Welcome to the June 2015 JREnsey blog!
The Word for today
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Corinthians 1:22-25 ESV).
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
From Rain On Me by Holley Gerth
You may be thinking: God didn’t give me a choice! I never wanted to be in this storm!
Sometimes we don’t choose our circumstances, but we can still choose our response to them. Joshua told the Israelite people, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). He DIDN’T say “Choose how you feel about this!” Your feelings and circumstances will try to be the boss of your life—don’t allow them to rule!
Not everything in the world has turned out the way God wanted. He didn’t desire for sin or suffering to be part of our existence. However, He doesn’t allow those things to change His character. He continues to make choices based on who He is, whatever the circumstances.
We are made in His image, and He wants us to respond the same way to everything that happens in our lives.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
Speaking of Rain
Texas has experienced the worst drought since the 1950s. But no more. Once folks here prayed for rain, now they are praying for it to stop. Some lakes that could be walked across are running over. Rivers are flooding and many cities are virtually under water. In fact, one lake within ¾ of a mile from us, the Lewis Creek Reservoir, has a dam that has been threatening to break at any moment. One near Dallas is in the same condition. Many families near us have been asked to evacuate their homes and businesses. While our home is not threatened, we could not get in or out of our subdivision if the dam broke. Our back yard has become a lake itself.
Doubtless this is happening because of global warming. All weather seems to be blamed on that. According to our president, global warming is the number one crisis in America right now, ranking above Isis, Al Qaeda, all other Islamic threats, drugs and terrorists crossing our southern border, or the potential candidacy of HC.
Jewish and Christian history remains intact
The Israel Museum in Jerusalem plans to display a Dead Sea Scroll fragment containing one of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments, the Associated Press reports.
The Ten Commandments Dead Sea Scroll, scroll 4Q41 (also known as the All Souls Deuteronomy), was discovered in 1952 in Cave 4 near the Dead Sea site of Qumran. The scroll dates to the first century BC and is written in Hebrew.
“A number of the Dead Sea Scrolls preserve parts of the Decalogue [the Ten Commandments], but 4Q41 (4QDeutn) is special because it is so beautifully preserved,” said Dead Sea Scroll specialist Dr. Shani Tzoref in an email to Bible History Daily.
Are you interested in the history and meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls? In the free eBook Dead Sea Scrolls, you can learn what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and why are they important. Find out what they tell us about the Bible, Christianity and Judaism.
The most famous of the Qumran caves, Cave 4 (shown here), was where more than 10,000 scroll fragments from more than 500 manuscripts were discovered. The Ten Commandments Dead Sea Scroll (scroll 4Q41) was found in this cave. Photo: Hershel Shanks.
The Ten Commandments Dead Sea Scroll (below), scroll 4Q41, will be on display at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Photo: Dan Balilty/AP.
“One of its more interesting features is its ‘harmonization’ of the text of the Sabbath law: It combines the two different versions found in Exodus and Deuteronomy. It is identified as a copy of Deuteronomy, but it actually contains excerpts of the biblical book and may have been written for use as a liturgical text. Other ancient copies of the Decalogue also point to liturgical uses: Some of the tefillin at Qumran include this passage, and the second-century ‘Nash Papyrus’ discovered in Egypt contained the Decalogue followed by the ‘Shema’ (Deut 6:4: ‘Hear, O Israel …’).” (Source: Bible Review Weekly)
Ah, yes, ’tis true. They more the skeptics attack the Scriptures, they more holes they put in their feet. Archaeology is fun, interesting and enlightening, as well as faith building. Get into it!
Burn the Jews!
Anti-Semitism has been rampant in Holland and the Netherlands for some time, but a new incident has taken the Jew hatred to new levels. Dutch soccer fans chanted anti-Semitic slogans during a match on Sunday, April 4, calling for Jews to be burned and sent to gas chambers.
One of the chants was, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!” Another said, “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS (Nazis), together they burned Jews, because Jews burn the best.” (Source: Israel National News, 4/7/15)
The Netherlands have been overrun by Muslims in recent years and their numbers are growing rapidly there. As they grow stronger, the Christian population grows weaker. After all the Jews are burned, who is next? You guessed it!
