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Why We Have Mixed Messages After Reading the Same Bible

Posted by forthemission247 on February 25, 2015

Holy Bible

Image found on daybydaywithjesus.com

 

This week I had the opportunity to read through Mark Yarbrough’s How to Read the Bible Like a Seminary Professor for review. Here is a little piece of it here:

Yarbrough makes it very clear from the beginning that the way bible study is conducted within churches today is not quite right. We should not ask what a particular Scripture mean to us. We should instead learn to read God’s holy message to us and he offers a few tips and guidelines on how to do it just right.(Read more on Examiner)

What an amazing challenge!

Don’t interpret the bible for what you want it to mean, but instead ask, “What is God’s Message?”

This is difficult to me because as a student of literature, what an author writes may mean something to them, but that is a hidden mystery. What do I think the passage mean? In writing courses in college, you must have evidence within your essay to prove why you feel a verse or story means what you think it means.

Does the bible deserve the same kind of treatment?

Or should we study the Scriptures by underlining, Googl-ing, read different translations etc. to get the whole message?

Will we then understand the Word better? Will we then have one True Religion because we all will have now interpret it the same way?

So many questions.

I gave the book five stars because it had humor, it was organized and the author offered excellent tips for reading the bible and interpreting it the way God intended.

What are your thoughts? Is it possible to still get mixed messages even while reading the bible with study tools available?

The Holy Spirit was given to us to give us His interpretation of the Word, so why do we still send each other mixed signals continuously? Why are there so many denominations?(I feel this would make an excellent post in the future)

God bless you :)

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There is No Version of This Where You Come Out On Top

Posted by forthemission247 on February 9, 2015

 

*This post is in response to the Daily Post “Silver Screen” Prompt.

Iron Man and Loki Discuss World(Un)Peace

Watch this clip of Iron Man and Loki, from Avengers have a little chat. Iron Man/Tony Stark reminds Loki that the Avengers will avenge Earth no matter what it takes and Loki makes a comment about having an army and then around 1:44 he says, ” I thought the beast(Hulk) had wandered off.”

And the golden moment: Tony Stark says, “You’re missing the point, there is no throne. No version of this where you come out on top.”

As a believer in Christ who loves superhero cartoons and action packed anime, I enjoy finding those moments of truth that I hold onto for encouragement.

And this was it.

Evil Never Comes Out on Top

When Loki comes down on earth, he makes  a huge assumption in believing people will bow down and worship him because he comes from another place-Asgard. If only he knew that God’s creation and in particular the Avengers by creation or birth are mighty and he will have literal hell to pay.

He is just like the devil.

The devil, our enemy will not stop playing  games. I have to be like Stark and remind myself that he roams like a roaring lion yet there is no version of the biblical story where he wins. Satan and his angels will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity.

An even deeper, psychological problem with Loki, Satan, and Us

If you are not familiar with Loki, then here is a tidbit: He is Thor’s brother but in the movie Thor we learn he is adopted- apologies for the spoiler. Anyway, he wants to be crowned king but Thor took that title and not without hardship from Loki. So now we have a crazy, adopted brother with dreams of ruining the world. He chose that route.

Satan made a choice himself too. Depending on which biblical history you believe, he was chief musician, a viceroy to God himself before he made the choice to want to disobey God. I don’t claim to know the particulars of this and would like to study and pray about that more.  He basically makes it his mission to trip up humans and get them to break God’s heart and I know he has succeeded with some people.

Where do we fit into all of this?

God loves us all and has breathed life and love into our bodies. We are all here for a purpose. All of the Avengers are who they are for a purpose to serve a greater cause. However, those of us intent on doing evil must acknowledge there is an end. A pitiful fate.

We will come out on top. Just protect what is good and have faith.

 

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Gossiping is Like a Jalapeno Popper

Posted by forthemission247 on January 31, 2015

Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers |jeffreyw

Choice morsels are so good. They are like those cheesecake bites I find in the frozen section or those jalepeno poppers with melted cheese oozing down the middle. They are awesome snacks, bite sized and I can pick them up anytime.

The same with gossip.

It feels good to gossip about others because- well… it is not us.

I have been on both sides of the nasty gossip line. Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels, they go down to the inmost parts”(NIV)

It is not about you yet  you talk about someone else in a negative manner and you do not care because perhaps you feel they deserve their demise.

Or, maybe it is not that simple.

I will admit, I did not know gossip included telling other people’s business. I was not trying to hurt anyone, but the fact is other people now know their dirty secrets and afterwards I felt terrible.

A similar example is what happened in my family when my husband and I began to struggle financially. I heard through the gossip line the hurtful things that grown people with Ph.Ds and minister backgrounds have said about me and I died inside. I did not know that hate could feel like a gunshot wound.

