JREnsey blog for October 2018

Welcome to the JREnsey blog for October, 2018.

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The Word for Today

“I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago…to paradise…and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God” (2 Corinthians 12:2a,3b,5-7a).

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Quote of the month:

“If the Word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.” – John Owen

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A plea for understanding

Once when I was referencing one of our keen Bible quizzers here at Living Way Church, I stopped him and asked, “Do you understand what the scripture you are quoting means?” I wanted him to grasp the meaning of the verse. He quickly responded, “I don’t have a clue.” We were in the Book of Romans.

A Bible that cannot be easily understood is of diminished value to the reader. God did not intend the Bible to be a book that only the priestly class could read and comprehend. That type of situation kept the Roman Catholic Church in power during the Dark Ages and Medieval Era. Based on my personal experience and observation—not a scientific poll—it is estimated that between ten and twenty percent of the King James Version is not comprehended by the average reader without reference books and some knowledge of how to use them. This can lead to serious misinterpretation. At what point does silence on this issue equal culpability?

Don’t be misled by those who claim smaller words with fewer syllables in the KJV should be the easiest of all versions to comprehend. It is not the number of letters or syllables that is problematic, but the syntax and word meanings that cause readers to stumble.

Did Jesus “prevent” Peter from speaking to those in the house in Matthew 17:25? No, He “anticipated” his comments and spoke to him before Peter said anything. Is Paul saying that living saints will not “prevent” those who have died from rising in order in the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:15)? Of course not. It means that the living saints will not “precede” them in rising. Did David “prevent” the dawning of the morning in Psalm 119:147 and “prevent” the night watches in the next verse? The Psalmist was merely saying that he was up early in the mornings to meditate upon the commandments of God.

            Nephews in I Timothy 5:4 once meant “grandchildren or descendants,” carriages (Acts 21:15) was used for “baggage,” rank in Genesis 41:5 once meant “strong and healthy,” and leasing (Psalm 5:6) meant “lying,” take no thought (Matthew 6:25) meant “not to be troubled or anxious,” and replenish (Gen 1:28; Gen 9:1) is used to mean fill where the modern verb means “to refill.” What of blains (Exodus 9:9), felloes (I Kings 7:33), besom (Isaiah 14:23), bruit (Jeremiah 10:22), or sith (Ezekiel 35:36)? These and hundreds of other such words should be replaced with contemporary terms easily understood by the reader in the twenty-first century. As Habakkuk 2:2 instructs, “Write the vision, and make it plain.”

We should appreciate those translators who have taken that advice to heart.

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BooksBooksBooksBooksBooks

Searching the Scriptures

By J. R. Ensey

Available in hard copy $19.95 and ebook $14.95.

A number of years ago, I embarked on a journey to learn more about the actual text of the Bible. I wanted to know how it came to us in the present form. The research took me to libraries (both here and abroad), the Internet, discussions with textual scholars, and the reading of many books (a weariness of the flesh), and earnest prayer. I wanted to know the truth.

The shallow claim of those who insist that only one 400-year old English translation—done with pre-set biased rules, few resources, by men who did not know the New Testament was written in Koine rather than classical Greek—should be viewed as “the Bible” demands a response. The attempt to find truth behind the manuscripts, the texts and translations seemed a worthy objective. Searching the Scriptures: Merging Truth, Texts and Translations is the result of that effort. It puts the early English Bibles, including the KJV, in perspective where they can be evaluated with contemporary translations by the sciences of papyrology, textual analysis, and linguistics. No doctrines are lost in the process and none are created in Searching the Scriptures.

If you have questions about the ancient manuscripts, the Greek texts, the differences in the Textus Receptus, the Majority Text, the Critical Text, or in the translations available today, you will probably find some help here. What about the words or phrases in some translations that are not there in the medieval versions or vice versa? You will find some answers in this book.

Includes charts, comparisons of Bible translations, and other addenda that is helpful in the study of the Scriptures.

Apostolics, of all people, have no need to fear truth. To do so casts a shadow of doubt on the Holy Scriptures. The more one learns about the Bible, the more he respects it and trusts it.

Order @ advanceministries.org/store or call 936-537-0250

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I heard…

…that Nike has colin cancer.

…that all those folks pushing for socialism aren’t contributing much to society to begin with.

…Spartacus has been resurrected in the person of a senator to free all the slaves. Might he start with the Islamic nations?