Are we seeing that trend of hatred here in America?
Somebody is praying for us
Christian leaders in Australia have called for seven days of prayer and fasting for America. They see how far we have fallen in the past six years.
Warwick Marsh and a team of “down unders” have inaugurated a National Day of Prayer and Fasting focused on the USA. Allison Jessup, one of the team members said, “We in Australia believe it is our turn to bless the nation of America and pray for healing for the USA through prayer and fasting according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. We in Australia are grateful for the protection that America gave Australia and the nations of the free world during World War II.”
Australian Lana Vawser said, “There is a fight for the destiny of the USA right now. The destiny of America hangs in the balance. The Lord is calling His people to arise and pray for the United States of America. It is time to contend.” Matt Prater added this: “We are believing for over 100 nations to join us in prayer and fasting for the USA.”
Here is the prayer Australian Warwick Marsh prayed for America:
Source: Breaking Christian News
Evidently the Australians recognize the role we play in world affairs. Perhaps it is time we did some praying for our nation before it slips completely off the precipice of constitutional government and the principles upon which it was founded.
Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam was one of Europe’s most edudite and educated men of the Reformation and Renaissance era. What he did and said still impacts our world today. Here was his wisdom: “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Homespun wisdom from a pundit
1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
3. There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.
4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
5. Always drink upstream from the herd.
6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.
8. There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to test the electric fence and find out for themselves.
9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
11. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.
12.Never squat with your spurs on.
Will Rogers on GROWING OLDER…
First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me; I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.
Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
Sixth ~ I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being young.
Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Tenth ~ Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it’s called golf.
And, finally ~ If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old.
Which of the following English translations is weakest on the deity of Christ at Titus 2:13?
ESV: “[W]aiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
HCSB: “[W]hile we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
NASB: “[L]ooking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
NET: “[A]s we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
NLT: “[W]hile we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”
RSV: “[A]waiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Which of the following English translations is weakest on the deity of Christ at Revelation 1:8?
ESV: ““I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
HCSB: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty.”
KJV: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
NASB: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
NIV: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God—the one who is, and who was, and who is still to come—the All-Powerful!”
NLT: “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.
“The Lord God” rendering is stronger, and the Greek has kyrios ho theos, not merely Kyrios (Lord). [Mounce; NA/UBS Greek texts: ho kyrios theos].
Even these are stronger than the weakest:
CEV: “The Lord God says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the one who is and was and is coming. I am God All-Powerful!”
The Living Bible (a paraphrase): “I am the A and the Z, the Beginning and the Ending of all things,” says God, who is the Lord, the All Powerful One who is, and was, and is coming again!”
The RSV: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
One might wish to also compare Romans 9:5, II Peter 1:1, I John 5:7,8 and other verses in contemporary versions on the deity of Christ.
Should Christians do yoga?
It seems like everyone is striving for the body beautiful. Someone said that too many people are trying to make a cathedral out of this “temple.” To help with this effort, some have enrolled in yoga classes to do stretching, breathing and meditating. Is this a good thing? Is there no problem with getting involved with another religion as we “exercise”?
Laurette Willis (founder of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry) has this to say about yoga:
Yoga Is Hindu Worship
Having spent 22 years involved in yoga, I discovered, as many have, that yoga is an effective missionary arm of the New Age movement. As a child, yoga led me away from Christ when my mother and I began watching a daily yoga program on television (thinking it was “just exercise”). For the next 22 years I was heavily involved in yoga, metaphysics, and the New Age movement until I became a follower of Jesus Christ in my late twenties.
“Yoga poses are offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods,” according to George P. Alexander, Ph.D. Originally from Sri Lanka, Dr. Alexander grew up in India. “Many Westerners who practice yoga today are unaware that the physical positions assumed in yoga symbolize a spiritual act: worshiping one of the many Hindu gods. To a Hindu, yoga is the outward physical expression of a deep spiritual belief. You cannot separate one from the other.”