But it does.

No one knew the true story of our life, and if they did would that have stopped them from saying those mean things about us?

I doubt it.

And it caused a rift between my family and I. Proverbs 26:20 reminds us that without gossip a quarrel dies down. In other words, there is no more fuel to the fire.

This is why I hate gossip shows and anything dealing with “the latest dish”. I abhor it. Oh, there was a time I ate that stuff up. I loved hearing about the good, bad and ugly.

Now, I have to pray about my own mouth and what it can spread because it is a fleshly desire. A carnal jalapeno popper that is hot and crisp.

The kind of person we hate to be around, is exactly the kind we are. It is a fact of life that humans are prone to err in many areas of life: love, friendship, responsibility, faith, religion. All of these begin with words. And words must convey a truth. Gossip is not a truth.

It is a verbal weapon.

Aimed to hurt.

Thoughts?

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Have You Been in This Praise and Bless Cycle?

Posted by forthemission247 on January 20, 2015

praise

Image by mørt’n

After El Shaddai blesses, what do we do next?

The Pray and Bless Cycle.

I never thought of this before. Typically our(my) prayer-blessing life goes in this order:

  • A negative situation happens.
  • I earnestly seek God and his Word. I pray.
  • I am blessed.
  • I go on about my business until the next disaster strikes(see first bullet point)
  • and the cycle continues…

What do we do next?

Don’t Forget to Remember.

We forget. We always forget.

Remember four years ago when you prayed for peace in your family’s home? Well, continue to thank God daily for it.

Remember when you wanted that job so badly but God told you to wait? Well, thank Him that you waited. It was not for you.

A long time ago, God split the sea for the Israelites to pass. He provided a way out from the Egyptian captors and  they gave something back to Him. A sacrifice-

Of praise.

Exodus 15: 2 says. “The Lord is my strength and my song…” It is part of a longer song which Moses and Prophetess Miriam sang. She and the women danced and sang with the tambourine, remembering how the Lord delivered them out of the hands of Egypt.

When was the last you have danced with joy when God delivered you? When was the last time I did? Maybe a year ago.

How about this. Let’s praise God for being God and for giving us his Son Jesus.

The new cycle should be:

Praise Him

Just praise Him

Praise him more.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share it on your social networks and leave comments. God bless you all!

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Toph’s Simple Instruction: Start With Move a Rock

Posted by forthemission247 on January 1, 2015

toph

Avatar: Toph  Illustration by v2-6 for Deviantart.com

First of all, Happy New Year to our fellow bloggers and anyone else reading our blog :)

In the hit Nickelodeon animation, The Last Airbender, Aang must master the elements: water, fire and earth. Because he is a born airbender, air and water comes easy to him. Fire and earth? Not so much. So he enlists the help of Toph Bei Fong, a blind but masterful earthbender. He is amazed at how she can make “Rockwear” suits, blow down boulders and shift caverns with ease.

He wants to learn all of it pronto.

But she tells him sternly: “Let’s start with move a rock.”

In other words, you are focusing on this herculean task of being a master overnight and it will not happen. Can we focus on moving a tiny piece of granite first?

Isn’t that how New Years is? We have a list of all the things we want to do right now:

  • Perk up
  • Shape up
  • Love more
  • Make more
  • Learn a new language
  • Open up a business
  • Cut off dead friendships
  • Pay down debts

We feel that after 12 months of whatever sludge we’ve been through, the fact that we label today the 1st of January we can finally begin to change for the better.

I am like this as well. In fact I have one main goal this year to share with everyone: I just want to abide in the Lord Christ more.

I have a few other things on my list to try and change to make my life even better than last year.

But instead of creating boulders and making huge rocks spin and fly through the air, like Aang I just need to move a small  rock.

Start with the little thing first. That mustard seed.

So that you would not be burdened or frustrated that you may not keep your resolution list, try to remember that faith begins with the mustard seed(Matthew 13:31 NIV). Jesus did not mention having a boulder of faith although some claim they have king sized faith- we know that a mustard seed grows fast and that Jesus may have been referring to any tiny seed.

The key thing is that as humans, our minds can hold a lot of information, including our goals. It can be daunting sometimes trying to complete everything. I’m an everything person. I like knowing it all. Doing it all.

But I feel right now as I felt when I was fifteen- that I need to continue cultivating that love walk with Christ that began so long ago.

Because the most important thing in the world to God, is to love Him.

That’s it.

 

 

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Violent, War Loving Christians and Irony in Flood’s ‘Disarming Scripture’

Posted by forthemission247 on December 17, 2014

Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus DidDisarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did by Derek Flood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*ARC received for my unbiased review from Netgalley.

