Trust

HANDS IN CIRCLEI find it very hard to trust people nowadays. I’m not sure why, but I have to assume it’s because so many people have let me down and/or virtually ‘knifed me in the back,” to use a worn-out — but exceedingly descriptive — phrase. I won’t use this post to list the times and details of those kinds of experiences. That would do no good for anyone — least of all me. And I can honestly say that I have, with the Lord’s help, been able to forgive all those actions by others against me. And, in fact, in most cases — again, with the Lord’s help — have put them out of my conscious mind to the point that I’d  have to make concerted effort to remember those details. I’m very grateful that I’m at that point in my life.

However, just because we forgive hurts, attacks, and injustices by others does not mean that we automatically acquire renewed trust in those people. And, unfortunately, it’s true that when you know you cannot trust most people, then it’s pretty hard to trust any at all. But thank God, He can help us. He can lead us to relationships with people who really are trustworthy, and He can give us the faith and courage to take the steps that lead us back into trust.

The main reason He can do that is because He is so trustworthy Himself. Our loving Father God means every promise He ever made to us. And He’s made at least one that will cover every single need we will ever have. And He tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that every promise (from the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) has already been answered “Yes” in Jesus. There’s no way God will ever go back on any promise He’s given us in His Word, because, according to this passage of scripture, He cannot change His mind or decide He’s not in the mood to answer “Yes.” It’s already a done deal, so we can trust Him, no matter what.

And, of course, that’s why He can tell us in Proverbs 3 that we should trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding. I’m so grateful that, in a world where so many people can’t help but hurt each other and break trust, we have a God whom we can trust with our whole being. We can literally stake our lives on His love, His Word, and His faithfulness. We can trust and not be afraid.

 

 

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I Am My Beloved’s

 

HEART RIVER TRQUS BRIGHT“I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is toward me”  

(Song of Solomon 7:10)

Jesus loves you, and His desire is toward you. That word toward is very significant here, because most people who love someone have a desire for them — rather than toward them. And, in truth, Jesus does desire to have you for His own, but that’s only so that He can give you everything He is and everything He’s accomplished for you. He wants you to have everything He has. And He’s already paid the price for you to possess it. You don’t have to do anything to earn all that He has for you. The only requirement on your part is that you receive Him into your own spirit (your own heart) and make Him Lord of your life. Once He’s in that position, He can begin pouring into you all that you need and all that will make your life blessed and successful now — and throughout eternity.

In Ephesians, chapter 1, the Word of God tells us that God accomplished total victory over every force of evil through Jesus’ work of redemption, and when He raised Jesus from the grave, He gave Him absolute, eternal power and authority over every person and thing in the entire universe. Then the Word says that when God did that, He was exercising the “greatness of His power toward us.”  It was all done for us. You see, God’s power is always moving and working to bring us good. It’s always toward us. The truth is that if you become a child of God — by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord — you just can’t get away from God’s power working good for you.

Men and women for generations have sought high and low for some kind of religion that would satisfy them. They’ve studied one religious system after another and experimented with their various tenets and practices. But not one — not one single religion on the face of the earth — can offer man a total deliverance from his own base nature and from the evil that exudes from that nature. Not one of those religions can offer a fresh start, free of charge, and a nature purified and changed into the nature of the God who created us in the first place. Every religion out there tells us that we, somehow, have to do something, to earn a better life and a better eternity. We have to work at it, and then may not obtain our goal in the end after all.

But Christianity is NOT a religion. True Christianity is simply the Father God loving His own children, and being loved by them. It’s a family, pure and simple. Every parent who is worthy to be called a parent is constantly aware that he loves his child more than his own life, and his constant desire is toward his child — to meet his needs, heal his wounds, and bless him with gifts. And God is no different. That’s His desire as well. And through Jesus, the first Son, He calls all of us into His loving arms, desiring us to receive His love and become sons and daughter as well, so that He can exert His power toward us for good.

If you know this wonderful Father, you know what I’m talking about. But if you do not yet know Him, today can be your day. He already loves you, His desire is already toward you. Call out to Jesus and let His exceeding great power work a total regeneration in you today — and for eternity.