…that Bill Clinton recently shared the podium with Louis Farrakan, leader of the Nation of Islam, making Farrakan look bad.

…that anyone can write an anonymous op-ed piece for the NY Times if it far enough left.

…that the London Times reported that 90% of sexual attacks at facilities in Britain related to incidents taking place in unisex changing rooms. Who could have predicted such a thing?

…that Trump is doing terrible things for America. Why, then, is Obama trying to take credit for them?

…that folks are returning their Nike shoes—said they hurt their feet when they stand for the national anthem.

…that the Hollywood actors are coming out for socialism, which reveals the extent of their patriotism and the depth of their common sense.

…that protesters are attempting to close an Austin church because of its stand for biblical morals. That one of the best reasons I can think of.

…that the pope thinks silence, meditation and prayer should be his response to the widening sex scandals in the RCC. I wonder why.

…that most Americans have not tasted of Venezuelan cuisine. But neither have many of the Venezuelans lately.

…that Brett Kavanaugh pulled a little girl’s braid when they were in first grade.

…it said that money can’t buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch.

…that the location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.

…that someone in the press suggested that Americans are the only people who will cross oceans to fight for freedom and democracy but won’t cross the street to vote. Better get across that street, folks!

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Christian college dumps Nike

College of the Ozarks, a private Christian college in Missouri, is cutting ties with Nike over its ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. The college said, “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them.” The college is a private liberal arts college known for loving America, our troops, and our flag. This isn’t the first time the college has taken a stand against things like this. Let’s encourage others to do the same.

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LGBT, Antifa demand Texas church shut down over sexuality

Protesters of the Antifa and LGBTQ brand surrounded a church in Austin, TX to shout against its stand on social issues, particularly homosexuality and transgenderism. Perhaps they really paid them a compliment. Regardless, it suggests that all Christian churches could be targeted for the same in the future.

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Is God in control?

Yes…and no.

Is He in control everywhere, in all things, in every life, at all times? What does the statement really mean? Are humans merely dancing dolls on a string manipulated by Someone higher up? Many find themselves confused when preachers make that popular statement about God’s control—usually spoken to combat a rising anxiety over scary developments in the culture.

It can only mean that He is in ultimate control. This is God’s universe, He made it, and He can do with it what He will in His own good time. But He gave man authority and dominion over certain elements of the creation (Genesis 1:26). But sometimes that statement rings hollow in the process of our earthly sojourn.

Was He in control in the Garden? If so, why did He not keep mankind from sinning and soiling His creation? Man was given a free will to make decisions, right or wrong. God does not control our choices or force Himself upon us. Our wills—carrying on life in our way—can mess up a lot of things and they are allowed to do so.

Was God in control of things during the pre-Flood era as man lowered himself to be described as “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only continually evil” (Genesis 6:5)? Was that God’s will for that time? Was God in control in Sodom? If so, how could He allow it to degenerate into the sordid culture that had to be destroyed by fire?

Scriptural passages often cited to ease concern over cultural debauchery usually are accompanied by the statement that “God is in control.” That is often of little comfort to those who have just lost everything in a flood or storm. Limiting that phrase in such times seems wise. We are not God’s judge, so we might circumvent misunderstanding in times of crises by offering comfort from other words.

We will always have questions, but not always the answers. God’s ways are not ours. But this we know—God’s ultimate control will ensure that history and prophecy are going to play out just as it is described in the Bible. He will control matters to see that not one jot or tittle will fail to come to pass. In the meantime, He depends on us Christians to do our part toward keeping our house—our community, our town, our city, our state, our nation—as clean from graft and depravity as possible, so that believers “may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Timothy 2:2.) That means we vote. We speak up. We stand for truth and righteousness. We encourage and pray for our leaders and representatives in government. We walk in faithfulness. We let our wills be lost in His.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

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Say it visually

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Why be concerned about politics?

Again, some wonder why I write about the political as well as the religious scene in America. It is because the political climate determines the ability of the church to carry out the Great Commission. Politicians can limit that ability or they can leave open the channels that give it freedom. I much prefer that our Constitution remains in place that provides us the opportunity to be the church and carry on the work of preparing people for eternity. The incremental slide away from religious freedom should be of great concern for every Christian.

Please take time to vote next month. It will make a difference.

JREnsey

Published in: on October 1, 2018 at 1:31 AM  Leave a Comment  

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