now, God will keep His word almost all the time, but He also has a two-percent clause that He operates in, and about two percent of the time, He will do something else when He wants to – whether it goes against His word or not.”
Now, many readers will shudder when they hear these words spoken out so blatantly, but the truth is that the vast majority of Christians really do believe that way. They would never say those words out loud, but when something tragic happens in their lives that they can’t explain in some other acceptable way, they turn to the traditional belief that God must have wanted it to happen that way or He would have kept it from happening.
It doesn’t register with them that they are saying God broke His own word – that He is not keeping His promise to deliver them from such tragedy. If someone who is ill and has been prayed for several times dies in spite of those prayers, the vast majority of Christians respond with the opinion that it was God’s will for that person to die — despite the fact that His Word and His covenant promises say otherwise. Some Christians go so far as to say — of individuals who ended up in prison because of their own unlawful acts – that God must have had some reason for them to be in jail, because, after all, “He is in control of everything.”
NO, dear reader! That thinking is erroneous. God’s own Word is crystal clear on the matter. It is certainly true that God is sovereign. But what people must also realize is that God used His sovereignty to make a choice. He chose to bind Himself to a covenant with man. Making a covenant with the human race was God’s own sovereign idea. And when He made that covenant, He committed Himself to do certain things for man if man would commit himself to live a certain way with God. He gave His Word. †
Chapter 3 will be the last chapter I’ll post onto this site at this time. The rest of the book is available for free reading on its own page — by clicking on the title of the book in the menu.
For the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the book, click on “The Lord Giveth; The Devil Taketh Away” in the menu.
THE LORD GIVETH; THE DEVIL TAKETH AWAY: Looking at Job Through Jesus
© 2010 by Sandra Conner
CHAPTER TWO: WHAT’S IN A WORD?
What’s in a word? A lot, apparently. Words have the ability to identify things, relate facts and feelings, affect ideas and emotions, quiet a troubled child, or stir up a revolution. In fact, according to the scripture, words are so important and powerful that Jesus said people will be “justified” or “condemned” by their words. (Matthew 12:37). He also said that the words He spoke while on earth were “spirit and life.” (John 6:63). And Proverbs 18:21 says clearly that the very “power of life and death is in the tongue” (the words people speak). Wow! It seems that choosing the “right” word each time one speaks or writes is indeed crucial.
So what happens – with an ancient book like Job – as with many other ancient manuscripts — if a truth revealed centuries ago must be translated into another language, and new words have to be found that will relate that truth correctly? Well, if there is only one definition of a word, that task is relatively easy. But if a word in one language has multiple definitions, the translators have to be very careful to select the definition that abides by the original author’s intent and purpose.
Bible readers frequently wonder why, once in a while, they come across a verse or passage that sounds as though God has acted out of character or as though the writer of one book is directly contradicting the writer of another. The Book of Job abounds with those kinds of problems, but a few other scriptures frequently cause concern as well. However, the original Author of the book has the answer to that question. His answer is to point the reader to the person of Jesus Christ. How wonderful to realize that all of the answers human beings need are still in Jesus – always have been – always will be.
Now, it’s a simple fact that in order to reach the highest level of faith in God’s Word, people need to understand it. God Himself gave the key to doing that, but unfortunately, so much of the world – even a large portion of the church – has lost sight of the simple technique prescribed by the Author Himself.
If Christians want to fully comprehend God’s Word to them – including the book of Job — so that they can put it to work effectively in their lives and in the world around them, the first principle that they need to know and understand is this: all scripture — all scripture — must be interpreted and understood through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Every word in the book must be understood through Jesus Christ. This formula for interpreting all scripture sets people free from nagging doubts and fears that they can’t understand God’s Word for themselves — or that someone else can lead them astray by false teaching.
Anointed Bible teachers can help people understand meanings of words and phrases by taking them back to the original languages and correctly defining words for them. But even without ever looking at a word or passage of Greek or Hebrew, the Bible reader can tell for himself if the point made or the picture portrayed in a passage of scripture matches Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament, of course, must be interpreted and understood through The New. But even the New must be interpreted and understood through Jesus and what He showed mankind while He was on the earth. It makes understanding God very simple, and it helps the Bible student clear up some things that may have seemed like discrepancies or disagreements between scriptures.