Derek Flood’s book Disarming Scripture: Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives, and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did asks the question: Does our interpretation of Scripture bring life or death? And given the crime rates and the feelings of many Christians who believe in war, the answer is clear: we are violent. But what does Jesus say about the matter?

Flood makes interesting valid points which he backs up with research.However his interpretation on final judgement leaves much to be desired.

First, the way we read the bible isn’t at all how Jesus read it. Flood backs this up by introducing the term trajectory reading. Trajectory reading, I gather from the context, means reading progressively. Not a static reading and then leaving it up to feelings or tradition to interpret for us. When Jesus quoted the Old Testament, he wasn’t displaying unquestioning obedience but faithful questioning,

“Properly interpreting New Testament- not as detached scholars but as followers of Jesus and his way- thus involves recognizing the redemptive trajectory it sets away from religious violence, and then continuing to develop and move forwards…we cannot stop at the New Testament but must recognize where is was headed.”(78)

Second, Flood compares the prophets’ writings and noticed how many of them clash: some seem to be proclaiming violence in God’s name and others speak of peace.

I particularly like how Flood introduces the example of the RSVP program in San Francisco- a Sheriff’s department undoing evil for evil and using right tactics and compassion to retrain offenders.

This brings me to Flood’s idea on hell and judgement. In fact, he has a section in the book titled, “Undoing Judgement”. Now we all know when the Word speaks of Hades/Hell, we pretty much can picture what that means. Flood thinks differently. If my reading of his book is correct, he believes it is all parables and imagery. The Gospel of Matthew uses too many violent texts, he asserts and Jesus was just using hell as a term people of His time can understand…

I disagree.

I enjoyed this book and learned much from his research and I hope that despite his ideas on hell that readers will learn that Jesus was showing us a nonviolent way to minister to those who hurt us and who are hurting.

View all my reviews

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I Want to Be Holy, Not Holier Than Thou

Posted by forthemission247 on December 8, 2014

Mount Pleasant Granary

Mount Pleasant Granary

  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”- Hebrews 12:11 NIV

~

Sometimes we say someone is “holier than thou” because they exhibit one or more of the following thoughts and behaviors:

  • They typically do not dabble in pop culture at all(e.g.. Ask them about Rihanna and you may get a stink face and asked if you were perhaps meant to say “rehire”)
  • They typically have a Scripture for everything and I do mean EVERYTHING.
  • They attend church every week or more than once a week.
  • They don’t do “normal” things and may dress differently.

Personally, what is wrong with those characteristics? Nothing really. I mean, I’d rather have Scripture daily than some of the filth I hear and read daily.

Me Thou, Art Thou?

Look closely. The term “thou” is referring to you. So I think I am holier than you( I don’t think like this- promise!)

What is disturbing is that I have been called holier than thou simply because I prefer not to do certain things. When I tell someone that I prefer juice to liquor, they get upset or perplexed. And I feel the need to explain that I never liked the taste of alcohol before I was even saved anyway.

Or the most famous one: “Yall don’t want to want to hang with us, you are too holy for me.”

Or even better: “Excuse my French, but I ain’t perfect.”

Being Holy Comes From Trials

And the list goes on…without me saying a word to offend or defend myself. Where do these thoughts stem from?

These thoughts come from the heart. And we all know that from our mouths springs issues of the heart(Proverbs 4:23). The anxieties of someone else’s heart is now projected onto me for being different.

Now, let us get something abundantly clear. Not once should you apologize for being holy. Holy simply mean set apart from God. Jesus communicated with all walks of life but he did not do it as someone who was condescending.

There is a difference.

You see, only with rigorous training and strict discipline from my Father above can I hold my head high in righteousness as Hebrews 12:11 conveys. You do not know what I had to give up, put up with and how many people had to call me out of my character,  in order for me to be trained.

I am still being trained folks. Daily.

How about you? Have any stories of being called holier than thou, or were you the caller?

I’d love for you to share!

-Erica :)

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Ferguson, When the Smoke Clears…

Posted by forthemission247 on November 26, 2014

For we know Him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”, and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” (Hebrews 10:30-31 NIV)

Monday night, we waited with anxious hearts and unclear minds for the verdict on Darren Wilson. I will wager that we all knew what the outcome would be.  The news, the blogs, social media and even in our own homes we have discussed what the outcome could mean for all of America.

I will not discuss race and politics here or how one side is tired of the criminals and the other is tired of the badge wearing “villain”. I will make some points below of how we as Christ’s followers should think about this and respond.

