Just Sayin’

30 05 2015

Image result for spurgeon

Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.

God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians.

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy.

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference.

Oh, to love the Savior with a passion that can never cool

Charles Spurgeon

Take up the cross, and follow Me.
Mark 10:21

He is precious
1 Peter 2:7

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall
1 Corinthians 10:12

“Fear of God” is another way of saying that we take God seriously!

It’s not what we are, but what we are becoming, that communicates Christ.

Love without discipline encourages a self-indulgent life. But discipline without love encourages bitterness and rebellion.

365-Day Devotional Commentary

Image result for spurgeon quotes

Advertisements




Three Important Memorial Day Pictures

24 05 2015

International Picture of the Year

 

Here are three very touching photos honored this year.
 First Place :

When 2nd Lt. James Cathey’s body arrived at the Reno Airport , Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine’s casket last year at Denver International Airport , Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: ‘See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what’s going through their minds, knowing that they’re on the plane that brought him home,’ he said. ‘They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They’re going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should.’

 
Second Place

 

Todd Heisler, The Rocky Mountain News

   

 

 

The night before the burial of her husband’s body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of ‘Cat,’ and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. ‘I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,’ she said. ‘I think that’s what he would have wanted’.

 

Third Place

(And the one that really tightens MY throat: )

“Son,on behalf of a grateful Nation,

I present to you the flag

of the United States of America ,

symbolizing your father’s service….”

 

 





Failures

16 05 2015

I do not have a source for this quote that I copied and taped to the wall in back of my desk. I just know that I need to be reminded of its truth.

Pastor Dave

Image result for failure

  • Even those with great faith can fail. Let’s not be shocked at our own or at others’ weaknesses.
  • Personal failures affect others. What we do and are always has its impact on those around us.
  • Only God can redeem our failures. Never let guilt or shame turn you away from God. He is the only One who can help.
  • God does not abandon us when our weaknesses betray us. God can and will intervene for us when we turn to Him.




Invocation for Mother’s Day

8 05 2015

Image result for mother

Glorious Lord God, we worship you, we honor you and we stand in awe of you. We are amazed at your grace, love and faithfulness. We rejoice in your salvation. We thank you for the peace that we have with you through your Son Jesus Christ. We love you this morning because you first loved us. Remind us to rejoice in the Lord always. Help us to know the depth of that simple two-word command, “Rejoice evermore”.

Today Lord, we give recognition to all mothers whom we honor with our attention, thoughts, or  memories. We thank you for special mercies you have given to mothers as they sacrifice for their children. We thank you for the daily wisdom you have given them, still treasured into our adult years. We thank you for their patience, love, nurturing, and understanding. We remember the special care you gave to your mother, even as you died on the cross.

We pray for new mothers as they gaze at the toothless smile of their infant. Give them strength and a sense of awe at your plan for the life of their baby. We pray continuing wisdom and understanding for mothers with children still at home. We pray for aging mothers and their growing needs; give her adult children grace as they become caregivers. We pray for those who suffered the loss of a mother this past year; may they find comfort in memories.

We pray for those among us this morning who carry a private or physical pain, touch them with your healing hand. Give direction to those needing guidance and faith to those who can find no answers. Help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus,

Amen





Are Modern Bibles Accurate?

6 05 2015
Sometimes the issue of Bible translations must be plowed before the seed of the gospel is planted. Sometimes we need to give an answer to someone who asks us an honest question about the authenticity of Scripture. Sometimes it is good to be established in our own beliefs. Give this article by Dave DeSonier  a good read, I think it will answer a very foundational question. -Pastor Dave
Image result for bible translations

Dave DeSonier

The January 2, 2015 issue of Newsweek magazine featured on its cover an article in which the author states that we can’t possibly know, today, what the authors actually said in the original bible documents.  To quote from the article:

At best, we’ve all read a bad translation — a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.

The premise is that the bible we have today is not an accurate representation of what the original authors wrote. But is this claim true?

Translations

Has today’s bible really come to us via a long series of language translations, say from Greek to Latin to Armenian to Russian to German to Spanish to English? Or something similar to that? Absolutely NOT.