There are multiple scriptures that will verify this foundational point. John, chapter one, verses 1-3, (NAS): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Verse 9: “There was the true light, which coming into the world enlightens every man.”
There’s a part of a verse in the Christmas carol “O Holy Night” that says, “Long lay the world in sin and error, pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” That’s so very true. When Jesus came, the soul of the human race finally recognized its value and its worth. They had fallen into sin and its curse, and had lost the correct perception of God and themselves. Their awareness was of their own sinful, fallen state, and they were in misery. Jesus brought light and revelation because He came to show just how far God would go to restore mankind.
The fallen human race had had a covenant with their Creator, but until Jesus came, bringing that covenant to fullness and bringing that light, humanity did not truly realize what they were worth — not until they saw Him and the sacrifice He was making for them.
“Long lay the world in sin and error … pining” … until Jesus came … and then God’s creation realized what they were all about and how valuable they were.
But go on to verse 14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” V. 16: “For of His fullness, we have all received, and grace upon grace, For the law was given through Moses. Grace and Truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time. The only-begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. “
The Amplified Bible says in verse 18 of this passage: “No man has ever seen God at any time. The only unique Son, the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. He has revealed Him, brought Him out where He can be seen. He has interpreted Him, and He has made Him known.”
Now, if a person wants to know what God’s like, and wants to know what the Godhead is like, there’s only one person to look at to find out: The One who brought God out; the one who interpreted Him. The Only-begotten Son has brought Him out where He may be seen.
The gospels are full of confirmation of this fact. Jesus Himself kept saying throughout His earthly ministry that it was not He who was working, but the Father. He said whoever had seen Him had seen the Father.
Then in Hebrews 1:1-3 (Amp.) the Lord gives another confirmation: “In many separate revelations, each of which set forth a portion of the truth, and in different ways, God spoke of old to our forefathers in and by the prophets. But in the last days, He has spoken to us in the person of His Son, whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things. …He is the sole expression of the glory of God; the lightbeing; the outraying of the Divine, and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature.” New American Standard says, He is “the express image of God.”
So Jesus alone is the total perfect imprint — the very image of God’s nature. To know what God is like, one must look at Jesus Christ.
Now in John, where it says the law was given through Moses and “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ,” that statement represents a huge leap forward for man’s understanding of his supernatural God. The word truth that is used here is from the Greek and it’s precise definition is “reality.”
So what John is saying, as well as Hebrews, is that through all of the Old Covenant, God was always trying to give His people some idea of what He was like and what he had in store for them. He tried to give them an idea of what His plan was to work out their salvation so that they could be brought back into the bosom of the Father. So that they could start over as the family that God originally wanted. So He spoke to them in what the Bible refers to as types and shadows, and that’s what they had in the Old Testament. Here in Hebrews it says He spoke to them in many separate revelations, which set forth a portion of the truth, and spoke to them through symbols and types of Jesus Christ and shadows of what was going to come to pass.
God set up the Old Covenant so that they could understand sin and understand the sacrifice that was necessary to pay for sin. They saw that a lamb had to be given to take away the sin and atone for what they had done. And God continued trying to help them understand. He set up the tabernacle in the wilderness so that He could explain through various parts of that tabernacle what the relationship was between God and His people, and what He wanted that relationship to be.
But when Jesus Christ came – in the fullness of time as Galatians describes it — when Jesus came on the scene, mankind no longer needed types and shadows. The human race no longer needed symbols. They didn’t need somebody to draw them a picture anymore, because here He was! WILL THE REAL GOD PLEASE STAND UP?
He has. The real God stood up and made a spectacle of Himself for all of the world to see and understand. The real God stood up in Jesus Christ. There is no other picture. There’s no need for any other picture. The real God stood up in Jesus Christ, and said, “Now, beloved, you don’t need symbols , or animal sacrifices, or the tabernacle, or any of this other stuff. Now you can get to know the “real” Me, because now I’m able to get up close and personal.”
