God is DEAD

The April 8, 1966, cover of Time magazine was the first cover in the magazine’s history to feature only type, and no photo.[4] The cover – with the traditional, red border – was all black, with the words “Is God Dead?” in large, red text. The question was a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche‘s much-quoted postulate “God is dead” (German: “Gott ist tot“),[5] which he first proposed in his 1882 book The Gay Science.
(quoted from Wikipedia)

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Difficulty With NOTHING

Jeremiah 32:17  ‘Oh, Lord God, you did indeed make heaven and earth by your mighty power and great strength. Nothing is too hard for you!

How often do I stumble over this concept that is repeated numerous times and ways in the Bible!!

And in our hymnology–

Nothing! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Nothing is too difficult for Thee!

What part of ‘nothing’ don’t I understand? Why does my ‘something’ always seem outside the realm of His ‘nothing?’ Why do I constantly end up with the Lord saying to me, “O you of little faith?”

Will there ever come a time when I will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”

Local bar serves up scripture with suds

The headline above was taken from a front-page newspaper story in our community. The following is quoted directly from the first two paragraphs of the article:

It was a pretty common sight — the Bible setting (sic) open on a counter, waiting for someone with a thirst for religious knowledge to graze its pages. What wasn’t common was the freshly-poured glass of beer nearby; the many glass bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages in the room. It was weekly Bible study night at a seemingly unlikely place — Janie’s Cafe, a bar in Shamokin.

“I believe if Jesus were walking on the face of the earth as you and I are today this is the type of place he’d come to,” said Jane Stanchick-Garancheski, owner of Janie’s. She added that a bar is a place where trouble is likely to brew, a place where His presence is needed.

What do you think? Should something like this be stopped?

Note: to read the entire article, click here.

Bible Study Lesson 5

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link for the BLB in your favorites or on your desktop. You do not need to download anything. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the Free Subscription on the right-hand side of this blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

I recently received the following note from the folks at the Blue Letter Bible:
Dale,
Thank you so much for this. Your blog is extremely helpful. It’s
encouraging to read a thorough and clear use of the BLB tools! So you
have encouraged us greatly. I really like your idea of parallel
viewing panes. Right now the only way to do that right now is to line
up BLB windows next to each other.

Your participation in this study is helping to encourage others as well as build yourself up in the faith.

In our last lesson we learned about using Strong’s numbers to aid in our study. Strong’s is the word used to reference the original comprehensive concordance to the Bible. If you are not familiar with the reference work, that is okay. Using it within the BLB will open a new world of study for you.

Bring up the homepage of the BLB, and in the search box enter Hebrews 11:6. For information on how to do this, go to Lesson 1.

Notice the blue buttons next to the verse on the left-hand side. Click the “C” button. A window opens that is labeled Lexicon/Concordance for Hebrews 11:6. Scroll down until you find the phrase “to please.” Next to that is the number G2100 in the column labeled Strong’s.

Click on the G2100. That brings up an entirely new window labeled Lexicon Results with a lot of information in it, and new roads to take in our exploration. For this lesson, we will look into Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words.

Locate the blue bar labeled “Vines” and click on “View Entry.” That opens a new window containing the basic information from Vine’s work.

Then, underneath the first simple entry is the phrase in brackets [View Entry in Its Context]. Click on that and you are brought to the full entry from Vine’s that contains all the various ways the words translated “please” are used.

Remember, we are looking into what the Bible says about pleasing God, because it is our desire to be found pleasing in His sight.

You should have your notebook out, because the amount of information now becomes much more than your mind can assimilate.

Notice that all Scripture references are “hot” so that you can click on any one of them and be taken to that verse. It would be better if that link opened in a new window, but it doesn’t. So, you will always have to use your back button at the top of your browser to return to where you were.

I’m going to leave you with this for now. Begin your own study of what it means to be found pleasing to the Lord. Search through the verses listed in the Vine’s window. Make notes as you go. Add what you learn to the comments section below, so that we may all benefit from what the Lord gives you (Matt. 4:4).

If you click on a verse, and then get sidetracked by the buttons on the side that you have already learned how to use, you should REJOICE! You will not come to the end of the study anytime soon if that happens to you.

As you explore the idea of what it means to please the Lord, you will discover many wonderful things from the Word. Be sure to take notes from your study. This is not only about how to use the BLB. It is also about trying to discover “what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Bible Study Lesson 2

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link in your favorites or on your desktop. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the FeedBlitz on the right-hand side of the blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

Let’s begin.

Hopefully, you did some exploring on the left-hand section of the home page of the BLB like I suggested in Lesson 1. If you did, you found that they have a wealth of resources available–dictionaries, topical studies, commentaries, charts, maps, and a host of other tools to enhance your study time in the Bible.

Open the home page.