Our modern English translations of the bible come directly from Greek, the original language in which the New Testament was written. Whether you’re using NIV, NASB, NLT, etc., the English text was translated by a team of scholars directly from the Greek. Many bibles will include an explanation of the translation process used.

So on this point the Newsweek author is clearly wrong. Either he is woefully misinformed, or he is purposely trying to mislead readers regarding the process by which modern bibles were translated..

Copies

On the other hand, he is correct that our bible came from copies; we don’t have the original of any document from antiquity. However, he exaggerates significantly; many New Testament copies are dated quite close in time to the originals, and cannot simply be dismissed as “copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.”

Not just bible documents are copies, but so are all other ancient documents you’ve ever read. For none of them do we have the original that was penned by the author. The materials used in ancient times simply don’t last for 2,000 years. They decay over time, and thus make it necessary for scribes to copy documents in order to perpetuate the author’s work. The copies available to us are called manuscripts, where ‘manuscript’ can mean a copy of the entire book, or of only a chapter of the book, or perhaps of just a fragment of one page.

Even though it was from a copy, my high school English teacher still made me read Homer’s Iliad, so apparently she thought the manuscripts we have are good enough. (In fairness though, no one is basing their worldview or religion on the Iliad.)

Analogy

How do we know that copies we use today accurately reflect the originals? Well, here’s an analogy.

Let’s say you write (not electronically, but by plain old handwriting) a history of your family. You then convince 100 people to each make one hand-written copy of your original. Then you mail the copies to 100 family members.

Twenty years later you cannot find your original. So you write family members and ask them to let your borrow their copies so that you can carefully reconstruct the original. If you have enough copies, you will be able to detect what the original actually said to a high degree of accuracy. Two copies would clearly not be enough — if you found a discrepancy you wouldn’t know which version was correct and which was wrong.  But if you had 10, or 20, or 50 copies, you could determine quite precisely what the original said.

Detective Work

With sufficient copies, scholars can compare manuscripts to eliminate errors and determine what the original actually said. If we have, say 20 copies, and all but one have a punctuation mark in the same spot, but one does not, we can safely conclude that an omission was made by that one scribe. Or if the spelling of a word in one manuscript differs with the spelling in all the others, we conclude that an error was made by that one scribe. Or if an entire line of text is missing in just one manuscript, but present in the others. we know the scribe simply (mistakenly) skipped a line.

So scholars take on the role of detective. To accurately reconstruct the originals what scholars desire is two things:  1) a large number of manuscripts, and 2) manuscripts produced close in time to the date of the original document. In short, we want LOTS of OLD copies. The more copies, and the older the copies, the higher the chance that we can accurately reproduce the original document.

How Many Exist?

So how many manuscripts exist for various works of antiquity? Below is a short table (compiled by Dr Clay Jones) of some well-known works. The “Time Gap” is the number of years that elapsed between the date of authorship, and the date of the earliest manuscript we have. For example, the Iliad was written around 800 BC, but our earliest manuscript is dated about 400 years after Homer wrote, i.e. 400 BC. The time gap is 400 years.

For most of these ancient works, only 30 to 250 manuscripts exist. The Iliad stands out by having over 1,700. And for most of these works, the earliest manuscript we have is dated between 400 and 1,300 years after the original work was penned. In contrast, for the New Testament there are nearly 5,800 Greek manuscripts, and the earliest one dates to within 40 years of the author’s original work.

Author – Work           Time Gap –  # Manuscripts
Homer – Iliad –                400 yrs –  1,757 mss
Herodotus – History –    1,350 yrs –    109 mss
Sophocles – Plays –        ~150 yrs –    193 mss
Plato – Tetralogies –       1,300 yrs –    210 mss
Caesar – Gallic Wars –     950 yrs –    251 mss
Livy – History of Rome –  400 yrs –    150 mss
Tacitus – Annals –            750 yrs –      33 mss
Pliny – Natural History –  400 yrs –    200 mss

New Testament –         40 yrs – 5,795 mss

We have manuscripts of entire New Testament books that date to within about 125 years of the original documents. We have individual manuscripts containing most of the New Testament books (and all the gospels) that date to within about 175 years of the originals. The bottom line is this:  the New Testament has many more manuscripts, much nearer in time to the originals, than for any other work of antiquity. If we are going to say that the New Testament is unreliable, then we’ve got to also toss out every other ancient work.