 

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Covenant of Peace

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And my covenant of peace (wholeness, completeness) will not be shaken, says the Lord who has compassion on you. In righteousness you will be established; you will be far from oppression for you will not fear; and from terror, for it will not come near you. If anyone fiercely assails you, it will not be from Me. Whoever assails you will fall because of you. No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.”

(Isaiah 54:10, 14, 15, 17)

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PRAY NOW!

PRAYIN HANDS CLIPART - flipped, TEXT
Believers: Let’s not get complacent about Hurricane Irma. This storm is more than just another hurricane. This is a well-planned, well-orchestrated demonic onslaught on this nation and the people in it. The enemy wants the inhabitants of the U. S. and the rest of the world to believe that the natural elements of this world have run amok, and that there is no God who’s interested enough in delivering His people from the chaos.

We know that there is such a God, and that His mercy is big enough to send His own Son to be slaughtered on our behalf. He wants to deliver the people of Florida — and other places as well — from this vicious demonic attack. But He’s made it clear in His Word that He must have covenant men and women — on the earth — praying and taking authority in the name of Jesus for His power to overcome in the earthly realm.

This is a defining moment in the battle between the two spiritual forces that want to rule in our nation and in our lives. Our simply saying, “I’m in agreement,” will not do the job. We have to put our whole hearts into praying the Word and commanding the Word against this situation. Pray as you would if your own son or daughter were stranded in Florida right now with nowhere to hide from this storm.

 

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Killer Storms Are NOT From God

Clouds & Sky 129The state of Florida, as well as the whole southeastern coast of the United States has been preparing this week to face one of the most horrendous storms in the century. Our Gulf Coast — particularly Texas — is currently trying to recover from a storm almost as devastating.  I have friends and family in both places, and their well-being is a priority in my heart. I live in the Heartland of the United States. Most years during the spring and fall, when our seasons undergo a major change, our section of the country, along with the section to the south and east of us, experiences frequent occurrences of severe weather. In recent years, there have been some devastating storms that brought hundreds of deaths and destruction to massive portions of the Midwest.

When horrific events like these killer storms develop, there are a number of people who automatically suppose that God is behind those events — or that He deliberately allows them as a way of teaching or punishing the people on earth. Nothing could be further from the truth, and in response to a number of misguided comments on that subject, by both Christians and non-Christians, I am posting this article in an effort to clear the record and bring to light the truth — both about devastating storms and about God.

Jesus said, in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”

And there you have it, friends. Those words say it all. That one statement by Jesus gives us the definitive answer to the question of whether hurricanes, tornadoes,  and other “killer storms” are from God.  Do they kill?  Do they destroy?  Then according to Jesus Christ Himself, they are not from God.  Where do they come from?  They come from an aberration and twisted use of the natural elements that is orchestrated by Satanic power in operation on this earth.

God made all natural elements, including the elements of weather, to be a blessing to man.  And even in Psalm 8, He tells us that man is to rule over “all the works” of God’s hands.  But man rebelled against God and His purposes in the garden, and listened to Satan instead.  His actions in response to Satan put man in a position of subservience to the devil, and that sin opened the door to a curse that would effect all of the created earth. (Gen. 3 / Rom. 8).  When man gave Satan the right to operate in this earth, Satan then moved into a position of being able to take hold of any of the natural elements, adulterate them, twist them, and use them to inflict evil upon mankind — and the planet itself. He operates this way on a regular basis and then tries to convince the world that God causes it all. That’s Satan’s M.O.

However, that is not the last word in the story.  God’s Covenant with man — which He calls a “covenant of peace” (Is.54) — restored man’s right to rule over the elements again — only through that covenant — and to take authority over those demonic powers.  Even in the Old Covenant, the Lord expected His faithful servants to know how to use that authority over the natural elements.  When Jesus is with His disciples in the boat, they are all still living and operating under the Old Covenant with God. But notice that when they are struck by a severe storm (Matt.8), He tells them that they are showing a serious lack of faith in responding in fear rather than authority.  He finally stills the storm for them, but at the same time, He asks them “Where is your faith?”

Please note that He did not say, “God sent this storm as judgement for the evil that’s been going on.”  Nor did He say, “God is sending this storm to test your faith.” We can’t believe two contradictory things at the same time, friends. We either believe these horrible storms are from the hand of God — or we believe Jesus and recognize them as an evil that we are supposed to take authority over.