Under the top bar labeled New Bible Search you will find a blank bar in which to enter your search criteria. You can enter a specific book reference, or you can enter a word or word string that you are looking for.

I remember that there is a place in scripture where someone complained to Jesus about a different group doing things even though they were not part of the main band of disciples. Seems to me there was something about demons in the story. I want to find that passage.

Type in casting out demons. You don’t need quotes or the bold or italics. Just the text.

In the next box, select the version you want to use. I use the ESV, and have it set as my Preferred Bible. (see lesson 1)

Then click on the Search button.

This should bring up your search results in the middle of the page. Look over the entire page to gain an understanding of what the page looks like.

For my search, using the ESV, I’ve been given three verses. Yours may be different. To see how powerful this is, change the version selection and click on the search button again. You should get different results.

For instance, when I changed to the KJV, I was given a “sorry.” There are no verses that match the search. There is a way to find those verses on the results page without further typing, but that is for a later lesson.

Okay. I’ve found the passage I was trying to remember. It is Mark 9:38. Now I want to see that verse in its context.

The address is hot-linked, so click on Mar 9:38, and you will be taken to the entire chapter of Mark 9. However, the verse you clicked on will be at the top of your screen.

We can scroll up or down to access the context of that verse, and we discover that it is all within verses 38-41, which is in the midst of a lengthy record of some of the Master’s teachings on various subjects.

In order to read it smoothly without all the helps to distract me, I can change the page to be just simply text. For those of us who are easily distracted, this is a benefit.

Go to the top of the page, and look over on the right-hand column. Under the bar labeled Mark 9 you will see the words “Read / Print.” There is a question mark for help with this particular tool. Click on that and it will open a small window with an explanation of its features.

For instance, within the ESV I can change from paragraph format to verse format. I can change the words of Christ from red to black. Whatever I want for ease of reading at the computer. I can also change translation within that window. (The one feature not yet available is parallel viewing panes.)

Now, for the last point of today’s lesson–a real TREAT!

Underneath the “Read / Print” box is a box labeled “Listen to:”

Click and enjoy.

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Do The Law

Ezr 7:10
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.        KJV

Every time I come across this verse of Scripture, I am moved with fear and a new determination.

Have I prepared my heart? Do I seek the law of the Lord? Am I doing what He requires of me? Am I teaching that which He desires for His people?

These are challenging questions for me.

The most critical part of this verse is the third thing Ezra wanted to do: to do it. He wanted to DO the law of the Lord.

It is one thing to do a sermon. It is quite another to BE one.

When people look at me, I want them to not only see Jesus. I want them to also see how the Lord wants them to live.

Is my life–every aspect of my life–a model of what it means to follow the Lord with my whole heart?

When someone sees me in the grocery store, are they able to see how Jesus would handle the long line, or the incompetent clerk, or the screaming child?

Often times the answer is no.

But, God is merciful. He brings this passage once again to my awareness, and challenges me to prepare my heart more thoroughly, to be more diligent in my personal application of His truth to my life.

Then–and only then–will I have something meaningful to share with those who look to me for guidance on the path in this life.

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Do You Understand?

Rv 20:11-15
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.    KJV

Once again we are looking at the concept of judgment for our works. Plainly stated, we will be judged for our works, not our good intentions. What we do; not what we intended to do.

This time, however, we are coming from the book of Revelation. I am not ashamed to admit that this book is baffling to me.

Yes, there are many who have written and preached long and eloquently from the contents of this book. There are also many who have endeavored to explain the entire book from beginning to end.

I have read dispensational works, so-called Kingdom writers, and Calvinistic authors. I always come away with the same feeling: not yet. This isn’t it.

Oh, there is always truth to be gained from any of these servants of the Lord. But, a full understanding of all this book contains has not yet come to me.

There can be many reasons for this:

  • I’m thickheaded
  • I don’t believe
  • My heart’s not right
  • It’s not my time
  • God has not revealed it to me

When I err in understanding the Word, it is generally on the side of caution. The pharisees had it all figured out about how the messiah would come–and they missed it. Although Jesus came according to the Scriptures, and we can see it clearly from hindsight, the Jews missed the reality that was before them. They failed to see because they thought they saw (John 9:41). I do not want to be in that crowd.

I want to be like Peter. Peter, uneducated as he was, knew the Scriptures. He knew what was in them, what was written. He probably did not know what they meant in many cases. But he knew what was written. So, when the “day of Pentecost was fully come,” (Acts 2:1) and the signs and wonders began to appear, Peter was able to relate it to what he had heard–“This is that!” (v. 16)

I want to be so familiar with the Word that when something happens, I can say, “This is that.”

If I get my ‘boxes’ all figured out, I will certainly miss out on the reality, because God simply will not be boxed in by our concepts.

That is the lesson I have learned about anticipating God in the fulfillment of prophecy.