Other Evidence

Besides almost 5,800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, there are more than 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 5,000 in other languages (such as Armenian, Syriac, Coptic). Altogether, scholars are working with over 30,000 manuscripts.

In addition, the early church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Tertullian and others quoted the New Testament exhaustively. In fact, even if we had zero manuscripts of the New Testament, we would be able to reconstruct all but 11 verses of the New Testament from works of the church fathers.

As a result, scholars can reproduce the original books of the New Testament to an extremely high degree of accuracy. Of the 20,000 lines of text in the New Testament, only about 40 lines contain wording that is still being debated. And none of these disputed lines brings into question any significant doctrine of Christianity. (For comparison, about 10%, or 1,500 lines of the Iliad are debated.)

In summary, our modern New Testament is a direct, Greek to English, translation of an extremely accurate reconstruction of the original Greek text. The New Testament is by far the best attested of any document from antiquity, with many times more manuscripts, and manuscripts much closer in time to the originals.





Love Does

28 04 2015
Image result for love

I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.

I used to think I had to act a certain way to follow God, but now I know God doesn’t want us to be typical.

I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.

I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down.

I used to think the best teachers wore tweed jackets and smoked pipes, but now I know they flip over and leak.

I used to think God wouldn’t talk to me, but now I know I’m just selective with what I chose to hear.

I used to think I needed to pick sides, but now I know it’s better to pick a fight.

Bob Goff, the author of Love Does.





Jumping to Conclusions

26 04 2015

Image result for odds

 

Christianity is more than optimism, but we have much to be optimistic about! When God enters an equation, the odds of success/failure are thrown out the window. Don’t give up dear child of God, just surrender your five smooth stones to the One who can conquer giants.

Pastor Dave

by Charles R. Swindoll

Exodus 14–15

THE OPERA AIN’T OVER . . . ‘TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS. It was a banner hung over the wall near the forty-yard line of Texas Stadium. The guys in silver and blue were struggling to stay in the race for the playoffs. So some Cowboy fan, to offer down-home encouragement, had splashed those words on a king-size bedsheet for all America to read. It was his way of saying, “We’re hangin’ in there, baby. Don’t count us out.”

Sure is easy to jump to conclusions, isn’t it? People who study trends make it their business to manufacture out of their imaginations the proposed (and “inevitable”) end result. Pollsters do that too. After sampling 3 percent of our country (or at least they say that’s what it equates to), vast and stunning statistics are announced.

Every once in a while it’s helpful to remember times when those preening prognosticators wound up with egg on their faces. Like when Truman beat Dewey, and England didn’t surrender, and the Communists didn’t take over America by 1975.

Yes, at many a turn we have all been tempted to jump to “obvious” conclusions, only to be surprised by a strange curve thrown our way. God is good at that.

Can you recall a few biblical examples?

Like when a young boy, armed with only a sling and a stone, whipped a giant over nine feet tall. Or the time an Egyptian army approaching fast saw the sea open up and the Hebrews walk across. Or how about that dead-end street at Golgotha miraculously opening up at an empty tomb three days later?

Anybody—and I mean anybody—near enough to have witnessed any one of those predicaments would certainly have said, “Curtains . . . the opera is over!”

Unless I miss my guess, a lot of you who are reading this page are backed up against circumstances that seem to spell THE END. Pretty well finished. Apparently over. Your adversary would love for you to assume the worst, to heave a sigh and resign yourself to the depressed feelings that accompany defeat, failure, maximum resentment, and minimum faith.

But take heart. When God is involved, anything can happen. The One who directed David’s stone and opened that sea and brought His Son back from the dead takes delight in the incredible.

In other words, don’t manufacture conclusions. There are dozens of fat ladies waiting in the wings. And believe me, the opera ain’t over!

God delights in mixing up the odds as He alters the obvious
and bypasses the inevitable.