As part of the New Covenant, Jesus literally bought back man’s right to govern in the earth as He was intended to do.  We as believers are made the Body of Christ, and since the government is now upon His shoulders – His body – us – we are supposed to be “governing.”  (Is. 9).  The devil still has the right that man gave him to operate in this earth, but we now have absolute power and authority to bind his power and activity wherever we will make the effort.

Since the finished work of Jesus, we are now literally in the highest position of authority on this planet.  Philippians 2 says that every created thing — in heaven, on earth, and under the earth — must bow its knee to and obey the name of Jesus Christ.  Do we believe that?   Ephesians 1 says that Jesus reins over all principalities and powers and that He is the head of His body – which is the Church.   If we are His body, and all things are “under His feet,” then all things are under us as well.  Do we believe that?   Jesus made it so clear: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.”

We now have the blood-bought spiritual authority living in us to take command over every natural thing.  All natural things were created by a Spirit God, and they will respond to the commands of the Spirit God in us.

What do we do with that authority?  In Mark 11 — as well as several other scriptures in the Gospels — Jesus says that if we will speak to a mountain or a tree and tell it to move, and not doubt in our hearts, but believe that it will come to pass, we will have what we say.  And He clearly demonstrated that the same action works with a storm.  Do we believe Him?

Unfortunately, some Christians seem to think that all natural calamities are some kind of judgment from God.  There will certainly come a time for God’s judgment to be unleashed — at the end — but that time is not now, if we are to believe the commission of Jesus Christ to His church.  Jesus said twice in the Gospel of John that He did NOT come to judge the world, but to save it.  He then told His disciples, and all of those who would become disciples, to follow His specific examples and continue to carry on that work of taking the Gospel to the world.  That being the case, we need to get into agreement with Jesus and say God is not judging right now; He is delivering the grace and mercy of the Gospel of salvation. 

HOWEVER: We do need to be aware that when a nation or a people deliberately throw God’s Word in His face and deliberately take a stand or practice things that God clearly says are against Him and His ways, they are literally opening the door to an attack from demonic power.  When we do those things, we set ourselves up for that attack — even invite it.  God isn’t sending it, but it will come.  But even in that kind of situation, God has repeatedly shown mercy and turned destruction away from people — even in the Old Covenant — because faithful believers prayed and took a stand of faith.

Many times in my own life, I have experienced the power of God’s Word and the name of Jesus Christ taking authority over destructive storms, and as a result, I’ve seen those storms dissipated, turned away, and or destroyed.  Many other believers have experienced the same thing.  And yes, I’m talking about deadly tornadoes and hurricanes as well as severe thunderstorms.

But when you are facing a huge battle, sometimes you need a huge, united front to win.  The need in this nation is for a strong united front of faith on the part of the Christian believers to stand in authority against these deadly storms and weather systems.  This whole massive movement of deadly, destructive weather is nothing but a spiritual war being waged by demonic forces, using natural elements.  We must learn to recognize it as such and command the demonic forces to take their hands off — and command those elements to obey the purposes of God in the name of Jesus Christ.

Come on, Church!  Rise up and take your authority! If true believers in this nation will unite in faith, take a strong stand on God’s Word, and take authority over these destructive storms in the name of Jesus Christ, the storms and elements of weather have no choice but to obey.

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God’s Weightloss Program – Guest Post from Ted Pavloff

CHECKING WEIGHT - SEPIA“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” — Hebrews 12:1

Without doubt, one of the most consistent preoccupations of the American mind today is this subject of weight – more specifically, too much weight. As a result, about every two weeks a new diet plan is foisted upon gullible Americans, and another fortune is made by some clever soul.

Maybe it’s time we looked into this matter of weight from a different perspective: not the kind of weight that an exotic diet will solve, but the burdensome weights that the Apostle Paul admonishes us to lay aside. He is referring to that excess baggage that affects our Christian walk and witness – weights that make it difficult for us to move along as well and rapidly as we should, delaying, and even preventing, progress. The apostle directs us to lay them aside, and the clear implication in this Scripture is that we can do that by an act of our will: put it away! Whether it is hanging on our backs or sitting in our paths, we must move it out!