If they do yoga at your church, think about this: yoga means “yoke” in Sanskrit. It’s a different yoke from the one Jesus referred to when he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30, NIV). What is a practice yoked to Shiva the Destroyer, the “Lord of Yoga,” doing in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Are there other ways to bring flexibility training into a Christian’s fitness program without doing yoga? Yes! There are stretching courses, as well as Christian alternatives to yoga that incorporate stretching exercises with Scripture.
To quote Dr. Alexander: “My question for Christians who practice yoga is, ‘Why would you want to better your body by aligning with a religious philosophy that contradicts the Christian faith?’”
Good question. [end]
The practice of yoga has paralleled the rise of the New Age Movement in America. In yoga literature you will find words and phrases right out of the New Age books and magazines—self-awareness, awakening, higher states of consciousness, enlightenment, spiritual self, harmony, the “eternal presence.” Source texts are listed as the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu Scriptures) and Yoga Sutras (Hindu/Yoga teachings). Yoga was developed in India millennia ago as a system of well-being. Go to India and look around. You will want to ask: “How’s that working out for you after 5,000 years?” Be assured that yoga is more than exercises and breathing techniques.
The primary personality who introduced this nonsense to Americans is the same Indian guru who converted the Beatles in the 1960s to practice Hinduism. He also taught his followers to “fly.” Watch them fly in the story below.
If you want to see the inside story of the guru—Maharishi Yogi—go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGc1yTDU8Fs
Do you have an abusive husband?
More than one has recommended the following article for those who may have a troubled marriage that includes abuse.
Be advised that we are well aware that there are abusive wives also.
“There are three things that make the earth tremble—
no, four it cannot endure:
22 a slave who becomes a king,
an overbearing fool who prospers,
23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,
a servant girl who supplants her mistress.”
Now there are four sermon topics if, when preached, might cause any church to tremble a little—perhaps thin the ranks somewhat: “A Servant Takes the Throne; A Godless Fool With A Full Belly; Marrying For the Wrong Reason; Winning Love That Doesn’t Belong To You.”
I am trembling already!
Letters to Pastors and Other Saints
Reviewed by JREnsey
The New Testament church was blessed to have letters, which we call Epistles, from various apostles that could be passed around from congregation to congregation. Those letters taught, they admonished, and they inspired their readers because they themselves were inspired. But the actual letters of our Lord to particular pastors of particular churches were especially direct and challenging. They probed deeply in “come to Jesus” moments of confrontation, then promised eternal benefits to those who would overcome the superstition and secular influences around them.
The pastors of seven churches of Asia, assemblies specifically named in the second and third chapters of Revelation, were selected as recipients of these personal letters from Christ. Only one of them came out virtually unscathed. The others felt the Lord’s hot breath of correction. What did it all mean and how the letters relate to us today?
Enter Peter Connell. He took up the challenge to dig into the background of each church and city to give us fresh insight into the relevance of these letters. I discovered information I had never read. Views that enhanced the parameters of their problems and how overcome them were laid out clearly. Letters to Pastors and Other Saints is an appeal to every leader and layman to live up to our first, high calling.
Brother Connell knows how to research, which is a key to publishing a worthy book. The material is heavily footnoted, with 250 citations. Although a scholarly work, it is quite readable. Every teacher and preacher will profit from this in-depth look at every word and line of Chapters 2 & 3 of the Book of Revelation. “He that hath an ear, let him hear with the Spirit saith unto the churches.” – JREnsey
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Send the women!?
It is claimed that if a jihadist dies in battle for the cause of Allah, he is immediately carried to paradise where carnal joys with 72 women await. However, they say if one is killed by a woman during a battle, he will go the other direction. Therefore, many fighters avoid conflicts and battles where women are involved for fear of such a death. Has the secret of victory finally been discovered?
Can I pick ’em? *
The other stuff
I couldn’t resist these:
Someone has drawn a distinction between exhortation and teaching. Exhortation, it is said, is an appeal to the will; teaching is an appeal to the mind. – Anonymous
God is just a concept to the world until we example Him with our lives. – Galen Walters
The difference in genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. – Albert Einstein
Have a great June…and teach at least one home Bible study this month!
* This segment written with tongue-in-cheek. But…I know some of that gender who could probably tan some hides over there.