Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Relief Is A Poor Substitute

Then Jesus said, "Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine? Didn't any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?"  And He told him, "Get up and go on your way. Your faith has made you well."  Luke 17:17-19

There was water in the ditch yesterday. It has rained, and we thank and praise God for it. I was so excited for the rain, and also for the possibility that the burn ban would be lifted. I have piles of trees and trash lumber from the building of our home that need to be burned. But, the burn ban is still on.  It's irritating.  It feels wet outside today. There is still water in the ditch, it's overcast, the grass is green, the rain has brought much needed relief, but still I can't burn.

10 lepers cried out to Jesus for healing, and he healed them all. What an incredible relief.  Leprosy had ostracized them from every healthy person in their lives for as many years as they had had the disease. Most of them would die early because of it.  In a sudden downpour of grace and mercy, they were healed. They could go home. They could go back to work. They could live.

But, for nine of them it wasn't really life. They were relieved, incredibly, but only one really lived that day. The one who returned to Jesus, fell at His feet, and worshiped was the only one who was truly delivered that day. He was the only one saved.

How many times do we settle for relief?  How many times does God give it, and we never turn back to Him for the reality of eternal and abundant life?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two New Bible Translations To Avoid

You are on a business trip to a land where you don’t speak the language, so you hire a translator to help you in your important negotiations. Unfortunately, the translator you hire is not faithful to your intentions. He decides what he thinks the people need to hear, and he changes the meanings of your words.  He knows exactly how to translate what you are speaking, but makes his own decision to substitute words that mean something else. How would you feel?

For 500 years scholars have worked to translate the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible into the language of the people.  Until recently, the goal of translators was to be faithful to the original meaning of the words God laid down in the text of the Bible.  Over the last several decades, many translators have become more concerned about the culture and what they think people need to hear.  They have intentionally changed the meaning of God’s Word to fit their assumptions and their agenda.  How do you think God feels about that?

Two new Bible translations that have done this are the 2011 New International Version (2011 NIV) and the Common English Translation (CET). Avoid these translations if you want an accurate translation that reflects the original meaning of God’s Word. Following are several translations that are printed in modern English that remain true to God’s original intent. 

Holman Christian Standard Bible - HCSB
New American Standard Bible - NASB
English Standard Version - ESV
New International Version - NIV
(original 1984 or earlier version)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Either Enough Or Not

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith." (Rom. 1:16-17)

I was already about to blow a gasket. Three minutes! The store was closing in three minutes. Now!  Now is when I needed to be at my currently-being-built house to install some additional 2 x 4's before all light disappeared.  Now is also when I had to get it done because a sheet rock crew was coming to finish early in the morning.  And, let me add this, I am absolutely not a framer.  I can build you a cabinet, but you don't want me any closer to your rough carpentry than you want me near your plumbing.  But, that's another story.

I just want to say that whoever had stocked the isle with nails had done an incredible job.  I have never seen so many different nails in so many different sizes in so many different finishes in so many different quantities.  Did I mention that I needed these nails now.  So, I selected a box, after almost losing it.  TOO MANY CHOICES, when all I needed was something with which I could hold some lumber together.

I am not naive. I do not believe that all we have to do is stand on a soapbox and preach the Bible, but I do believe this. There are too many people who think they have the answer, and it is enough to make any church leader blow a gasket.

I thought we were past the worship style issue. Apparently it is still alive and well. Add to it Calvin and Arminius, one service vs. two, home groups or Sunday School, no Sunday night or extra Sunday night, bible or literature, topical or verse-by-verse, church planting vs. revitalization, beer or no-beer, emergent vs. emerging vs. whatever, simple church vs. whatever, Holy Ghost vs. Holy Spirit, once-saved-always-saved vs. who knows.   Everyone has an answer.

Well, so does God, and today I choose to believe that praying and preaching His Gospel, the Bible, is still more effective than any method.  Call me crazy.  Maybe I'm just struggling with early onset pre-senile dementia (meaning I just can't handle much mentally), but I believe that preaching the Word is still what is needed to change lives.  Love 'em and preach the Word.  It's either enough or not.