  • Remember, these were two strangers that crossed each other’s path. No one woke up that day with the intent on harming someone(this is what I believe).
  • As parents, teachers, clergy and other leaders we need to take more responsibilities for our actions and in-actions before crisis like this occurs.
  • The Lord said, “You will know them by their fruits”(Matthew 7:16). So a good person is not judged by their appearance, but by their actions and their character.
  • Remember, judges and jury on earth have one thing in common: they are human like we are. And because of this, they are prone to err.
  • Cops and other executors of the law are also human and prone to err.
  • As Christ’s followers we are not to pick up our swords and stones, but to take up the cross, pray and promote peace.
  • As believers and counselors we must grieve with those who grieve and bear one another’s burdens. Losing a child is not easy. We should not minimize the family’s hurt and pain and anguish.
  • Spend more time with God. Commune with Him. Commune with others.
  • Love one another and in doing so, the world will see God.

Reporters kept asking, “Where do we go from here?”

I’ll tell you where-

To God.

Please encourage one another today and everyday. Many blessings to you all.

-Erica

 

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Asaph’s Answer and Reliance on the Devil’s Gifts

Posted by forthemission247 on November 19, 2014

Bleach Episode 177

Bleach| Death by Bakoto

Pledging Allegiance to the Enemy Reap Temporary Rewards.

If you watch episode 177 of Bleach closely, you’d realize as I did, that using anything that comes from hellish places is never good. Assassins are sent destroy the princess( and Ichigo), using a Bakoto. The Bakoto gives these assassins power beyond their imagination.

And it seems good for a while, but then as soon as their Bakoto, or sword “feels” their host being defeated- it devours the assassin in a grotesque fashion.

The Psalm of Asaph

It reminded me of the psalm of Asaph. His psalm talks about those who are arrogant and get what they want.

They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.  Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.(Psalm 73:8-9 NIV)

He laments even more about those who are powerful and godless,

This is what the wicked are like– always carefree, they increase in wealth.(v. 12)

I will get to the point in a minute, but here is what really struck a chord with me and gave me an odd sense of peace…

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.  Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!(v. 16-19)

What do Bakotos, and anime have to do with you as a Christian?

It is not hard to figure out. The assassins(already a bad job title, huh?) relied on demonic powers to take out someone. From the plot of the anime, I gather they are powerful to begin with. However they wanted more power and seem carefree as conveyed in verse 12 of Asaph’s psalm.

Second, they arrived to be oppressive. They were sent to kill anyway, but their job description alone tells me they thrive off of a wicked lifestyle; I am convinced that those we see right now in the real world who are rich, powerful and just have it all together will surely slip and fall. And if they are not right with Christ their agony will be like those assassins faces, twisted in anguish and pain, devoured by their own devices.

Is it so wrong to be rich and powerful? Is it really of the devil?

Absolutely not.

The powerful part is debatable. Again, there are people in need and who want to be cozy and warm not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but everyday like the rest of us. If you are rich and powerful, then you are for a reason.

To help others.

Asaph saw deeper though. He was so busy worrying over what others had and how powerful they were that he could not see the truth until he faced God.

Having Jesus is enough. Relying on weapons of this world never solved a problem. Still hasn’t.

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The Hardest Job in the World

Posted by forthemission247 on November 7, 2014

Helping the Homeless

Helping the Homeless

If you look at this week’s Scripture you will see it is meant to encourage you as you stay on the path,

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.(Hebrews 6:10-12 NIV)

Throughout God’s Word we notice how he encourages us to help the poor and the widows(James 1:27), to extend our love and resources to each other and to care about one another as we care for ourselves(John 13:34)

Folks.

This is the hardest job to do.

Why?

Because it is unpopular and in some states it is already illegal to help homeless people.

And because we are such selfish, carnal creatures.

  • It is unpopular because it is not “trending right now” to help other less fortunate. We are content with our stuff and we believe the homeless got themselves into the mess they are in. And if we are God’s chosen people, we should not think like that. We must esteem others higher than ourselves.
  • Helping others is now illegal. But I think it was already unpopular and illegal in our hearts. A 90 year old man in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. Just got arrested and will spend two months in jail for feeding people. For feeding people! What’s going on, America?
  • We are basically selfish. All of us. I know how it is. We are about our family and have a routine and a certain comfort that was probably hard to come by. Inviting poor and needy people over or at least paying for them to stay in a hotel seems a bit of a stretch. Trust me. I never thought like this until I experienced it myself. But I must remember,

To whom much is given much is required.”(Luke 12:48

Like I said. Any other job in the world is simple. You already have skill sets for it. You wake up and stay there for 8-12 hours or more but you get to come back home. There needn’t be any heart into it.

Not to say that all jobs are simple.

However we need more workers in the field of love. We need to cultivate love with our heart and our time and our deeds.

This will continue to be my prayer.

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