Weights appear in many and varied forms, and Satan will use any one or all of them to prevent our being the effective Christian witnesses Jesus wants us to be. He will also use them to keep us from having a happy and peaceful life. Some are so commonplace and deceptive that we hardly recognize them as such; we just thoughtlessly pick them up and carry them.

Let’s examine some of the weights noted in the Scriptures:

Possessions:  First, let’s remember the encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler in Luke 18. Having possessions is not a sin, and, in fact, properly handled they are, or can be, a blessing. The problem surfaces when possessions begin to dominate our lives — as was the case of the rich young ruler. How much better for us if we keep our material blessings in perspective and use them in all ways to the glory of God.

The Cares of the World:   In Jesus’ parable of the sower, as recorded in Matthew 13. Here is a weight that can get so heavy it will simply override the things of God. We get so wrapped up in jobs, social schedules, sports, and selfish desires that our church attendance and commitments are relegated to a lower position on our priority list. Then there is too much busyness. God expects us to provide for our families. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that he who provides not for his family is worse than an infidel. But he also reminded Timothy that there is a place where we are to be content – not continually striving for more.

To some men (even Christian men) their jobs take precedence over everything, including God and family. The same is true with some women. This is a terrible weight, and it will drag our vital fellowship with God to a complete stop.

Self:  Self can also be a weight. We need to consider carefully whom we are serving and whose will we are concerned about. How did Jesus deal with this problem of the importance of “self”? His whole attitude and focus can be summed up in this one statement: “I delight to do the will of my Father,” He said. “I do the will of Him who sent me.”

The Desire to be Seen and Heard: This desire can be a weight. In one of His teachings, Jesus admonishes us to “take the worst seat at the table.” Remember that Jesus washed feet! He also instructed us to do as He did. Remember, it is God’s job to elevate us to the higher positions – not ours.

Timidity: This characteristic can develop into a weight. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no on is pursuing; [this is actually a picture of timidity] but the righteous are bold as a lion!” and 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Murmuring: This habit is one of the heaviest weights of all. First Corinthians 10:10 needs no clarification: “Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured and were destroyed.” Something about us is always destroyed when we murmur. It may be our fellowship with our Lord; it may be our strength or joy, or even our health. But something is definitely affected in a damaging way. God said so.

Beloved, it is important to remember that God never tells us to do something we cannot do. If He admonishes us to put away from us each of these hindrances to serving Him effectively, then He does so in order to make our lives freer and better. He does not intend to add another burden by insisting we do something that is going to make our lives harder. So let’s believe our Father when He tells us the way to a happier and more effective life. Let us eagerly “… lay aside every weight,” and “… put off the old man …” and let us run the race that is set before us with top efficiency – all the way to victory!


© 2006 Ted Pavloff

 

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‘Right Believing’ – Pastor Joseph Prince Shares the Key to Living Victoriously

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.

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The Lord Giveth; the *Devil* Taketh Away – Chapter 2

For the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the book, click on “The Lord Giveth; The Devil Taketh Away” in the menu.

JOB COVERTHE 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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Barabbas

As we enter the Easter season, I thought I’d share a look at Jesus’ sacrifice from the perspective of the murderer whose life was spared because if Him.

CROWN OF THORNS ULTRA MODERN

My heart pounded
As they dragged me out.
They stood me close beside Him,
And I looked about.

The crowd was frenzied:
With rage and raw disgust.
I wasn’t sure the real cause —
Why they fumed and cussed.

I glanced beside me
To catch a glimpse of Him,
But what my eyes saw in His
Convicted me within.

When the guards shouted,
“Who’s it going to be?”
Then I understood they’d choose
To set one free.

“We want Barabbas!
Set Barabbas free!”
I could not believe my ears:
They chose, not Him, but me.

“But what of Jesus?”
Pilate asked the crowd.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!
He is not our God.

My shackles fell off:
By law a free man.
Pilate called for water then
And there he washed his hands.

The day grew darker
As He was hanging there,
Upon a cross with thieves each side;
Then He said a prayer.

He prayed, “Forgive them.”
Did that include me?
Then He cried, “It is finished!”
I thought, how can this be?

For suddenly I knew —
He’d died to save me too —
Even me — Barabbas.

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(Scripture Reference: Matthew 27)

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