And that’s what Jesus came to do. He was “reality.” Grace and reality came with Jesus Christ. The world didn’t have to wonder anymore what God was like. Jesus said when you’ve seen me you’ve see the Father. In other words: “What you see is what you get.”
Why elaborate so much on that point? Because the church at large accepts that idea mentally, but not in actual fact. So often, when people get to where the rubber meets the road – actually applying God’s Word to specific circumstances; knowing what they have faith for; knowing what they can stand against; knowing how long they can stand and fight the battle and not give up; knowing for sure what God’s will is and what it isn’t — in the hard places — the church, for the most part, fails to stick with what they see in Jesus.
They let go of the fact that Jesus is the “real” God and that what we see in Him is the final word. And even though they say they believe – and do believe at the level of their minds — they don’t really believe deeply enough to live their lives according to that fact. In the times of serious trouble, they tend to revert to the traditional teachings based on well-worn scriptures – poorly translated scriptures – that seemingly don’t line up with what Jesus demonstrates in His life. And because most of those scriptures have been accepted by the majority of Christians and handed down for generations, they somehow seem true and even holy. So most Christians base their faith on those passages rather than choosing to hold tight to what they see in Jesus.
So what does one do about those passages that seem to portray a God unlike Jesus? How does the average Bible reader get to the real truth in those scriptures? There is a simple method. In fact, it’s the method used in this study of Job, but it applies throughout the Word:
Step 1: Recognize that every passage of scripture must be understood through Jesus Christ, who is the only true picture of God.
Step 2: Recognize that any scripture that appears to be contrary to something Jesus exemplified in His life on this earth, has a problem, either with the translation or the interpretation of that scripture.
Does that mean the Bible’s wrong in certain places? No. The Bible is not “wrong.” However, some passages have been incorrectly translated to say something that the original Bible manuscripts did not say.
When the reader comes across passages that seem to show God saying something, doing something, or handling things in a way that doesn’t line up with exactly what Jesus did or refrained from doing in His life, a closer look at the words of that passage in the original language will bring the solution to light. Sometimes the problem lies in the fact that punctuation was not included in so much of the original work, and each translator’s own choice of usage can easily alter meanings. However, most of the time the problem lies in the definitions of words.
In the vast majority of cases involving those questionable passages, the reader will come across at least a word or two that, in the original language, has two or three different definitions. In other words, that word – and therefore that passage – could have been translated several different ways.
When the translators changed those passages to English, they chose one of those several definitions. Sometimes that method can work out just fine. But occasionally there’s enough difference in those definitions that it changes the picture completely. And when that happens, the reader has to look at those definitions and ask himself which one of them lines up with what Jesus showed the world in His life. It should go without saying that the definition that matches Jesus is the only one that can be correct.
Why were alternate definitions chosen at times? Often it was because certain words actually meant something different hundreds of years ago, when so many of the translations were being written. The meanings, especially the connotative meanings, have changed considerably. Other times, there was a space problem to be dealt with. One definition may have been available in a single English word, while the others would have required three or four words to render the meaning clearly.
One classic example of such a need to use multiple English words when translating from Hebrew is with Psalm 23. In the original Hebrew, that psalm contains only 55 words, whereas, the English translation, in order to be completely accurate, contains 115.
There may have been other reasons for choosing one definition over another, but discovering all of them is not the purpose of this teaching. It will suffice to say that Jesus Himself made it clear that unless what people believe lines up with Him, they are not believing the truth about God.
So, returning to the story of Job, the Bible student must ask himself if the picture he sees of God looks like the picture Jesus exemplified when He was here in the flesh. If it does not match Jesus, then it is time to look deeply into the original language and find the true meaning of the words – the meaning that does match Jesus Christ. The correct words are there – within the original language. The reader just has to want the truth enough to find them.
This fact is worth repeating: the correct words are there. That’s the beautiful thing about God’s desire to reveal Himself. He always provides the right words to do so.
In the following chapters, two specific examples of this problem in the book of Job will come under scrutiny, along with some other seriously misunderstood aspects of the life and experiences of this ancient believer.
Look for Chapter 3 on Friday
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